The Shonan-Shinjuku Line is a railway route operated by JR East that runs between Omiya Station in Saitama Prefecture and Ofuna Station in Kanagawa Prefecture. This route connects the major metropolitan areas of Tokyo and Yokohama with the beach resorts of the Shonan region on Kanagawa Prefecture’s Sagami Bay.
At Yokohama Station northbound Shonan-Shinjuku Line services for Shibuya, Shinjuku, Ikebukuro, and Omiya depart from Platform 10. Southbound services for Ofuna depart from Platform 9. This route is fully covered by the Japan Rail Pass.
There are 12 stations between Yokohama and Omiya.
Yokohama – Shin-Kawasaki – Musashi-Kosugi – Nishi-Oi – Osaki – Ebisu – Shibuya – Shinjuku – Ikebukuro – Akabane – Urawa – Omiya
Beyond Omiya Station some through services continue on the Utsunomiya Line to Utsunomiya Station in Tochigi Prefecture. Other through services continue on the Takasaki Line to Takasaki Station in Gunma Prefecture. The key destinations are given below with example fares and journey times given from Yokohama Station.
Exit here for the cultural attractions of Kawasaki City. Kawasaki Daishi Temple was first established in 1128 and its extensive grounds include several beautiful buildings and a rare octagonal five-storied pagoda. Japan Open-Air Folk House Museum (Nihon Minka-en) is an outdoor architectural museum with traditional buildings that have been moved here from all over Japan. These include historic farm houses, samurai residences, and merchant houses. Other locations of interest are the Taro Okamoto Museum of Art, the Toshiba Science Museum, and for manga fans the Fujiko F. Fujio Museum which is dedicated to the artists who created Doraemon.
Train fare: 220 yen
Train time: 9 minutes
Exit here to eat and drink at one of Ebisu’s many restaurants, cafes, and bars. A big attraction in this area is Yebisu Garden Place; a large commercial complex located on the site of the former Yebisu Beer Brewery. Within Yebisu Garden Place are a large number of shopping and dining facilities, a cinema, the Museum of Yebisu Beer, and the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography. Overlooking these facilities is Yebisu Garden Place Tower; a large skyscraper with restaurants on the 38th and 39th floors from which diners can enjoy a splendid view over the city.
Transfer here to the JR Yamanote Line, the JR Saikyo Line, and the Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line.
Train fare: 400 yen
Train time: 24 minutes
Shibuya is a fashionable center of youth culture and nightlife, with many department stores, fashion boutiques, restaurants, bars and clubs. A statue of a faithful dog called Hachiko is a popular meeting point outside the station. Close by the statue is the famous Shibuya Crossing intersection which is surrounded by giant video screens and neon-lit signs.
Transfer at Shibuya Station to the JR Yamanote Line, the JR Saikyo Line, the Keio Inokashira Line, the Tokyu Den-en-toshi Line, the Tokyu Toyoko Line, the Tokyo Metro Ginza Line, the Tokyo Metro Hanzomon Line, and the Tokyo Metro Fukutoshin Line.
Train fare: 400 yen
Train time: 26 minutes
Shinjuku is one of Tokyo’s biggest commercial and entertainment districts and has many attractions. The Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building No. 1 is a 48 story high building designed by Kenzo Tange with free observation decks on the 45th floor. Close by Shinjuku Station’s East Exit, Omoide Yokocho is an alleyway full of small bars and eateries serving yakitori, kushikatsu, soba noodles, sushi, and ramen. Kabukicho is a large area of bright lights, clubs, bars, and restaurants. Golden Gai is a tiny area of alleyways filled with tiny bars and diners. Shinjuku Gyoen is a large park with both Western and traditional Japanese style gardens.
Transfers can be made at Shinjuku Station to the JR Chuo Line, the JR Chuo-Sobu Line, the JR Saikyo Line, the JR Yamanote Line, the Keio Line, the Keio New Line, the Odakyu Odawara Line, the Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line, the Toei Shinjuku Line, Toei Oedo Line, and the Seibu Shinjuku Line. Shinjuku Expressway Bus Terminal is located on Shinjuku Station’s south side.
Train fare: 570 yen
Train time: 32 minutes
Ikebukuro is a busy commercial district which is packed with department stores, electronics stores, restaurants and bars. The biggest attraction here is Sunshine City; a large commercial complex with shops, restaurants, hotels, a museum, a planetarium, and an aquarium. The Sunshine 60 skyscraper inside Sunshine City has stunning views from the 60th floor observation deck.
Transfers can be made here to JR Saikyo Line, the JR Yamanote Line, the Seibu Ikebukuro Line, the Tobu Tojo Line, the Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line, the Tokyo Metro Yurakucho Line, and the Tokyo Metro Fukutoshin Line.
Train fare: 650 yen
Train time: 38 minutes
Exit here for the ancient Hikawa Shrine, Omiya Railway Museum, Omiya Bonsai Village, the Japan Mint Museum, and Saitama Prefectural Museum of History and Folklore.
Omiya is a major interchange station. Transfers can be made here to the Tobu Urban Park Line, Saitama New Urban Transit’s “New Shuttle” on the Ina Line and the following JR lines: the Utsunomiya Line, the Takasaki Line, the Saikyo Line and the Kawagoe Line. The following shinkansen services all run from Omiya Station: the Tohoku Shinkansen, the Yamagata Shinkansen, the Akita Shinkansen, the Joetsu Shinkansen, and the Hokuriku Shinkansen.
Train fare: 940 yen
Train time: 66 minutes
There are 5 stations between Yokohama and Ofuna.
Yokohama – Hodogaya – Higashi-Totsuka – Totsuka – Ofuna
Beyond Ofuna Station some through services continue on the Tokaido Line to Fujisawa and Odawara. Other through services continue on the Yokosuka Line to Kamakura and Zushi. The key destination is given below with the example fare and journey time given from Yokohama Station.
Ofuna Station is located in the city of Kamakura. Ofuna Kannon Temple is a 25 meter high statue of Kannon, the goddess of mercy, which is a 5 minute walk from the station. Josenji Temple and the Taya Caves are a 14 minute bus ride from the station. The meditation caves were dug into a limestone hill by monks and decorated inside with Buddhist carvings.
From Ofuna Station passengers can take the Yokosuka Line to the seaside towns of Kamakura and Zushi, or the Tokaido Line to the beach resorts of Fujisawa and the castle town of Odawara. Transfers can also be made here to the Shonan Monorail which runs to Shonan-Enoshima Station in Fujisawa City.
Train fare: 310 yen
Train time: 18 minutes
To plan your journey via the Shonan-Shinjuku Line use English language route finders like the Japan Transit Planner or Hyperdia. JR East has a PDF route map of their railway network in which the Shonan-Shinjuku Line is numbered 3 and colored red.
Article and original photos by Michael Lambe. All rights reserved.