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 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.
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 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.
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.