It’s not the most popular area to visit among tourists in Tokyo, but Ikebukuro in the city’s northwestern corner certainly is not without its share of hidden gems and amazing attractions to offer. From shopping to anime, this busy district is an ideal destination for those who seek quirky entertainment and shopping bargains. Here’s a list of the 20 best things to do and discover in Ikebukuro to convince you that it’s worth the visit.
1. Meet "flying penguins" at Sunshine Aquarium
Sunshine Aquarium brings to the city the magnificence of the ocean world. As one of Tokyo’s top aquariums, it showcases a diverse range of sea creatures including fish, invertebrates, waterweeds, frogs, snakes, turtles, and mammals. It also has an outdoor garden where penguins and seals play. Whether you’re traveling with kids or just plain interested in marine life, this place is a great place to spend a couple of hours indoors. It is located inside Ikebukuro’s Sunshine City commercial complex making it very accessible and easy to schedule with other interesting activities in the area.
Address: Rooftop Sunshine City World Import Mart Building 3-1 Higashi-Ikebukuro, Toshima-ku, Tokyo
Price: ¥2,200 (Age 16+), ¥1,200 (Age 7-15) , ¥700 (Age 4-6)
2. Be surrounded by cute Pokemons at Pokemon Center
Sunshine City Ikebukuro is home to Pokemon Center Mega Tokyo, the biggest Pokemon official store in the city. Fans of Pikachu, Charmander, and other pocket monsters are sure to go crazy over the overwhelming amount of Pokemon-related merchandise sold here. From plushie toys to snacks, you just might end up wanting to buy them all.
Address: Sunshine City World Import Mart Building 2F, 3-1-2 Higashi-Ikebukuro, Toshima-ku, Tokyo
3. Have a glass of beautiful late night parfait at Momobukuro
Momobukuro is a unique style bar. It's a bar that offers alcoholic drinks and beautiful and luxurious parfaits. The concept is "night parfait," so the bar is open until late at night. You would be amazed by their creative and beautiful dishes. Parfaits are intended for adults, so they may contain liquors. Have a relaxing night with a glass of alcohol and parfait.
Address: 1-chome-40-5 Nishiikebukuro, Toshima City, Tokyo
Website: http://risotteria-gaku.net/parfait (Japanese Only)
4. Find unique products at Tokyu Hands Ikebukuro
Tokyu Hands is one of those stores where it is impossible to leave without making a single purchase. It offers a unique and exciting shopping experience primarily because of the sheer breadth of products catering to an equally diverse set of hobbies and interests. It has something for the traveler, the craftsperson, the design geek, outdoor enthusiasts, and so on. This branch in Ikebukuro is a superstore with 8 floors worth of various goods. The topmost floor has something special for cat persons, too, as there’s a cat café called Nekobukuro on the 8th floor.
Address: 1-28-10 Higashi-Ikebukuro, Toshima-ku, Tokyo
5. Shop until you drop at Sunshine City Shopping Mall
Aside from the entertainment attractions mentioned in this list, Ikebukuro’s Sunshine City is also known for its shopping mall. It has two shopping zones – Alta and Alpa, with 250 shops between them selling a wide genre of products from casual fashion to specialty goods.
Address: 3-1-2 Higashi-Ikebukuro, Toshima-ku, Tokyo
6. Get an amazing view of Tokyo at Sunshine 60 Observation Deck Sky Circus
This observation deck perched on the topmost floor of Sunshine 60 Building offers not just panoramic aerial views of Tokyo, but also some psychedelic experiences in the form of virtual reality rides, mirrored rooms with dazzling lights, and kaleidoscope-like installations. Indeed, there’s a lot of fun to be had in the sky!
Address: 60F Sunshine 60, 3-1-1 Higashi-Ikebukuro, Toshima-ku, Tokyo
Price: ¥1,200 (Adults), ¥900 (Students – High School and College), ¥600 (Students – Middle School and Elementary), ¥300 (Children 4+)
7. Shop at Otome Road
Otome Road is a lot like Akihabara that’s more catered to females. It is Ikebukuro’s go-to place for anime-related stuff – manga, cosplay outfits, toys, and other merchandise, where anime retail giants such as Animate, Mandarake, K-Books, and Lashinban all have multiple stores.
Address: 3 Higashi-Ikebukuro, Toshima-ku, Tokyo
8. Experience the hospitalty of Butlers Café
If Akihabara is famous for its maid café’s, Ikebukuro’s Otome Road has a butler café in response. Swallowtail Butlers Café is a place where you can dine like a queen whilst Japanese gentlemen in snappy suits wait on you and your entourage. The dining space has a classic yet elegant ambiance accentuated by Victorian-inspired interiors and soothing classical background music. Definitely high-class and high quality, an experience here is an affair to remember!
Address: Showa Building, 3 Chome-12-12 Higashi-Ikebukuro, Toshima-ku, Tokyo
Price: ¥4,000 ~ ¥4,999
Website: http://www.butlers-cafe.jp/ (Japanese only)
9. Find limited products at Evangelion Store Tokyo-01
This shop is specifically for the Neon Genesis Evangelion a.k.a Evangelion fans; the mecca where various official merchandises of the said anime are sold. Located on the 2nd floor of Ikebukuro Parco Mall, it is just a stone’s throw away from Ikebukuro Station.
Address: 2F P’Parco 1-50-35 Higashi-Ikebukuro, Toshima-ku, Tokyo
Website: http://www.evastore2.jp/tokyo01/ (Japanese only)
10. Shop like an otaku at Animate Ikebukuro
Being the main store, Animate Ikebukuro is a world to get lost in for anything anime related. It has nine floors packed with different kinds of goodies, but on top of that, it is a regular venue for exhibits, talk shows, and events. Best to check out their website to access their calendar of events.
Address: 1 Chome-20-7 Higashi-Ikebukuro, Toshima-ku, Tokyo
11. Experience various funs at Namja Town
Namja Town is for people with the taste – literally and figuratively, for the quirky. It’s another indoor theme park located in Sunshine City, which features cute Namco characters, themed dining experience, and carnival-style games and attractions. It is particularly popular for its Gyoza Stadium – a food court dedicated to selling different renditions of the dish, and Fukubukuro Dessert Yokocho – a dessert alley unique for incorporating anime characters into ice cream, crepes, cakes, pancakes, and other sweets. On top of all these, Namja Town also holds seasonal events and various collaborations with characters, so do watch out for these during your visit.
Address: 2F Sunshine City World Import Mart Building 3-1 Higashi-Ikebukuro, Toshima-ku, Tokyo
Price: ¥500 (Age 12+, admission only), ¥300 (Age 4-11, admission only), passport tickets also available
12. Play with cats at Cat Café Nekorobi
Of course, Ikebukuro has its representative cat café. Nekorobi is an awesome place to spend an hour or two especially if you are a cat lover. The atmosphere here is very calm and homey, and it goes without saying that this café’s resident feline friends are just waiting for visitors to shower them with attention.
Address: 3F Tact TO Building, 1 Chome-28-1 Higashi-Ikebukuro, Toshima-ku, Tokyo
Price: ¥1,100 (1 hour, weekday rate)
13. Take a picture with an owl at Ikefukurou Café
If cat cafés are too passe for your taste, then consider owl-petting as a unique alternative. Ikefukurou Café is a popular owl café in Ikebukuro, and similar to how cat cafés are operated, this establishment charges by the hour inclusive of a drink. Getting a chance to interact with these wonderful creatures is quite rare elsewhere, so better book a reservation to make sure that the café can accommodate you during your visit.
Address: 1-17-1 Minami-Ikebukuro, Toshima-ku, Tokyo
Price: ¥1,100 (1 hour with one drink, weekday rate)
14. Indulge in arts at Tokyo Metropolitan Theater
Ikebukuro also has something for people who are interested in the arts. Directly accessed from the 2B Exit of Ikebukuro Station, Tokyo Metropolitan Theater is a cultural facility that holds a variety of arts performances mainly in the fields of classical music, theater, opera, and dance. Check out their website below for more details on show listings and schedules.
Address: 1 Chome-8-1 Nishi-Ikebukuro, Toshima-ku, Tokyo
15. Try a delicious Japanese sweet at Suzumeya Dorayaki
Suzumeya Dorayaki is one of the most sought-after food haunts in Ikebukuro. Tucked in a narrow side street near the east exit of the JR Ikebukuro Station, this little shop is always with a long line of customers waiting to purchase their version of the popular Japanese treat. It is best to drop by in the morning as the day’s stocks usually run out very fast.
Address: 2-18-5 Minamiikebukuro, Toshima-ku, Tokyo
Price: ~ ¥999
Website: http://www.d-suzumeya.com/ (Japanese only)
16. Relax with thousands of books at Book and Bed Tokyo
A library, a reader’s nook, and a hostel all rolled into one, Book and Bed Tokyo is truly one of the most unique concepts Ikebukuro has to offer. It boasts of a comfortable space conducive to getting lost in your reading and fashionable interiors that are truly Instagram-worthy. Choose between an overnight stay or just a day check-in to experience this book haven. Do take note that reservations are not accepted for day-time visitors.
Address: 7F Lumiere Building, 1-17-7 Nishi-Ikebukuro, Toshima-ku, Tokyo
Price: ¥500 / hour (Day rate, tax not yet included)
17. Play until you get tired at Round 1 Ikebukuro
Round 1 is the action-packed center of Ikebukuro. It combines in one place karaoke rooms, bowling alleys, arcade games, billiards, a baseball batting area, and a few other games and activities. It is open 24 hours a day – come anytime you want to play!
Address: 1-14-1 Ikebukuro Square, Higashi-Ikebukuro, Toshima-ku, Tokyo
18. Watch the starry sky at Konica Minolta Planetarium
Go stargazing when in Ikebukuro. Sunshine City is also home to a planetarium operated by Japanese tech giant, Konica Minolta, offering a mesmerizing experience of viewing the galaxy. On top of its state-of-the-art effects, the theater is equipped with special seats to make this special trip to the cosmos relaxing and heavenly in all ways possible. Choose a show and book your tickets online via their official website below.
Address: Rooftop Sunshine City World Import Mart Building, 3-1-3 Higashi-Ikebukuro, Toshima-ku, Tokyo
Price: Varies per show
Website: https://planetarium.konicaminolta.jp/manten/ (Japanese only)
19. Have fun at Toshimaen amusement park
Toshimaen is one of the most popular family destinations come summer time. It is an amusement park near Ikebukuro that has green spaces, rides and attractions, and a huge waterpark. Come prepared with your summer swimming essentials as you won’t be able to resist the fun that awaits you and your family here. To get you a bit excited, expect surf and wave pools, water slides, and pools with inflatable play areas.
Address: 3-25-1 Koyama, Nerima-ku, Tokyo
Price: ¥3,800 (Adult), ¥2,000 (Child)
Website: http://www.toshimaen.co.jp/ (Japanese only)
20. Dip your toes into Niwanoyu Onsen
You don’t have to travel very far to enjoy an onsen experience. Niwanoyu Onsen is located in the same area as Toshimaen, and in this onsen facility, visitors can enjoy a wide variety of onsen baths that are catered for kids and adults alike. Some pools are assigned as bathing suit areas. Hence, those who have qualms about experiencing onsen because they are shy about bathing in the nude won’t have any problems here.
Address: 3-25-1 Koyama, Nerima-ku, Tokyo
Website: http://www.niwanoyu.jp/niwa/ (Japanese only)
More attractions in Ikebukuro
All information in this article is as of September 2017.
Thumbnail image is from Flickr.