10 Best Things to Do in Ikebukuro – for anime, cosplay and gaming fanatics!

Sunshine city view Per area

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 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 world’s 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 the pond bag… That doesn’t make much sense right? But bag is pronounced as fukuro 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 recognize some subtle hints dotting around!

Things 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

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

2. Sunshine Aquarium

Ikebukuro’s symbol is 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. 

Sunshine Aquarium
9am – 9pm spring and summer
10am – 6pm fall and winter
Admission ¥2,400
Get your tickets online and don’t wait in line!

How to access Sunshine Aquarium

  • 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 colors and twinkling of the stars will make you feel like you are in some deserted beautiful place outside! The place is managed by Konica Minolta Planetarium, which also manages two other planetariums in Tokyo: 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 from ¥1,200
Premium seat from ¥3,500
*The price changes depending on the show

4. Sunshine 60 Observatory

This observatory, which is situated on the 60th floor of Sunshine City, is nothing like an ordinary observatory. The observatory is renovated and reopened on April 18, 2023. After its renovation, it’ll be like a park in the sky with a lawn and plants which allows visitors to have a picnic at the park any day, any time – either day or night or in hot or cold weather outside. Take a break from the hustle and bustle of the city with cozy music and fresh floral aroma filling in the observatory. It’s also kid-friendly with a playground.
A whole new and different way to experience Tokyo at a 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.

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

How to access Sunshine 60 Observatory

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

5. Namjatown

Namjatown is a family-friendly indoor theme park located in Sunshine City. It’s divided into four different areas that include the area for cats (yes, there are about 30 fluffy cats in the area to interact), the food area dedicated to gyoza and deserts, the light horror area suitable for kids, and fantasy themed area where you can enjoy some games and attractions.

10am – 10pm
Admission fee ¥800 (entrance fee), ¥3,500 for a one-day pass (¥500 and ¥2,800 for children )

How to access Mazaria

  • 8 minute walk from Ibebukuro Station
  • 3 minute walk from Higashi Ikebukuro

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. The 8th and 9th floors are for anime exhibitions and events. Sometimes voice actors hold live concerts or special events here. While not as large or well-known as manga hubs like Akihabara, Ikebukuro also has a lot to offer for manga and anime fans.

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 the Sunshine building. It is often described as the female Akihabara. It is a place where mainly female anime fans get the merchandise of their favorite 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 favorite costumes, just shopping or attending an event such as the 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 the 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. 

How to access Pokemon Mega Center Tokyo

  • 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 a large grass area, wooden decks, and a playground for kids. It offers tranquility in the middle of Ikebukuro. Get your bento or drinks from one of the nearby coffee shops and eateries and enjoy a little picnic on the grass. There is also a café in the park with outdoor seating, 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 bookstores 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!

Recommended Tour in Ikebukuro

The other side of Ikebukuro
If you want to visit the Ikebukuro area with a guide, take this walking tour exploring backstreets and find hidden gems in the area. You will visit some beautiful architecture and the historical site and gardens and a park. Find the deeper side of Ikebukuro with this tour!

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 inside, so great for a visit when it’s raining!. We hope you have many unique and fun experiences in Ikebukuro.

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Happy traveling!

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