Not far from the center of Tokyo lies the ever-popular Nagatoro, a picturesque spot surrounded in beautiful nature. The place name is derived from the name “Toro,” which refers to area marked by deep water and a quiet current. This tourist destination was designated as a national scenic spot and natural monument due to the beauty of the gorge and precious relief features formed by Arakawa River. This dynamic stone pavement features overlapping slab formations, and stretches some 50 meters wide and measures 600 meters long along the course of the river. The “Chichibu Red Wall,” a rock wall on the opposite side of the river, is an extremely rare geological oddity. It is sometimes also known as the “Window to the Earth” because of the glimpse it offers us of the earth’s fault lines. One way to really enjoy the magnificent scenery that Nagatoro has to offer is to take a boat down the Nagatoro line (Nagatoro Line Kudari) - a sometimes relaxing, sometimes thrilling voyage down the river on a boat steered with a single pole.
The two courses down the river are around 3 km in length. On course A, you will travel upstream by bus and disembark from Oyahanabashi to reach Iwadatami, passing through cascading rapids often seen in advertising posters, Arakawa Bridge, and the Turtle Rock. Completed in 1914, the Arakawa Bridge was built from granite and brick, and is a renowned photo spot in Nagatoro. If you are really in luck, you might catch a glimpse of the Chichibu Railway Steam Locomotive, the Paleo Express chugging along the bridge. Course B winds down from Iwadatami to Takasago Bridge. This course takes you down the Okawase rapid stream in a wide part of the river, before eventually passing by Frog Rock. Course travel times vary depending on the amount of water in the stream, with both courses typically reaching their destination in about 20 minutes. The Kotatsubune is in service during the winter months (January to February), gradually circling the slow current while keeping patrons on board toasty warm.