HOME Tokyo and Surroundings Tokyo Ikebukuro "Subculture Sanctuary?!" - Weird Japan Culture Shock Foreign Visitors Experienced in Ikebukuro
"Subculture Sanctuary?!" - Weird Japan Culture Shock Foreign Visitors Experienced in Ikebukuro

"Subculture Sanctuary?!" - Weird Japan Culture Shock Foreign Visitors Experienced in Ikebukuro

Date published: 12 October 2020
Last updated: 22 January 2021

The Ikebukuro section of Tokyo has numerous shopping areas such as Sunshine City, Seibu, and Tokyu Hands. It is one of Japan's most popular cities and is an excellent spot for tourists to visit. In this article, tourists were interviewed to get their various impressions of Ikebukuro. (Each comment is an individual opinion of the respondent)

It was crowded and the Ikebukuro station was so complicated and confusing!

EXZOZIS / Shutterstock.com
EXZOZIS / Shutterstock.com

"I know crowds are common, but here it was particularly noticeable. It felt like there was no lull in the stream of people from the streets to the station in Sunshine City." (Italian woman)

"I was shocked at the number of lines at Ikebukuro Station. I found it quite difficult to figure out where each line goes." (Australian man)

Ikebukuro is in a great location in the center of the city. With its extensive commercial facilities and restaurants, it is very popular.

Ikebukuro Station is one of the three major sub-centers of the Yamanote area. Its routes include JR, Tobu Railway, Seibu Railway, and Tokyo Metro. According to JR East data, the average number of passengers per day in 2019 was about 560,000, making it the second-highest in the JR East area.

The Seibu and Tobu Department Stores, which have large department store basements, are directly connected to Ikebukuro Station. These stores attract both locals and tourists. The Tokyo Metropolitan Theater is at the west exit of Ikebukuro Station. It is a cultural facility where various arts such as music, theater, and dance are performed. It is quite popular.

I often hear that the inside of Ikebukuro Station is complicated and can be confusing if you are not used to it. As a good example, the Tobu-Tojo Line is at the west exit and the Seibu-Ikebukuro Line is at the east exit, which is a twisted east-west structure. Many people may have gotten lost trying to find their destination.

This place has so much to offer! Be sure to check out attractions such as the planetarium and the aquarium

InfantryDavid / Shutterstock.com
InfantryDavid / Shutterstock.com

"Ikebukuro is great because there is so much to do. There are many aquariums, theme parks, planetariums, Pokemon centers, and so much more. The location is convenient, and there are so many stores that I haven't had a chance to check them all out yet. There are many theaters and halls. There is also a small historical movie theater, which is a place I want to check out sometime." (Canadian woman)

"I was surprised that there are many fashionable boutiques. The window shopping is amazing!" (Italian woman)

Sunshine City is a shopping center that characterizes Ikebukuro. There are lots of stores to choose from, and it is often crowded as a result. The Sunshine Aquarium is located here, and you can enjoy authentic sea lion shows and rare aquatic animals right in the heart of the city.

The Konica Minolta Planetarium is located on the roof of the World Import Mart Building and is open 365 days each year for you to see the stars. Recently, the facility was renovated and a laser projector was added. This feature provides more realistic and vivid images than ever before.

Sunshine City has an observatory overlooking the city of Ikebukuro from the 60th floor. It is 251m above sea level and 221m high. Be sure to also check out the Pokemon Center, which sells popular Pokemon goods for all ages.

This subculture sanctuary is a world of manga and anime!

InfantryDavid / Shutterstock.com
InfantryDavid / Shutterstock.com

"When I first went to Ikebukuro, I was pleasantly surprised by the large number of anime-related shops. It was so exciting to see these shops lined up within walking distance of the station." (Italian woman)

Ikebukuro is known as a sacred place for Japanese subcultures such as manga, anime, and games. Along Otome Road in Higashiikebukuro, where there are a lot of shops focused on women's wear, is Otome's Sanctuary. Women who are interested in Japanese subculture highly recommend this shop.

Otome Road has a wonderful butler cafe that makes you feel like you are in the world of manga and anime. It's the perfect place to take a break from shopping and enjoy delicious tea and cake.

Did you know there is a Chinatown in Ikebukuro here!?

Did you know there is a Chinatown in Ikebukuro here!?

"I was very impressed by the Chinatown located in Ikebukuro. I had been to Yokohama's Chinatown, but I was disappointed by how much of a touristy area it had become. At this point, the Chinatown in Ikebukuro has not become as touristy. It can be a little difficult to navigate your way around, but you will find amazing spots such as delicious Sichuan food." (Australian man)

Chinatown, which is a collection of Chinese restaurants in Ikebukuro, is also called Ikebukuro Chinatown. It is currently one of the most famous tourist spots in Ikebukuro. It is expected that in the future, it will become a representative Chinatown in Japan similar to Yokohama.

There are so many ramen shops to choose from! Be sure to enjoy these cheap but gourmet options

SubstanceTproductions / Shutterstock.com
SubstanceTproductions / Shutterstock.com

"There are many schools here, including universities and high schools. There are a lot of students living in the city, making for a lively spot. Ikebukuro has delicious ramen shops, and I was impressed with every dish I tried. Each restaurant has its own unique taste, so I never got tired of eating ramen. When my friends visit Japan, I will definitely take them out for ramen." (Canadian woman)

"I was surprised that there are many ramen shops – it's quite different from Chinatown." (Australian man)

Ikebukuro is a ramen battleground that boasts the nickname of "the ramen that represents Tokyo." The ramen shops take pride in their offerings, and you can enjoy a wide range of flavors from traditional to unique. Ramen is also popular with visitors. Ikebukuro is a paradise for tourists visiting Japan who like ramen, such as the Canadian woman we spoke with.

In addition to ramen, Ikebukuro is also famous for its various gourmet spots such as sushi, yakiniku, hot pot, and Western food. In Ikebukuro, an area popular with students, many shops offer lunches for students, and you can enjoy a hearty delicious lunch at a reasonable price. There are some shops where you can enjoy a full-fledged lunch for 500 yen. Because there are many cheap all-you-can-eat shops, you can be sure you'll be full when you leave.

Recently, the number of restaurants offering takeout is increasing in Ikebukuro. It may appear tricky to do ramen takeout at first, but they have figured it out! You can get your food and drinks to go.

Ikebukuro: where you can enjoy shopping and sightseeing

Ikebukuro has a number of modern entertainment facilities to choose from. You can also check out the shops for Japanese subculture and cheap and delicious gourmet food. Be sure to visit Ikebukuro!

Written by:

Yu Sato, Dali Corporation

Yu Sato, Dali Corporation

A writer who focuses on intricate genres including human resources, legal affairs, and careers. He mainly writes column articles.

* The information in this article is from October 2020.

*This information is from the time of this article's publication.
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.

Share this article.

Limited time offer: 10% discount coupons available now!

Recommended articles for first-time visitors to Tokyo