Oh, the reliable Yamanote line. We always depend on Tokyo's favourite green train to take us in a looped route around central Tokyo, hitting up all the best tourist spots like trendy Harajuku or Ueno Park. However, everyone needs a break every now and then. This Saturday November 16, the Yamanote line will temporarily close certain stations for the first time since 1987, when the transport company JR East was founded. The affected stations will be closed from the first train to around 4pm for the construction of Takanawa Gateway – between Shinagawa and Tamachi stations – which is scheduled to open in spring next year, just in time for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
JR East has announced that the following JR stations will shut down: Osaki, Shinagawa, Tamachi, Hamamatsucho, Shimbashi, Yurakucho, Tokyo, Kanda, Akihabara, Okachimachi and Ueno. The Keihin-Tohoku line will also be affected between Shinagawa and Tamachi. This means you won't be able to head to most of east Tokyo or to the Shinkansen gates of Tokyo and Shinagawa stations on the Yamanote line.
But there's no need to panic: some of these stations/locations are served by other train lines as well and hence are still accessible via other means. For example, you can still reach Tokyo Station using the Marunouchi line, and Ueno using the Hibiya and Ginza lines.
To compensate for this disruption along the JR Yamanote line, the Ueno-Tokyo Line, Saikyo Line and Rinkai Line will increase their services. In general, if you’re really looking to get out east, it might be better to take the underground Tokyo Metro lines instead.