Beat The Summer Heat! 10 Recommended Summer Night Cruises in Kanto & Kansai!

The hot summer days are here! There are definitely plenty of ways to enjoy summer, including swimming in the ocean, going camping, or cooking barbecue, but have you considered going on a summer night cruise? These cruises will give you a wonderful experience that you don’t get to have every day. Read on for 10 of the best summer evening cruises you can enjoy in the Kanto and Kansai regions.

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5 Summer Night Cruises to Check Out in Kanto

1. Tokyo Bay Night Cruise (Tokyo)

The Tokyo Bay Night Cruise operates daily at Tokyo Bay from late June to October. On this cruise, you can go cruising on Tokyo Bay while enjoying a range of onboard events that change every day. There is also yukata (light cotton kimono) rental and dressing service at the shop inside the terminal, so even passengers who do not their have own yukata will find it very easy to feel the authentic summer vibe on the cruise.

You can choose a party package according to the number of people in your group and your budget, so you can rent a private room, have a banquet in the tatami room, or dine in the restaurant. Note, though, that the base price of the cruise does not include meals.

Enjoy the summer night by taking in the Tokyo Bay Night Cruise's live entertainment like shows and dancing. Please check the official homepage for the latest information on events, packages, and advance reservations.

2. Gozabune Atakemaru (Tokyo)

Gozabune Atakemaru is a luxurious cruise inspired by the warship of the Tokugawa family. This entertainment ship will lure you not just with its gorgeous exterior but also by the songs and dazzling performances of performers on the ship. This cruise sails 1 to 6 times a day and offers packages that range from the 40-minute Tokyo Bay cruise to the 90-minute course with meals and shows, so you can choose according to your needs. 

The highlights of the cruise are the 5th and 6th sailings that incorporate kabuki elements and showcase productions by performers who are at the forefront of the genre. The interior of the ship is dressed in various decor that will help you feel the true spirit of Japan. This cruise is very popular with foreign tourists who love Japanese culture, giving everyone a chance to fully enjoy cruising in Tokyo. There is also a package with an all-you-can-drink beer garden on the deck of the ship that is available during the summer season. You're guaranteed to have a luxurious time enjoying a drink while gazing at the beautiful nightscape.

3. Marine Rouge (Kanagawa)

The Marine Rouge, a cruise ship mentioned in the famous song by Southern All Stars, is famous for giving guests a wonderful time in an elegant setting. There are three dining options available, and each one allows you to enjoy dinner while marveling at the beautiful night views of Yokohama.

You should also check out the front desk on the first floor where they sell unique goods that are only available onboard. Weddings are also held on the Marine Rouge, so if you go on this cruise on a date, it might be a great idea to have a look for your big day.

The ship departs from Yamashita Park in front of the Red Brick Warehouse, Minato Mirai, and the east exit of Yokohama Station, so it’s very convenient. While this is a luxury cruise with a fancy image, it actually comes at a reasonable price if you will only be paying for the ride, so it's an affordable choice if you’re planning a girl’s trip to Yokohama. During summer, Marine Rouge offers summer night cruises. Be sure to check out the onboard beer garden that offers buffet meals and an all-you-can-drink service. You will surely have an wonderful time on this elegant ship.

4. Chiba Night Cruising (Chiba)

Operated under the catchphrase, “Night is fun on the Port of Chiba”, this 90-minute summer night cruise run by Chiba Night Cruising comes with an all-you-can-drink service, and is available from July 1st to August 31st. Passengers are taken on a night cruise on the Almeria, a ship usually used as a tour boat for exploring the Port of Chiba. Have an exciting time with your friends while marveling at the gorgeous and sparkling nightscape around the Port of Chiba and its surrounding factories.

K's Harbor, the cruise ship terminal where the Almeria departs from, is home to restaurants and cafes with stylish facades that resemble those of port towns. This night cruise does not come with meals, and guests can bring their own food, so you can go to a restaurant before or after the ship departs, or get take-out before you board.

There is a package available for sailing around the Port of Chiba and Makuhari Messe during the day, which makes for a great activity with kids.

5. Yakatabune Hamadaya (Tokyo)

Yakatabune Hamadaya is a pleasure boat that takes pride in its food. If you go on this cruise, you can enjoy a tour while savoring sumptuous meals and gazing at beautiful flowers in spring and autumn foliage in autumn.

An unmissable cruise is the Hanabi Yakatabune that runs during summer. On this cruise you can admire beautiful fireworks on the water without worrying about the crowds. Getting a seat on this cruise can be difficult, but being able to relax and watch the fireworks in the sky while cruising on a traditional yakatabune boat is worth the effort. It's best to book early, as this cruise is very popular.

There is also a chartered ship and a shared passenger boat that is suitable for smaller groups available. The ships offers a yukata rental service, too, which is bound to liven up the atmosphere. Each ship on the cruise has their own distinct characteristics and have a range of options such as a yakiniku (grilled meat) banquet with smokeless roasters, or chairs and tables so your feet won’t get tired. Its luxurious image may be a little intimidating, but the elegant Yakatabune Hamadaya is the perfect venue for dates, anniversary celebrations with family, or other special events.

5 Famous Summer Night Cruises in Kansai

1. Osaka Duck Tour (Osaka)

How about going sightseeing in Osaka, known for being the city of water, on an amphibious bus? With the Osaka Bus Tour, you get to ride on a 3.6-meter-high bus, nicknamed the Kappa Bus after a mythical amphibious creature. The bus first tours famous spots on land, including Osaka Castle, Fujita Art Museum and Taiko-en Garden. During summer, the open car with no windows will let you feel the cool breeze. The lively talk by the guide with a thick Osaka accent sends the passengers on the bus into fits of laughter that livens up the mood.

When you arrive at Sakuranomiya Park, the bus begins to prepare for its descent into the water. In the biggest highlight of the Duck Tour, the bus then enters the river with a splash! The bus has no windows, so you might just get wet. It then continues the tour while slowly cruising in the water. There’s no doubt that this cruise will become a story you tell about your visit to Osaka.

2. Ofune Camome (Osaka)

Board the Ofune Camome and enjoy a private cruise in a small houseboat that can accommodate a maximum of 10 people. Converted from a small boat that was used for pearl fishing, this boat will take you around the city of Osaka in a space with a homey atmosphere that will envelope you in the warmth of wood. There are unique and diverse cruise plans to choose from, including shared and chartered cruises. Passengers are generally free to bring their own food and drinks, and with free tea service on all cruises and fully equipped bathrooms, you are sure to feel relaxed.

Different courses are available, including the Breakfast Cruise that comes with a special breakfast, the Doboku Cruise that lets you view the intricate undersides of a range of bridges, and the weekend Bar Cruise that takes you on a tour of the famous neon city of Dotonbori. For something different, you can try the Kikizake (sake-tasting) Cruise that comes with three types of Japanese sake and snacks of dried fish. You can use the tabletop stove to roast the dried fish and sample a range of sake. This cruise sets sail at dusk, so it is bound to be a moment of pure bliss. The Ofune Camome, which is filled with variety despite its small size, is a little-known cruise that is a lot of fun.

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3. Kobe Concerto (Hyogo)

Kobe Concerto is a cruise in the stylish port town of Kobe. This large restaurant ship will let you indulge in a moment of luxury. With its authentic course meals and jazz and classical music onboard, this cruise is sure to create the perfect setting for a special date or celebration. Kobe’s night view, also called the “1 Million Dollar Night View”, makes the vibe of this cruise even more romantic.

Kobe Concerto also holds a Beer Garden at Sea cruise from May through October. It is divided into three segments – lunch, twilight and night, so you can choose according to the occasion, whether it be sightseeing or a party after work. This cruise will let you fully enjoy an opulent trip on a boat at a reasonable price. The cheers of passengers intensify the closer the ship gets to the illuminated Akashi Ohashi bridge. A night cruise on the Kobe Concerto is the perfect way to have a special night to remember.

4. Kobe Sea Bus Cafe Cruising Fantasy (Hyogo)

Kobe Sea Bus Cafe Cruising Fantasy is a cruise where you can enjoy a casual cafe experience from Kobe Port. This 45-minute cruise around Kobe treats guests to views of the beautiful towns and streets of Kobe and some special sights that can only be seen at sea. Passengers can enjoy a tour of a shipyard where naval ships and large cargo vessels are docked, and the area right under the connecting bridge linked to Kobe Airport for a view of aircrafts as they take off and land. This is an experience you can only have on the Kobe Cruising Fantasy.

At the onboard cafe, you can relax over some drinks and sweets. Alcoholic drinks are also served, and gazing at the sea with a drink in one hand is a whole other level of special. The boat can be chartered at reasonable rates for groups of at least 30 people, so you can hold parties, weddings and other events onboard. On a hot summer’s day, take this cruise to feel the pleasantly cool sea breeze.

5. Uji River Cruise (Kyoto)

Uji River, also known as a setting of the Tale of Genji, is a tourist destination in Kyoto that is famous for the Phoenix Hall at the Byodoin Temple and the local Uji matcha green tea. The Uji River Cruise will let you soak in the beauty of the scenic Uji area. You can enjoy a breathtaking view of Uji River in every season, including cherry blossoms in spring, fresh verdure in early summer, and autumn leaves in autumn. The cruise offers a 40-minute plan with onboard meal and a 20-minute plan that comes with snacks, so you can choose the best one for your schedule.

For a limited time in summer (July 1st to September 30th), there is a night cruise where you can see cormorant fishing in Uji River. You can see the thrilling sight of cormorant fishermen, who in Uji are often women, as they control the reins up close. Be aware that it can be difficult to reserve a seat on weekends since they are often fully booked. Cormorant fishing is rare in Kansai, so how about going on an elegant night cruise on the river just like the nobles of the Heian period? It is such a wonderful event you may even forget the extreme heat of the Kyoto summer.

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Enjoy Hot Summer Aboard A Cozy Ship!

Going on a night cruise is one of the summer traditions in Japan. This article featured a range of cruises, including luxury passenger ships, houseboats, and laid-back, casual cruises. There are different plans and packages to suit all occasions, so whether you want to relax in a beer garden or take a date on a romantic cruise, you're sure to find the perfect one. 

When you’re in Japan this summer, cool down by going on a cruise. It will surely become a wonderful summer memory that will last with you forever.


Translated and republished with permission from: SPIRA (formerly known as Relux Magazine)
By the way, you can book a hotel through Relux (run by SPIRA) by clicking here!
Kanto Feature

The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.

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