Let’s begin the day by heading west of Ikebukuro Station!
Located in Toshima ward, Ikebukuro is a large commercial district in north-western Tokyo, just 4 stops north of Shinjuku Station. The district is divided into 2: east and west of the Ikebukuro Station on JR Yamanote Line. West Ikebukuro is home to Tokyo’s largest department store - Tobu and the longest escalator in Japan. Let’s start the day with this interesting side of Ikebukuro.
1. Shop and dine to your heart’s content at Tobu and Lumine department stores
The Tobu Department Store, west Ikebukuro's landmark, is Tokyo’s largest department store. Cure your hunger pangs in the morning with the wide range of fresh food as well as Japanese and Western confectionery shops on the two underground floors connected to the station. Or you can also replenish your energy with a variety of tasty cuisines on the 11th to 15th floor of the building. After that, shop till you drop in this huge complex. From ladies’ and men’s wear to skincare and cosmetics to children’s toys and stationery and home furnishings, you name it, they have it. Next to Tobu is the 10-floor Lumine Department Store, which is equally exciting. Popular brand names here include the 2-floor Uniqlo, Muji and HMV.
2. Relish in the artistic atmosphere with beautiful nature amidst the concrete jungle
Just across from Metropolitan Plaza where all the commercial action is, the Tokyo Metropolitan Theatre offers a peaceful artistic ambience with its large striking structure. Opened in October 1990, it is a multi-hall venue featuring a variety of music, theatre and dance performances and arts exhibitions to promote arts and culture in Tokyo. Don’t forget to check out the longest single escalator in Japan here!
Across the theatre, soak in the relaxed atmosphere at the infamous Ikebukuro West Side Park. The small park was featured in a same-name urban mystery novel series, which was later made into a popular Japanese TV and manga comic series. While the park was the hangout for youth delinquents in the series, rest assured it is safe to visit Ikebukuro West Gate Park. Many lively outdoor events are held in the park, especially on weekends. Even when there is no buoyant festival during your visit, it definitely offers a cool respite from the concrete jungle scene in Tokyo, making it a lovely place for refreshing walks.
3. Say hello to the icon of Ikebukuro Station - the Ikefukuro statue!
It’s time to cross over to the other side of Ikebukuro Station, i.e. the east. Return to the station to say hi to the famous Ikefukuro (owl) statue near the eastern exit. As Ikebukuro Station is huge, the statue is often used as a meeting point in the station. Find out about the origins of Ikebukuro from the information board behind the cute owl. See if you are lucky enough to get the perfect selfie in front of this iconic statue with massive crowds gathering here anytime!