The JR Yamanote Line

  • Published on : 27/02/2023
  • by : Japan Experience
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Tokyo's most important train line

The JR Yamanote line runs in a loop around Tokyo; a full circuit takes about an hour. The trains can be recognized by its green color ; They are equipped with on-board colour screens above the doors telling you what is the next stop is, how long it will take to get there and which side of the train the exit door will be. The information are provided in both English & Japanese, thus making it one of the easier train line to navigate around Tokyo. 

3.1 km - Hamamatsucho station

Change here for the Tokyo Monorail to Haneda Airport

From here, also visit the 333-meter high (1093 feet) Tokyo Tower, which was constructed in 1958, when Tokyo's young TV networks needed a tall antenna to transmit. The Main Observatory is at 150 meters (492 feet) and the Special Observatory is at 250 meters. At the main observation floor cafe, Club 33 hosts free live music on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday evenings. 

The tower also houses an art gallery, the Guiness Book of World Records Museum Tokyo, and a wax museum. (Main Observatory, ¥820, Special Observatory, an additional ¥600, Tower 9 am - 10 pm, museums 10 am - 9 pm).

4.6 km - Tamachi station

Just across the street from this station stands the Tokyo Institute of Technology.

Just after Tamachi Station, you will see the impressive site of the new Yamanote Station, Takanawa Gateway

JR Yamanote Line Stations (Part 1)
Tokyo Station, final stop for most Shinkansen
Stop at Yurakucho Station for the tourist information center
The famous Hama-Rikyu Station is accessible from Shimbashi Station
The Tokyo Tower is right next to Hamamatsucho Station
You can reach the Tokyo Institute of Technology from Tamachi Station
Takanawa Gateway Station is the most-recently opened station of the line
A map for part 1 of the line

10.9 km - Meguro station

Meguro is a mainly residential area popular for its hilly landscape. A five-minute walk from Meguro Station is Daienji Temple. This small temple is steeped in history. It was at the origin of the big fire of Edo that destroyed much of the city in 1772.

12.9 km - Ebisu station

Transfer here to the Hibiya subway line to visit Roppongi, Tokyo's best-known nightlife district, which ahs more bars and nightclubs than any other district outside of Shinjuku. It is anchored by two huge developments: Roppongi Hills and Tokyo Midtown that house everything from stores and restaurants to hotels, cinemas, and art museums.

JR Yamanote Line Stations (Part 2)
Shinagawa Station, a major connecting hub for Shinkansen
Osaki Station leads to Tokyo's business area
Gotanda Station, located in one of Tokyo's most traditional districts
The beautifully landscaped banks of Meguro River
Roppongi Hills, a bustling mega-complex
A map for part 2 of the line

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16.7 km - Yoyogi station

Yoyogi Park is next to the station and stands on the site from where the first successful powered aircraft flight in Japan took place. The park was created in 1967. The park is very popular, particularly on Sundays, and in Spring when thousands of people flock here to enjoy the cherry blossoms.

17.4 km - Shinjuku station

Considered the busiest station in the world. Head out of the West Exit to reach the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building, Tokyo's city hall, comprised of three buildings. From the 45th floor of TMG no. 1, visitors can get spectacular views from the north and south towers (open daily, 9:30 am - 10:30 pm free). You can also find the Tokyo Tourist Information Center on the first floor (daily, 10 am - 6:30 pm).

North-east of Shinjuku Station is an area called Kabuki-cho, which has the craziest nightlife in Tokyo, with many strip clubs, massage parlors, adult stores, bars, and restaurants. The area is quite safe and attracts a mix of business men and students.


JR Yamanote Line Stations (Part 3)
Shibuya Station opens on the vibrant Shibuya Crossing
Harajuku Station is home to the Meiji-jingu Shrine
Stop at Yoyogi Station for Yoyogi Park, a popular destination
Shinjuku Station is the busiest station in the world
Shin-Okubo is near the city's Korean neighborhood
A map for part 3 of the line

22.2 km - Ikebukuro station

This is the working person's Tokyo and is filled with shopping malls and department stores, notably Seibu and Tobu, two of the country's largest department stores.

24 km - Otsuka station

This station is located in the Toshima Ward, one of the most international wards in Tokyo. It is mainly known for its Awa Dance Festival, the second largest Awa Odori dance festival in Tokyo. It is helf every year between the 12th and the 15th of August.

25.1 km - Sugamo station

Best known for Jizo-dori, a popular shopping street for the elderly, located just to the north of the station. During the Edo Period, the street was part of the Nakasendo Highway that connected Edo (now Tokyo) to Kyoto. Jizo-dori is best known for its cake shops and Maruji clothing stores, selling bright red underwear very popular with older ladies.

JR Yamanote Line Stations (Part 4)
Takadanobaba Station, located in the trendy student area
Mejiro Stations is one of the smallest stations of the line
Access two of Japan's largest department stores from Ikebukuro Station
Otsuka Station is located in the international Toshima Ward
Stop at Sugamo Station for the Jizo-dori shopping street
A map for part 4 of the line

28.2 km - Nishi-Nippori station

This is a traditional and relaxed area of Tokyo, with many temples, cemeteries, and small shops and restaurants.

Visit Tennoji Temple, founded more than 500 years ago. The first thing you see upon entering the compound is a seated bronze Buddha, which dates from 1690 and is one of the temple's most valuable treasures.

Yanaka Cemetery was once the burial grounds of Kane-ji and Tennoji temples and opened to the public in 1874. It is one of Tokyo's largest cemeteries. Among its more than 7,000 tombstones are graves belonging to famous public figures, artists, and writers.

27.4 km - Tabata station

The opening of the Tokyo School of Fine Arts in Ueno attracted many young artists to Tabata, and well-known and aspiring writers alike also moved to the area. The decline of Tabata as an artistic community began in 1927 with the suicide of Akutagawa, a famous artist who lived in the area.

The Tabata Memorial Museum of Writers and Artists, which is just a two-minute walk from the station, displays items by and related to the former writers and artists who lived there (Daily, 10 am - 4:30 pm, free).

Tokyo Skytree

Tokyo Skytree

@the_maddy, unsplash

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