Tokyo Neighborhood: Ikebukuro District


Living in the shadow of famous Shinjuku and Shibuya is the district of Ikebukuro.
ikebukuro

At first glance, it seems to appeal like just your ordinary commercial and entertainment district with enough “nomihodai” (all you can drink) restaurants to chase the troubles away. But on the sentimental side, for most people, Ikebukuro is what Shinjuku used to be back before Sophia Coppola’s Lost in Translation has every tourist walking along the skyscraper district to feel like Charlotte for a day.

Much resemblance can be seen with Shinjuku.

The huge JR station handling millions of passengers per day.
ikebukuro
ikebukuro

The competing large department stores, ABC vs ASBEE shoe storet and coffee shops.
ikebukuro
ikebukuro

Bic Camera and Yamada Denki for your endless electronics need.
ikebukuro

The small alleyways closed for vehicles with SEGA machines, pachinko slot and of course Don Quiote, mixed with the number of people crossing the street.
ikebukuro
ikebukuro

The resemblance ends with everything that I have mentioned. Ikebukuro in comparison to Shinjuku fails in terms of developing business district. The only skyscraper noticeable is the 240m, quite old Sunshine 60 at the Sunshine City.
ikebukuro

Open in 1978 and often referred to as “a city within a city” due to the multiple facilities and things you can do inside the complex. Don’t expect a shiny, new entertainment area, Sunshine City lacks the ambiance of a contemporary urban development that makes Roponggi Hills synonymous with the idea of expat living.
ikebukuro
ikebukuro
ikebukuro

On the other hand, the complex offers numerous activities to enjoy- from Sunshine 60 observation deck, Sunshine Aquarium and Namco’s Namja Town.
ikebukuro
ikebukuro
ikebukuro
ikebukuro
ikebukuro
ikebukuro

The Otome Road in between Sunshine City and Toyota Amlux showroom is like a piece of Akihabara in Ikebukuro, focusing on female otaku fans and dōjinshi or self-published works.
ikebukuro
ikebukuro

Ikebukuro in general might not be as shiny or as cool as Shinjuku or Shibuya. It might be the most left behind district along the Yamanote Line Loop. Personally, what makes Ikebukuro an appealing place to visit is the authentic vibe- in your face this is what we offer and this is what you will get.

The district does not hide behind any popular accolades, it just simply offer you an alternative to its cousin districts. Most importantly, whatever there is in Ikebukuro  is more than enough weekend leisure activities for the nearby local residence. After all, all this facilities is primarily created for them to enjoy and not for tourist to blog about.
ikebukuro

After more than a year staying in Tokyo, I only discovered Ikebukuro when I was asked to performed field work somewhere on the area. Ironically, I been to some of the less touristy places or “off the beaten dori” as I like to call them but never been to Ikebukuro.

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15 thoughts on “Tokyo Neighborhood: Ikebukuro District

  1. Ikebukuro was one of the first places I visited proper aside from Narita airport and our accommodation at Asakusa. The expanse and livelihood of the place left quite an impression of just how beautifully disorganized life in Japan can become. The station itself definitely owns up to its status as the world’s second busiest station. I was overwhelmed and utterly defenseless.

  2. I loved Ikebukuro when I visited Tokyo two years ago! Great pictures once again — you really captured that hustle and bustle-y, ultra-modern feel that I remember. 🙂

  3. I have been following your blog for a while now and I love your beautiful photographs of Japan! I have recently started a blogroll on my own Japan related blog and have included you in it. Hopefully this will lead other people to your beautiful blog as well.

    Keep up the good work!

    Haruko-chan

  4. Discovered your blog while researching for places to go in Japan. Love the huge, clear pictures and snippets–great insight and psyches me up even more for the trip!

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