Best Places to Visit in Ikebukuro – for anime, cosplay and gamin fanatics!

Sunshine city view What to see in Tokyo

Located in northwest Tokyo, Ikebukuro is a leading shopping and entertainment area especially famous for its shopping centers and anime-inspired facilities. It is often out shadowed by the popular hubs like Shinjuku and Shibuya, but Ikebukuro also has a lot to offer! Located right at the heart of Tokyo, it is also the worlds third busiest station and home to many fun activities. But before we dive into the best places to see and things to do, let’s talk more about the name first.

Ikebukuro – 池袋

Ikebukuro is written using two kanji: 池袋. The first kanji resembles pond and the second one bag, so pond bag… That doesn’t make much sense right? But bag is pronounced as fukurou in Japanese, which also means owl and the place Ikebukuro is commonly known as owl central by locals. When you are in Ikebukuro try to spot the many statues or smaller signs referring to the names. The chance you will spot a real owl is nil, but surely you will recognise some subtile hints dotting around!

What to do in Ikebukuro?

Now that you learned about the name, let’s have a look at some of the best and most fun places to visit in this bustling part of Tokyo.

  1. TOBU Ikebukuro and SEIBU Ikebukuro
  2. Sunshine Aquarium
  3. Planetarium Manten
  4. SKY CIRCUS Sunshine 60 Observatory
  5. Mazaria
  6. Animate
  7. Otome Road
  8. Pokemon Mega Center Tokyo
  9. Minami Ikebukuro Park
  10. Junkudo Bookstore

1. TOBU Ikebukuro and SEIBU Ikebukuro

Ikebukuro Station has direct underground connection to several department stores, shopping malls, and shopping arcades. TOBU and SEIBU are two famous department stores located in West Exit and East Exit of Ikebukuro Station. You can find high brand stores, gourmet shops, and wide variety of restaurants and cafes. If you are looking for Japanese traditional souvenirs, we recommend you to visit Kyokyudo located on 8th floor in TOBU Ikebukuro. Kyokyudo specializes in Japanese traditional papers including wrapping papers, notebooks, postcards, letters, and origami. SEIBU Ikebukuro owns relaxing rooftop garden Shoku to Midori no Kuchu Teien on 9th floor. The garden has a pond designed to recreate a painting by Claude Monet’s Water Lilies. There are several food venders as well as places for people to sit and enjoy food and drink in the open air.

2. Sunshine Aquarium

Ikebukuro’s symbol is the Sunshine City, which is a shopping and entertainment complex not far from Ikebukuro Station. Sunshine Aquarium is located on the rooftop of Sunshine City. This urban oasis owns about 70 tanks with 550 marine animals. Exhibits include the Jellyfish Tunnel and Penguin in the Sky, a large overhanging tank where you can see African Penguins swim overhead. Sunshine Lagoon is a large tank created to resemble a shallow-water coral reef. It is a great place to relax, enjoy, and learn about ocean animals in the heart of the city. 

Penguin aquarium

Sunshine Aquarium
9am – 9pm spring and summer
10am – 6pm fall and winter
Admission ¥2,200

Get your tickets online and don’t wait in line!

Access

  • 8 minute walk from Ibebukuro Station Exit #35
  • 3 minute walk from Higashi Ikebukuro Exit #6 or #7

3. Planetarium Manten

Next to Sunshine Aquarium you will find Planetarium Manten, which was newly renovated and reopened in 2015. It features some really cool technology: you can enjoy the realistic night sky created by a special full-dome high resolution projector, and a special star projector (capable of projecting over 360,000 stars). The colours and twinkling of the stars will make you feel like you are at some deserted beautiful place outside! The place is managed by Konica Minolta Planetarium, that also manages two other planetariums: Tenku in Tokyo SKYTREE TOWN and Planetaria Tokyo in Yurakucho. Though we recommend you to go to this one as these are generally much more crowded (and more expensive).

Planetarium Manten
11am – 8pm
General seats ¥1,200
Premium seat from ¥3,500

Picture from Planetarium Manten

4. SKY CIRCUS Sunshine 60 Observatory

This observatory, which is situated on 60th floor of Sunshine City, is nothing like an ordinary observatory. The name kind of gives it away, but here you are offered the chance to ‘play in the sky’ and it almost feels like sky-themed theme park. You can enjoy VR-enhanced adventure rides and take a selfie at a mirror-covered photo spot that is great for taking pictures with special effects. All whole new different way to experience Tokyo at great height, though, in essence it is still an observatory located on the top of the 240 meter tall Sunshine 60 building. Quiz fact: at the time of completion in 1978, the skyscraper of Sunshine City, Sunshine 60, was the tallest structure in Asia.

SKY CIRCUS Sunshine 60 Observatory
10am – 10pm
Access from ¥1.200, with extra charges for the different VR-experiences

Access

  • 8 minute walk from Ibebukuro Station Exit #35
  • 3 minute walk from Higashi Ikebukuro Exit #6 or #7
Picture from SKY CIRCUS Sunshine 60 Observatory

5. Mazaria

Newly opened in 2019, Mazaria is a gateway to the worlds of anime and gaming, situated on 3rd floor of Sunshine City. There are 4 zones inside; “Festival Zone” “Adventure Zone” “Panic Zone” and “SF Zone”, each giving you a themed experience snowboarding and rafting or surviving a zombies zombie-attack while escaping from an abandoned hospital. In the SF Zone you can even become one of the characters of anime or a movie. The restaurants serve food and drinks inspired by famous characters from video games and movies such as pack-man curry, Taiko no Tatsujin pancakes, and Godzilla noodles. 

Mazaria
10am – 10pm
Admission fee ¥800 (separate fees are charged for some activities)

Access

  • 8 minute walk from Ibebukuro Station Exit #35
  • 3 minute walk from Higashi Ikebukuro Exit #6 or #7

6. Animate

If you are interested in manga and anime, Animate is the place to go. Animate Ikebukuro is the largest store in Japan for anime and manga-related goods. From the 1st to the 7th floor, there are manga books, magazines, character items, video games, and various merchandise related to voice actors of famous anime characters. 8th and 9th floors are for anime exhibitions and events. Sometimes voice actors hold live concert or special events here. While not as large or well known as other manga hub like Akihabara, Ikebukuro also has a lot to offer for manga and anime fans.

Animate
10am – 9pm

7. Otome Road

If you are exploring the anime side of Ikebukuro, don’t forget to drop by Otome Road, right next to sunshine building. It is often described as the female Akihabara. It is a place where mainly female anime fans get the merchandise of their favourite male anime and manga stars. In this street you will also find some butler cafes, which are basically the same as maid cafes but directed at the female clientele. You will almost certainly see people dressed up in their favourite costume, just shopping or attending an event such as the Ikebukuro Halloween Cosplay Fest.

Picture from Ikebukuro Halloween Cosplay Fest

8. Pokemon Mega Center Tokyo

If you are a Pokemon-fan, this spot cannot be missed! Pokemon Mega Center Tokyo opened in 2014 on 2nd floor of Sunshine City Alpa, and is one of the largest Pokemon stores in Japan! Pikachu and Charizard greet you at the entrance of the store. The store sells the largest variety of Pokemon themed goods from stationary to tasty treats like Pokemon ramen. Some of the products can only be found in the Mega Center. 

Access

  • 8 minute walk from Ibebukuro Station Exit #35
  • 3 minute walk from Higashi Ikebukuro Exit #6 or #7

9. Minami Ikebukuro Park

5 minutes from Ikebukuro East Exit, you can find this lovely little park with large gras area, wooden decks and playground for kids. It offers tranquility in the middle of Ikebukuro. There is also a café in the park which serves healthy, hearty meals throughout the day. Minami Ikebukuro Park is a perfect place to relax away from the bustle of the city!

Ikebukuro park

10. Junkudo Bookstore

Junkudo Bookstore Ikebukuro is one of the largest bookstore in Japan. You can find all kinds of books including novels, travel guidebooks, children’s books, comic books, and art books. The sales floors are from B1 up until the 9th floor, with books written in foreign languages are located on 9th floor. 

Junkudo Bookstore (Japanese only)
10am – 10pm

Where to stay in Ikebukuro

  • Book and Bed Ikebukuro – quiet and packed with books like a library, this friendly boutique hotel offers bunkbeds, a cozy atmosphere and good happy hour!
  • APA Hotel Yamanote Otsuka Eki Tower – This western like hotel is conveniently located close to some of the area’s highlights as well as the JR-station
  • Sunshine City Prince Hotel Ikebukuro – Conveniently located in the heart of Sunshine City entertainment and commercial complex, this hotel boasts incredible city views!

There are many places where you can have a good time in Ikebukuro, especially when you are into anime, cosplay and gaming! Another bonus of this city is that there are many activities are inside, so great for a visit when its’ raining!. We hope you have many unique and fun experiences in Ikebukuro.

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Happy travelling!


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