Yamanote Line: 10 Little-Known Facts

Yamanote Line: 10 Little-Known Facts

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Yamanote train line
Picture: genki / PIXTA(ピクスタ)
The Yamanote line is the beating heart of transportation for many in Tokyo. Here are some facts you may not know.

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A Brief History

The Yamanote Line carries people today, of course. Tell you something you don’t know, you say?

Well, it used to carry silk.

The Yamanote Line was the Japanese Silk Road in 1885.

Tokyo needed a train line to transport cocoons, harvested silk, and silk textiles from Northern Kantō to trade ports in Yokohama.

There was already a line connecting Yokohama and Shinagawa. So, Shinagawa became the origin point of this new train line–––which overtime evolved to become the Yamanote Line.


The Yamanote Challenge

You know those TikTok challenges? Like, eating only ______ foods for a day videos? Or the eating like that celebrity for a day trend?

There’s one you could try in Tokyo: explore Tokyo for a day without using the Yamanote Line.

Emphasis on could. Because you shouldn’t.

Sure, Tokyo is a walkable city. But not in the summer.

Last year temperatures rose to 37 °C (98.6°F). 63 thousand people ended up in the hospital due to heat stroke between June and August of last year according to official reports by the government’s Fire and Disaster Management Agency.

So, opt for the air-conditioned Yamanote line so you don’t have to use travel insurance for your trip to Tokyo.

Even better, plan your trip around using the Yamanote Line.

This one train line strings together 30 stations encompassing the heart of the city. It takes passengers on a loop around the city in just under 70 minutes.

That means every stop is just under 3 minutes apart.

When you disembark at every train stop, you realize every neighborhood in Tokyo has its own personality.

Ueno is the sophisticated one. Hosting some of the best art and history museums, she’d be the smart student in class.

Harajuku is the complicated cutie. She loves kawaii culture. But she also has an emo aesthetic going. One day she’s wearing Hello Kitty earrings, the next she’ll have a bloody syringe and noose hanging around her neck.

 If you want to get to Know Tokyo for all her personalities, checking off every stop on the Yamanote would be a great strategy.

Eat Your Way Through Yamanote Line

Any stop on the Yamanote will have great food options, but here’s where you can start.

Robata But Way Cheaper Than Where Abe Took Trump

Back in 2019, the late PM Abe Shinzō took the then-US president Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump to eat robata (炉端)–––a traditional Japanese style of dining where the chef grills fresh meats and vegetables at the center of the room as guests watch. The fun part is watching the chef directly deliver the food to guests. Without moving an inch, the chef will use what looks like a very long rowing paddle to scoop up the cooked pieces and drop them onto your plate.

Abe and Trump went to INAKAYA in Roppongi but ordering two sticks of grilled asparagus there costs ¥990 or nearly $7 USD. You don’t want to know how much a grilled fish costs.

It’s ¥11,000 or over $76 USD.

Skip out on where the rich kids went and hop on the Yamanote Line and get off at Shinbashi Station. There, you can go to Robata Musashi where you can get as genuine of an experience for much cheaper.

All grilled dishes cost only ¥310 or a little over $2 USD per item.

A Subway Train in Japan Gets a Second Life…as a Vending Machine


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[2] リニューアル【山手線】動く路線図で開業からの歴史・変遷をビジュアル化. YouTube

[3] 意外と知らない「山手線」の秘密 なぜ「やまてせん」と呼ぶ人がいるのか?. マネーポストWEB

[4] まーるい緑の山手線 内回りが女性で、外回りが男性?. 日本経済新聞

[5] 山手線はなぜ緑?各線ラインカラーの意外な由来. 10MTV

[6] 電車遅延で「終電」に間に合わない!駅で「代行輸送依頼書」をもらえばタクシー代が無料になるって本当?. Yahoo! News Japan

[7] 乃木坂46ファンも聖地巡礼!最大6時間待ちのおにぎり専門店『ぼんご』の行列が絶えないワケを女将に聞いてみた. 集英社オンライン

[8] 山手線一周の時間はどれくらい?【2022年最新版】. 電車を好きになろうブログ

[9] 東京の過去の天気. goo天気

[10] 熱中症の救急搬送2年ぶりに増加:2022年6ー8月に6万3000人. nippon.com

[11] The Dark Side of Harajuku Style You Haven’t Seen Yet | Style Out There | Refinery29. YouTube

[12] トランプ大統領と安倍晋三首相が夕食会で訪れた炉端焼き店はどこ?その選択肢は成功だったのか?Yahoo! News Japan

[13] お品書き. 田舎家

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