Toshima Ward Guide

Toshima Ward located in northern Tokyo has two faces: the modern, redevelopment-focused area around Ikebukuro and slower-paced neighborhoods like upscale residential Mejiro, old-school Sugamo and the beautiful landscaped gardens near Komagome. It is also home to many major universities and a sizable population of international students.

Toshima Ward is a northern ward of Tokyo and home to Ikebukuro, the main commercial and transportation hub anchoring northwestern Tokyo. The ward’s main claim to fame is the modern, redevelopment-focused area around Ikebukuro, but if you are looking for a place to call home in Tokyo, consider Toshima’s slower-paced neighborhoods. There are upscale residential areas like Mejiro, thriving working-class neighborhoods like Sugamo and the beautiful landscaped gardens near Komagome.

There are also a number of major universities located in Toshima which attract international students, primarily those from Asian countries. Gakushuin University, located near Mejiro Station is one of the most prestigious universities in Japan. Traditionally, the members of Japan’s imperial family have been educated at Gakushuin.


Toshima quick facts

  • Population: 289,508 (as of January 1, 2019)
  • Area: 13.01 km²
  • Density: 22,253 (/km²)
  • Population of foreign residents: 30,223 (10.4% of total population of Toshima)
  • About 6.5 % of the total resident foreigner population of the Tokyo 23 Wards lives in Toshima.

Major Train Stations

Station Train Lines
Ikebukuro  JR Saikyo
 JR Yamanote
 JR Shonan-Shinjuku
 Seibu Ikebukuro
 Tobu Tojo
 Tokyo Metro Marunouchi
 Tokyo Metro Fukutoshin
 Tokyo Metro Yurakucho

Main residential neighborhoods

Toshima Ward ranks high for

  • Being home to Ikebukuro, the city-in-a-city and Tokyo’s main northeastern transportation hub.
  • Many universities, including prestigious Gakushuin University.
  • The Sugamo neighborhood, known as the “Shibuya for grandmothers” for its lively, inexpensive Showa-era shopping streets.
  • Upscale residential Mejiro.
  • Slower-paced living and beautiful landscaped gardens near Komagome.
  • Excellent transportation options to central Tokyo, north to Saitama, and west to Nerima Ward and Nishi Tokyo.

Who lives in Toshima Ward?

  • Singles, couples and families who want the urban conveniences of living near Ikebukuro Station.
  • International students.
  • People looking for a lower than average rent in lively, old-style neighborhoods like Sugamo.

Popular housing searches in Toshima Ward

Location and highlights

Ikebukuro Area Guide

Ikebukuro is Toshima Ward’s most well-known neighborhood. It is both a district and a major train hub lying just north of Shinjuku. Ikebukuro is also the second busiest train station in all of Japan and is a major conduit for people commuting in from western Tokyo and south from Saitama. It lives up to its “city-in-a-city” reputation for its high concentration of department stores, electronics chains and entertainment venues. City officials have also positioned Ikebukuro to be an inbound arts and cultural center as Tokyo carries out major urban renewal projects to welcome foreign visitors for the 2020 Olympics and beyond.


Komagome, located just south of Sugamo, is known for being home of two of Tokyo’s finest landscaped Japanese gardens: the Rikugien and the Kyu-Furukawa Gardens, (the Kyu-Furukawa Gardens are easiest to access via Komagome Station, but are are actually located in Kita Ward). The latter includes an old western-style mansion with a rose garden, and a Japanese garden which were built in the early 20th century. Former Somei village (located just west of the Kyu-Furukawa Gardens) was a center of plant nurseries and is the birthplace of the Somei Yoshino, Japan’s most famous variety of sakura trees.

Universities in Toshima Ward

Two prestigious universities are located near Toshima Ward: The University of Tokyo in Bunkyo (Hongo Area Guide) and Waseda University, in bordering Shinjuku Ward. Many students live in Toshima Ward and commute in to these universities.

Apartments for Rent in Toshima Ward

Properties for Sale in Toshima Ward

Lead photo: Ikebukuro Station West Exit, Scott Kouchi

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