Ikebukuro panoramic view at night

Discovering Ikebukuro

Ikebukuro (池袋) is located at the northwestern corner of the Yamanote loop line. It is a vibrant city with rustic neighborhoods. Smack-dab in the center of the bustling city is Ikebukuro Station, one of the busiest stations in Japan, and the entire world. The commuter hub is a great way to conveniently get around as it is traversed by subways and various urban and suburban train lines. Ikebukuro is also one of Tokyo’s city centers known to have numerous entertainment, shopping and dining spots. Tobu and Seibu conglomerates operate huge department stores on both sides of the station.

Ikebukuro cafe owls

Baby owls taken in Ikefukurou cafe, Ikebukuro Japan.

Ikebukuro in kanji means pond bag because the area used to have several lakes. The is also a popular statue of an owl located close to the city center known as Ikefukurō-zō, meaning pond owl statue. It’s a play on words from the other meaning of “fukuro” or “owl”. The owl statue is a popular landmark or meeting place for people.

Ikebukuro is rich with traditional and contemporary Japanese art and culture for anyone looking to discover Japan. The Ikebukuro dormitory for KCP students is just 30 minutes from the school!

Check out some places to see in exciting Ikebukuro:

Sunshine aquarium fish

Fish at the Sunshine Aquarium.

Sunshine City

Sunshine City (Sanshain Shiti), is a building complex consisting of  four building complex with the more than 787 feet tall skyscraper Sunshine 60 at the center. It is a giant urban theme park with an observation deck, aquarium, restaurants and hotels.

Sunshine City houses the Sunshine Aquarium and the Ancient Orient Museum. Sunshine Aquarium is located on the top three floors and rooftop of the World Import Mart building. It features 80 tanks with about 37,000 fish belonging to 750 species. The Ancient Orient Museum is on the 7th floor of the Cultural Center and it specializes in artifacts from ancient Near East and Central Asia. It’s collection includes  Greco-Buddhist art of Gandhara and  pieces from the art of Persia and Palmyra.

Statue at Gokokuji

Buddha statue at Gokokuji Temple during sakura season.

Gokokuji Temple

Gokokuji Temple is situated to the east of Ikebukuro Station. It is a beautiful Shingon Buddhist temple established by the fifth shogun, Tokugawa Tsunayoshi. He dedicated the temple to his mother. Gokokuji Temple survived the American Air raids during World War II. Beside the main temple is a large cemetery that contains the graves of many popular Japanese and foreigners alike such Sanjō Sanetomi (1837–1891), the last Daijō Daijin, Josiah Conder (1852–1920), a British architect and oyatoi gaikokujin, Seiji Noma (1878–1938), the founder of Kodansha and Ōyama Masutatsu (1923–1994), a karate master and the founder of Kyokushin kaikan.

Otome Road

Otome Road or ”Maiden Road” is a name for a particular area in Ikebukuro. It is considered a main shopping and cultural center for anime and manga for women. The area is sometime also known as  Fujoshi Street referencing the name for Yaoi fandom, a genre of malexmale romance narratives aimed at those who participate in communal activities organized around yao.

There’s so much more to discover in Ikebukuro!