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Exterior view of JR Ikebukuro Station.
Exterior view of JR Ikebukuro Station.

Ikebukuro: The Best Fun in Tokyo!

Thuy FangThuy Fang
Published Time
Posted on February 24, 2023
Modified Time
Updated last February 28, 2023

Japan is a country with a lot of art and culture. Cities in Japan inherent their cultural roots as they proudly display a harmonious blend between tradition and modernity. Ikebukuro is one of the most exciting cities to experience the most from your trip to Japan. 

Let’s follow along as we would love to introduce you to all the fun and memorable activities you can try in Ikebukuro. The area is accessible via the JR Yamanote, Tobu Tojo, Seibu Ikebukuro, and the Tokyo Metro Subway Lines!

Visit Sunshine City

This place always attracts many visitors because of its diverse combination of shops, hotels, restaurants, and playgrounds. Sunshine City is a complex of four large buildings, including Sunshine 60, the primary and tallest building. In addition, it’s easily accessible from the East Exit of Ikebukuro Station!

Front of Sunshine City, a shopping complex in Ikebukuro.
Sunshine City has a shopping mall, aquarium, and much more! Image via Shutterstock

This building also includes a 240-meter-high observatory with many promotional events and fun VR services. In addition, there are also countless places worth experiencing inside Sunshine City. Check out the following highlights:

Merchandise Stores at the Shopping Mall!

You can come here to shop as much as you want, from clothes and jewelry to stationery and cosmetics. In particular, Sunshine City has many well-known merchandise stores such as Disney Store, Snoopy Town Ikebukuro, and Rilakkuma Store. Moreover, if you are a One Piece or Evangelion fan, check out these anime theme stores here!

Interior of Sunshine City;s shopping mall in Ikebukuro.
Sunshine City is home to many merchandise stores, including Pokemon! Image via Shutterstock

Pokemon Center Mega Tokyo is also a great place to explore. Here, you can admire many kinds of Pokemon goods, such as pokemon figurines, stuffed animals, snacks, cute t-shirts, and even pokemon printed cutlery.

At the Pokemon Center, you can also check out trading stations where some center staff will welcome you to experience Pokemon trading card games. You can also take a picture with the vast Dragonite statue outside.

Looking to enjoy snacks from fantastic places like Ikebukuro? Check out TokyoTreat! TokyoTreat delivers limited-edition Japanese snacks right to your door, so you can enjoy the latest Japanese desserts in the comfort of your home!

Sunshine Aquarium

A girl looks at a humphead wrasse and many other fish as Sunshine City Aquarium in Ikebukuro, Tokyo.
Sunshine City is home to a fantastic aquarium. Image via Shutterstock

Sunshine Aquarium is perfect for broadening your horizons about sea life! It has a total of four separate visiting areas:

  • Ocean Journey: located on the first floor and displays a variety of marine species
  • Waterfront Journey: located on the second floor and is home to a lot of animals that reside in lakes and rivers
  • Sky Journey: a maritime garden in the outside area
  • Sunshine Lagoon: a sizable aquarium on the first floor with roughly 240 tons of water and simulates a shallow-water coral reef – the habitat of diverse fish types. 

Department of Gashapon Ikebukuro 

If you are familiar with gacha gacha (Japanese coin-toy machines), Gashaphon Ikebukuro is the place to be! The Department of Gashapon in Ikebukuro is known as the largest capsule ball store in the world. 

Front of Gashapon Ikebukuro, there are many gacha machines there.
This place is home to many excellent gacha machines! Image via Shutterstock

This place gathers many gacha balls (capsule balls), from toys to shopping bags, rubbers, and key chains. You can easily find gacha machines containing your favorite themes, such as cartoon characters, anime, or K-pop idols like BTS. Furthermore, there are also casual themes such as food, animals, and miniatures for those who like to collect.

Right from the entrance of this department, many antique models from old gacha balls and models of famous anime characters, such as One Piece and Demon Slayer, are on display. You can also experience many special edition gacha machines to be lucky to receive one-of-a-kind items right next to the display area.

Namja Town

Outside of NamjaTown entrance.
NamjaTown in an indoor theme park! Image via Shutterstock

Namja Town is a famous indoor theme park in Ikebukuro that recreates the Japanese city in 1955. The lovely Najavu cat even greets you at the entrance! Namja Town consists of three main zones:

  • Dokkingham Plaza: this zone has vintage Western-style cityscapes which can help you to live in your childhood storybooks
  • Fukubukuro 7 Chome Shopping Street: This is the most favorite place in Namja Town. You can visit the Gyoza Stadium inside this zone to explore the quaint streets and enjoy over ten types of gyoza (dumplings) from various parts of Japan.
    • Besides you can also drop by Fukubukuro Dessert Yokocho to enjoy tasty desserts. There are many options, like crepes, pancakes, and ice cream. In particular, ice cream has more than 30 types from many places in Japan for you to try. 
  • Mononoke Unnumbered Plot: If daring, this is the right place to challenge your bravery. The area has many thrills and scary rides featuring zombies, best for courageous people like you!

Relax at Animal Cafes in Ikebukuro

Are you a lover of cute animals? Ikebukuro is the place you should go. In Ikebukuro, it is easy to find animal cafes where you can enjoy delicious Japanese drinks while having fun with super cute animals.

It’s convenient to find numerous cat cafes are the most accessible cafe to find in Ikebukuro. Popular restaurants can refer to as Cat Cafe Mocha or Neco Republic Ikebukuro.

An owl with red eyes at an animal cafe.
There are plenty of animal cafes in the area! Image via Shutterstock

In addition to cat cafes, there are many unique cafes in Ikebukuro where you can play with cute little animals like bunnies, owls, and hedgehogs. The two exciting spots you should visit are Mimi Rabbit Cafe (including bunnies and otters) and Owlpark Ikebukuro (including owls, porcupines, and several species of reptiles).

A unique place is Penguin Bar Ikebukuro. Although not a typical animal cafe, this is a beautiful place to admire the penguin performances and enjoy the cozy space with delicious food and drinks.

Indulge Yourself in Anime Paradise at Animate Ikebukuro!

A true heaven for manga & anime lovers is Animate Ikebukuro. Though incomparable to the large-scale Akihabara district, all nine floors of the Animate building in Ikebukuro will satisfy your love of anime culture.

Outside of Animate Ikebukuro, a storefront.
Animate is perfect for anime fans! Image via Shutterstock

You can shop for manga/anime-related magazines, books, and accessories and admire authentic anime figurines from the 1st to 7th floors. The 8th and 9th floors will be the venue for events and exhibitions. Stay updated with information about Animate Ikebukuro, as this may be the perfect place to enjoy special anime events!

Try Michelin-grade Ramen

A long walk around the Ikebukuro area will make you tired and hungry. It’s time to take a break and have a delicious meal here! What’s more attractive than having an opportunity to enjoy a Michelin-star dish for less than $10?

Well, Tsuta is one of Ikebukuro’s most famous noodle shops. Tsuta used to be the first ramen shop in the culinary world to receive a Michelin star thanks to its Japanese soba noodle dish in 2015. 

A delicious bowl of miso ramen with lots of pork and eggs inside.
There are so many delicious ramen spots in Ikebukuro! Image via Shutterstock

The broth of Tsuta ramen is unique compared to many other ramen shops. It has a very light taste, less thick than regular ramen, but it has a complex preparation. The ingredients used to make Tsuta ramen come from many parts of the world, according to the recipe of the late chef Yuki Onishi, the former owner of Tsuta ramen.

You can rest assured that there is never a dull moment when you are in Ikebukuro. With plenty of exciting places to visit and delicious cuisine to explore your taste buds, Ikebukuro promises to deliver a whole spectrum experience of the rich culture of Japan.

If you have a chance to come to the land of the rising sun, you should certainly pay a visit to the beloved city of Ikebukuro! Don’t forget to follow our blogs for more information about Japanese culture!

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