Places You Must Go To In Ikebukuro, Tokyo
You may or may not know this, but Tokyo is a HUGE city. You can even say it contains a whole bunch of different cities. These “cities” are called districts. You probably have already heard of Shibuya, Harajuku or Shinjuku, but today I would like to introduce you my favourite and not so well-known district: Ikebukuro. I may be biased, because I go to school here, but it boasts a ton of fun stuff to do. In Tokyo, it is known as the commercial and entertainment district of the Toshima ward. Here are three things you have to do when you visit this district!
Warning: I will talk mostly about food (huge foodie over here) and it will probably make you hungry.
Number one on my list of things to do in Ikebukuro is definitely visiting the Sunshine City. This is one of the biggest malls in Tokyo. With more than seven floors of shopping heaven, you will surely find anything your heart desires. These shops range from regular clothing shops and workout gear to toy and even furniture stores (be sure to visit Nipori, which is the Japanese version of IKEA). On the seventh floor, you’ll find one of Tokyo’s most famous Pokémon Centers! This is – for many people – the main attraction of Sunshine City. And, if you’re looking for even more entertainment, on the first floor you’ll often encounter pop-up concerts featuring famous (or not so famous) Japanese singers. And, if you’re still not convinced, you can visit the aquarium.
After all the shopping and sightseeing fun, you can go all the way up to the eighth floor and have lunch or dinner. You can find all kinds of food here like pizza, pasta, sushi, burgers, soba, tempura and more!
Let me first remind you: I’m an always hungry student on a nonstop hunt for cheap but delicious food (and sometimes not-too-cheap-but-not-too-expensive-food) because #treatyoself.
My number one go-to restaurant in Ikebukuro is そばうどん處 七福弁天庵 (soba udon sho sichi fuku benten an). They specialised in soba and udon noodles served with tempura. If you love all these things, be sure to give this place a visit! Every time I have visitors over at Ikebukuro, I bring them here, and they always want to go again!
My second favourite food place is APizza. As you’ve probably already guessed from the name of the restaurant, this is a pizza place. Everybody needs a go-to pizza place, and this is definitely mine! The pizzas are a bit small, but they are cheap and you can order three pizzas when you’re there with another person and share! Because: sharing (pizza) is caring.
Third is sushi! Pretty much every city, town and area in Japan has Kaitenzushi, which are sushi bars where the sushi comes to you on a little “train”. These are not only fun, but also so delicious. If you don’t like sushi, you can still join your friends because most of these places will also sell a range of fried foods and amazing deserts.
And last but not least: Chiba Chan! This is a chain that you can find in pretty much all of Tokyo. But since we were talking about my favourite restaurants here in Japan, I thought it was worth mentioning, because in Ikebukuro, you have two Chiba Chan’s! Chiba Chan is the perfect place to go to if you’re with a big group of friends. They sell all their plates from small to HUMUNGOUS portions, and they actually bring your meals to you on boats. Their most popular plate in my friendship group is the karaage (fried chicken).
Another fun thing to do in Ikebukuro is to go to the arcades. Ikebukuro has a lot of them and they’re heaps of fun. These arcades have many floors and every floor has a different theme. On the first floor, you usually have the claw cranes where you’ll lose a lot of money trying to win that one Pokémon plush-toy. Further up, you have the classic arcade games like race car games. You’ll also find Pokémon arcade games, dance-offs and fighter games like Tekken. Some arcades also have floors dedicated to Purikura (a special kind of photo booth).
I hope this gave you a better insight in what to do in Ikebukuro. It’s also always fun to just wander around and see where you end up. Have fun exploring!