Tokyo Transit Mastery: How to Efficiently Navigate the Yamanote Line

Transportation in Tokyo is excellent and if you travel with the Japan Rail Pass it will be even easier to get around. As I already told you in previous posts, to get to the center of Tokyo, take the Narita Express and both the trip with said train and how to activate the pass I will tell you here

Transportation in Tokyo: Which one is best?

Whether or not they bought the Jr pass, possibly the line they will use the most is the Yamanote Line. On the side of those who have purchased the pass, it is obviously the best option since, along with other JR lines, its use is included in the pass. In case you don’t have the pass, it is the best option because it leaves us close to all the points of interest in Tokyo.

I have the JR, which transportation in Tokyo is included

In addition to the Narita express that goes from the airport to the center, they have some buses that I never used because they didn’t get me anywhere close. Regarding trains, all JR trains such as the Yamanote line, Keihin Tohuko, Chuo, Chuo – Sobu.

As I said before, they probably hardly even use anything other than the Yamanote Line, but for example in my case I was staying in Kanda near Tokyo station. So to go to Shibuya it was convenient for me to take the Chuo Line, which crossed the Yamanote Line transversally and took half the time. Therefore, depending on where they stay, they may use other lines.

Having the Jr pass, unlike the others, they will have to go through the security booth every time they want to take transportation in Tokyo to have their pass checked.

I don’t have the JR Pass that suits me?

As I mentioned in other posts, if you are only going to visit Tokyo, it is not advisable to buy the pass, so you will have to buy the tickets on your own or, in my case, I bought the pass for 7 days and the first three days in Tokyo I walked without pass.

There are 2 options: Either you buy a ticket by ticket each time you are going to use it or you buy a one-day pass. This is something they have to decide on the fly and depending on how organized they are. For example, in my case of the 3 days, I only bought an unlimited pass on one day since I knew I was going to visit several places and therefore it was convenient for me. Otherwise, on the other days I knew that I would only visit one neighborhood and only take 2 or 3 trains, they would not cover the value of the daily ticket.

The bill is 160 yen for each ticket or 750 yen for the daily pass, so to justify it they must make more than 4 trips.

Buying tickets for Tokyo trains

Before the turnstiles there are some machines that generally do not go unnoticed with the giant map of all the stations. The map is used to know how much they must pay to go from one station to the other in addition to being able to locate themselves.

The machines work in English and you just have to insert the coins or bills and mark the value of the ticket. Obviously if they put in more they get the return. If you don’t understand anything, don’t worry, there is always someone to help you with a sign that says I speak English.

If you are going to buy the pass, the machine is another one where it will give you the options between several passes to buy. Check that if you only want to use the Jr lines there is a pass for that only, the other passes cover more lines and obviously more expensive.

Using the Yamanote Line: the most practical transportation in Tokyo

Once they have their ticket, they will go through the “turnwheel” and look for the line to use and the direction that will take them to the station they want. The truth is that it is super easy, everything is in English and by searching for the color green everything can be found quickly.

When they arrive at the platform they will find a structure and glass doors that will open when the train stops so that people can get off first and then you can enter. When there are no doors on the floor, the place where the train is going to stop is always marked according to each door.

And when the platform explodes with people, there are staff to organize and control that all the people get on the train without problems, it is incredible to see how everything works perfectly and there is not a single conflict between the passengers. Of course, during rush hours you travel quite tightly, don’t think that because it’s Japan you’re going to travel sitting, transport is full all over the world.

On each platform it marks the time when the next train arrives and inside it will mark when they will arrive at the next stations. As you can see there are 2 minutes between each station.

Silence reigns inside the trains, there are signs indicating that you avoid talking on the phone and that you put it on vibrate. Another interesting fact is that in each station there are lookers with different sizes so you can leave your suitcase and if the price varies accordingly. Also the price is 600 yen per day, something like 5 euros which seems quite cheap to me for being inside the station. Everything is done by machine and I saw many people using it.

Touring Tokyo with the Yamanote line

As I mentioned, each station on this line will leave you near a point of interest. The exceptions are Odaiba which can only be reached by taking the Yuricamome line, which is not included in the Jr pass either. The other is Asakusa where the closest station is UENO and you have to walk about 20 blocks.

Then they will have TOKYO STATION central station point to know and is located near the imperial palace

AKIHABARA STATION bearing the same name as the neighborhood known for its electronics stores.

SHINJUKU STATION one of the busiest neighborhoods in Tokyo

SHIBUYA STATION also famous for its crossing

YURAKUCHO STATIONto visit the glamorous Ginza neighborhood

HAMAMATSUCHO STATION to get closer to the Tokyo Tower and the Roppongi neighborhood to walk to the Mori Tower viewpoint

HARAJUKU STATION Here we find the famous Meiji Shrine among other interesting points


Leave a Comment