Experience Japan like a local

Master the City Tracks: Yamanote Line


Yamanote line infographics with recommended landmarks and sights to visit. 

Being a Tokyo native, I often see foreign tourists helplessly gazing up at the tangled conundrum that is the Tokyo underground map tacked above the station ticket machines. Sure, even the most seasoned Tokyoite may have to look up the norikae (Train routes) on popular smartphone services like GooRosen or Jorudan, but there are a few train lines in Tokyo that are so central to people’s lives that most people can name at least a few of the important stations on the line. An example of such a line is the JR Yamanote line, or Yamanote-Sen. It is one of the busiest lines in Tokyo that connects many of the city’s major stations and areas, such as Shibuya, Shinjuku, Tokyo station, and Ikebukuro to name a few.


Recognized by its signature uguisu-iro (Japanese warbler) yellow-green color, the Yamanote trains are running from the early in the day to late at night in a loop across Tokyo city, spanning over a total of 29 stations. The Yamanote line also does not have any rapid or express trains, and will stop at every station on its line everytime; rendering it as one of the easiest lines for a Tokyo railway newbie. To make matters simpler, since the line runs in a loop, there are only two signs to look out for: uchi-mawari and soto-mawari. The line’s termini is Shinagawa station, and uchi-mawari means the train is running counter clock-wise while the soto-mawari runs in a clock-wise direction of the circle. Since the entire loop takes about an hour to complete, in theory even if you are unsure of which direction you should be going, the Yamanote line will eventually take you to your desired destination!

For more ideas on what to do around Yamanote line stations, check out these following links:


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A Day Around Town in Shibuya and Harajuku

Hachiko: Where a Loving Dog’s Legacy Has Inspired Thousands to Connect


Shinjuku: More Than a Shopping Heaven, It’s A Feast for the Senses

Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden – Tokyo’s Most Natural Beauty


Good Day Sunshine – Family Fun in Ikebukuro, Tokyo


5 Vegetarian-Friendly Eats in Tokyo That are Totally Delicious

Tokyo Art: The Kind that Sticks in Your Head


Akihabara’s Retro Games: Now This Is Visual Nostalgia!

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