In Ikebukuro, there are a few department stores within walking distance from Ikebukuro Station. Some of them are connected through underground passages from Ikebukuro Station. The most notable ones are Seibu, Parco, Tobu, Lumine, Marui, and Esola/Echika. The proximity of each department store is so close that it is easy to go on a shopping spree. With floors upon floors of clothes and other miscellaneous goods it is no wonder Ikebukuro is a lively shopping area. Also, if you feel the need to relax, the Seibu department building has a rooftop garden, which is famous as a beer garden.
First, the number one animal you must see in Ikebukuro is an owl. This is because the Japanese word for owl is “fukuro (フクロウ).” Therefore, if you remove the ten ten marks from the “bu (ブ)” in Ikebukuro then you get “Ikefukuro”. It is an interesting play on words. To see owls, guests can go to The Owl Park Café, which can cost around 1200 yen for an unlimited time. In this case, you have to bring your own drinks and food. As for cat café locations, there are many but a recommended one is Neko no Iru Kyukeijo Nikukyu (Cat Rest Stop 299). Not only do the cats roam around freely, but the store also has shelves of manga (comic books) available to read. Another place of interest is Mimi Café, which is a rabbit themed café. The exciting and unique part about this store is that they let multiple rabbits free in their playroom. There is also a Penguin Bar if you prefer to see them outside of the zoo setting.
When walking around Ikebukuro you are bound to see a game center. For example, outside of the West Exit of Ikebukuro Station is a Taito Station, then on the opposite side in the East Exit you can find a greater variety. At the East Exit is Adores, Round 1, and Sega. Each game center building follows the same pattern where the first floor is filled with UFO catchers and the arcade games span over multiple floors. The games that you look for will be separated by floors, like rhythm games or strategy ones will be separated from the UFO catchers on the first floors. If you are looking to play some games or just win prizes to use as souvenirs, then these places are right for you.
There are quite a few ramen shops in Ikebukuro. The most notable ones are Mutekiya and Ichiran. At Mutekiya there is usually a line outside of people eager for a taste of their Tonkoku ramen. Tonkoku refers to the soup that they make using pork bones, which is a specialty. Ichiran is a popular ramen chain found all over Japan and made a debut overseas in New York. As popular as those places are, it is recommended to explore around the area and try one of the many ramen shops to see what fits your palate the best. Who knows, you may discover a hidden gem.
Other than appearing in the anime Durarara, Ikebukuro is better known for being home to Otome Road. “Otome” refers to “maiden games”, which are dating simulators for female gamers. They usually play as the main female character who chooses and forms a relationship with one man from a group. In Ikebukuro, you can find many games and products related to the Otome genre, as well as, boys love (BL) and other items including anime. You can find K-Books, Mandarake, and Animate shops to fill your pop culture needs. The Animate shop is 9 stories tall and will satisfy anyone’s need for anime goods. The Tsutaya store is not necessarily an anime shop, but they do have a section of their manga dedicated to BL. Then, in P’Parco you can find a few other anime related shops like the Evangelion Tokyo 01, where they sell limited item goods of the series. In Sunshine City, you can find the Pokémon Center Mega Tokyo store, a place no Pokémon fan should miss out on.
Luckily Ikebukuro is home to one of five Alice in Wonderland themed restaurants in Japan. It is known as Alice in an Old Castle. If Alice in Wonderland is not your taste then how about Kamen Rider (Masked Rider) the Diner. Any fan of the series would love this place as the decorations and food design fill the fans’ soul. Aside from those stores, there is the Animate Café. It has different collaborations every other month like Swallowtail Butler Café, and Maidreamin. There is another place, but it is not for the faint of heart. It is called the Danshi Boy’s Love Gakuen Café where the hosts are actual students and they act out some typical romantic scenes for their guests.
Sunshine City is comprised of four buildings, in the center is a 240-meter-tall skyscraper. On the rooftop of the 40-meter building is the Sunshine Aquarium where you can see performances by sea lions. You can also watch them swim through the aqua ring. Around the same area is the Konica Minolta Planetarium “Manten,” which was remodeled to have a more relaxing environment. At the observatory is the SKY CIRCUS, a hands-on experience that involves all five senses. There are two indoor theme parks which are Namja Town and J-World. Namja Town has three areas and focuses on creations by Namco. They have 50 different flavors of ice cream available to try, too. J-World is an amusement park with attractions featuring popular Shonen Jump series like Dragon Ball Z, Naruto, and One Piece.
There are two large electronic store chains in Ikebukuro, the Yamada Denki and Bic Camera are the biggest ones in the area. LABI1 is the name of the main store for Yamada Denki in Ikebukuro. What is unique about this store is that on the rooftop there is a field where you can play soccer. It is expensive if you are not a member, but it’s a good chance if you are in the mood to exercise. Bic Camera has many large locations as well as small branches especially in the Sunshine 60 Dori area. It has such a wide selection of consumer electronics that it takes time to explore the entire building. In the BIC Camera Main Store, they have an entire floor dedicated to Gundam model kits. What’s funny about these electronic stores is that they also have a floor for consumer goods like shampoo, medicine, drinks, and so on. It’s something you usually do not expect to see it, but it adds to the convenience.