Boat Trips in Kansai

ByJustin Hanus
Jul 24, 2023

Boat Trips in Kansai

With so many picturesque waterways spread across the region, Kansai is the perfect Japanese location for a boat trip. Whether you fancy a relaxing cruise or a white-knuckle downriver jaunt, there are no shortage of boating opportunities. Here is a choice selection of trips guaranteed to provide a winner of a day out.

Tombori River Cruise, Osaka

Fancy squeezing an urban river cruise into your schedule? How about sailing along Osaka’s Dotonbori Canal and soaking up the sights of the surrounding cityscape? The Ipponmatsu Shipping Company runs 20-minute journeys traversing the “aqua metropolis” daily, from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.

It’s ideal if you seek a short boat journey and can also be a great way of getting from A to B. The main departure point is the Tazaemonbashi Bridge boat dock. Adult tickets are 1,200 yen.

Website: (in Japanese)

Hozu River Downwater Ride, Kyoto

If you’re up for something that might get the pulses racing and offers luscious scenery, check out the exhilarating cruises that span the 16 km stretch of river gorge from Kameyama to Arashiyama. These journeys are made in smaller flat boats crewed by rowers with paddles, and passengers are exposed to the elements. Furthermore, the journey features occasional rapids, so you’re advised to dress in waterproof attire.

Journeys take around 90-120 minutes, and adult fees are a little over 4,000 yen.

Website: (in Japanese)

Lake Biwa Fishing Tour

Lake Biwa is Japan’s largest freshwater lake. Located in Shiga prefecture north of Kyoto, it is believed to be around 4 million years old. Naturally, there are many boating opportunities on the lake. One of the most intriguing is to head out in a fishing boat with some of the area’s most experienced fishermen who can regale tales of life on the water (in English, no less).

Journeys start at the Onoe port in Nagahama, and you will have the chance to take in working fisheries, the quaint Sugaura village, and even nearby Chikuba Island. The trip is particularly delightful during cherry blossom season. Prices start at around 3,300 yen.

Website: Lake Biwa fishing tour

Kobe Bay Cruise

Kobe is a port city in the Kansai region, and as such, it has an array of boating options that give cruisers the chance to soak up city sights from the seas. If you want to go all out and taste a bit of luxury, try one of the 90-minute cruises on either the 375-seater Ocean Prince or the 500-seater Royal Princess. Both liners have an upper floor and include music and meal options. Sights include Osaka Bay, Akashi Kaikyo Bridge, Kobe Airport, and Kobe Port Island. Costs are 1,500 yen for adults.

Website: (in Japanese)

Kumano River Cruise, Wakayama

The beautiful teal-colored Kumano River in southern Wakayama takes you past the sacred area of the Kumano shrines. This cruise is another that offers you the chance to delve into the natural delights of the Kansai region. The 90-minute journey will take you past stunning waterfalls, cliff edges, and gorges. Additionally, you can disembark and sample some of the legendary Kumado Kodo pilgrimage routes. Cruise costs are a little over 4,000 yen for adults.

Website: (in Japanese)

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