Blue Bottle Coffee Opens @ Manseibashi Station

You can soon get your Blue Bottle cold brew coffee fix from a can - Los  Angeles Times

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Name: Blue Bottle Coffee Kanda

Kind: Café

Location: 35°41’51.10″ N 139°46’11.06″ E

Station: Akihabara Sta.

Address: 1-chōme-25-4 Kanda Sudachō, Chiyoda City, Tōkyō-to 101-0041, Japan

Free Wifi: Yes

Our Rating: ⭑⭑⭑⭑⭑

Worth it? Totally.

Updated 9/25/2020

A new Blue Bottle Coffee café has opened in the historic Manseibashi Station just north of Tokyo Station in Kanda. Well worth a stop in for a drink and a rest. Note that most seating is outside. This is the 11th Blue Bottle Coffee in Tokyo.

To get here exit Akihabara Station, head south on Chuo-Dori to Manseibashi Bridge, cross it, then turn the corner right past the station. Blue Bottle Coffee is down on your right – the 1st shop just past the 1912 stairwell entrance.

Hours are mostly 8:00-9:00 AM – 7:00-ish PM.

Drinks are around 500¥ (about $5 USD). They also sell BBC mugs.

Check out the gorgeous photos @ urdesignmag.com below.

The mAAch eCute mall inside Manseibashi Station in general is well worth a stroll.

LINKS

https://www.urdesignmag.com/lifestyle/2019/04/02/blue-bottle-coffee-kanda-manseibashi-cafe/

https://bluebottlecoffee.com/cafes/kanda

https://www.timeout.com/tokyo/shopping/maach-ecute-kanda-manseibashi

https://japantravel.navitime.com/en/area/jp/spot/02301-1405315/

https://www.ejrcf.or.jp/mansei/english/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manseibashi_Station

Manseibashi: The Phantom Station of Tokyo

Experience The 100 Year History of “mAAch ecute” Underpass

https://tokyorailwaylabyrinth.blogspot.com/2013/09/manseibashi-revival-of-abandoned-station.html

https://visit-chiyoda.com/

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The 1912 stairwell on your right is just before Blue Bottle Coffee.

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On the 2nd floor of the station is a small museum detailing its history – worth a quick look after your coffee break. From Blue Bottle Coffee head north on the west side of the station, then head inside for the elevator to the 2nd floor.

Blue Bottle, pop-up store in Kanda

The east side of the station from mAACh eCute‘s official brochure. Pass this to the left shown here, then head right.

mAACh eCute map. The station is in the middle, Akihabara Station is the small “+” shaped area to the right. The bridge crosses the Kanda River.

VIDS

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCyki4e6RG84BT_xzi4oYkRw

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Il3lGdmG888

Toranomon Superguide Part 1

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Name: Toranomon

Kind: Town

Where: 1-chome, 23-1~4, Toranomon, Minato-ku, Tokyo

Location: 35°39’55.04″ N 139°44’46.09″ E

Station: Toranomon Sta. on the Metro Ginza Line

Our Rating: ⭑⭑⭑⭑⭑

Worth it? Yep.

Last updated 8/7/2020

Page may take some time to load due to photos.

Be sure to see Part 2 of this guide.

Toranomon means ‘Tiger Gate‘ – in medevil times the area was the southernmost security point for the Imperial Palace.

Area Layout

Facing North – Toranomon Hills is the tall dark bldg. at the top, the main road (Rt. 405) runs north/south, and Shiodome area is at the bottom. APA Hotel Toranomon is in the center right of the frame, and First Cabin Atagoyama is on the center left. Tamiya Playmodel Factory is in the center, and Tokyo Tower is to the upper left, just out of frame. Further to the north is the Akasaka area and the central gov’t. Shimbashi Station if off to the lower right out of frame.

The Toranomon Incident

From Wikipedia:

“The Toranomon Incident (虎ノ門事件 Toranomon Jiken?) was an assassination attempt on the Prince Regent Hirohito of Japan on 27 December 1923 by communist agitator Daisuke Namba”.

Toranomon Hills

Toranomon Hills is the tallest building in Tokyo. That title is expected to be surpassed in 2022 when a new, taller complex in Toranomon is built. The complex is spectacular + includes an office tower, shops, and lots of restaurants. Behind the tower is a medical facility + an open space green park.

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Toranomon Hills, facing west. The tip of Tokyo Tower is just visible in the distance.

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There is a nice pastry shop on this side of the complex. At Halloween, the Japanese don’t play games.

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Entrance to Toranomon Hills.

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The park behind Toranomon Hills.

Looking east from Toranomon. Toranomon Hills is on the left.

Tamiya Playmodel Factory

Tamiya Playmodel Factory (pronounced ‘Tom-eee-ya‘, not ‘Ta-my-ya‘ is a nice small shop by Japanese plastic model maker Tamiya. There are lots of high quality models + supplies here, and some built dioramas of WW2 military scenes using the models. It’s right on the corner of the main street running north-south through Toranomon – Rt. 405.

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Tamiya Playmodel Factory in Toranomon @ 35°39’52.90″ N 139°45’17.96″ E. Usually open until around 9PM (21:00 in Japanese lingo).

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Racks of historical Tamiya military models.

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Slight Diversion – North/South: Akasaka + Shimbashi

If you head just south on 405 from Toranomon you will come into Shimbashi and just beyond that, Shiodome. Toranomon is within walking distance of both.

If you go the other direction – north – and make a few winding turns to the northwest you will come to one of Tokyo’s premiere areas – Akasaka. Akasaka is the area just to the west of Japan’s central government. In fact, you can see the Prime Minister’s office from there. The nearest Metro subway station to Akasaka is Akasaka-Mitsuke Sta. on the Ginza or Marunouchi Lines. There are several station exits – on Rt. 405 itself across from Bic Camera, one in the basement of Bic Camera in the .BelleVie shopping complex, and one just behind the government buildings. It’s a bit of a hike to Akasaka from Toranomon, but doable. There is also a newer Toranomon Hills Station (H06) as well – on the Hibiya Line. You can also change lines @ Toranomon Hills Sta. for the Ginza Line to Ginza, Ueno, and many other stops.

There is another station called Tameike-Sanno on the street behind the main street where the Akasaka-Mitsuke Station is. Either one works fine – if you get off at Tamieke-Sanno Station you’ll just have to walk a couple more blocks. Tameike-sanno Station is so-named because it also has an exit in the basement of the huge Sanno Park Tower – on whose top floor NTT DoCoMo has their headquarters. In the Sanno Park Tower basement there are also all kinds of restaurants, shops, and cafés. Sanno Park Tower is located on the corner of 405 and the side street where Tameike-Sanno Station is located.

As a footnote just across from Tameike-Sanno Station are two excellent hotels: APA Pride and The Capitol Hotel Tokyu. APA Pride is incredibly grand + it’s reasonable – off season around $70/night. But beware since it’s just behind the gov’t buildings, the gov’t will often take over the entire hotel for visiting international groups and cancel all guest reservations with only short notice. Still, it is an excellent place to stay. The Capitol Hotel Tokyu is right next to APA Pride but it is orders of magnitude more upscale. It will cost you around $400/night but it’s incredibly deluxe. Both hotels make access to the main part of Akasaka easy.

Akasaka-Mitsuke Sta. on Rt. 405 in Akasaka.

Tameike-Sanno Station shown on Google Earth. The Ginza Line here can shoot you to the east side of Tokyo in minutes. The huge building in the distance is Akasaka Intercity Air. Just out of frame to the right across the street are APA Pride and The Capitol Hotel Tokyu. You can shoot down to Toranomon Station just one stop to the south from here on the Ginza Line. This photo faces south. The corner of the Prime Minister’s office bldg. is visible just under the street light.

The Akasaka view from the far end of the street shown in the previous photo looks like this – facing back north. Sanno Park Tower is just on the corner on the left. The small round circular area is an elevator entrance to subterranean shops + another station exit. The small brown bldg. just up the side street in the center is APA Pride hotel and The Capitol Hotel Tokyu just to the left of it. There is another station entrance across the street to the left out of frame in this photo. Bic Camera is out of frame up the main street to the left, also out of frame. A really interesting area in Akasaka is a small street behind the Bic Camera – it’s full of all sorts of restaurants, shops, and hotels. If you are on bike, you can ride all the way south from here, into Toranomon, and further south into Shimbashi/Shiodome.

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Prime Minister’s Office. APA Pride hotel + The Capitol Hotel Tokyu are just up the side street to the left.

Looking back south from Akasaka. Toranomon Hills is the tall tower in the distance.

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A spectaular sunset in fall cruising down Rt. 405 south on bike from Akasaka heading towards Toranomon. To the west (ahead) is Tokyo Tower just out of frame to the right. Japan is far enough north that in late fall the sun goes down around 3:30 PM.

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Inside the very swank Capitol Hotel Tokyu. A top 5-star hotel, but it will cost you. Oddly, there is even an upscale 7-11 in this hotel’s basement.

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Lobby.

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Tameike-Sanno Station entrance to the Maruonuchi Line in Capitol Hotel Tokyu‘s basement. The 7-11 is just to the right out of frame. This hotel is so deluxe even the subway entrance looks like a king’s palace.

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Bic Camera Akasaka. Just to the right in the .BelleVie complex is the Tokyo Metro subway entrance for the Ginza and Maruonuchi Lines:

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Just pop in + hang a right down the stairs to the basement – Metro signs are overhead on the right where the small colored circles are for each line. If instead you go straight ahead you’ll pop out on a charming little backstreet lined with all kinds of restaurants, shops, cafés, pastry shops, wine bars, noodle shops, izakaya, chocolatiers – you name it. Further down the street to the left is Akasaka SACAS + Tokyo Broadcasting System‘s HQ. The entrance to this street is roughly at 35°40’37.47″ N 139°44’11.90″ E.

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The charming little side street behind (west) of Bic Camera. Also shown below:

A spectacular day in Akasaka – the Akasaka SACAS/TBS complex is straight ahead. Toranomon is to the left (south).

Akasaka overall map – Sanno Park Tower, center, APA Pride Hotel/Prime Minister’s Office on the right, center, Bic Camera just out of view at the upper left corner. As a fun footnote the elevators up to the top-floor NTT DoCoMo HQ have to be seen to be believed – mostly glass, they shoot you up through the tower at incredible speed as the ground + building appear to drop out from under you. You can’t go in the offices, but you can go in their lobby + look around. Toranomon is to the right down the main street (southeast).

Sky view map: Tokyo Tower (left), Shinjuku center (far in the distance), Atago Green Hills Mori Tower, center right (see part 2), and Toranomon Hills tower, far right. This photo is facing northwest. Central Tokyo + the Imperial Palace are just a few more miles to the right (east), out of frame.

But now, back to Toranomon.

Looking south on Rt. 405 in Toranomon towards Shimbashi. Shiodome is the tall bldg. in the distance.

Tokyo Tower

Tokyo Tower is visible from Toranomon, and is well within walking distance just to the northwest.

UCC Coffee Academy Tokyo

Just down the street to the southwest is UCC Coffee Academy Tokyo where you can take coffee classes (in Japanese only, however). Also right next door is giant Family Mart conbini where you can grab a quick cheap breakfast.

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“In April 2007, UCC opened its UCC Coffee Academy, Japan’s only comprehensive educational institution specializing in coffee. The academy, which enables its students to learn about all aspects of coffee systematically and at their own level, is the repository of the coffee-related information, expertise, knowledge and skills accumulated over the years since UCC was first founded. It offers a variety of programs catering to all sorts of students, from those who simply have an interest in coffee to those who want to open their own coffee shops”.

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Also on this street is the HQ for Iwatani Corporation – makers of small tabletop gas stoves + other appliances.

Oki Printers HQ

Just to the west a few blocks is the world headquarters of Japanese printer maker Oki. Oki makes office printers, but in the 1980’s they were famous for a full-color ribbon-ink printer for Atari and Commodore personal computers called the Okimate 10 (which you can still find today on eBay in working condition).

Okimate 10 color printer from the 1980’s

Okimate 10 color print.

Atari 400 (1979) | Oldcomputr.com

Early Atari 400 Personal Computer circa 1980’s.

First Cabin Atagoyama

If you’re looking for a capsule hotel in Toranomon, look no further than First Cabin Atagoyama – a top-notch capsule hotel just to the southwest of Toranomon Hills. Prices in off-season run around $45-$55 and it’s quite nice. The hotel is located just to the west of the Tamiya Playmodel Factory a few blocks – on a side street.

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First Cabin Atagoyama. Oddly there is no lobby on the ground floor – go to the 5th floor instead.

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Inside First Cabin

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Just a block to the east of the First Cabin is this little Vietnamese noodle shop.

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It’s easy to eat breakfast cheap in Tokyo – in this case a tomagoyaki (fried egg) + a small BOSS Coffee from a conbini. Total: just over $2 USD.

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Don’t be afraid to explore the local side streets on foot.

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There is also a very nice Japan Post Office in the area.

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Well, that’s it for Part 1. Be sure to see Part 2 of this guide.

LINKS

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toranomon

Toranomon Station

Toranomon Hills Station

Toranomon Hills – Wikipedia

Toranomon Hills Mori Tower

Okura Museum of Art

Andaz Tokyo Toranomon Hills

Aman Tokyo – Luxury Urban Hotel (A mere $1,000-$2,000 USD per night)

Oki Data C531dn Digital Color Printer

Tamiya 1/35 Military Miniature Series

BOSS Coffee

Capitol Hotel Tokyu Akasaka

https://whenin.tokyo/The-Tavern-Grill-Lounge-Toranomon-Hills

VIDS

Tokyo’s Toranomon Neighborhood View | General MacArthur Road

Coffee Valley Ikebukuro

Name: Coffee Valley

Kind: Café

Location: Ikebukuro, Tokyo @ 35°43’39.67″ N 139°42’47.06″ E

Address: 2-26-3 Minamiikebukuro
Toshima-ku, Tokyo 171-0022

Phone: 03-6907-1173

Email: info@coffeevalley.jp

Free WiFi: Yes

Worth it? A must-see

Rating: ★★★★

Last updated 6/28/2020

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©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

Coffee Valley, Ikebukuro – A must-see.

Tucked down a little hidden side-street, 2 blocks from Tokyo’s JR Ikebukuro Station is one of the city’s best cafés: Coffee Valley Ikebukuro. This place is a must-see for anyone visiting Tokyo.

Coffee Valley offers gourmet coffees of all kinds, and small snacks such as pastries. It has an exceptional interior with rustic wood + nice lighting. Staff is very friendly. There is seating on the second floor with large windows with lots of light.

The quality of everything here is superb. This is one Tokyo café that is not to be missed. It’s well worth a trip to Ikebukuro just for the café alone, but if you’re in the area sightseeing anyway, you’ll definitely want to stop in.

Directions:

Take the JR Yamanote Line to JR Ikebukuro Station and exit the main east exit to street level. You can also take any of the connecting Metro Subway lines to any of the major stops on the Yamanote Line or Saikyo Line, change at Shinjuku, Shibuya, or Harajuku/Omotosando, and then get the Yamanote Line to Ikebukuro.

After exiting, turn right onto the sidewalk (south):

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JR Ikebukuro Station east exit. Head south as you exit (to your right as you face the exit from the inside, or straight ahead down the sidewalk in this photo).

Proceed 1.8 miles south. You’ll pass the large SEIBU + PARCO depato (department stores) as you go. As of this writing at the 1.8 mile point, you will see a large Starbuck’s in front of you on the corner across the street. Turn left (east) at this light (you’ll see a Komedia’s Coffee on the 2nd floor in the bldg. in front of you). Cross at the light. On the ground floor of this bldg. there will be a Yahoo! and a SoftBank. At this corner there will be a tiny narrow side street on your left. Head down it:

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Look for the tiny side street next to the SoftBank/Yahoo! bldg.

Go a block and the street will curve around to the right. Keep going and cross the next street also. You will see a Caffé Veloce on the corner on the right, and a Yoshinoya on the corner on the left. Enter the next small street straight ahead and Coffee Valley will be just inside on your left. Can’t miss it.

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Abandon all other coffee places, ye who enter here. Coffee Valley is just down the alley ahead on the left.

Footnotes

There is another railway + station in IkebukuroThe SEIBU Railway line which exits just to the south of the JR Ikebukuro Station on the same street.

Town Layout

JR Ikebukuro Station is shown on the left. The JR Ikebukuro Station east exit is just to the left of the small square in the upper center of the map shown above. The main street runs roughly north-south. Coffee Valley is shown at the placemarks in the lower right corner.

Additional Photos

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Main street in east Ikebukuro. The JR Ikebukuro Station is up on the left. You’ll exit here, and head down the street on your left (towards the camera in this photo).

LINKS

Coffee Valley

COFFEE VALLEY – Tokyo [Good Coffee]

JR-EAST Ikebukuro Station

JR Sightseeing Map

JR Yamanote Line for Harajuku, Shibuya, Shinagawa, Tokyo, Akihabara, Ueno & Ikebukuro

SEIBU Ikebukuro Station guide map

Narita to Ikebukuro: The Best Transport Options | Tokyo Cheapo

Google Map

Ikebukuro | The Official Tokyo Travel Guide, GO TOKYO

Essential Tokyo: The Complete Guide to Ikebukuro Station

Ikebukuro Station: The Complete Beginner’s Guide to Cracking This 3D Maze

Ikebukuro Station | Tokyo Creative Travel

Ikebukuro Guide @ The Best Japan

VIDS

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Hidden Ueno Side Street

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Name: Unknown

Kind: Street

Location: Approx. 35°42’34.55″ N 139°46’16.85″ E

There’s a really nice little side street in Ueno worth checking out.

It’s just to the south of Shinobazu Pond, and it’s easy to get to.

From the south tip of Ueno Park, head south on the west sidewalk and head down a side alley on the right to get onto the sidewalk sourrounding Shinobazu Pond.

Head left (south) around the pond.

As the sidewalk turns around to the south, look for the entrance on the left. There’s a street light on your left. The entrance to the side street is shown on Google Earth below. The top in this case is south:

Turn left out of the pond area, and cross the street. The entrance to the hidden street is straight ahead, and is shown here on the right (you’ll be entering from the left side of the frame). The pond area entrance is shown directly on the left in this photo – just cross the street straight ahead of the pond exit when you come out.

Especially at night, this street is interesting:

If you go 2 blocks south on this street, you’ll end up on the 2nd busiest street on the east side of Ueno Station. There is also a big Don Quijote discount store on that street shown here:

This Don Quijote also has cheap food: $1.78 1 liter mixed vegetable drinks, and $1.78 1 liter UCC Coffee. And some cheap snacks. Can’t go wrong.

As a footnote, if you turn to the right when you come out of the pond area instead of going straight @ the light, you’ll find a lot of good hotels on the south side of the street as you head east – including a women’s-only hostel – the Centurion Ladies’ Hostel, shown here:

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As an interesting historical footnote, Shinobazu Pond was a strategic security point during the Tokugawa Shogunate, and a temple was built there to serve as a north guardpost to help defend the Imperial Palace. The site was also of historical significance in the Boshin War in the mid-1800’s.

LINKS

Ueno Superguide

Ueno

Shinobazu Pond

Don Quijote Ueno

Don Quijote – Japan’s Best Discount Store

DON QUIJOTE – The Most Awesome Discount Store in Japan

Centurion Ladies’ Hostel Ueno Park

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Esola Complex Ikebukuro

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Name: Esola

Kind: Mall

Location: 35°43’46.97″ N 139°42’34.73″ E

Station: JR Ikebukuro Sta.

Our Rating: ⭑⭑⭑⭑

Free WiFi? Yes.

Worth it? Yep.

Updated 8/14/2020

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

Esola is a must-visit complex in Ikebukuro in western Tokyo.

Exit JR Ikebukuro Station @ the South Exit and immediately turn right (north). Esola is just on your right. The south exit is near the LUMINE depato (formerly Metropolitan Plaza). The TOBU depato is just behind Esola.

Check out the great 1st floor café Roasted Coffee Laboratory. RCL is actually run by a company called baycrews.co.jp which runs a bunch of restaurants all over Japan including (believe it or not) one called eggslut. They also run the out-of-this world pancake chain called Flipper’s (there’s one in Harajuku/Omotosando and one in Shibuya). And they run j.s. Pancake Café which we stumbled into one day over in Nakano (west of Shinjuku).

If you come out of the main Ikebukuro West Gate Park exit on the west side of the station, just head down the street ahead on the left, and Esola will be down on your left a few blocks (street entrance is shown at 00:52 in the 2nd video below, and Esola itself is at 3:02 – right across from the newly constructed Global Ring park).

The entomology of the name Esola isn’t clear – the only info available is that it is derived from early Germanic + is a woman’s name meaning patiently quiet. It’s not clear if the mall’s name was taken from the #1 smash hit song Esora (エソラ) by Japanese band Mr.Children, but it’s highly likely since that song was released in 2008 on Mr.Children‘s spectacular album Supermarket Fantasy (which we highly recommend BTW) before the present Esola complex was built.

Enjoy.

Additional Photos

Head left down this street from the West Gate Park exit. Global Ring is on the right, Esola is down on the left.

Global Ring. There is also a café here.

LINKS

https://www.esola-ikebukuro.com/

https://baycrews.co.jp/

https://baycrews.jp/store/detail/0635

http://pancake.journal-standard.jp/

https://tokyotouristinfo.com/en/detail/M0304

https://www.fun-japan.jp/en/articles/11551

https://tokyotouristinfo.com/en

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supermarket_Fantasy

Mr.Children Official

VIDS

Those fans sure do go nuts.

Building of Global Ring just across the street from Esola.