An unforgettable river cruise...for the wrong reaon
Place: Sumida River Location: between Hamarikyu Onshi Garden and Asuka Ferry Station Date & Local time: 10 September 2010, 1:00 pm
Note: This was the smelliest river cruise that I have taken in all my travels. The river was pretty polluted, which was disappointing. Me and Dad were following the itinerary in Frommer's guide which stated that this ride was not to be missed. If you are willing to walk to Daimon or Shimbashi Station, then do so. The river cruise cost 720 yen per person. The cost became just as unbearable as the river's smell.
Despite the less than pleasant air quality, there were alot of interesting sites that we saw along the river. When the boat left Hamarikyu Onshi Garden, a big gate opened for the boat to pass through. It was interesting to see a big wall covering the garden's sights.
The first sight that I saw on the cruise was a tall silver building. I thought it was very modern and the lines were rather smoothed. I wished I knew the building's names.
There were four bridges and one freeway that crossed like a bridge over the river. My Dad was amazed at its design. As an engineer, he thought it was the most innovative bridge that he has seen. Rather than being straight, the path was curved. It looked like a long flyover the river.
There were other bridges as well that were memorable because it reminded of bridges in other countries. The suspension bridge reminded us of San Francisco and the wire bridge reminded us of the Glebe Point Bridge in Sydney.
The red bridge which you will see just before you land on Asakusa's ferry station is one that I will never forget. It was the prettiest and the most elegant bridges that I saw. It was neat and the red colour was not imposing.
There were other interesting sights alon the river. As mentioned in Frommer's, we did see some apartments where residents hanged their laundry. We also noticed paintings on fabric anchored against a long wall that ran alongside of the river. They seemed traditional paintings, however the cruise boat did not give any commentary on what they were. I also saw a ferry station with a colourful roof.
The most interesting and possibly the most unusual sight was the building for Asahi Beer. There was a gold sculpture that is shaped like a water droplet on its side. The tail however flexed like a tadpole. The building served as a large black plinth for the gold sculpture.
It was also interesting that there were water gates in the early part of the river cruise. This was so interesting as I only had enought time just to take the picture. I wondered if these waterways were lined with buildings as well. I could not really take a peek behind the gates.
We also saw restaurant boats along the river cruise. Unfortunately, we could not get any information on how to board one. The boats are not large and they only seem to have one story. It is not as high as a paddle wheel boat.