So if you have ever seen the anime Durara, you might know a bit about Ikebukuro already. That was the extent of the knowledge I had when going into this part of Tokyo. I would definitely recommend watching the show (besides the fact of it being a very good show) because they did an excellent job recreating the different real life locations in the anime. I believe you can even get a Durara tour, so that you get shown the exact spots from the show. Now that I think back to it I really wish I could have gotten some actual comparison pictures from the show to real life, but alas I did not.
There were some pretty cool things to see and do in Ikebukuro and Ill talk about a few of them here. First off, the station is one of the largest in Tokyo. Its always alive with the hustle and bustle of the traveling public. There are tons of shops around that sell various things from food, to magazines, to clothes, its almost like a mall. The main streets near the station are always thriving, even into the early hours of the morning.
That is also one thing that really surprised me about Tokyo, there are pretty much always people out and about and stuff stays open wicked late. I guess its also good to note that nothing opens until 10am for the most part, the first day we didn’t know this and woke up really early due to the time difference. The only thing we could really find open was a Denny’s.
There are tons of restaurants and shops around the station as well as arcades and pachinko parlors. You can also find many different bars/clubs down the smaller streets. We stayed at the Sakura Inn which I believe was out the west exit of the station. It was really only a short walk before getting to the hotel so it was very convenient after a long days trek.
On the Northeast-ish side of the station is more of the main area of Ikebukuro I guess you would say? Pretty tall buildings all around, be they shops, banks, or offices. Further down the street on the right you come down to a large movie theater and some more arcades and pachinko parlors. On the left farther down is a popular department store, Tokyu Hands, which has I think it was 8 floors of different goods, I guess think of it like a Walmart? Except without groceries.
Past that you get to one of the larger malls in Tokyo, Sunshine City. Its multiple stories with a variety of stores you would find in a mall. We visited a Toys R Us while we were in there. One of the main attractions of Sunshine City is an aquarium as well as Namco’s mini theme park type thing, Namja Town, which we ventured to.