Translated by Richard Perkins
Ever Noticed It? The Owl-Themed Police Box In Ikebukuro
Written by Keisuke Yamada
There are many fun and unique police boxes located all around Japan, but have you ever see the Owl Police Box in Ikebukuro? No? Well then, let this article guide you to see the cute Owl Police at Ikebukuro Station's East Exit.
Did you know that there are over 6000 koban, or police boxes, in Japan? These police boxes have officers stationed at them 24 hours a day, 365 days a year in order to provide assistance and protect the public in Japan. The officers in these police boxes are very familiar with their patrol areas, so they are also capable of providing basic directions on their maps if you find yourself very lost and in need of help. If you ever find yourself in trouble or needing help, the police at your nearest koban are there to help you.
As we mentioned, there are many of these police boxes across Japan, but did you know that one of the koban at the east exit of Ikebukuro Station is somewhat unique?
Today let's take a look at the Ikebukuro East Exit Koban - the owl police box.
But First - Why Is it an Owl?
Did you know that there is a relationship between Ikebukuro and owls? It comes from a play on words. In Japan, place names are often abbreviated; Ikebukuro becomes Bukuro in this case, while the word 'fukuro', which sounds similar, means 'owl'. Before anyone realized it, the owl became the symbol of Ikebukuro.
The Owl Police Box
Pictured above is the Owl Police Box. Apparently when this police box was to be rebuilt, elementary and middle school students in Toshima ward submitted designs for it, and the current koban was built based on four of those designs. The intention behind building it was to create a police box that would not only have impact, but also be easy for anyone to spot.
Where Is It?
It's quite easy to find once you know where to look. You'll find the Owl Police Box at the East Exit of Ikebukuro Station, across the street from the entrance to the Seibu Department Store. When coming out of the east exit, you can see this koban across the large intersection from the station, on the corner of Green Dori and Meiji Dori.
Given the number of police boxes in Japan, it goes without saying that there are plenty of other fun and unique police boxes to see wherever you go. For instance, there are koban in Asakusa that have roofs like old Japanese houses, or that in Shibuya's Center Gai, there is a police box that follows a curved line, or others that are made out of old-fashioned red bricks? A fun goal to add to your vacation in Japan could be looking for unusual police boxes around the city or even the country!
Ikebukuro Station East Exit Police Box
Address: Tokyo, Toshima, Minami Ikebukuro, 1-27-7
Hours: Open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year
Other Languages: -
Nearest Station: JR Ikebukuro station
Access: 1 minute walk from the East Exit of Ikebukuro Station