Ikebukuro Area Guide

Ikebukuro is a major entertainment/shopping district anchoring northwestern Tokyo, one of the city's main transportation hubs and the second busiest train station in the world. Sunshine City is Ikebukuro's city-in-a-city, a vertical shopping, dining, and entertainment destination complete with its own aquarium and planetarium! This chic-modern appeal is delicately balanced with Ikebukuro's rich cultural history, making for a lively and energetic area with plenty to see and do.

Details

Highlights
-- Shopping destination, represented by Seibu and Tobu department stores.
-- Access to 8 train/subway lines for getting around the city easily.
-- Plenty to do at Sunshine City (shopping, aquarium, planetarium, amusement park, theater, Pokemon Center, etc.)
-- West Gate Park currently being redeveloped for 2020 Olympics.

Contents

Location

Ikebukuro is both a district and train station located in Toshima Ward, just north of Shinjuku. Nerima, Itabashi, and Kita wards border Toshima to the north. The southern border of Toshima adjoins Nakano, Shinjuku, and Bunkyo wards. Ikebukuro Station is the main station in the northwest quadrant of the Yamanote Line, which is the railway loop that connects Tokyo’s biggest and busiest stations. Most Tokyoites can orient themselves in the city based off the closest Yamanote Station.

Key Stats

Average Rent in Ikebukuro

Apartment Type Average Rent ($1 = ¥110)
1R 1K ¥95,800/month ($870)
1LDK 2K 2DK ¥161,900/month ($1,470)
2LDK 3K 3DK ¥226,100/month ($2,060)

Apartments For Rent in Ikebukuro

Train Lines

JR/Subway/Other Line
JR East Yamanote
JR East Saikyo
JR East Shonan-Shinjuku
Seibu  Seibu Ikebukuro
Tobu  Tobu Tojo
Tokyo Metro  Marunouchi
Tokyo Metro  Yurakucho
Tokyo Metro  Fukutoshin

Accessibility

Transportation to…  Line Time
Shinjuku Yamanote, direct 9 min
Shibuya Yamanote, direct 15 min
Tokyo Marunouchi, direct 16 min
Shinagawa Yamanote, direct 24 min
Kichijoji Yamanote (Shibuya), transfer to Chuo 26 min
Yokohama, Kanagawa Fukutoshin (Shibuya), train continues on Tokyu Toyoko Line 40 min
Omiya, Saitama Saikyo Rapid, direct 27 min

The Metropolitan Exit of Ikebukuro Station exits into the Metropolitan Plaza which is connected to a Lumine department store where you’ll find a wide selection of boutiques and restaurants! Photo: Scott Kouchi

Orientation Around the Station

Being the second busiest station in Japan (only Shinjuku Station can claim a higher average number of passengers), the station can be a confusing network of passages to the uninitiated. There are over 50 exits from this station!

When acclimating to Ikebukuro Station, it’s most important to get familiar with the main exits (East, West, Metropolitan, South).

  • At the West Exit, you’ll find the Tobu department store as well as a pedestrian area and a taxi loading/unloading zone. You’ll also find a display of owls here – the mascot of Ikebukuro.
  • The South Exit is just to the south of the West Exit and is the closest to Ikebukuro West Gate Park (currently undergoing redevelopment for the 2020 Olympics).
  • The East Exit is home to the Parco and Seibu department stores. It’s also the exit to take if you want to walk to Sunshine City.
  • The Metropolitan Exit is located towards the south of the station and exits into the LUMINE department store.

The station itself is a never-ending swirling vortex of people. This station will get quite crowded during weekends and holidays, but once you get used to the density of Tokyo it becomes second nature. The shopping/entertainment options available in Ikebukuro give it a very lively and energetic atmosphere. This is a great improvement since Ikebukuro used to have a bit of a rough, dodgy reputation even just twenty years ago.

Ikebukuro is home to the Tokyo Metropolitan Theatre; a great place to check for orchestra and symphony performances, as well as live theater. Photo: Scott Kouchi

Redevelopment as an Arts and Cultural Center

The future of Ikebukuro continues to look bright as well. Plans are in motion to introduce and promote a deeper, richer base of arts and culture in Ikebukuro. The redevelopment of areas within Ikebukuro is expected to be completed by the 2020 Olympics, in order to show off Toshima Ward’s connection to the arts on an international scale.

Gateway to Saitama

With so many train lines available at the station, Ikebukuro acts as a major commuting hub for those working in Tokyo, especially for commuters residing in Saitama. Saitama Prefecture, the prefecture just to the north of Tokyo, is close enough for commuting to downtown Tokyo and also far enough away from the city so the suburbs tend to be quieter and calmer. The Saikyo Line connects major hubs of Saitama with Tokyo (the name of the line itself is a combination of Saitama and Tokyo).

Anime

Ikebukuro is also home to a few unique pockets of subculture within Tokyo. Akihabara will always be the top dog of anime and video game culture in Tokyo, but there’s an Animate (huge anime goods store) in Ikebukuro, as well as a Gamers (popular video game retailer) location. Ikebukuro has garnered a bit of a reputation for being the spot for female anime fans with Otome Road – a section of anime goods stored tailored towards girls.

Once you exit the East Exit of Ikebukuro Station and walk a minute or two, you’ll arrive at the entrance to Sunshine Road, which leads directly to the ever-popular Sunshine City theme park/restaurant/planetarium/aquarium! Photo: Scott Kouchi

Shopping and Electronics

You’ll find a little bit of everything in Ikebukuro. The large department stores are home to upscale boutiques and name brands. Popular electronics stores are also abundant in Ikebukuro (there are three Bic Camera buildings alone!). But with the sheer density of Toshima Ward (22,650 people/sq km), there’s something for just about everyone. Toshima Ward is also one of the most international wards in Tokyo, with about 10.5% of the population being non-Japanese (primarily those of Chinese descent).

There is an entrance to Sunshine City on Sunshine Road that takes you underground before arriving at Sunshine City itself. Photo: Scott Kouchi

Sunshine City

Sunshine City is one of the largest (if not, the largest) attraction in Ikebukuro. This collection of four large buildings is home to an aquarium, planetarium, shopping complex, and theater (and more!) which draw in large crowds of visitors practically every day (particularly popular with couples and families).

There are more activities and exhibits here than you could possibly see in one day! There are always different seasonal events taking place as well, so it’s worth checking out the website to always be informed of what’s coming up. Although it can seem a bit family-oriented during the day, it’s a popular destination for couples in the evening when it turns into Moonlight City. Beautiful lights illuminate the area after sunset, creating a romantic, intimate setting – great for date night!

Tokyo Metropolitan Theater

The Tokyo Metropolitan Theater is also located in Ikebukuro. Plenty of performances and exhibitions are held here, acting as a nice balance to the fast-paced, modern shopping/entertainment district that Ikebukuro has evolved into.

Events and Festivals

There are always events and exhibitions being held in the department stores around Ikebukuro. From seasonal events to regional food festivals, Ikebukuro is a hotbed of activities. The Fukuro Festival also takes place in Ikebukuro in mid-September every year.

Eating

The department stores offer a large variety of popular restaurants close to the station. But there’s an even wider array of tastes beyond these establishments. You can find a skatepark burger shop (Bashi Burger Chance) in south Ikebukuro. Or if you’re feeling in the mood for a more traditional izakaya (Japanese-style bar) you can head to Gui Gui.

Ikebukuro is also extremely well-known for its top-class ramen restaurants! If you have a soft spot for ramen, you’ll love the various tastes this district has to offer. From traditional tsukemen at Chisomen Maniana, ramen with deep fried pork/chicken at Menya Musashi Niten, to even aromatic vegetable based broths prepared at Enji, you’ll be able to explore the depth of ramen flavors to your tastebuds’ content in Ikebukuro! Spice lovers can rest assured, because you can also find authentic tantanmen (or dandan noodles) at Yan.

Livability

Ikebukuro tends to enjoy popularity with those who are single and looking for an area to live in Tokyo. This is most likely due to the fantastic dining options and diverse nightlife in the area. Students also enjoy calling Ikebukuro home because of the same conveniences.

Near the West Exit of Ikebukuro Station you’ll see the entrance to 西一番街 (nishi-ichibangai), an area of Ikebukuro that’s likened to the famous Kabuki-cho district of Shinjuku. Packed with bars, it’s an area that wakes up when the sun goes down – provides an energetic and exciting nightlife! Photo: Scott Kouchi

Those with small children might find Ikebukuro Station to be a little too lively and crowded. Nearby Sugamo Station (also in Toshima Ward) is a more suitable location for those looking for something a little calmer and quieter. That being said, you can find some great kid-friendly attractions in Ikebukuro (Namja Town, Sunshine Aquarium, Toys-R-Us, etc.) so being in close proximity will give your tots a fun way to let out their energy.

Ikebukuro could be a great location for a couple. The huge diversity of restaurants will make it possible to always eat somewhere interesting on date night. Since Ikebukuro Station is connected to so many train/subway lines it can also be a great choice when considering your commutes.

This is a great location for students, giving you a chance to experience independence in a modern, urban setting. There are a lot of distractions near the station though; as long as you find a place a bit away from the excitement of the city you should be able to focus on studying.

These owls can be found near the West Exit of Ikebukuro Station. Although the name of Ikebukuro (池袋) direct translates to “pond bag” as a reference to the ponds that used to dot the landscape around Ikebukuro historically, the word fukuro also means “owl.” If you pay attention to your surroundings, you’ll actually find quite a few owl statues around the station! Photo: Scott Kouchi

Short History of Ikebukuro

Most of current-day Ikebukuro is located on what was historically referred to as Sugamo, which now resides to the east of Ikebukuro. Ikebukuro Station was established in 1903. At that time, it was planned to directly connect Tabata Station to Mejiro Station, but due to difficulties in the geography, it was decided to lengthen the route and add Ikebukuro as a stop between the two stations. In the 1940s, development in the Ikebukuro area expanded. Department stores were being built and the station was becoming larger. One trivia fact about the area is that Sunshine City is built on the ground where the Sugamo Prison used to stand. The prison was demolished in 1971, and Sunshine City was finished in 1978. There is a stone on the site engraved with 永久平和を願って (“pray for eternal peace”) to commemorate the history of the area. A fairly well-known television show (Ikebukuro West Gate Park) used Ikebukuro as the main setting for its characters in 2000.

Useful Info at a Glance

Supermarkets

*This is just a selection of supermarkets in the area.

Gyms

Nearby Gyms Hours Address
Ikebukuro Sports Center Mon. – Sat.: 8:30 AM – 10:00 PM

Sun.: 8:30 AM – 9:00 PM

〒170-0012 Tokyo, Toshima City, Kamiikebukuro, 2 Chome−5−1 健康プラザとしま
Anytime Fitness Ikebukuro 24 hrs 〒170-0014 Tokyo, Toshima City, Ikebukuro, 2 Chome−40−13 池袋デュープレックスビズ
Anytime Fitness East Ikebukuro 24 hrs 〒170-0013 Tokyo, Toshima City, Higashiikebukuro, 3 Chome−20−3 SSビル B1F
Jexer Fitness Club Metropolitan Ikebukuro Mon. – Fri.: 6:00 AM – 11:30 PM

Sat.: 9:30 AM – 10:00 PM

Sun.: 9:30 AM – 8:00 PM

〒171-8505 Tokyo, Toshima City, Nishiikebukuro, 1-chōme−6, 西池袋1-6-1 ホテルメトロポリタン池袋4F
JOYFIT24 Mon. – Fri.: 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM, 4:00 PM – 8:00PM

Sat. – Sun.: 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM, 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM

〒170-0012 Tokyo, Toshima City, 1 Chome−11−9 1F・2F 江連ビル

*These are just examples of gyms available in the area.

Universities

Nearby Universities Information
Rikkyo University https://www.rikkyo.ac.jp/
Tokyo College of Music https://www.tokyo-ondai.ac.jp/en/

Language Schools

Ward Office, Police, Library

Nearby Community Center/City Hall/Police Station Hours Address
Toshima City Hall Mon. – Fri.: 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM

Sat. – Sun.: 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM

2 Chome-45-1 Minamiikebukuro, Toshima City, Tokyo 171-8422
Ikebukuro Police Station Mon. – Fri.: 8:30 AM – 5:15 PM

Sat. – Sun.: Closed

Holidays: Closed

1 Chome-7-5 Nishiikebukuro, Toshima City, Tokyo 171-0021
Toshima City Ikebukuro Library Tue. – Fri.: 9:00 AM – 8:00 PM

Sat. – Sun.: 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM

Mon.: Closed

3 Chome-29-10 Ikebukuro, Toshima City, Tokyo 170-0014

Hospitals

*These are examples of clinics in the area.

Parks

Family-Friendly Features

Nearby Family Friendly Features Address
Regional Resident’s Square Minamiikebukuro 3 Chome-5-12 Minamiikebukuro, Toshima City, Tokyo 171-0022
Residents Square Ikebukuro 4 Chome-21-10 Ikebukuro, Toshima City, Tokyo 171-0014

Department Stores

 


Ikebukuro Apartments

Apartments for rent near Ikebukuro Station:

On our site, you can find apartments well under the average rent for the Ikebukuro area: Ikebukuro Apartments. Keep in mind that this is a fairly commercialized area so apartments close to the station will tend to command a premium price. But, it’s possible to find cheaper alternatives; for example, rent for 1R apartments in the Ikebukuro area starts at around ¥61,000 per month.

Apartments For Rent in Ikebukuro

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