With its dense jungle of glass, steel and concrete, it’s easy to forget that Tokyo prospered upon its proximity to the sea and its many canals and waterways. For a unique view of the metropolis, there is no better way than to jump on one of the many boats that offer cruises of Tokyo Bay.

While a cruise during the day will give you a fascinating view of day-to-day life and the grimy reality of the many waterways, like the city itself Tokyo Bay comes to life after dark, when the light from a million windows and neon signs shines down on the water. The other obvious advantage of a Tokyo night cruise during the hot summer months is the refreshing breezes out on the water, and the constant flow of chilled beer and cocktails.

While there are ways to spends lots of money out on the water, there are also plenty of reasonable Tokyo night cruise options comparable to a night on dry land. Here are our top picks.

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Yakatabune: For a Tokyo night cruise with traditional charm

From ¥10,994
Buy your ticket here

Yakatabune at night. | Photo by Maria Danuco

Yakatabune are the traditional low-slung boats strung with red lanterns down both sides. In Tokyo, yakatabune tend to specialize in monja — a sloppy, savory type of pancake similar to its better-known cousin — okonomiyaki. However there are a huge range of different dining options — from kaiseki course meals and tempura through to yakiniku barbeque.

Many yakatabune offer a combined cruise, food course, and all-you-can-drink soft drink package for around ¥10,000 — we recommend this yakatabune cruise. There are also options like this yakatabune night cruise that includes a traditional shamisen performance, along with food and drinks.

There are a whole lot more options to consider too. Expect different food courses, departure points, and, importantly, minimum booking numbers. Some require you to book the whole boat — like this private Tokyo yakatabune cruise that requires a minimum of 15 participants.

Lady Crystal: For simplicity

From ¥5,000
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For a luxury feel at a budget-friendly price, check out this cruise aboard the Lady Crystal. The Lady Crystal departs from Sea Fort Square in Shinagawa and takes you around Tokyo Bay. You’ll enjoy beautiful views of the Tokyo cityscape and the numerous artificial islands in Tokyo Bay.

The basic package is ¥5,000 for a 1-hour cruise and includes one drink. If you want to take advantage of the ship’s classy French restaurant, prices start at ¥18,000 per person for a five course meal with two drinks served during a 2-hour cruise.

Symphony Tokyo Bay cruises: For when you’re feeling fancy

From ¥16,500
Buy your tickets here

Another popular option for Tokyo night cruises (and day cruises too) is taking a ride around the bay on one of the Symphony cruise liners.

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These boats run from lunchtime until late at night, giving you a wide range of different cruise and dining options to choose from. Most cruises are about 2-2.5 hours long, though there are hour-long versions for those who don’t have much time for seafaring. The Symphony cruises take you past all the major sights, including Tokyo Skytree and Tokyo Gate Bridge.

Get to see Odaiba’s Rainbow Bridge up close. | Photo by brunocoelhopt/iStock / Getty Images Plus via Getty Images.

Shinkiba Edomaekisen: For an affordable option

From ¥6,900

This particular yakatabune (formerly known as the 4,900-yen yakatabune — before they put their prices up) is was a lot easier to work out. Since we first wrote about them, they’ve changed their system a few times. While early evening cruises (departing at 4 p.m.) start at ¥6,900 for a single adult, evening cruises are priced at ¥7,900 to ¥8,900. If you can handle daytime heat (these boats are typically open-sided with no aircon), afternoon cruises are good value.

A few daytime cruises depart from the relatively convenient Asashio Pier — located between Triton Square and Kachidoki Station. However, most boats depart from the much more inconvenient Shin-kiba Pier. You’ll need to take a free shuttle bus from Shin-kiba Station on the Yurakucho, Rinkai, and Keiyo Lines.

Don’t expect much from the food, and they might even serve you a beer can rather than a glass. However, you can’t beat this for some good-value boozy fun on the water.

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Reservations can be made via their official website for as few as two people.

Ready for sunset. | Photo by Maria Danuco

The Tokyo Bay Noryosen: For fun discounts

From ¥1,000!

The Noryosen is a largish, multi-level cruise ship that runs evening “Yukata Cruises” on Tokyo Bay over summer. This is from July 5 until September 23 in 2024.

The cruise leaves from Takeshiba Pier near Hamamatsucho Station at 7:15 p.m., passing under Rainbow Bridge, continuing on past the lights of Odaiba, and doing a U-turn near Haneda Airport before heading back and docking at 9 p.m.

The cost of getting on the cruise is ¥2,000 which doesn’t include any food or drinks. If you wish to wear a yukata (light summer kimono) yourself, you’ll get a ¥1,000 discount on the ticket price — but only if you go on Monday to Thursday, as the discount doesn’t apply on Fridays, weekends, or public holidays.

You have to book ahead — telephone bookings and website bookings are accepted up to a month in advance (starting June 5). The website is only available in Japanese (there used to be an English site).

While we do our best to ensure it’s correct, information is subject to change. Post first published in August 2012. Last updated: June 2024.

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