The Ikebukuro District
Tokyo offers a plethora of destinations to visit, and Ikebukuro is one such district built around entertaining visitors.
The myriad of places to see and things to do all surround the Yamanote train line, making it very easy to get there.
The district is also a great area to stay in, as the various major transportation lines you can travel through Ikebukuro Station will bring you to other spots in Japan that are popular tourist destinations.
Ikebukuro also regards the owl as their animal, with statues and depictions of owls found around the district. The people who live in the district view the owl as a symbol of good luck and protection.
The Ikebukuro Station is at the epicenter of this district and offers tourists and commuters alike the opportunity to enjoy the district through various transportation routes.
Within the station, you can find various train lines that lead to various areas of Japan, as well as three subway stops.
The Competing Retailers
With Ikebukuro being a destination for shoppers, it’s no surprise that some of Japan’s biggest retailers operate a brick and mortar here.
Furthermore, some big retailers operate here despite some of their competing retailers also setting up shop in the district.
For instance, two major department stores in Japan, Tobu, and Seibu, can be found on opposite sides of Ikebukuro Station.
Bic Camera has also been a mainstay in Ikebukuro for a very long time, but Yamada Denki decided to open up shop in the district regardless.
Outside of these big chain stores, you can find shops that sell goods suited for any budget, any taste, and there are even shops where you can find items based on some of your favorite characters and hobbies.
Sunshine City is often called a city in a city, as it is structured in the manner of a very small city. There are many things to see and do here, with shops, museums, an aquarium, and restaurants scattered throughout.
There is even an indoor theme park called Nanja Town, which offers a bounty of entertainment and games to indulge in.
One of the main focal points of the small city in the Sunshine 60 tower, with the Sky Circus observation deck on the top floor that gives you an incredible vantage point to see Tokyo.
They also recently added the Tokyo Bullet Flight, which is a VR simulation where you lay in a cannon and look over the city of Tokyo in the sky.
Given that there is so much to do in this little area, it may be worth booking a room at the Sunshine Prince Hotel so you don’t miss out on any experiences.
If you’re a Pokemon fan, you’ll also want to hit up the Pokemon Center Mega Tokyo and grab some memorabilia to take home with you.
Sunshine City takes less than ten minutes to walk from Ikebukuro Station.
The Otaku Scene
Female shoppers and hobbyists can find a host of dedicated businesses on Otome Road, also referred to as the female Akihabara. Otome Road caters mainly to female anime fans and their interests.
There are many options for shops that cater to female cosplayers, manga enthusiasts, and reading material such as manga and novels that are made to entice female readers.
If you want to pet a sweet animal while sipping on some tea, there are two noteworthy animal cafes in Ikebukuro District. Ikebukuro Cafe houses owls, which are a symbol of sorts for the district.
You get about an hour to enjoy the ambiance of the cafe, have an owl sit on your shoulder or hand, and get some photos taken of your experience.
Neko Republic is a cat cafe that houses adoptable cats. It’s essentially a cat’s paradise where they have a large number of toys, beds, and cat towers, but they can also get doted on by guests.
This is by far a stop worth making at least once, if not more, as your patronage helps this cafe take in more cats and take care of them until they find homes.
Maid And Butler Cafes
Some dining experiences that are somewhat unique to Japan are maid and butler cafes. These eateries are either staffed by men or women dressed as maids or butlers, who serve you and entertain you while making you feel like a VIP.
In Ikebukuro, there’s a maid cafe known as Maidreamin that can be found on Sunshine Street. The butler cafe, Swallowtail, can be found on Otome Road.
Animate is a must-stop shop for anyone who enjoys anime, video games, and comics, as you can find a host of different memorabilia, merch, and action figures among other things that are all based on your favorite characters.
After a day of sightseeing and shopping, you can relax and unwind at Myouhou, a public Japanese bath.
This gorgeous public bath does offer gendered areas, as well as all the amenities you could need; though you should bring your own towel. On Sundays, they offer an invigorating lavender bath, and there is also a sauna.
If you want to take some time in the Ikebukuro District to sit back and watch a show, there are various venues found throughout to enjoy music, performances, and the like.
Various events are held throughout the year indoors and outdoors.
Temples And Shrines
If you enjoy traveling through Japan and viewing the copious shrines and temples, you won’t miss out on that aspect of Japanese culture in this district.
The Ikebukuro Mitake Shrine not only serves as a place to pray for a safe family and health, but you can see owls here as well.
The Gokokuji Temple has been in Ikebukuro since the 1600s and has stood in place despite the test of time and natural disasters. Within the temple, you can view a massive Buddha statue.
The Zoshigaya Kishimojindo Temple is in place to honor the god of childbearing, and the Kishimojindo Hall is quite a spectacularly designed building.
As you walk around the temple grounds, you’ll stumble upon Kamikawaguchiya, a sweet little candy stall that has been in the same family for multiple generations.
Book And Bed Tokyo
Have you ever wanted to spend all day and all night in a library? You can get pretty close to that experience at the Book And Bed Tokyo located about five minutes away from Ikebukuro Station on the west side.
This bookstore offers a bundle of books in both Japanese and English and has beds that are built into large bookshelves.
You can book accommodation here and get that incredible experience of living in a bookstore for the night.
Enjoy Incredible Ramen
After you’ve built up an appetite for exploring the district, you’ll be pleased to know that some of Tokyo’s best ramen can be found here.
Mutekiya is one such spot that is immensely popular; don’t be surprised if you have to wait in a long line to get a hand-crafted bowl.
Kotobuki is also known for its lemon chicken ramen, as well as some other unique interpretations of the delicious dish. Kikanbo is a stop worth making if you like a little bit of heat added to your ramen.