What's So Important About The Yamanote?
Run by JR East Company, the Yamanote line makes a 35km circle of the city, passing through several major hub stations as it goes round. If this is your first visit to Tokyo, it is worth taking the time to familiarize yourself with this track, as you will likely be needing it more than once.
If you bought a Japan Rail Pass before arriving, you can use it on the Yamamonte line and all other JR lines during the period of its' validity.
The Yamanote train is characterized by its green and silver colours whilst on the Yamanote line map, the route is depicted by a solid green line.
Choose to go clockwise or counter-clockwise depending which is the quickest way to get you to your destination.
Popular Destinations On The Yamanote Route
Popular jumping off points are Ebisu, Shibuya, Harajuku, Yoyogi, Shinjuku, Ikebukuro, Ueno, Akihabara, Tokyo, Shimbashi, and Shinagawa. One entire loop will take approximately 1 hour to complete barring any unforeseen incidents.
Suica Card or Pasmo Card?
The Suica card is identified by the very cool little penguin that JR use for their advertising.
On most trains there are tv screens above the doors to keep passengers entertained, especially during rush hour 07:00 - 09:30 and 17:30 - 19:30. Look for the latest advert showing this young fellow doing his stuff. Recently he's been playing air guitar with his Suica card - very funny!
The JR East Suica Card is very similar to the Pasmo Card operated by the Metro subway company.
The primary difference between the two depends on how you intend to get into Tokyo from Tokyo International Airport. If you've invested in the Japan Rail Pass then you needn't worry about the difference, as most of your travel costs are already covered.
In short, from Narita Airport, you can buy a Suica N'Ex package that entitles you to the card and transportation into Tokyo on the Narita Express train at a discount. Check the JR counter in Tokyo airport for more details.
If you are intending to use the Airport Limousine Bus, then the Metro special deal card is a better option. Just as JR does a deal on the Narita Express, the Metro offers a discount via the limousine bus. Ask at the limousine bus desk in the airport arrivals lobby for information.
Tokyo City Train Maps
To see a map of the Yamanote line along with all the other Tokyo train lines, follow the the link to our Tokyo train map page. Select either the JR line map, the subway map, or a map of popular lines couresty of JR and Tokyo Metro companies. All are available in PDF download format.