Ikebukuro

Never-ending entertainment and thousands of square feet dedicated to shopping surround Tokyo's second busiest train station.

Step out of Ikebukuro’s train station in north Tokyo and step into a friendly kind of urban chaos. Anime enthusiasts, ramen sellers, and intrepid mega-mall shoppers crisscross Ikebukuro’s congested roads as corporate headquarters overlook the frenzy. Its famous mall, Sunshine City, is rivaled by the countless number of stores underneath Ikebukuro’s surface. As the site of Tokyo’s second busiest station, Ikebukuro feels heavily traveled and slightly maniacal no matter the hour.

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On the Map

Ikebukuro is within Toshima District and bordered by Shinjuku District and Itabashi District

  • Public transit is Easy
  • Having a car is Difficult

Haneda Airport: 40 minutes by car or 1 hour by public transit
Narita Airport: 1 hour & 10 minutes by car or 1 hour & 40 minutes by public transit
Shinjuku Station: 25 minutes by public transit
Ueno Station: 30 minutes by public transit
Tokyo Tower: 1 hour 5 minutes by public transit

Commercial and Chaotic on the Yamanote Line

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Trains speed into and out of Ikebukuro, a neighborhood that feels like the center of the city outside the center of the city.

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On the northwest edge of the Yamanote Line, Ikebukuro burgeons with shoppers, performers, and entertainment complexes.

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Ikebukuro Goto

Massive department stores surround Ikebukuro Station and large electronic retailers compete for shoppers' affection as they exit their trains.

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Ikebukuro's high density activity attracts sidewalk artists and street performers that are guaranteed to find wide audiences.

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Ikebukuro Goto
Ikebukuro Goto

From street level to top level, there's plenty to see in Ikebukuro.

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The Sunshine 60 observation deck lets you see it all.

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You will really feel like you are a local here, but at the same time have access to enough western food and conveniences to easily survive."

Sunshine City: A Complex Shopping Complex

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In 1978, Tokyo created a city within the city. A complex of five buildings, Sunshine City is rife with entertainment. Its unmistakable skyscraper, Sunshine 60, rises 240 meters into the sky.

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Ikebukuro Goto
Ikebukuro Goto

Restaurants, shops, museums, theme parks, planetariums, and aquariums occupy the center's floors from top to bottom.

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Performances take place at its indoor plazas.

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Ikebukuro Goto

Lured by the promise of specialty gyoza, diners peruse Sunshine City's myriad restaurants.

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Ikebukuro Goto

Namco lures arcade game connoisseurs into Namja Town, the complex's indoor fun park.

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Ikebukuro Goto

Sunshine City also boasts the Sunshine Aquarium, an aquatic wonderland that remains a highly-anticipated destination for adults and children.

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Sea lions, sharks, and penguins often steal the spotlight.

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Ikebukuro Goto
Ikebukuro Goto

Happy feet.

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[Take] a ride on the world’s longest escalator at Tokyo Metropolitan Art Space. This is a Japanese concert hall and theater operated by Tokyo Metropolitan Foundation for History and Culture. It offers fine arts shops, restaurants, exhibition galleries and conference rooms."

Otome Road: The Center of Ikebukuro Otaku

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Although Ikebukuro isn't as renowned as Akihabara for its anime, manga, and cosplay culture, the neighborhood is steadily building a reputation for otaku.

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Just northwest of Sunshine City on Otome Road, a growing number of women are embracing otaku.

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Otome Road supports shops specializing in otaku reading materials and dojinshi (self-published manga).

Everyday Eats and Exceptional Ramen

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Japanese staples like gyoza attract culinary enthusiasts to Ikebukuro, but the neighborhood's reputation is built upon a different dish.

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Ikebukuro Goto
Ikebukuro Goto
Ikebukuro Goto

Ikebukuro is revered for its ramen bowls. Popular chains populate the neighborhood.

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Stir it up.

Ikebukuro Station: Tokyo's Second Busiest Transit Hub

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When it comes to the number of trains and subways and the people that embark and disembark them, Ikebukuro Station is second only to Shinjuku Station.

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Ikebukuro Goto

It's not only Tokyo's second busiest train station.

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Ikebukuro Station is the second busiest train station in the world.

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Ikebukuro Goto

Underground cafes and shops sell their wares to the millions of passengers that pass through it every day.

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All the while, Ikefukuro watches. The owl statue is a crowd favorite meeting point inside the station.

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Outside Ikebukuro Station: (Almost) Calm In Nishiguchi Park

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Squeezed between Ikebukuro's gargantuan department stores and warring electronics chains, Nishiguchi Park offers passer-by and commuters a place to rest their traveled feet.

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The park stands at the entry to the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Space.

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Ikebukuro Goto
Ikebukuro Goto
Ikebukuro Goto
Ikebukuro Goto

Street food vendors skirt the perimeter of the park and young adventurers play in its pools.

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Aloha.

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Hello and goodbye.

From Dawn 'til Dawn: Endless Shopping In Ikebukuro

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Not known as a nightlife destination, Ikebukuro lacks many bars and nightclubs.

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What Ikebukuro doesn't lack is shopping in abundance.

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Ikebukuro Goto

The neighborhood continues to pulse at night as throngs of evening and late-night shoppers course through the streets around Ikebukuro Station.

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Photography

Airbnb works with local photographers to capture the spirit of neighborhoods all around the world. The photography on this page includes work by:

Masaru studied Photography at Parsons The New School for Design in NYC. He has 25 years experience photographing social and human rights issues in Asia and South America. After spending many years abroad, he has begun to focus on his own country of Japan. He established Reminders Photography Stronghold in Tokyo in 2013, a curated membership gallery making multi-photographic activities possible. His photographs have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Newsweek Japan, and many others.

Masaru Goto

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