Spending the Day at Sumida Park, Sumida River, and Nearby Places

Being the capital of Japan, Tokyo serves as the most popular destination to visit among foreign travelers. It is made up of twenty-three major city wards and numerous other villages, towns, and municipalities.

Although known to be a busy metropolis with plenty of shopping and entertainment options to offer tourists, Tokyo is also home to multiple spots where the country’s natural beauty, history, and culture can greatly be appreciated.

Among the highly recommended places for a pleasant break from the busy city life are Sumida Park and Sumida River.

Overview of Sumida Park and Sumida River in Tokyo, Japan

By Arashiyama [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], from Wikimedia Commons

The Sumida Park, or referred to as Sumida Koen by the locals, is a public area that covers some portions of the Sumida Ward and the Taito Ward of Tokyo, Japan. It is primarily known for being a great place to view cherry blossoms during the spring season.

Right alongside the Sumida Park is the Sumida River, or Sumida-gawa, which also runs through the Kita Ward, Adachi Ward, Arakawa Ward, Koto Ward, and Chuo Ward of Tokyo, Japan. It stems from the Iwabuchi’s Arakawa River and also includes the Shakujii River and Kanda River as its tributaries.

Given the rather large size of the Sumida River, it serves as an alternate route for those who want to travel from Hama Rikyu Garden to Asakusa, through boat transfers at the Hinode Pier.

Given the close proximity of the Sumida Park and the Sumida River with each other, tourists can choose to enjoy either place from the comforts of the other.

Sumida Park – Cherry Blossom, Koyo (Autumn Colors), Etc.

By Mnd (photo taken by Mnd) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) or CC BY-SA 2.1 jp (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.1/jp/deed.en)], via Wikimedia Commons

As mentioned, the Sumida Park is famous for its stunning cherry blossom trees. More than seven hundred cherry trees are scattered all throughout the property, a lot of which can be found near the Sumida River.

These cherry trees typically start to bloom by the 3rd week of March and last until the 1st week of April. According to records, the best time to visit the Sumida Park for hanami (cherry blossom viewing) is during the 4th Week of March, particularly during the last days of the month.

For a more certain time, tourists should make it a point to check out the cherry blossom blooming forecast for the year, which can be found on many of Japan’s official city websites.

The park is also quite popular during the autumn season when it comes alive in lovely shades of yellow, orange, and red. Just as how popular of an activity hanami is to the Japanese community, the beauty of the autumn season, referred to as Koyo by the locals, should absolutely not be missed by foreign travelers.

Given the large size of the country, its autumn colors pop out at different periods, depending on the location of the city. For Tokyo, the leaves of its various trees usually start to change colors during the month of November.

Similarly, Japan’s official city websites also feature annual Autumn Color Reports, to serve as a guide for tourists to plan their trips.

Conveniently enough, the Sumida Park houses its own coffee shop and beer shop, both of which serve as great places to sit back and just breathe in the natural beauty of Tokyo. These places offer indoor and outdoor seating options, as not to eliminate the presence of the park.

Deeper into the park, tourists can also enjoy a charming wooden recreational space. This section is particularly aimed to entertain kids, making it a great place for families to enjoy the day with fun, bonding activities. Restrooms can be located near this area, so visitors do not need to worry about getting dirt on themselves while exploring the playground.

For those looking for places that are better equipped for sports activities, the Sumida Park also houses a tennis court and baseball field. However, it should be noted that these sections can only be used through reservations and require guests to be in proper clothing.

Sumida River –Fireworks Festival, Toro Nagashi Ceremony (Shinsui Terrace), Etc.

By 桜庭シェリー [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], from Wikimedia Commons

As for the Sumida River, a great way to explore it, while simultaneously getting a taste of Japan’s alternative commute system, is to take a cruise on the Tokyo Water Bus. The cruise, which has become known as the Sumida River Cruise, starts off at the Asakusa Pier where sightseeing ships typically ship every 30 – 60 minutes and head on to the Hinode Pier.

From there, tourists can then transfer to another ship set for Odaiba. On some occasions, direct ships from Asakusa to Odaiba can also be caught from the starting point.

For those who do not particularly want to actually be on the waters of the Sumida River, it can also be enjoyed during several festivals that make use of it. These events are typically held during the months of July and August and consist of stunning displays.

The most popular event at the Sumida River is the Sumidagawa Fireworks Festival, or Sumidagawa Hanabi Taikai, which is held every last Saturday of the month of July. As implied, the annual festival consists of a fireworks display that is done right over the Sumida River and can be enjoyed from the Sumida Park.

During the month of August, another event known as the Toro Nagashi Ceremony illuminates the waters of the Sumida River. Toro are basically traditional Japanese paper lanterns that feature a wooden base and frame.

These lanterns, which may come in different colors and may feature writings or designs, are then carefully placed on the surface of the river for them to float away to the darkness. The ceremony is part of the popular Bon Festival of Japan which is aimed to remember one’s ancestors and pay their spirits proper respect through various activities.

The Toro Nagashi Ceremony is typically held during the 2nd week of August and may be done by all interested, not just members of the Japanese community. Foreign travelers who want to have their own lanterns float down the river are advised to make their way to the Shinsui Terrace of the Sumida Park where Toro can be purchased and more information can be given.

More Information on Sumida Park and Sumida River – Access (Tokyo Skytree Station, Ryogoku Station, Etc.) and Entrance Fees

Being a public area, the Sumida Park is open 24/7 for all locals and tourists. It also does not observe any admission fees and welcomes guests of any and all kinds. Likewise, the Sumida River can be enjoyed any hour of the day.

Tourists can easily make their way to the Sumida Park through, of course, the Sumida River Cruise. Alternatively, foreign travelers can also choose from any of the following transportation systems to reach the district of Sumida:

Railway Lines

  • JR East Sobu Main Line – Ryogoku Station, or Kinshicho Station

  • Tobu Isesaki Line – Kanegafuchi Station, Higashi-Mukojima Station, Hikifune Station, Tokyo Skytree Station, or Oshiage Station

  • Tobu Kameido Line – Hikifune Station, Omurai Station, or Higashi-Azuma Station

  • Keisei Electric Railway Keisei Oshiage Line – Yahiro Station, Keisei Hikifune Station, or Oshiage Station

  • Tokyo Metro Hanzomon Line – Oshiage Station, or Kinshicho Station

  • Toei Asakusa Line – Oshiage Station, or Honjo Azumabashi Station

  • Toei Oedo Line – Ryogoku Station


  • National Highway Route 14 or Route 6

  • Shuto Expressway No. 7 (Komatsugawa Route) or No. 6 (Mukojima Route)

  • Shuto Expressway C2 Central Loop

Other Tourist Attractions in Asakusa near Sumida Park – Marugoto Nippon, Etc.

By Leonard V Carlson / Picturetokyo at English Wikipedia [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

For those who have some extra time to spare and want to explore more of Tokyo but do not want to stray too far away from the Sumida Park, the district of Asakusa houses a lot of interesting attractions. Some of the best ones to take note of include:

Sensoji Temple

The Sensoji Temple serves as the most popular temple of all of Tokyo. It dates back to the seventh century, making it among the oldest Japanese temples. The “senso” part of its name actually serves as the alternative pronunciation of Asakusa.

Hours: 6:00 AM – 5:00 PM, daily (April – September); 6:00 AM – 6:30 PM, daily (October – March)

Admission Fee: No admission fee

Address: 2-3-1 Asakusa, Taito, Tokyo Prefecture, Japan 111-0032

Asakusa Shrine

The Asakusa Shrine, which is also referred to as Sanjasama, was founded during the Edo Period and is among the few that survived 1945’s air raids. One of the most popular things the shrine is known for is the annual festival it hosts known as the Sanja Matsuri, one of the most spectacular events that can be witnessed in Tokyo.

Hours: No closing days or hours

Admission Fee: No admission fee

Address: 2-3-1 Asakusa, Taito, Tokyo Prefecture, Japan 111-0032

Nakamise Shopping Street

The Nakamise Shopping Street is relatively short, just spanning a few meters short of 250 meters, starting from the Kaminarimon, a couple of massive entrance gates that lead to the Sensoji Temple, to the actual temple grounds of the Sensoji Temple.

Hours: 9:00 Am – 7:00 PM, daily; Closing days/hours vary from shop to shop

Admission Fee: No admission fee

Address: Asakusa, Taito, Tokyo Prefecture

Marugoto Nippon

Marugoto Nippon is a shopping complex that consists of four floors, which house food items (ground floor), lifestyle products (second floor), restaurants (fourth floor), and an event space (third floor). It is known for being one of the best places to go to for goods that are 100% made in Japan. A hotel can be located right on top of the 4-story building.

Hours: 10:00 AM – 8:00 PM, daily (1st and 2nd floors); 10:00 AM – 9:00 PM, daily (3rd floor); 11:00 AM – 11:00 PM, daily (4th floor)

Admission Fee: No admission fee

Address: 2-6-7 Asakusa, Taito, Tokyo Prefecture, Japan 111-0032

Rox Department Store

Rox Department Store refers to a massive entertainment and shopping complex which features three other buildings, called Rox Dome, Rox 3, and Rox 2G, aside from its main building, Rox. The majority of the shops it houses are aimed for women and children. Down at the basement, visitors can find a 24-hour supermarket.

Hours: 10:30 AM – 9:00 PM, daily (For the shops); 11:00 AM – 10:00 PM, daily (For the restaurants)

Admission Fee: No admission fee

Address: 1-25-15 Asakusa, Taito, Tokyo Prefecture, Japan 111-0032

Hanayashiki Amusement Park

The Hanayashiki Amusement Park is one of the oldest flower parks in Tokyo, having over 150 years of history to its name. It can be found just a few meters away from the Sensoji Temple and serves as a miniature amusement park where visitors can enjoy rides such as a roller coaster, a carousel, and a small Ferris wheel.

Hours: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM, daily; Longer operating hours can be expected during holidays

Admission Fee: 1,000 yen per person; Additional fees may be charged on some rides

Address: 2-28-1 Asakusa, Taito, Tokyo Prefecture, Japan 111-0032

Asahi Beer Tower

The Asahi Beer Tower dates back to the year 1989 and serves as the Asahi Breweries Headquarters. There are numerous restaurants housed at the building for tourists to try out and enjoy. Behind the tower, a brewery known as the Asahi Craftmanship Brewery can be located, which also offers visitors with pleasant meals.

Hours: 11:30 AM – 10:00 PM, daily

Admission Fee: No admission fee

Address: 1-23-1 Azumabashi, Sumida, Tokyo Prefecture, Japan 130-8602

Jakotsuyu Public Bath

The Jakotsuyu Public Bath is among the oldest bathhouses in Asakusa. It is usually crowded with locals but tourists are more than welcome to try out the facilities, so long as they pay proper respect to Japan’s bathing etiquettes. The bathhouse offers towels and other toiletries for corresponding fees to ensure that visitors have a convenient and comfortable experience.

Hours: 1:00 PM – 12:00 AM, daily; Only accepts visitors until 11:40 PM; Closed on Tuesdays

Admission Fee: No admission fee

Address: 1-11-11 Asakusa, Taito, Tokyo Prefecture, Japan 111-0032

Hotels near Sumida Park

Spending a night or two at a hotel is never a bad idea when visiting Tokyo, Japan. For those who want to be a walk away from the Sumida Park, the names to take note of include: Via Inn Asakusa, Dormy Inn Express Asakusa, Super Hotel Asakusa, Hotel Mermaidclub, Khaosan Tokyo Origami, The Gate Hotel Asakusa Kaminarimon by Huic, and B:CONTE Asakusa.

Alternatively, those who want an authentic Japanese stay may want to consider renting a room at a ryokan (traditional Japanese inn), instead. Some highly recommended ones include Ryokan Mikawaya, Ryokan Asakusa Shigetsu, Ryokan Kamogawa Asakusa, Sadachiyo, Sakura Ryokan, and Senju Tamuraya.