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Ellie’s guide to getting a seat on the Yamanote Line

Frustrated that you never get a seat on the Yamanote Line? Do your feet hurt while you wait for the person in front of you to get up? Annoyed that you have to stand more than 30 minutes during rush hour? Well, this is a guide to getting a seat on the Yamanote Line during rush hour. Hope this works for you like it sometimes does for me….

japanese riders females little girl

Shinokubo- The stop after Takadanobaba.
Shinokubo is a very UN-popular stop. But you never know. Usually, during rush hour, 2 or 3 people manage to squeeze out the door. Mostly, these are teenager boys in a school uniform that is black with golden buttons. Don’t be fooled though, because sometimes these boys don’t get off and sometimes they do. Shinokubo stop is a good opportunity to get into the seat aisle rather than stay next to the doors.

Shinjuku- 2 Stops after Takadanobaba.
Shinjuku is a very popular stop. Notice that a lot of business woman and men get off here. But not all! Make sure and don’t get your hopes up if you are still near the doors, but if you are already in aisle then you may get right in front of the seat or even get to sit down!

Yoyogi- 3 Stops after Takadanobaba.
Nobody really get’s off at Yoyogi. Only 1 or less men or woman get off here. Odds are, you won ‘t be moving anywhere. “Listen to your iPod and just give it up” – My Mom

Harajuku- 4 Stops after Takadanobaba.
During rush hour, Harajuku isn’t a popular stop. On the weekends a lot more people get off to go shopping and visit Meiji Jingu or Yoyogi Park. Only 2 or 3 people get off at this stop.

Shibuya- 5 Stops after Takadanobaba.
As the train is pulling into Shibuya, you can feel the tension of people edging towards the door, in a hurry to get off. Look down at the person sitting in front of you, (hopefully you are already in that position, but I wouldn’t be surprised if your still stuck in the aisle!) if the person is zipping their bag, putting away their book or iPod, or sitting up taller in their seat- this is a very good sign. But DO NOT be fooled by this. Sometimes it seems as though they are trying to torture you, sitting up and then going back to sleep after you’ve got your backpack off and your ready to grab the seat. This is very common… or at least for me. :)
50% of the time I get a seat in Shibuya, if I’m lucky.

Ebisu- 6 Stops after Takadanobaba.
Many business people get off here. It’s not exactly a busy stop or a non-busy stop, but in between instead. Rare chances of getting a seat, but don’t lose hope in Ebisu!

Meguro- 7 Stops after Takadanobaba.
Meguro has less people getting off than Ebisu but more than Harajuku.

Gotanda- 8 Stops after Takadanobaba.
Zone out into your iPod or book, because this stop isn’t very popular.

Osaki- 9 Stops after Takadanobaba.
Meguro, Gotanda and Osaki are pretty much the same. Limited people get off at these stops, but don’t be too surprised if you’re lucky.

Shinagawa- 10 Stops after Takadanobaba
Shinagawa is popular because it connects to the Shinkansen. I have never not gotten a seat by this point. Sometimes, I just let other people take my seat because you’re so close to Tamachi. But, if you’re feet are really giving in, take the seat and relax for 1 stop!

Tamachi- 11 Stops after Takadanobaba.
Getting off here! Most other people do too… Be quick. The people from the other train line that pull up next to you crowd the station instantly.

Well, that was it- from Takadanobaba to Tamachi Yamanote Train guide. You know how to survive the rush hour now! But one more thing… let’s just hope that once you finally get your seat, an obaasan or ojiisan won’t come along, making you feel like you should give up your spot!


There’s an island on the edge of Tokyo Bay. It has a huge bridge leading from Tamachi to the island. The beach wasn’t crowded at all and luckily there was sand so it was an awesome place to hang out. There was a sign saying no swimming and the water was cold but the sand was fun to play on.

odaiba tokyo japan

Aqua City, a shopping and walking around area, is right on the beach, so after hanging out in the sun, you can have a blast shopping and eating at a restaurant. The shopping building was lit up with bright blue lights and people were taking pictures everywhere. It was soooo cool! I’m totally going to bring my friends there some time and shop and hang on the beach.

We ate Hawaiian style burgers at a place called Kua ‘Aina. From the outside Kua ‘Aina was on the top of lit up blue stairs. It looked like a small restaurant that movie stars ate at. The whole restaurant was lit up and gleaming with blue lights. When we got inside the look changed immediately to Hawaiian style with flower lays and casual wood feel to the place. We sat in a room with one whole wall a windows and a great view of the Tokyo Bay with boats that looked like they were on fire with all the different colors of lights. The whole bay was lit up with colored reflection. It wasn’t just the bridge that was named Rainbow, it’s the whole bay, Aqua City and more that burst with colors.

statue of liberty tokyo japan

People had BBQs on the beach and lots of friends having fun. It was a really cool experience and I’m going to bring my friends with me next time so we can have a party! The only problem was the walk over the bridge. It was really, really, really long, but enjoyable if you have a chatty partner :)

rainbow bridge

Japanese Haircut

takadanobaba barber shop tokyo japan

Today I had my first Japanese haircut since the last time we came here.

hair cut barber japan

It was extremely fun and different then the american experience I’m used to. First I got my haircut as I would normally do by a Japanese man.

ryan's tokyo haircut

haircut in shinjuku-ku tokyo japan

Afterwards the same man gave me a shampooing/massage for a while. It felt very relaxing and nice.

japanese  haircut shampoo

Then my head was dunked into a sink with warm water in it and rinsed. I was laid down the other way and the man put all sorts of towels on me and left. Right then I was thinking that the haircut was over, but another guy walked over and started putting shaving cream on me. It turned out that I was getting shaved (for the first time) as well because I hadn’t asked to not have it. The shave was worth it though because it was kind of half massage as well.

ryan's first shave 13 years old

I’m looking forward for my next haircut here since it was a very pleasant experience.

ryan case first shave 13 years old takadanobaba tokyo japan

Maya’s birthday party

paper rock scissors japan jan ken pon

My dad has some more pictures here.

fireworks at japanese birthday party

japanese and american girls bonding through fireworks

four friends after a japanese birthday party kodaira tokyo japan

Bon odori

tokyo bon odori

A bon odori is a dance that the Japanese do during late summer to honor dead relatives. We had the chance to see one on our third night in Tokyo. When we arrived there were people dancing around in a circle. Almost everyone there were wearing kimonos but there were some people wearing street clothes. Most of the people in the circle were women but there were two or three men. The people were of all ages, from 3 to 80. In the middle of the circle was a structure holding up a drummer playing a song. The drummer was always a child but as the night went on they got older and older. Accompanying the drummer was some recorded music and some bell like instruments. The dance and music was very hypnotic. I would have liked to stay longer but my sister and I were getting very tired because of jetlag. Hopefully I will get another chance to see a bon odori before I leave Japan.