Tokyo Bay

Tokyo Bay is a large bay and excellent natural harbor that shelters the metropolitan areas of Tokyo and Yokohama. It is enclosed on the east by the lovely Boso Peninsula and on the west and the mainland part of Honshu Island, the largest island of the Japanese archipelago. The two are connected by the Tokyo Bay Aqua Line, a combination bridge and tunnel that spans the bay.

The Tokyo Rainbow Bridge spans a northern portion of the city’s harbor from the Odaiba district waterfront, with its excellent shopping and dining opportunities, to the Shibaura Pier. It is not the only bridge, as there are numerous manmade islands and peninsulas ringing the large harbor. Virtually all of the harborside portions of the city are built on reclaimed land, and bridges are required to connect them.

Tokyo Rainbow Bridge is a long suspension bridge that was completed in 1993 and stretches for more than 1,800 feet. It carries three different transportation lines, including eight vehicle traffic lanes and two rail lines for trains. There are walkways on the bridge, but they are only open for pedestrians during daylight hours. Take a stroll across this bridge, and you will be rewarded with wonderful panoramic views of the city and harbor—and Mt. Fuji on a clear day. It is called Tokyo Rainbow Bridge because of the multicolored lights (red, white, and green) that decorate it at night and are generated by solar power.

There are numerous islands around the harbor area, all of which are manmade except for Monkey Island. It is possible to book a Tokyo Bay harbor cruise that stops on this little island, which has become very popular as a family vacation spot because of its proximity to the city, lovely beaches, and dramatic cliffs. The beaches and cliffs of all the other islands are made of concrete. There is even one island, oddly named Dream Island, which is made of imported trash. Many of these islands figure in the history of Tokyo, as they were built to protect the harbor and still boast the remnants and ruins of centuries of fortifications. Almost any Tokyo Bay harbor cruise will pass by or stop at one of these islands.

Other islands farther out in Tokyo Bay include the volcanic Izu Islands and the Ogasawara Islands, one of which is under dispute as to whether it belongs to the People’s Republic of China or not. These are from more than 100 miles to more than 1,000 miles from central Tokyo. Most Tokyo Bay tours made to these islands are done by ferry.

Any visitor can enhance their vacation with a regularly scheduled scenic Tokyo Bay harbor cruise that takes only about 50 minutes. There are also cruises that combine a cruise up the Sumida River, and you can book cruises for special events. Sunset dinner cruises are particularly popular for weddings and similar special occasions. You can also book cruises that drop you at Odaiba for shopping, at Disneyland, or at Ueno Park and Gardens to visit one of the museums. For the quintessential Tokyo experience, take a cruise on the sleek Himiko that looks like a cross between a space ship and a submarine. It has huge bubble windows allowing for the best photography.

There are many destinations to visit in Tokyo Bay and many things to see on any Tokyo Bay harbor cruise.

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