Finding an apartment that offers a reasonable commute, good amenities and comes at an affordable price is quite the feat in Tokyo. That’s where our Best Train Lines for Living in Tokyo come in to help!
This article will look at the Keihin-Tohoku line, a JR East-operated line running through the major cities of Tokyo and Yokohama, and three more in Kawaguchi, Saitama and Kawasaki! As such, it offers easy transportation between the two cities, stopping at both high-profile areas and quieter neighborhoods.
- The commute
- Popular Neighbourhoods
- Best Keihin-Tohoku line stations for living in Tokyo (or Yokohama)
The Keihin-Tohoku line is over a century old and began service in 1914. It spans from Yokohama through Tokyo to Saitama, making it one of the easiest ways to access eastern Tokyo for commuters.
The line is particularly popular during rush hour, rivaling even the Yamanote for the volume of passengers it serves. Besides Tokyo, a travel hub to almost anywhere, the line also stops at Yokohama, Kawasaki, Shinagawa, Akihabara and Ueno. With so many popular destinations, it’s no surprise the biggest benefit of this line is the ease of access to metropolitan areas for both business and pleasure.
The Keihin-Tohoku is one of the most frequent trains operated by JR East, with trains every two to three minutes during peak times and rarely more than five minutes apart at off-peak. Trains will usually start at Omiya station in Saitama and Yokohama station, with 35 stops between. This makes it one of the longer train lines serving Tokyo.
The Keihin-Tohoku begins running at 4:30 a.m. on weekday mornings, and the last trains are at around 1 am. Commuters begin to pack the trains around 6:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., so try to give those rush hours a wide berth if possible. Most commuters will exit the train at Yokohama, Kawasaki, Shinagawa, Shimbashi, Tokyo and Ueno stations.
However, particularly for these commuters, the Ueno-Tokyo line offers an express service to these major stations, so the Keihin-Tohoku is less crowded than might be expected at off-peak times.
The Keihin-Tohoku line stops at some of the most well-known districts of Tokyo and Yokohama. Here are a few of the big ones.
Akihabara and Ueno
Notorious for its electronics, anime and games, Akihabara’s Electric Town is a chaotic jumble of stores selling everything from PCs to character figurines. A wander down the street is sure to offer countless diversions and temptations, no matter what you enjoy. Buy a new manga, visit a maid cafe, and even style yourself like an anime character-you can lose yourself for hours in this hub of technology and culture.
If that sounds too noisy for your taste, perhaps Ueno’s most famous attraction, Ueno Park, might be more pleasant. A popular spot for viewing Cherry Blossoms, it also contains Ueno Zoo for animal lovers and several galleries and museums scattered throughout. Pandas, paintings and even petals—there’ll be something that catches your eye here.
As the second biggest city in Japan, it’s hardly surprising that Yokohama has plenty to offer visitors.
Just within Yokohama central, there are many shopping centers to explore, from high-end fashion to budget apparel. A short walk away from the bustle will also take you to the harbor, where you can enjoy the picturesque views and serenity of the waterfront.
Exploring a little further away from Yokohama station also has its attractions-hop a few stations further down to Ishikawacho, you’ll find Yokohama’s famous Chinatown. With dozens of restaurants, food stalls and shops crowded together; it’s a unique taste of Chinese culture in the heart of one of Japan’s biggest cities.
Of course, it’s easy enough to argue that Tokyo station is the most popular spot on the line. You can reach almost anywhere in Japan. But the station and its surroundings also have plenty to offer if you’re in the area.
Under the sprawling complex of Tokyo station, you can find Character Street, a row of shops crammed shoulder to shoulder and dedicated to anime, manga, and TV. If you’re a fan of any of these, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to find a store for your media of choice tucked away here after a little exploring. It’s an exciting experience for adults and children alike, which is why it’s often full of people, so expect some queuing!
If you’d prefer something a bit more peaceful, the gardens of the Imperial Palace are only a short walk away. A pleasant stroll through the beautifully designed Edo-era gardens is enough to ease away the stresses of the big city in no time.
Neatly halfway between Yokohama and Tokyo, Kawasaki is a city in its own right. With plenty of amenities meters away from the station, from the enormous Lazona shopping mall built into the station to one of Kanto’s largest Book-Offs, shopping will never be an issue.
Kawasaki also has a reputation for a vibrant nightlife scene and a vibrant, thriving atmosphere. This makes it perfect for singles and young adults looking for somewhere that makes it equally easy to get to work on time and have fun while off the clock.
- Lazona Kawasaki Plaza: A large shopping mall annexed to the station, it contains an enormous grocery floor, several restaurants and a wide range of clothing stores.
- Kawasaki Daishi Temple: A major Buddhist temple ten minutes from Kawasaki station. The streets leading to the temple are full of stalls selling toys, food and souvenirs like a mini Sensoji!
Average Apartment Price:
- 1K: ¥70,000 2DK: ¥130,000
Just before arriving in Shinagawa and Tokyo proper, Oimachi is a quieter area that offers the benefits of living on the outskirts of Tokyo for a fraction of the price. Though the station is one of the busier ones, once away from the station Oimachi is a significantly quieter area of Tokyo, making it far easier to find affordable housing here.
But that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your social options. Oimachi’s proximity to Shinagawa leaves its entertainment and dining options and Tokyo close while offering a peaceful atmosphere ideal for young adults and young families.
- Atre: The large Atre mall is built into the station, making shopping easy.
- Oimachi Yokocho: a small street near the station with show-era izakayas and small bars. The perfect place for a convenient and enjoyable night out.
Average Apartment Price:
- 1K: ¥75,000 2DK: ¥120,000
Passing through Tokyo, towards the very tip before we verge into Saitama, Ouji stands out as another location offering the benefits of being close to Tokyo without the price tag. Ouji offers convenient access to several bustling areas of Tokyo, including Akabane and Ikebukuro.
Despite this, Ouji is best known for its parks and greenery, with large swathes of wide open space ideal for lazy Saturday afternoons with family or games with children. It’s no surprise that Ouji is popular with families with young children. However, it also has plenty to offer young adults looking to indulge in the excitement of Ikebukuro and central Tokyo.
- Asukayama Park: A popular park located a short tram ride from Ouji station. It’s known for its cherry blossoms, old tram cars and several museums throughout the park.
- Paper Museum: A Museum opened in 1950 on the site of Tokyo’s first paper-making company, they hold regular workshops on how to make paper. A great spot for children!
Average Apartment Price:
- 1K: ¥62,000 2DK: ¥85,000
Do you live on the Keihin-Tohoku line? What’s it like? Let us know in the comments below!