The 15 Fun Things To Do In Ikebukuro On Your First Visit

Ikebukuro is among the most bustling and eventful district in Tokyo, aside from the renowned Shinjuku and Shibuya. So the number of things to do in Ikebukuro is endless, and one-of-the-kind experiences await you on every corner.

Not sure where to even begin and what to do here? Try completing this checklist of 15 things to do in Ikebukuro on your very first visit.

1.   Go hopping at these themed cafes

Animal cafe – Cats and Owls

what to do in Ikebukuro

Owl café in Ikebukuro

There are various novel cafes and bars where you can enjoy seeing and playing with animals. For instance, Owlpark offers you an exceptional experience to meet “friendly” owls and cute hedgehogs. Fun facts, owls are the signature animal of Ikebukuro.

Address: Tokyo, Toshima ward, 1-17-1 Minami-Ikebukuro

For more information: https://www.ikefukuroucofe.com/in-engrish

 

Cat café

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Of course, for the cat persons, don’t miss the Neco Republic. Specifically, it is a cat cafe that also offers adopting services. Even if you stop by here for a while and can’t adopt a cat, the money you paid for a coffee here will contribute a lot to maintain this shelter for the cats.
Address: Tokyo, Toshima ward, Nishi-Ikebukuro 3-27-3, Nakane Building (4th floor)

For more information: http://www.neco-republic.jp/

Butlers Café

While Akihabara is well-known for its maid café, our Ikebukuro has a high-class Victorian-inspired Swallowtail butler café. It is a place where the ladies come to have a feast whilst Japanese waiters in neat vests wait for you and your friends. Such an unforgettable affair!

Butler Café

Address: Tokyo, Toshima ward, 3 Chome-12-12 Higashi-Ikebukuro, Showa Building,

For more information: http://www.butlers-cafe.jp/ (Japanese only)

Book and bed Ikebukuro café

What if we combine a library and a hostel? Then, we will get a unique yet comfortable space designed to getting lost in your reading. Moreover, Book and Beed is decored with stylish interiors that are definitely Instagramable.

Book and bed café

Address: Tokyo, Toshima ward, 1-17-7 Nishi-Ikebukuro, 7F Lumiere Building

For more information: http://bookandbedtokyo.com/en/

2. Have the time of your life as an Otaku

what to do in Ikebukuro

Otome road

Even though you may not really an Otaku, someone obsessed with anime or manga, there’s still enough fun to had on Otome Road. Located just west of the Sunshine 60 Building, Otome Road is Ikebukuro’s must-go place for some merchandise like books, cosplay outfits, toys, and collector items. Indeed, this street is somehow Akihabara that’s more customized for women.

Address: 3 Higashi-Ikebukuro, Toshima Ward, Tokyo

Animate store

Also situated on Otome Road is the seven-floor headquarters of Animate, which stores a huge collection of anime-related stuff. Other anime retail giants including Mandarake, K-Books, and Lashinban all have branches here.

Japan Adventure: Ikebukuro, Otome road! ♡

3.   Watch Penguins fly in the sky at Sunshine City

Heading for the east side of Ikebukuro Station, you will find Sunshine City which is a popular complex containing a shopping mall, observatory, museum, and aquarium. Due to the special location on the rooftop of Sunshine City’s World Import Mart Building, it is considered “oasis in the sky”. As a result, here you can see penguins that look like they’re diving above you, and watch other marines on waterfronts.

Flying penguin

Address: Tokyo, Toshima, Higashi-Ikebukuro 3-1 Sunshine City Sunshine 60

For more information: https://www.sunshinecity-global.com/en/facility/aquarium/

4. Catch phenomenal views over Tokyo at Sunshine 60 Observation Deck Sky Circus

In Sunshine city, you will see Sunshine 60, a shopping mall with a Sky Circus area on the top floor. In fact, the building is called 60 because it has 60 floors (240m high), so it is very noticeable.

View of Tokyo

This Circus is home to an observation deck panoramic views of Tokyo, peeking as far as Mount Fuji on uncloudy days. In addition, other landmarks to look out for are Roppongi Hills, skyscrapers in Shinjuku and Tokyo Tower. You can occasionally get a sight of Tokyo Disneyland, Mount Tsukuba, and even the Izu Peninsula as well.

Address: 60F Sunshine 60, 3-1-1 Higashi-Ikebukuro, Toshima Ward, Tokyo

For more information: http://www.skycircus.jp/english/

5.  Uncover the cool stuff at these shopping gems

Tabineko Zakkaten – a cute souvenir shop

It just takes you 6 minutes to walk from Kishibojimmae Station to reach Tabineko Zakkaten. From every corner of Japan, random sundries, old books, and toys have been gathered here. In my opinion, it’s so satisfying to pop in a store like this, with its cozy atmosphere.  That is not to mention their adorable folk toys make perfect souvenirs of your travel to Japan! Furthermore, a great idea to go around the whole area, cause Zoshigaya is the totally different side of Tokyo. Covered by trees, cafes, bookstores, it brings about the quiet life of Tokyo.

what to do in Ikebukuro

Tabineko Zakkaten store

Address: 2-22-17, Zoshigaya, Toshima ward, Tokyo, 171-0032

Tokyu Hands Ikebukuro

Tokyu Hands is a kind of store where you can hardly leave without buying anything since it sells a thrilling shopping experience. This is mainly thanks to the sheer breadth of products living up to a multiple set of interests. Whether you are a traveler, the craftsperson, the design geek, and so on, you find something here. For example, from kimonos to ceramics, all made from regional materials and crafted using traditional Japanese techniques. Last but not least, this branch in Ikebukuro is a superstore with 8 floors worth of diverse products.

Tokyo hand store

Address: 1-28-10 Higashi-Ikebukuro, Toshima Ward, Tokyo

For more information: https://ikebukuro.tokyu-hands.co.jp/en/

6. Try the best miso ramen in Ikebukuro

Miso ramen

Ikebukuro is the ideal destination to eat ramen since there are a bunch of ramen restaurants and each bowl is high quality, appetizing, and budget-friendly! The most popular is Mendokoro Hanada Ikebukuro Store. Thus, it’s about 5-minute away from the east of Ikebukuro Station. And many people have fallen in love with its really thick noodles and the crazy rich miso soup that match perfectly together.

Address: Tokyo, Toshima ward, 1-23-8, Higashi Ikebukuro, Higashi Ikebukuro ISK building 1st floor

For more information: http://www.eternal-company.com/

7.   Admire temples in the heart of the cities

Tokyo is such a modern city, however, there are well-kept sacred temples where you can discover traditional Japanese culture.

Zoshigaya Kishimojindo Temple

Firstly, this majestic place, used since the 1600s to pray for childbirth, makes you feel like going back to the old Edo. Secondly, it is on the street connected to Zoshigaya Station, in which small wooden stores and outdoor markets are usually held here.

Above all, come to the Kishimojindo Temple in October to see people playing taiko drums and release sky lanterns during Oeshiki Festival.

Address: 3-15-20 Zoshigaya, Toshima ward Tokyo

Gokokuji Temple

In case needing a break after all intensive sightseeing, what about ending your tour of Ikebukuro with a visit to the tranquil Gokokuji Temple? Since it was built about 400 years ago, the temple is known for miraculously pull through the World War II. Besides the main temple, Gokokuji’s territory offers you a bunch of things to see including Buddha statues, artworks, and various cherry trees.

Gokokuji Temple

Address: Tokyo, Bunkyo City, 5 Chome-40-1 Otsuka

For more information: http://www.gokokuji.or.jp/english/about

8.   View a cultural performance at Tokyo Metropolitan Theatre

The Tokyo Metropolitan Theatre is a cultural hub and world-class venue for a variety of concerts and art performances. Therefore, many tourists come here to watch plays, opera, and dance.

Tokyo Metropolitan Theatre

Address: 1-8-1 Nishi-Ikebukuro, Toshima ward, Tokyo 171-0021

For more information: https://www.geigeki.jp/english/about/index.html

9.   Hand make your soba from scratch

Soba making classes

For a truly Japanese one in a lifetime experience, you can join a soba making course (bonus some history) with a soba chef! To your concern, this activity is suitable for kids and adults. Indeed, nothing is better than the taste of fresh soba noodles that is the fruits of your labor, trust me. Therefore check out the link below for some courses to make soba noodles yourself in the neighborhood

10. Be surrounded by cute Pokemons at Pokemon Center

So, good news for all pokemon fans who are visiting Tokyo! From this year, Pokemon Center Mega Tokyo released a major extension of itself, which is the first Pokemon GO official store in the world, the massive Pokemon Card Game Station, and a takeaway style cafe, called Pikachu Sweets. In conclusion, you can indulge in your favorite game in lots of ways and go crazy over what this new space offer!

This mega-shop offers the overwhelming selection of Pokemon merchandise, including plenty of limited-edition items.

Address: Sunshine City World Import Mart Building 2F, 3-1-2 Higashi-Ikebukuro, Toshima Ward, Tokyo

11. Take a breath at Nishi-Ikebukuro Park

Nishi-Ikebukuro Park or the Ikebukuro West Gate Park is situated next to the Tokyo Metropolitan Theater, and before the Ikebukuro Station. As a result, the park gives an aesthetic feeling with dozens of art sculptures inside it.

Despite looking unlike a park, this place is ideal for enjoying a sunny day and watching the world go by.

Address: 1-8-26, Nishiikebukuro, Toshima Ward, Tokyo, 171-0021

12. Go on a food tour in CHINATOWN

Ikebukuro’s lately opened Chinatown is the place to go if you want to indulge in Chinese cuisine. Located in the center of the district, Chinatown is within a 1-minute walking distance from Ikebukuro Station. The town has several restaurants with delicious dishes, for example, tantanmen (spicy noodles), spit-roasted lamb, and Eisho-Shanghai fried dumplings. In addition, menu prices are reasonable, some restaurants offering lunches for under $10.

Eisho-Shanghai fried dumplings

Best restaurants in Ikebukuro’s Chinatown

  • Chiin Shokudo (Szechuan cuisine)
  • Jufukuro (Chinese BBQ)
  • Eisho (desserts, tea)
  • Chugoku Chakan (Chinese Tea House)
  • Yang-Chugoku Katei Ryori (gyoza, ramen)

13. Singing all night long at Karaoke Bar

On the road named Otsuka Norengai, there are countless tiny bars, but only Karaoke Bar Tao Pai Pai offers free karaoke if you can finish the 90-minute all-you-can-drink deal. To start with, drink out a cup of beer with a gyoza dish from the downstair restaurants, then you are in the game. Although Karaoke Bar Tao Pai Pai opens from 5 pm to 3 am for most nights, in Monday, the closing time is much earlier, midnight.

Karaoke bar

Address: Tokyo, Sugamo, Otsuka,

14. Dip your feet in Niwanoyu Onsen

You don’t have to transport far from the city to experience an onsen because Niwanoyu Onsen is near Ikebukuro than any other. Meanwhile, it offers a wide range of onsen baths enjoyable for both children and adults. 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.

Osen bath

Address: 3-25-1 Koyama, Nerima-ku, Tokyo

For more information: http://www.niwanoyu.jp/niwa/ (Japanese only)

15. Shop like you’ve never shopped before

shopping in Ikebukuro

Ikebukuro Station is heaven for shopaholics because this is where you can own anything you ever want (of course you have enough money). This is because there are fancy department stores covering all streets and huge shopping centers that can be seen from miles away. So, some places I suggest are Seibu, Sunshine city and Tobu. Also, for Japanese high-quality electronic devices, visit “Bic Camera”.

Less common things

Observe the starry sky at Konica Minolta Planetarium

Also in Sunshine City, a planetarium is designed by a Japanese tech genius, Konica Minolta. In a word, it offers an engaging view of the galaxy. And your seat is exclusively made to accompany you throughout this amazing and relaxing journey to the cosmo in all senses.

Konica Minolta Planetarium

Address: Rooftop Sunshine City World Import Mart Building, 3-1-3 Higashi-Ikebukuro, Toshima Ward, Tokyo

For more information: https://planetarium.konicaminolta.jp/manten/ (Japanese only)

Eat a yummy Suzumeya Dorayaki – favorite sweet of Doraemon

Suzumeya Dorayaki is one of the most in-demand food for sweet tooths (or Doraemon fans) in Ikebukuro. It is close to the east side of JR Ikebukuro Station. But mind that you may want to arrive early in the morning, to avoid waiting in a long queue to buy this famous cake.

Suzumeya Dorayaki

Address: 2-18-5 Minamiikebukuro, Toshima ward, Tokyo

For more information: http://www.d-suzumeya.com/ (Japanese only)

Discover new flavors of Street Food in IKEBUKURO

FAQs:

What is Ikebukuro known for?

On the one hand, Ikebukuro is very well-known as a commercial and entertainment area. It offers for its low-cost accommodation for travelers, otaku cultures street, shopping centers, yet quiet historical temples at the same time. On the other hand, you can find a lot of universities and cultural places like theater here.

A Beginner’s Guide to Ikebukuro

Is Ikebukuro worth visiting?

It depends on you, actually. Briefly, if you enjoy these types of activities I mention above, Ikebukuro is definitely worth a visit.

What is there to do around Ikebukuro Station?

There are a lot because from the west exit of Ikebukuro Station, you will find the main entertainment district. Remember the Nishi-Ikebukuro Park (West Gate Park), Sunshine 60 building (in front of the station), and Sunshine city, they are actually all nearby. In fact, of many downtown areas in Ikebukuro, this is the most thriving area, and it is always crowded from dusk till dawn. Besides, it contains a lot of character games and goods shops, so it is where you can enjoy Japanese hobby culture.

Is Ikebukuro safe?

Ikebukuro is clean, friendly, and safe, as is anywhere else in Japan. So, you are most surely safe from being robbed or attacked. There are also little threats of being pickpocketed or deceived unless you let the bad people make use of your naïve. However, the most possible risk may be facing drunk commuters, then just pretend that you don’t see them. In that situation, stay in groups, avoid guys trading drugs, fake goods, and things that appear to be good deals on the street. On the whole, even if you are a solo female traveler or traveling family with small children, you will be fine.

About Yuu Sato

Yuu Hiasa has been working in hospitality industry since 2003. In the past, he used to work as a tour guide and now he is running his business of supplying comfortable accommodations in Japan. Thanks to this experience and his passion for writing blog, the articles by him provides awesome tips and things to do when you are traveling in the country of cherry blossoms.