Friday, June 18, 2010
The Yamanote Line Project 山手線 プロジェクト
The lifeblood of Tokyo is carried through the Yamanote Line. Traveling a 34.5 kilometer loop around the center of the city, the Yamanote Line is the single most useful Japan Rail Line in the greater Kanto region. Just about every major tourist destination in Tokyo is accessible from one of the 29 stations. Indeed, the two busiest train stations in the world, Shinjuku and Ikebukuro, are both served by the Yamanote Line. The line itself carries an estimated 3.5 million people a day.
I can't even remember the first time I traveled on the Yamanote Line, though I could guess that it was when I visited Tokyo for the second time with my friends Matt and Zach, back in early 2006. The first time I visited Tokyo, I was so terrified of the mess of multicolored spaghetti that makes up the two separate subway networks and the multitude of above ground commuter rail lines that I refused to use them at all!
Since then I've become an old pro at navigating the around the city. However, as I traveled around the loop, curiosity started to get the better of me. What was at each of these stations that I was passing by? In order to find out, I've decided to visit each Yamanote Line stop in turn to see just what I can uncover. I'll use a mixture of photographs from my previous years in Japan along with plenty of new ones, and document the whole Line, starting at Tokyo Station, and moving counter-clockwise from there.The Yamanote Project will be the Friday update, so no matter where I go, and what I post about the rest of the week, hopefully each of the next 29 Fridays will be a look at the Yamanote Line.