I went to see Asakusa Shrine, but got distracted and boarded Sumida River Bus instead.
It takes you from Aakusa to Hamarikyu Garden. About 40 minutes trip each way.
Every kilometer or so, you will float under a bridge and every one of them looks different than the one before. The vista changes by a minute. You drift by the banks of this town and spot super modern building you would expect, next to small dwellings with the laundry hanging out at the balconies.
Everybody is waving to everybody from the shore to the boat and another boat. I am not the one to engage in traditional tourist activities, but at the end of the trip I was waving to everything that moved.
Hamarikyu Garden is a magical park surrounded by Tokyo sky scrapers = drastic clash of styles.
You get tranquility of traditional Japanese garden, ancient Tea Houses surrounded by concrete and glass. Everybody is familiar with Bonsai Trees, no? Well, in this park they let them grow tall, but they are as sculptured and manicured as the miniatures. It is enchanting and very peaceful.
Having said that, the first thing you see while off the boat are the signs that say: ‘If you see any dead animals – do not touch them; just notify us immediately’. Sweet. I haven’t seen any dead animals BTW.
The boats look almost futuristic and are very comfortable. There is an ongoing information through PI System telling you where you are, but the sound is muffled by the engine, so I understood nothing.
Prices? You have to get tickets from the vending machine that ‘does speak English’, but is rather confusing. You need to choose from one/two-way ticket, or ticket that gives you an admission to the park, or one according to your age … all that while there is a long line of impatient tourists behind you.
But it is not expensive: I bought one-way ticket (by mistake), but it gave me an entry to Hamarikyu Gardens. Also by chance; I just did not know what I was doing as it was my second day only in Tokyo and I was overwhelmed by it all. Had to buy an extra ticket to return.
Anyway, it is not more than Yen 3000 both ways and you can wonder around that spectacular park as long as you wish.
Warning! The Public Toilets in the Park are Asian/squat style and also miniature in size, so you have to really aim, girls!
If you feel rich > there is an alternative: you can hire a private, traditional boat that picks up to 4 people and takes you around for about 4 hours Cruise. They supply traditional Japanese food and drinks.
They will charge you accordingly.
You need to book a day ahead. You cannot miss them while walking @ the river boulevard in Asakusa.
Be prepared to be completely ignored by the operators, but they will be super nice if you approach them.
Rather cool way to see Tokyo from different perspective.
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