When searching for an apartment in Tokyo, one of the most important decisions you can make is which train line you’re on. The commute, rush hour, neighborhood restaurants, supermarkets, and parks are all crucial factors when making a decision. This series gives a quick overview of the best train lives for living in Tokyo.
Today, we’re giving you the rundown on Tokyo’s link to Yokohama: the Tokyu Toyoko line.
The Tokyu Toyoko line (東急東横線, Tokyu Toyoko-sen) is a major railway line connecting Tokyo and Yokohama, and its name comes from a combination of those very cities: Tokyo and Yokohama. The track is owned by Tokyu Corporation, which you may also know for the upscale Tokyu Department Store.
There are 21 stations on the line, served by local, express, commuter express, and limited express trains. Major stations include Shibuya, Yokohama, Nakameguro, Jiyugaoka, Kikuna, and Musashi Kosugi. However, the line is mostly made up of smaller stations with quiet residential neighborhoods.
Living on the Tokyu Toyoko Line makes getting to some of Tokyo’s best areas for work and pleasure a breeze.
There are also many convenient connections to different areas of Tokyo and Kanagawa, such as the Hibiya line at Nakameguro, which allows easy access to business wards such as Minato and entertainment districts like Akihabara and Ueno. The Tokyu Toyoko line is also a through train at Yokohama to the fantastic Minatomirai line, and to East Tokyo and Saitama through Shibuya via the Tokyo Metro Fukutoshin line.
Basically, living on the Tokyu Toyoko Line makes getting to some of Tokyo’s best areas for work and pleasure a breeze. You can leave your office in Minato, chill out in Shibuya or Roppongi for nomihodai (after-work drinks), and still get home early enough not to hate yourself in the morning.
As the stations serve as commuter hubs for workers moving between Tokyo and Yokohama, the Toyoko line can get packed during the morning and evening rush hour. It’s also capped at both ends by the fifth and second busiest train stations in the world. Surprisingly, it doesn’t even make the list of Tokyo’s top 10 crowded train lines. While the express trains can feel like hell, most commuters transfer at one of the line’s many connections, such as the Oimachi line at Jiyugaoka.
However, if you have to ride to Nakameguro, you better brace yourself. From about 7:30 a.m. to about 8:30 a.m., the trip between Yutenji and Nakameguro—just one station apart—becomes the 13th most congested line in Tokyo thanks to more than 50,000 people trying to transfer to the Hibiya line.
While it’s only one stop away, I can’t stress enough how much it sucks, especially during summer. That’s when everyone feels stuck together like a gross gelatinous blob thanks to Tokyo’s ungodly heat and humidity. And again, it’s only the 13th most congested. It gets a lot worse on other lines.
Besides Shibuya, the Toyoko Line has many points of interest.
Nakameguro is home to many stylish bars and restaurants, the local Don Quijote department store, the world’s largest Starbucks, and the Meguro River. The river is also one of the most popular nighttime sakura viewing spots in all of Tokyo. It’s nice at first, but you’ll absolutely hate it if you’re just trying to get home. The station gets extremely crowded, but the platform was recently widened to accommodate more commuters.
Jiyugaoka and Daikanyama
Trendy Jiyugaoka and Daikanyama are also worth visiting. The two neighborhoods have earned the nicknames “Little Europe” and “Little Brooklyn,” respectively. Jiyugaoka is home to many upscale cafes, boutiques, and shops, while Daikanyama is a hidden gem with expensive clothing shops and restaurants serving New York-style street food like Cuban sandwiches and New York-style Pizza.
Tamagawa and Komazawa
Nature lovers will find peace at the beautiful Tama River between Tamagawa and Shin-Maruko stations. On sunny days, the park is popular with families and friends having BBQs and fishermen catching sea bass. Komazawa Olympic Park near Toritsu-daigaku station (though Komazawa-daigaku is closer) is arguably one of the best parks in Tokyo for sports lovers.
Just 10 minutes from Shibuya is Gakudei-daigaku. One of the drawbacks of living near smaller stations sometimes is that you don’t get many options on where you can eat and shop. That isn’t the case with Gakudei-daigaku. You’ll find restaurants, karaoke parlors, fast food joints, grocery stores, coffee shops, bars, and even popular clothing stores lining a pedestrian paradise on either side of the station. It’s one of the most affordable “liveable stations” you can find.
Average apartment price
1DK 76,000 / 3LDK 220,000
- Himonya Park: a park with a large pond and rowboat rentals
- Himonya Hachimangu: a shrine hosting summer festivals
Toritsu-daigaku is a neighborhood between Jiyugaoka and Gakudei-daigaku. The neighborhood is quiet and a bit upscale, but you’ll still find nice reasonably priced apartments. Although there aren’t nearly as many cheap restaurants and shops as in Gakudei-daigaku, you will find the popular wholesale chain, Hanamasa. Most of the restaurants and stores are local mom-and-pop shops. While there isn’t much to do and see, what it’s not lacking are clinics, dentists, and gyms.
Average apartment price
1K 65,000 / 3LDK 260,000
- Komazawa Olympic Park: a large park with several sports facilities
- Joen-ji Temple: a sizable temple near the station
- Meguro Persimmon Hall: a library and community center home to concerts and festivals
A mere two stops from Shibuya, it’s almost unreal how affordable Yutenji is. It has all the atmosphere of a high scale neighborhood with stylish restaurants and coffee shops, without the crowds and high apartment prices. There are tons of shops and restaurants to explore, but nothing too fancy. Arguably the biggest draw to Yutenji is its proximity to Shibuya. While there isn’t a whole lot to do for entertainment here, Hachiko’s turf is just a short hop, skip, and a jump away.
Average apartment price
1K 55,000 / 2SLDK 250,000
- Yuten-ji Temple: a large temple popular during the cherry blossom season
- Mitama Matsuri: a festival held every summer at Yuten-ji Temple
What do you think is the best train line for living in Tokyo? Live elsewhere in Japan and want to contribute to our Best Train Lines for Living series? Hit us up at firstname.lastname@example.org.