10 Fun Tourist Spots in Ikebukuro You'll Definitely Want to Visit

With many shopping complexes such as Esola, Echika, and wacca opening up in the area, Ikebukuro has transformed into a popular hang out spot for Japan's youth, and in a 2014 survey, it was even ranked 3rd among the most desirable places to live in Tokyo after Kichijoji and Ebisu. But did you know that in addition to being a great place to live or shop, it actually has tons of great tourist locations too? Be sure to check out these fun destinations in Ikebukuro during your visit to Tokyo!

Ikebukuro

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1. Konica Minolta Planetarium "Manten"

This planetarium, managed by Konica Minolta, is located on the rooftop of Sunshine City and the World Import Mart Building. You can enjoy the ambient starry sky and the CG imagery along with a performance of light and sounds, so it's perfect for dates or sightseeing with the family. There are 2 special seats - "lawn seat" and "cloud seat" - from which you can enjoy the performance, and there's a "healing planetarium" that was designed to soothe the audience with aromatic fragrances and evoke a pleasant feeling of being immersed in a forest. It offers a slightly different experience from the planetariums you've been to as a child. Take a visit to this planetarium and enjoy the narration and music while gazing up at the night sky!

2. Sunshine Aquarium

This aquarium is also located on the rooftop of Sunshine City's World Import Mart Building. Its concept is "an oasis in the sky." Although the facility in itself isn't that large, it's absolutely worth a visit for its numerous thrilling performances, such as the up-close sea lion performance, penguin parade, and the feeding time (additional fee required)! It makes for a great date spot, but it's also a classic place to bring your kids for a guaranteed day full of fun! There are many limited-time seasonal events held throughout the year, and there's also a Marine Garden to explore, too! You'll be able to meet penguins, otters, pelicans, and many more animals here, so it's not only highly recommended for first-timers, but also those who've been here before as well!

3. Sunshine 60 Observatory (Sky Circus)

On April 21, 2016, the Sunshine City Observatory, a deep-rooted symbol of Ikebukuro, underwent a grand renewal with a "sky circus" concept. It went from an observatory where all you do is look out at the city views, to an observatory with a full-on entertainment space! The top highlight is the 4D virtual reality experience TOKYO BULLET FLIGHT, a thrilling trip through the sky full of surprises, which you can find in the Sky Bridge area. Other exciting, interactive attractions include the swing-style VR roller coaster speeding into Ikebukuro from the sky, and the SKY trampoline, in which you can experience freely jumping into the sky high above. You absolutely cannot miss out on this unique observatory which unites one-of-a-kind views with technology!

4. NAMJATOWN

NAMJATOWN is an indoor amusement park managed by BANDAI NAMCO. Along with mascots that are sure to spark joy in children, there are many fun attractions such as a haunted house and Gyoza Stadium, as well as plenty of food options in the Fukubukuro Dessert Yokocho. With all these options, it's a top recommendation as a tourist spot that even adults would be able to enjoy for the whole day. Since it's indoors, you can enjoy yourself without worrying about the weather, and with just some simple paperwork at the front desk when you leave, you'll be able to re-enter as many times as you want for the entire day! They also hold many limited time events in collaboration with popular games like Yokai Watch and White Cat Project. Visit NAMJATOWN and enjoy all 6 unique areas on offer here!

5. Pokemon Center MEGA TOKYO

The official Pokemon store was originally located in Hamamatsucho, but it relocated to Ikebukruo under the name Pokemon Center MEGA TOKYO in December 2014. Original Pokemon goods line the shelves, and it's constantly bustling with families and Pokemon fans from abroad. There are also Pokemon card game classes for beginners, battles, and other Pokemon card game events held periodically, so if you're interested in participating, be sure to check the schedule on their official website (Information only available in Japanese)! You can even get a special present if you visit during your birthday month, so don't forget to bring personal identification with you! 

6. Nico Nico Honsha

This is a specialty store of Niconico, a major Japanese video sharing service that often makes appearances on national news. This multi-complex facility offers many Niconico-related activities: "nicocafe," a cafe that brings together reality and the web; "niconico shop," which sells Niconico goods; an event space that holds events almost every single day; and "nico bukuro studio," a studio space you can look in on from outside. 

7. Tokyo Metropolitan Theatre

This theater is located just a few minutes' walk from Ikebukuro Station, and is right by Ikebukuro West Gate Park, a landmark that became famous due to its appearance in a novel and TV drama. There are 4 halls that feature plays, dance performance, and concerts, and there are also other stores and eateries here such as a theater shop, Italian restaurant, and a Belgian beer cafe. They even offer a daycare service that you can utilize during performances so that you can enjoy a nice date with your partner!

8. Nekobukuro

This is a cat cafe located on the 8th floor of Tokyu Hands Ikebukuro Branch. By visiting this store, you can enter the world of cats! There are many chairs and benches inside, so it's recommended that you take a seat first and watch over the cats before interacting with them. You'll be charmed by the cats' adorable and unique personalities! You're not allowed to bring in any food, but you'll have a chance to gain the cats' affection during snack time, which happens twice a day. The admission fee is relatively cheap compared to other cat cafes. It's highly recommended for cat lovers!

9. Ikefukuro Cafe

Owl cafes have been gaining more and more popularity as of late, and they've trended on the internet and appeared on TV shows many times. There are roughly 50 owls at this cafe, which mainly houses owls that have been bred in Japan and are used to interacting with humans. Although you don't need to make a reservation, those with reservations take priority, so if you really want to go, make sure to check their website for empty slots and make a reservation beforehand! Visit this cafe to spend a relaxing moment with these fluffy owls!

10. Rikkyo University Ikebukuro Campus

Rikkyo University is a Christian university. Its baseball club is part of the Tokyo Big 6 Baseball League, and is the alma mater for many famous baseball players such as Shigeo Nagashima. The campus, which is constantly buzzing with students, consists of both historical red brick buildings and modern architecture surrounded by a rich, green environment. With the combination of the liveliness of a city and a traditional charm joined together by nature, this campus is a popular spot to visit for many tourists!

Ikebukuro is filled with many fun spots that can be enjoyed for dates and with the family, so it's a highly recommended entertainment spot! It's an area you'll definitely want to visit if you're in Tokyo, so be sure to use this as a guide during your travels!

 

Header Image: StreetVJ / Shutterstock

Translated and republished with permission from:Relux Magazine

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The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.

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