Japan Train Travel: Tokyo JR Yamanote Line
Yamanote Line 山手線
Tokyo Travel: Yamanote Line
JR Yamanote Line 山手線
The Yamanote Line is the above-ground loop line that circles central Tokyo.
The Yamanote Line is run by East Japan Railway Company (JR East). The JR Yamanote Line carries millions of passengers everyday and is famous for its packed trains in the Tokyo rush hours.
The Japan Rail Pass is valid for journeys on the JR Yamanote Line.
The Yamanote Line connects Tokyo Station with such major Tokyo stations as Hamamatsucho (for Haneda Airport), Shinagawa, Shibuya, Shinjuku, Ikebukuro, Nishi-Nippori, Nippori, Ueno, Akihabara and Kanda stations.
The Yamanote Line effectively demarcates inner Tokyo. The price of land - and therefore rent - inside the Yamanote Line is generally higher than outside of it.
Yamanote Line trains are color-coded light green.
Yamanote Line map showing all the stations and interchanges
The Yamanote Line in Tokyo is the major circle line in the city
The first part of the Yamanote Line opened in 1885 between Shinagawa Station and Akabane Station. The Yamanote Line was completed as a full loop in 1925.
Yamanote Line Capacity
The Yamanote Line carries on average 3.55 million people daily and connects many of Tokyo's main rail stations and entertainment and shopping areas.
Yamanote Line Frequency
Yamanote Line trains run from 4.20am to approximately 1.20 am with trains about every 2-3 minutes at peak periods. A complete loop of the Yamanote Line takes about an hour.
Yamanote Line Directions
Trains run in both clockwise (外回り, sotomawari) and anti-clockwise (内回り, uchimawari) directions around the loop.
JR tickets from departure points outside Tokyo remain valid to any destination on the Yamanote Line. For example, when changing from the shinkansen to the Yamanote Line, you do not need to buy another ticket; your shinkansen ticket will be good for the Yamanote Line, and for any other JR line. However, you may not exit the station between trains.
A packed Yamanote Line train in Tokyo
Hamamatsucho and Harajuku Stations, Yamanote Line, Tokyo
There are 29 stations on the Yamanote Line, only 2 of which (Shin-Okubo and Mejiro) do not connect to other lines.
The following is a list of Yamanote line connections in a clockwise (sotomawari) direction and, beneath each station, nearby Yamanote line attractions
Tokyo Station (→ Keihin-Tohoku Line, Chuo Main Line, Keihin-Tohoku Line, Keiyo Line, Marunouchi Subway Line, Shinkansen [all major lines from Tokyo], Sobu Main Line, Tokaido Main Line, Yokosuka Line)
Attractions near Tokyo Station: Imperial Palace & Marunouchi shopping district.
Tamachi (→ Keihin-Tohoku Line)
Osaki (→ Rinkai Line, Shonan-Shinjuku Line [southbound])
Gotanda (→ Toei Asakusa Line)
Attractions near Gotanda Station: Mundo Latino Minimart
Meguro (→ Namboku Subway Line, Toei Mita Line, Tokyu Meguro Line)
Ebisu (→ Hibiya Subway Line)
Attractions near Ebisu Station: Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography
Yoyogi (→ Chuo-Sobu Line (eastbound), Toei Oedo Line)
Attractions near Yoyogi Station: Shinjuku Gyoen Park
Shinjuku (→ Chuo Main Line, Chuo-Sobu Line [westbound], Keio Line, Marunouchi Subway Line, Odakyu Line, Odawara Line, Seibu Shinjuku Line, Toei Oedo Line, Toei Shinjuku Line)
Attractions near Shinjuku Station: Shinjuku and Shinjuku shopping and Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building - Tocho
Takadanobaba (→ Seibu Shinjuku Line, Tozai Subway Line)
Ikebukuro (→ Marunouchi Subway Line, Saikyo Line (northbound), Seibu Ikebukuro Line, Shonan-Shinjuku Line [northbound], Tobu Tojo Main Line, Yurakucho Subway Line, Yurakucho New Subway Line)
Attractions near Ikebukuro Station: Ikebukuro
Otsuka (→ Toden Arakawa Line)
Sugamo (→ Toei Mita Line)
Komagome (→ Namboku Subway Line)
Attractions near Komagome Station: Rikugien Gardens
Tabata (→ Keihin-Tohoku Line)
Nishi-Nippori (→ Chiyoda Subway Line, Keihin-Tohoku Line)
Okachimachi (→ Keihin-Tohoku Line)
Attractions near Okachimachi Station: Ameyoko Market Street
Kanda (→ Chuo Main Line, Ginza Subway Line)
Attractions near Kanda Station: Ochanomizu, Kanda, Yushima historical district
Osaka JR Loop Line 大阪の環状線
Incidentally, Osaka, the biggest city in western Japan, has a JR Loop Line comparable to Tokyo's Yamanote Line: the orange-colored Osaka Loop Line (Osaka Kanjo-Sen) with 19 stations, and trains running in both clockwise and counter-clockwise directions. The line connects such major stations as Osaka, Kyobashi, Tennoji, Tsuruhashi and Shin-Imamiya.