Tokyo Dinner Cruise Review: Best Foodie Experience in Tokyo?

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Embarking on a Tokyo dinner cruise is a great way to experience several classic Japanese dishes, see the iconic cityscape at night, and have a little fun with free-flowing beverages all at the same time.

Sumida River dinner cruise Tokyo Japan

Recommended to us by a friend who lives in Japan, we decided to book a dinner cruise while we were in Tokyo, and we’re so glad we did!

Climb on board a yakatabune (type of Japanese boat) that has traditional tatami mat floors and tables set up for a delightful dinner cruise in Tokyo.

It’s a great way to check a bunch of boxes and is one of the best things to do in Tokyo if you have limited time:

  • Traditional Japanese meal (with a variety of dishes!): Check!
  • See some of the most iconic landmarks in Japan: Check!

Oh, and did I mention that there is free-flowing alcohol?! 

We had a great experience and decided to write up a little review so that you know what to expect. We’re also sharing pros and cons so you can determine if doing a Tokyo dinner cruise is a must on your Japan itinerary.

Tokyo Dinner Cruise Guide

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Important details

Tokyo dinner cruise Japan

Where you go 

Tokyo dinner cruise Japan

This 2.5-hour cruise departs from the heart of Asakusa and follows the Sumida River, which snakes through the center of Tokyo. 

From the boat, guests can enjoy views of some of the city’s most iconic landmarks: 

  • Tokyo Skytree
  • Odaiba and the Rainbow Bridge
  • skyline of Tokyo Bay illuminated at night

Taking this dinner cruise can be a great way to see some of the top landmarks in a short amount of time, making this one of the best things to do in Tokyo at night.

The food 

Food on the Tokyo dinner cruise Japan

Seeing the city lit up at night is really cool, no doubt about it. The best part, though, is the food and free-flowing (yep, you read that right) drinks!

The dinner is a fantastic assortment of roughly 14 classic Japanese foods, like tempura, udon, sashimi, tofu, and more. The food keeps coming until you say you don’t want any more, so you definitely won’t leave hungry!

Honestly, we thought the food was better than what we expected for an experience like this. 

Food on the Tokyo dinner cruise

Is it the best meal you can get in Tokyo?


Tokyo is one of the foodie capitals of the world, boasting some of the best restaurants on the planet, so the bar is high.

However, the food on this dinner cruise is really high quality and you get to sample a variety of dishes which is really fun (especially if it’s your first time in Japan).

The drinks

Drinks on the Tokyo dinner cruise Japan

Pair your meal with all-you-can-drink alcoholic (and non) beverages.

It’s a really great way to sample Japanese drinks and see which you like best. Sip sake, plum wine (umeshu), Japanese beer, and a variety of local cocktails like highballs, and one of my personal favorites, chuhai!

They have a really good set up where you can scan a QR code and order the drink you’d like. This means you never have to flag down a server, which is really nice.

The atmosphere

Tokyo dinner cruise atmosphere

The boat’s interior is entirely tatami mat floors which is pretty cool and gives it a traditional feel.

I’m sure the crowd varies each night but when we did this experience, I’d say it seemed to be about half foreign travelers and half Japanese people

The tables are set up so that you are seated 4 people to a table. This means if you are traveling as a couple, you will be next to another party of 2. The tables are large enough that there is space between parties, but it is a nice way to mingle. We had a really nice chat with the couple’s on either side of us, making the experience even better (in my opinion).

We felt like this experience was the perfect length to do a bit of sightseeing, indulge in a long dinner, and enjoy mingling and beverages.

What to expect

Embarkation point for the Tokyo dinner cruise Japan
  • Get to the meeting point at least 15 minutes before departure. Give yourself plenty of time, as getting around Tokyo often takes longer than you’d expect!
  • You will check in with your name and number in your party with a guide that has a clipboard with everyone’s names.
  • Once ready, all guests will be told to board the boat
  • Remove your shoes and wear a pair of slippers.
Removing your shoes on the Tokyo dinner cruise
  • Find the table with your name on it and sit down. While the floors are tatami mats, there is a sunken section under each table so you can sit with your legs underneath (instead of sitting cross-legged on the floor for 2.5 hours!).
  • There will be some dishes and drinks already at your table, but a server will come over to light your hot pot soon.
  • Order any beverages you’d like using the QR code at your table.
  • The boat departs and you will cruise down the Sumida River.
  • There will be a short stop where you can walk on the top deck if you’d like to see the Tokyo Skytree.
  • Eventually, the boat will turn around and start (slowly) making its way back to the departure point.

The good

Tokyo dinner cruise
  • I think one of the best parts is that you get to try many different types of Japanese foods and drinks in a single setting.
  • It’s nice having dinner plans in Tokyo because many of the well-known restaurants either are very difficult to get reservations at or you have to wait in line for hours. We liked knowing that we had plans set before arriving in Tokyo.
  • You get to see some of the main landmarks in Tokyo. 
  • It’s conveniently located in Asakusa, which is an area you’ll definitely want to explore anyway.
  • You can mingle with other travelers.
  • It is family-friendly.

The not so good

Tokyo dinner cruise Japan
  • The tour guides don’t speak much (if any) English. Don’t expect to learn much on this dinner cruise. There’s only a couple of times when someone speaks on a microphone, and unless you speak Japanese, it might go over your head. Don’t worry too much though – it’s mainly just announcing when you’re passing by landmarks, which you can figure out on your own if you look out the window during an announcement.
  • It’s a bit of a splurge. If you’re on a tight budget, this might not be for you, as it isn’t exactly cheap. That said, when you factor in all the food, the free-flowing drinks, and the boat sight-seeing, we think it was a really good value.
  • Depending on your departure time (which varies by day), you may be getting off of the boat quite late. Just keep in mind that most subways in Tokyo stop running around midnight. If you’d like to stop somewhere after the boat ride or explore Asakusa a bit more after the crowds have dissipated, watch the time so you don’t get stuck taking a (very expensive!) taxi.


Still have questions? Here are some of the most common questions and their answers.

Are children allowed?

Eating on the Tokyo dinner cruise

Yes, this is a family-friendly experience (to a point)

Our experience: We took our 2-year-old daughter on this boat ride and she did fantastic. She does really well in situations where there are many people around and she does well trying new foods. We had stickers and other toys to keep her occupied.

It was a great experience for us. All that said, we did this as one of our last nights in Japan, when we were all fully adjusted to the time difference. 

Our daughter was the only child on the boat (which is often the case for many activities we do!). There weren’t high chairs or utensils for her, so it wasn’t necessarily catered to children, but instead an experience where they are welcome. 

We also know that she does well in restaurants and felt fairly confident it would be appropriate. However, if your child doesn’t do all that wll in restaurants, it might be tricky since there’s not really an area to go walk around or get away from sensory overload.

Are there bathrooms on board?

Bathrooms on the Tokyo dinner cruise

Yes, there are bathrooms so you don’t have to worry about holding it! 

They are small, but clean and like any other public bathroom in Japan.

Can they accommodate dietary restrictions?

Food on the Tokyo dinner cruise

If you are a vegetarian or have special dietary needs or restrictions, the Tokyo dinner cruise can accommodate. You will need to inform them of any and all special dietary needs (including food allergies) in the comment section of the booking form. 

If you fail to inform about special dietary needs during booking, you will not the option to change once on the tour. 

How far in advance should I book?

We recommend booking your dinner cruise at least a month before your trip. If possible, book as soon as you know which days you’ll be in Tokyo so you have the best availability.

Tokyo Travel Resources

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Tokyo dinner cruise | Two Wandering Soles
Tokyo dinner cruise | Two Wandering Soles

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