Ikebukuro (rÜ) is one of Tokyo's multiple city centers, found around the northwestern corner of the Yamanote loop line. At the district's center stands Ikebukuro Station, a busy commuter hub traversed by three subway and multiple urban and suburban train lines. The station handles over a million passengers per day, making it the second busiest railway station surpassed only by Shinjuku Station.
Ikebukuro offers plenty of entertainment, shopping and dining opportunities. It is the battleground between the Tobu and Seibu conglomerates which operate large department stores on each side of the station, as well as train lines from Ikebukuro into the suburbs. Seibu furthermore has a stake in Sunshine City, a large shopping and entertainment complex not far from the station.
Ikebukuro has also become the site of a more recent clashing of two of Japan's largest electronic retailers, Bic Camera and Yamada Denki. Bic Camera had been dominating the district for decades with its main store until Yamada Denki opened its first outlet there in 2007. Since then, the two retailers have been engaging in fierce competition in multiple branches around the station.
While not as large or well known as Akihabara, Ikebukuro is also a center of otaku culture. Unlike Akihabara, Ikebukuro caters more to a female clientele with butler cafes and anime, manga and cosplay related shops such as Animate, Mandarake and K-Books. The center of the female otaku scene is located along Otome Road just north of Sunshine City. It is also said to be a good place to find dojinshi, or self published manga or novels, especially those produced for women.
Hours: 10:00 to 20:00 (some floors open until 21:00 except on Sundays and holidays) Restaurants: from 11:00 (closing times vary)
Located on top of the west exit of Ikebukuro Station is the Tobu Department Store, one of Tokyo's largest department stores. It belongs to the Tobu Group, which also operates several suburban railway lines, including the Tobu Tojo Line which terminates at Ikebukuro Station.
Shops: 10:00 to 21:00 (until 20:00 on Sundays and national holidays) Restaurants: 11:00 to 23:00 (from 10:30 on weekends and holidays)
Located on top of the east exit of Ikebukuro Station is the flagship Seibu Department Store, another of Tokyo's largest department stores. It belongs to the Seibu Group, which also operates several suburban railway lines, including the Seibu Ikebukuro Line which terminates at Ikebukuro Station.
Hours: 11:00 to 20:30
Marui Department Store is a leading fashion retailer with branch stores in almost all of Tokyo's major districts. Marui's Ikebukuro Branch is located a few blocks west of Ikebukuro Station and sells mens and womens fashion and accessories and household goods.
Opened in 1978, Sunshine City is Tokyo's first city within the city. The focal point of the complex is the 240 meter tall Sunshine 60 skyscraper. The complex contains shops and restaurants, an aquarium, planetarium, museum, indoor theme parks, as well as the Sunshine Prince Hotel and offices. Sunshine City's shops are open daily from 10:00 to 20:00, restaurants from 11:00 to 22:00.
Sunshine 60 Observation Deck
Hours: 10:00 to 22:00 (entry until 20:50) Closed: No closing days Admission: 1200 yen
The Sky Circus is the observation deck on the top floor of the 240 meter tall Sunshine 60 skyscraper. Besides views over the city, it features virtual reality rides and a few other attractions.
Hours: 10:00 to 22:00 (entry until 21:00) Closed: No closing days Admission: 500 yen (entry only), 3500 yen (entry and unlimited rides)
Namja Town is an indoor theme park by Namco, the creator of Pacman and many other arcade games and leisure products. Namja Town was recently renovated and includes various small rides and attractions. There are two food corners specialized in gyoza and desserts, in a nice Showa Period town setting with recreated old alleys.
Hours: 10:00 to 22:00 (entry until 21:00) Closed: No closing days Admission: 800 yen, rides cost separately
Located just above Namja Town is J-World Tokyo, another indoor theme park by Namco. J-World Tokyo was newly opened in July 2013 and is based on characters and stories from popular manga series. There are a handful of attractions themed on the hit series of Dragonball, One Piece and Naruto, as well as souvenir shops and carnival game stalls.
Hours: 10:00 to 21:00 (until 18:00 from late September to late March) Closed: No closing days Admission: 2200 yen
The Sunshine Aquarium exhibits creatures from seas, oceans and tropical forests around the world, including stingrays, sunfish, frogs, snakes, penguins, seals and otters. Located on the 10th floor of the World Import Mart Building in the Sunshine City complex, the aquarium was recently renovated and reopened in summer 2011.
Hours: 10:00 to 22:00 Closed: No closing days
Bic Camera, one of Japan's leading discount electronics retailers, has its flagship store at the East Exit of Ikebukuro Station. Several more branch stores are located on both sides of the station, including a new outlet branch.
Hours: 10:00 to 22:00 Closed: No closing days
Yamada Denki is one of Japan's most successful electronics chains, and has recently opened branches around Ikebukuro Station in direct competition with Bic Camera. Its branches are found on the east side of the station.
Tokyo Metropolitan Art Space
Times and fees vary by event
The Tokyo Metropolitan Art Space is a public art center that mainly features performing arts, especially concerts, operas, theater and musicals. Its main hall is equipped with one of the largest pipe organs in Japan.