With a population of over 13 million people, Tokyo is one of the busiest cities in the world, but it is also one of the easiest to move around. GaijinPot recently travelled around Tokyo via the Yamanote Line to explore some of the city’s famous landmarks and attractions.
With a population of over 13 million people, Tokyo is one of the busiest cities in the world, but it is also one of the easiest to move around. GaijinPot correspondent, Anthony Joh recently went around Tokyo via the Yamanote Line to explore some of the city’s famous landmarks and attractions.
The Yamanote Line is a rapid transit line operated by the East Japan Railway Company (JR East) that connects most of Tokyo’s major stations and urban centers. The Tokunai Pass allows unlimited rides on local and rapid JR East trains within the 23 Special Wards of Tokyo.
The journey starts off at the recently renovated Tokyo Station located a short walking distance from the stately Imperial Palace. After five years of construction, Tokyo Station has been restored to its original splendor from when it first opened 100 years ago.
Our first stop is Akihabara, home to electronics, anime, and otaku culture. One attraction that is unique to Japan are the maid cafes, where Japanese girls will dress up in French maid outfits and interact with the customers.
Next stop is Ueno Station, home of the famous cheery blossom festival held every year in nearby Ueno Park. Ueno Park is also home to a variety of science museums and makes a great picnic area for the family. For bargain hunters, make sure you check out Ameyayokocho Street, located across from Ueno Park for great deals on food, art, clothing and more.
A complete loop of the Yamanote Line takes 1 hour and stops at 29 stations.
Two stops past Ueno is Nippori Station, home of one of Tokyo’s best old world secrets. Yanaka Ginza is a historic shopping area that is lined with traditional stores selling everything from fresh treats to handmade souvenirs.
Our next stop takes us to an area that is sometimes called ‘A City Within A City’. With 35 platforms and over 200 exits, Shinjuku Station is the busiest train train station in the world and is home to many of Tokyo’s tallest skyscrapers. Make sure to check out the Tokyo City Hall building that was built during the height of the Japanese economic bubble in the 1990’s.
For a little color and music check out Takeshita Street which is said to be the fashion capital of Japan. Located directly across from Harajuku Station, Takeshita Street is very popular with young teenagers, particularly those visiting Tokyo on school trips, or local young people shopping for small “cute” goods at weekends.
We finish our circle of the Yamanote Line at Tokyo’s most famous crossing. Shibuya represents the fast pace and energetic life that is living in Tokyo but there is so much more to see. Next time you are in Tokyo try to wander around and experience it yourself and you might be surprised how easy it is to get around the city, especially if you take train.