JR network in central Tokyo
When you tour Tokyo individually or in a group, I recommend that you use the trains of JR.
Because, it has a convenient network in central Tokyo, and its many lines extend to the suburbs.
And Shinkansen is owed by JR, so it is convenient to transfer between both lines.
In addition, you can use JR by Japan Rail Pass.
Unlike subway, most JR lines run over the ground.
So we can catch the view of Tokyo from train windows.
When you walk around any town in Tokyo, the stations and running JR trains are good landmark objects.
The trains of most lines are operated from around 4:30 in the morning to around 1:00 late at night.
Each line has a symbolic color, and the cars of a line are painted its color.
The trains running mainly in central Tokyo
Yamanote Line ●
Yamanote Line is a loop line running around the center of Tokyo.
The total length is about 35 km, and it has 29 stations.
It runs just around the central area of Tokyo.
All trains stop at all stations.
The trains are operated every 3 to 5 minutes.
It takes about 65 minutes to go around the whole line.
This line passes some stations around the popular towns.
Main stations are Tokyo, Yurakucho (near Ginza), Shinbashi, Hamamatsucho (Transfer station to Haneda Airport), Shinagawa (Transfer station to Haneda Airport), Shibuya, Harajuku, Shinjuku, Ikubukuro, Ueno, Akihabara, clockwise.
Basically a train continues to run around.
Of course, it returns to the rail yard at times.
So, the trains for Osaki or Ikebukuro as the final destination are sometimes operated.
Keihin-Tohoku Line ●
Keihin-Tohoku Line is a line running through central Tokyo from north to south.
It runs between Omiya in Saitama Prefecture and Ofuna in Kanagawa Prefecture.
This line runs on the rail next to Yamanote Line between Tabata and Shinagawa.
We can change the train of Yamanote Line on the same platform in the section.
The trains are operated every 5 to 6 minutes in the daytime.
But they are operated every 2 to 3 minutes for the morning and evening commuting hours on weekdays.
From around 10:30 to around 15:30, all trains on this line are operated as "rapid train", between Tabata and Hamamatsucho.
The trains stop at only Ueno, Akihabara and Tokyo, in the time period.
Chuo Line ●
Chuo Line is a line from Tokyo station through Shinjuku to Tama area (western area) of Tokyo Metropolis such as Mitaka, Hachioji, Takao and Oume.
The trains are operated every 4 to 6 minutes.
The trains are all "rapid train".
So, this line is the fastest train between Tokyo station and Shinjuku station. (about 15 minutes)
The trains stops only at Tokyo, Kanda, Ochanomizu, Yotsuya and Shinjuku.
Local train of Chuo & Sobu Lines ●
This is a line running from east to west through central Tokyo, and all trains stop at all stations.
It runs on the rail next to Chuo Line noted above toward western from Ochanomizu. It go to Mitaka.
The trains are operated every 4 to 6 minutes.
This line crosses over Yamanote and Keihin-Tohoku Lines at Akihabara station.
We can change the train there.
The trains running to the suburban areas of Tokyo
Tokaido Line / Ueno-Tokyo Line / Tohoku, Takasaki Lines ●
This is a suburban line running through central Tokyo from north to south.
The trains of this line run along the east side of Yamanote Line.
The name of the line is complicated.
But each name means a part of the line.
The south part from Tokyo station is Tokaido Line.
The trains stops at only Tokyo, Shinbashi and Shinagawa and go to Yokohama, Odawara and Atami.
The part between Tokyo and Ueno is Ueno-Tokyo Line.
There is no station between Tokyo and Ueno.
The north part from Tokyo station is Utsunomiya Line and Takasaki Line.
The line from Ueno branches off into two at Omiya in Saitama Prefecture.
The line to Utsunomiya is Utsunomiya Line and the line to Takasaki is Takasaki Line.
The trains stops at only Ueno, Oku and Akabane in Tokyo Metropolis.
The trains are operated every 8 to 12 minutes.
Shonan-Shinjuku Line ●
This is also a suburban line running through central Tokyo from north to south.
The trains of this line run along the west side of Yamanote Line.
In the suburban areas, the trains run on the route of above Tokaido, Utsunomiya and Takasaki Lines.
The trains stops at only Osaki, Ebisu, Shibuya, Shinjuku, Ikebukuro and Akabane in Tokyo Metropolis.
The trains are operated every 15 to 20 minutes.
Yokosuka Line / Sobu Line ●
This is also a suburban line.
It runs from Kurihama in Miura Peninsula, through Yokosuka, Kamakura, Yokohama and Tokyo, to the various cities in Chiba Prefecture.
The south part from Tokyo is Yokosuka Line and the northeast part from Tokyo is Sobu Line.
It runs underground around Tokyo station, so the platform in Tokyo station is in the basement.
The limited expresses to various cities in Chiba Prefecture leave from Tokyo station.
Keiyo Line ●
This is a line from Tokyo to Chiba along the Tokyo Bay.
The platforms in Tokyo station is set up deep under the ground, so it takes over 10 minutes to reach the platform.
There is Maihama station which is the nearest station of Tokyo Disneyland.
The trains are operated every 4 to 7 minutes.
Joban Line ●
This line is a suburban line from Ueno station to Ibaraki Prefecture.
Both local and limited express trains run from Ueno.
Saikyo Line ●
It is a line from Osaki through Shinjuku to Omiya in Saitama Prefecture.
It runs along the westen side of Yamanote Line, and is like a rapid train of Yamanote Line.