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Explore Ikebukuro, Tokyo - 7 Things To Enjoy, From Ramen To Anime

Explore Ikebukuro, Tokyo - 7 Things To Enjoy, From Ramen To Anime

Tokyo 2018.07.26

Ikebukuro is a leading shopping and entertainment area in northwest Tokyo. Learn how to enjoy Ikebukuro with its shopping spots, numerous activities, and anime-inspired facilities presented in this article!

Translated by Sandy Lau

Written by MATCHA

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Ikebukuro – A Bustling Shopping Area

池袋を楽しむための保存ガイド。駅の案内、アニメポット、ショッピング施設など

Ikebukuro, located in northwest Tokyo, is a commercial district rivaling that of Shinjuku and Shibuya. The front of its station is lined with large commercial facilities such as Seibu Ikebukuro and Tobu Department Store Ikebukuro. The area is also abundant with restaurants, and is a place where you can enjoy both shopping and dining.

Ikebukuro is also fully equipped with entertainment, including popular anime shops and businesses, an aquarium, and a planetarium. Even if you are in a family, you’re sure to spend a memorable and fun time here.

Thanks to the great convenience in transportation, the area is also ideal as a sightseeing base. It is only one train away from Shinjuku, Shibuya, and Odaiba. At the same time, there is also convenient access to popular spots in Saitama and Kawagoe.

This article introduces the top activities to do and places to see when you come to Ikebukuro.

1. All Day Long Fun at an Amusement Park

Sunshine City

サンシャインシティ

Sunshine City, located at Ikebukuro Station’s east exit, is a complex containing an aquarium, observatory, museum, planetarium, and shopping center.

TOKYO弾丸フライト

Pictures courtesy of Sunshine City

The observatory on the 60th floor as an experience-based observatory, offers different activities for its visitors. TOKYO Bullet Flight in the Sunshine 60 building utilizes VR technology to create a virtual tour where you can enjoy a futuristic Tokyo from the sky when you get into the Human Cannon Machine.

Sunshine City
Address: Tokyo, Toshima, Higashi-Ikebukuro 3-1 Sunshine City Sunshine 60 60F GoogleMap
Access: 8 minute walk from the East Exit at Ikebukuro Station (Exit 35), 3 minute walk from Higashi-Ikebukuro Station (Tokyo Metro Yurakucho Line)
Official Website: https://www.sunshinecity-global.com/en/

Sunshine Aquarium

Picture from Sunshine Aquarium: A Great Place For Couples And Families

Sunshine Aquarium, popular as a date spot, is located on the rooftop of Sunshine City’s World Import Mart Building at the east exit of Ikebukuro Station.

The aquarium has an oasis in the sky as its concept. Here you will watch penguins that look like they’re swimming in the sky, and observe creatures that live on waterfronts and in the ocean. Sea lion performances, penguin feedings, and underwater performances by divers are popular attractions at the aquarium.

Official Website:
https://www.sunshinecity-global.com/en/

J-WORLD TOKYO

NARUTO

Picture from Become Naruto, Goku And More! The J-COS Cosplay Experience – Ikebukuro
©Masashi Kishimoto Scott/Shueisha Inc., TV Tokyo Corporation, Pierrot

J-WORLD TOKYO is an indoor amusement park themed after popular works such as “ONE PIECE”, “Dragon Ball”, “NARUTO”, and “Gintama” from the “Weekly SHONEN JUMP (JUMP)." It is on the third floor of Sunshine City’s World Import Mart Building, past Sunshine 60 Street at the east exit of Ikebukuro Station.

Here, you can enjoy the world of JUMP to your heart’s content, with character-inspired food and a cosplay facility where you can transform into your favorite character!

NAMJATOWN

ナンジャタウン

Located on the second floor of Sunshine City’s World Import Mart Building is NAMJATOWN.

Many different attractions are available here and are split into three zones: Dokkingham Plaza with a Western-style townscape, FUKUBUKURO 7 Chome Shopping Street, a recreation of Japan in 1955, and the haunted house-like zone of MONONOKE Unnumbered Plot.

We especially recommend NAMJA Gyoza Stadium located on FUKUBUKURO 7 Chome Shopping Street. Here you can try various gyoza (pot stickers) at eleven different stores. How about enjoying beer or highball with gyoza after you’ve seen the attractions?

Official Website: https://event.bandainamco-am.co.jp/namja/en/

2. Search For Your Favorite Goods at Subculture Shops

Animate Ikebukuro

アニメイト

Animate is an anime, comics, game, and character goods specialty shop that has expanded to over 100 locations in Japan. The flagship store is a five minute walk from the east exit at Ikebukuro Station.

Products such as character-related T-shirts, plush dolls, figurines, and plastic models, line the store’s shelves across the first to ninth floor.

The store also carries publications like shojo manga (comics for a teenage female demographic) and shonen manga (aimed for a teenage male demographic), souvenir food products, and penlights. This shop is irresistible to anime fans.

Animate Ikebukuro Flagship Store
Address: Tokyo, Toshima, Higashi-Ikebukuro 1-20-7 GoogleMap
Access: 5 minute walk from the east exit at Ikebukuro Station
Official Website: https://www.animate.co.jp/shop/ikebukuro/ (Japanese)

Pokémon Center Mega Tokyo

Picture from Pokémon Galore! The Highlights Of Pokémon Center Mega Tokyo

The official Pocket Monster (Pokémon) shop is inside Sunshine City at the east exit of Ikebukuro Station. Along with purchasable Pokemon goods such as plush dolls and other items, events are also held at the center.

There are also beginner classes for the card game, as well as card battle games where you can compete with your skills. Be sure to participate in one of these events when you make a visit.

Pokémon Center Mega Tokyo
Address: Tokyo, Toshima, Higashi-Ikebukuro 3-1-2 Sunshine City Alpa 2F GoogleMap
Access: 8 minute walk from the east exit at Ikebukuro Station (Exit 35), 3 minute walk from Higashi-Ikebukuro Station (Tokyo Metro Yurakucho Line)
Official Website: http://www.pokemon.co.jp/gp/pokecen/megatokyo/ (Japanese)

3. Popular Shops to Eat Ramen

Ikebukuro, known as highly competitive ramen neighborhood, is home to a large number of popular ramen eateries.

Mensobo Mutekiya

無敵家

Picture from Mutekiya In Ikebukuro – The Ramen Shop You Just Have To Visit!

Mutekiya is a ramen shop known as having the longest line in Ikebukuro. Their specialty is a rich tonkotsu (pork bone) soup, which lacks too much fattiness and is easy to eat even if you’re not good with rich foods.

The soup tastes delicious with the free garlic on the tabletop, so please be sure try it. The shop has already gained support from international guests.

You will feel rest assured with menus available in multiple languages including English.

Mensobo Mutekiya
Address: Tokyo, Toshima, Minami-Ikebukuro 1-17-1 Sakamoto Building 1F GoogleMap
Access: 3 minute walk from the east exit at Ikebukuro Station
Official Website: http://mutekiya.com/world/english.html

Torinoana

鶏の穴

Shirotori Ramen (740 yen plus tax)

Torinoana is a popular ramen shop located about a five minute walk from the east exit at Ikebukuro Station. You can try a dish called tori-paitan ramen, which is a cloudy soup made by slowly simmering chicken.

The soup looks similar to tonkotsu ramen, but it has a completely different flavor. It is both rich and light enough. This is a type of ramen that we can safely recommend to anyone coming to Ikebukuro.

Torinoana
Address: Tokyo, Toshima, Higashi-Ikebukuro 1-39-20 Keita Building 1F GoogleMap
Access: 5 minute walk from the east exit at Ikebukuro Station
Official Website: http://torinoana.favy.jp/ (Japanese)

Rock*anDo Noodles

六感堂

Deluxe Shio Green Noodles (1200 yen plus tax)

At Rock*anDo Noodles, about a seven minute walk from the east exit at Ikebukuro Station, you can taste delicious and healthy ramen. The soup is made only with seafood ingredients and contains no MSG and additives, and the green handmade noodles kneaded with highly nutritious euglena.

This is a shop for customers with hesitation about high-calorie ramen will try, as we have no doubt that these noodles will change your mind.

Rock*anDo Noodles
Address: Tokyo, Toshima, Higashi-Ikebukuro 2-57-2 Cosmo Higashi-Ikebukuro 101 GoogleMap
Access: 7 minute walk from the east exit at Ikebukuro Station
Official Website: http://www.echobreeze.com/rockando-tokyo/ (Japanese)

4. Relax At A Concept Café

Ikefukuro Café

いけふくろう

Picture from Japanese Encyclopedia: Animal Café

In Japan, you’ll find animal cafés where you can come into contact with animals such as cats, birds, and more.

Ikebukuro’s Ikefukuro Café is an animal café where you can enjoy having an owl on your shoulder and taking photos.

The café is open on the weekdays from 13:00 to 19:00, and on weekends and holidays from 12:00 to 18:00. Ikefukuro runs on a one hour shift system. Customers can enter the café at every hour slot, so on the weekdays be sure to head directly to the café when it’s your time.

The café is sometimes busy during the holidays, so we suggest waiting in front of the Lawson located nearby about five minutes before your time.

Ikefukuro Café
Address: Tokyo, Toshima, Minami-Ikebukuro 1-17-1 GoogleMap
Access: 2 minute walk from the east exit at Ikebukuro Station (Exit 39)
Official Website: https://www.ikefukuroucafe.com/eng-ikebukuro

Fukuroshosabo

梟書茶房

Picture courtesy of Doutor Coffee Co., Ltd.

Fukuroshosabo is an eccentric book café. Their books are lined up in bookshelves with both their titles and bindings hidden, and have reviews of the book written on them instead. The café is designed so that you read the review first and then purchase a book once you’ve found one you’re interested in.

Aside from the bookshelves lined up in rows, the homey interior is another charming appeal of the café. Visitors can enjoy drinks and a snack in different areas here as well.

You can relax in the lounge decorated with sofas, in the Forest Room, where sunlight comes in from the terrace, or outside on the Green Terrace when the weather is clear.

Fukuroshosabo
Address: Tokyo, Toshima, Nishi-Ikebukuro 1-12-1 Esola Ikebukuro 4F GoogleMap
Access: 1 minute walk from the west exit of Ikebukuro Station (Exit 4)
Official Website: https://www.doutor.co.jp/fukuro/ (Japanese)

5. Explore Tokyo’s Best Shopping District

Seibu Ikebukuro Flagship Store

Events like bargain sales and exhibitions are always taking place in the department store event hall at Seibu Ikebukuro.

Inside the department store you’ll find high-end brands such as Louis Vuitton and HERMES, as well as Loft (Japanese), a specialty household goods store, situated on the ninth to twelfth floor of the south wing. MUJI (Japanese) is located on the first and second floor annex.

Salespeople that speak English and Chinese are at the store, so go to the information desk if you have any problems.

Seibu Ikebukuro Flagship Store
Address: Tokyo, Toshima, Minami-Ikebukuro 1-28-1 GoogleMap
Access: Immediately outside the south exit of Ikebukuro Station
Official Website: https://www.sogo-seibu.jp.e.ld.hp.transer.com/foreign/ikebukuro/

Tobu Department Store Ikebukuro

Tobu Department Store Ikebukuro is a store with a slightly casual image. UNIQLO, located on the ninth and tenth floors, offers a full lineup of apparel and products, complete with a baby and kids corner.

Located on the eleventh to the fifteenth floor is the restaurant street Dining City Spice (Japanese).

Over 40 restaurants line this street from spots where you can have a short coffee break during your shopping to shops serving Japanese, Western, Chinese, and other Asian cuisines.

Tobu Department Store Ikebukuro
Address: Tokyo, Toshima, Nishi-Ikebukuro 1-1-25 GoogleMap
Access: Immediately outside the west exit at Ikebukuro Station
Official Website: http://www.tobu-dept.jp/ikebukuro/ (Japanese)

Bic Camera Ikebukuro

Bic Camera Ikebukuro is a large electronics retail store located at the east exit of Ikebukuro Station. In addition to the main store, there are several buildings in the entire area of the east exit like the Computer Building, Camera Building, and Outlet Building.

Airport Delivery (Japanese) is a paid service that will deliver your purchased items for you to Haneda, Narita, Chubu Centrair International, or Kansai International Airport available at the store.

With this service, you can enjoy your trip without carrying around heavy luggage.

Bic Camera Ikebukuro
Address: Tokyo, Toshima, Higashi-Ikebukuro 1-41-5 GoogleMap
Access: 1 minute walk from the east exit at Ikebukuro Station
Official Website: https://www.biccamera.co.jp.e.lj.hp.transer.com/shoplist/shop-007.html

6. Japanese Cosmetics and Necessities at Drugstores

サンドラッグ

Drugstores have a selection of medications, cosmetics, and daily necessities. In Ikebukuro there are a selection of famous stores such as Matsumoto Kiyoshi (Japanese) and Sun Drug (Japanese).

Not only can you buy products at affordable prices, but each store also sells their own brand of original items. How about visiting one to look for souvenirs?

7. Experience Art and Culture in Japan

Tokyo Metropolitan Theatre

東京芸術劇場

Picture courtesy of Tokyo Metropolitan Theatre

The Tokyo Metropolitan Theatre is an art and culture facility hosting concerts, plays, and exhibitions. The world’s largest pipe organ is found in the concert hall, built exclusively for classical music performances.

Additionally, art goods shops, restaurants, and cafés perfect for having a snack are located next to the theatre. A lecture where you can experience playing the pipe organ is also sometimes held depending on the date and time.

Tokyo Metropolitan Theatre
Address: Tokyo, Toshima, Nishi-Ikebukuro 1-8-1 GoogleMap
Access: 2 minute walk from the west exit at Ikebukuro Station. Connected to the Exit 2b underground train passage
Official Website: http://www.geigeki.jp/

Zoshigaya Kishimojindo Temple

鬼子母神

Located about a fifteen minute walk from the east exit at Ikebukuro Station is a temple enshrining the god of safe birth and child raising.

上川口屋

Located on the temple grounds is Kamikawaguchiya, a small candy store that has operated since 1781. Its exterior, which has never been changed and is said to be Japan’s oldest structure, became the model for Studio Ghibli’s animated film “Only Yesterday.”

おみやげ

The shop sells dagashi (inexpensive Japanese sweets) and keychains of Fumi and Ishimatsu (400 yen each), the shop’s two mascot cats that lived for seventeen years.

You’ll also find a postcard of the shop depicting the thirteenth generation store owner (200 yen per card).

Every Sunday and ennichi (*1 the 8th, 18th, and 28th of every month), you can also purchase a type of dango (sweet dumpling) called Osen Dango at the central building on the temple grounds. This is a place you’ll want to stop by after your visit to the temple.

*1 Ennichi: pre-determined days that events and festivals are held every month at a temple. Food stalls are set up on the temple grounds, bringing more visitors than usual.

Zoshigaya Kishimojindo Temple
Address: Tokyo, Toshima, Zoshigaya 3-15-20 GoogleMap
Access: 15 minute walk from the east exit at Ikebukuro Station. 5 minute walk from Exit 1 at Zoshigaya Station (Tokyo Metro Fukutoshin Line)
Official Website: http://www.kishimojin.jp/index.html (Japanese)

Gokokuji Temple

護国寺

Picture courtesy of Gokokuji Temple

Gokokuji Temple is a historical temple established in 1681. The Kannon-Do, the main building, has not changed its appearance despite encountering earthquakes and disasters.

You’ll find a large statue of Buddha 2.5 meters in length when you continue through the Furo-Mon Gates located above the stone steps. It may seem small when compared to the famous Kamakura Daibutsu, but is something rarely found in a city temple and is quite impactful.

Gokokuji Temple
Address: Tokyo, Bunkyo, Otsuka 5-40-1 GoogleMap
Access: Take the Toei Bus from the east exit at Ikebukuro Station to the Gokokuji-mae stop (10 minutes/210 yen). 1 minute walk from Gokokuji Station on the Tokyo Metro Yurakucho Line
Official Website: http://www.gokokuji.or.jp/english

Ikebukuro – Convenient for Shopping and Sightseeing

池袋ふくろう

Picture from Ever Noticed It? The Owl-Themed Police Box In Ikebukuro

Ikebukuro Station is large and serves various lines such as the JR, Seibu Railway, Tobu Railway, and Tokyo Metro Lines. Shopping spots are gathered at the front of the station, so it’s a district that’s easy to shop in even on rainy days.

We hope you make Ikebukuro your sightseeing hub and visit its many shopping spots!

Original Author: Tomomi Sawada

* This article is a revision updated for 2018 of an article originally published on November 12th, 2016.

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