How to use the Yamanote Line train - Ikebukuro to Shinjuku and back

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This is a quick and dirty guide to get you from Ikebukuro's East Entrance to Shinjuku Station's East Exit. The photography is fast and rough.

  1. Yamanote Line Introduction - Your Train in Tokyo
  2. Yamanote Line Field Trip- Otsuka to Sugamo and back
  3. Yamanote Line Field Trip - Ikebukuro to Shinjuku and back

I strongly urge that you first read the Introduction to Yamanote Line, and then Getting from Otsuka to Sugamo first before this guide.

Prefeace. The entire key to using the train system is looking for signs. The are usually over head and well lit.

We begin our exciting adventure out in front of the Ikebukuro East Exit.

Figure #1

As you can see by peeking into the entrance, there is a bright green banner with white text: "JR" and other words. That is where you want to head for, walk straight ahead to that sign.

Figure #2

Here it is again, continue walking up to this sign.

Figure #3

Continue walking forward past the green sign, and you will see steps that go down. Continue going straight and go down the steps.

Figure #4

These are the steps, walk down and try not to be knocked flat by the hordes of commutors.

Figure #5

After going down the steps you will find yourself with this view. Forward is the North Entrance for the JR Yamanote Line. This is where we want to go. To your left is another area. This is where you would go if you were taking a different train. For example the Marunochi Subway line. Also if you were 'exiting' the JR Yamanote Line you would be come from that left route, toward the steps and out the way you came in. (ps, time for a little where's waldo, try to find the owl statue. This is the famous 'fukuro' statue.

Figure #6

This view shows the Left Hallway and the Straight ahead one. Once again, if you were exiting the Yamanote Line (not entering as we are doing now) You would be coming from that left hallway, up toward the stairs and out the East Entrance/Exit where we began.

Figure #7

Once again, here is the left hallway, with a close up. And once again you do not enter the Yamanote here. (I just really want to drive this home to you)

Figure #8

And so, neglecting the left hallway we look ahead straight at the JR North Entrance. Begin walking forward.

Figure #9

As you walk forward you will go down some light stairs (as shown here) and continue down a long hall.

Figure #10

Keep walking straight, down the hallway. Notice on the left the green JR sign with a black arrow to the left. This is indicating that the Ticketing Area is just ahead to the left. This is where you buy your tickets for the JR Line...

Figure #11

The sign, closer. Notice in black writing it says "Tickets" Take a left there.

Figure #12

Here is the Ticketing Area. Notice the big read arrow in the middle of the chart. That is indicating what station you are at. It costs 150 yen to get to Shinjuku. Now approach one of the ticket machines. Keep in mind every line you see on this chart is part of the JR line. Its not just for the Yamanote. All the lines are owned by JR so all you have to do is buy one ticket and transfer accordingly.

Figure #13

Here is your JR ticket machine. If you are at all confused or uncertain about how to use this machine please see the Introduction Guide.

Figure #14

After you buy your ticket go back out on the hall, and face towards the direction you were walking before. You'll see a green JR sign that says 'North Gate' This is your ticket gate. Approach this sign.

Figure #15

JR North Gate, here it is again, a little closer up. Notice the white arrow is pointing to the left. Turn left and walk.

Figure #16

After turning left and walking forward you will find this: the North Ticket Gate. Approach the gate, put your ticket in and walk forward. If you are at all confused or uncertain about how to do this please see the Introduction Guide.

Figure #17

After passing through the Ticket Gate you will see this in front of you. You are faced with two options. Notice the numbers on the white sign. They indicate different platforms. And they also indicate the train which is on that platform, and each are color coded. Platforms 1-4 are for the Saikyo Line. Platforms 2-3 are for the Shonan Shinjuku line. 5 and 6 are for the Yamanote Line heading for Shinjuku and Shibuya. 7 and 8 are for the Yamanote heading for Ueno and Tokyo. We're heading for Shinjuku so let's take 5 and 6. Which is conveniently right in front of us, just up those stairs.

Figure #18

These are the plat forms on your left.

Figure #19

These are the platforms in front of you. (the ones you want to go up)

Figure #20

Over on the right, we have these platforms. (if you were using Yamanote to Tabata, Ueno, Tokyo etc)

Figure #21

Close up on platforms 7 and 8.

Figure #22

After ascending the stairs for Platform 5 & 6. Notice that both of these plat forms taking you to the same locations. So it does not matter which one you choose. (normally you'll only have one not two)

Figure #23

Waiting on Platform 6 for the Yamanote Train to Shinjuku.

Figure #24

After boarding the train, inside find one of the LCD screens, and you'll find this information. It shows you the station you are at presently, and the next stations, as well as the time to get to each one. This shows that you'll be at Shinjuku in 9 minutes. Major stations are in bold.

Figure #25

Another frame on the LCD screen. This one shows what the next station is, as well as the lines availible for transfering at that station. In this case at Takadanobaba you can transfer to either the Seibu-Shinjuku Line or the Tozai Subway Line (notice the Tozai line has a blue circle emblam. Circles mean subways)

Figure #26

Getting off the Yamanote train at Shinjuku looking down the right side of the plat form. (Notice that you are on platform 14 when you get off the train)

Figure #27

Off the train, looking down the left side of the platform.

Figure #28

Look above and find a sign that says "East Exit" Like this one.

Figure #29

Or like this one.

Figure #30

Eventually you'll find the stairs on the platform that take you down. Like these.

Figure #31

While descending the stairs you should see something like this. You want to take the East Exit. So follow the arrow.

Figure #32

After you've decscended the stairs and walked out a bit you should see this array of signs on the ceiling. Notice the small yellow sign, it says East Exit. Follow the arrow. Figure 20

Figure #33

This view shows the stairs Platform 14, where you just got off. To the right is the direction of the East Exit. To the left is the direction of the West Exit.

Figure #34

Notice, this view is coming off platform 14 and looking over to the right. This is towards the West exit. We want the East Exit, so Turn left instead of right as directed earlier. (Notice the big '15' that is platform 15 of the Yamanote line.

Figure #35

A close up on the East Exit sign you see to your left after reaching the landing of the Platform 14 steps. (seen in figure 20)

Figure #36

Follow the East Exit arrow, walking straight down. You'll then see a series of signs on the ceiling directing you.

Figure #37

Another sign on the ceiling pointing out that the East Exit is straight ahead. Just keep going.

Figure #38

Next sign on the ceiling, notice it also says 'for Kabukicho' From here after it will be refering to the East Exit as "Kabukicho"

Figure #39

Again, East Exit for Kabukicho. Keep going straight and you'll hit the ticket barrier. Note: when you hit the ticket barrier you 'll have to move over to the far left, as the barriers in front of you are for passengers going the opposite direction.

Figure #40

Take out your ticket and pass through the ticket barrier.

Figure #41

After passing through the ticket barrier you'll find yourself in the main intersection for the East Exit. Notice the yellow sign in front which says: "for Kabukicho" This is the East Exit. Move straight into the center and then turn left as directed by the 'for Kabukicho' arrow.

Figure #42

After moving forward into the main intersection you will see this on your left. Notice the second yellow sign, it says "kabukicho" head on over there.

Figure #43

Close up on the sign in the last figure. Walk up the stairs.

Figure #44

After ascending the stairs you will find this view. Keep walking forward. And you're at the East Exit. Congratulations! Buy yourself a bowl of ramen.

Figure #45

Shinjuku East Exit/Entrance

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