Kameido

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Name: Kameido

Kind: Town

Location: 35°41’51.07″ N 139°49’35.46″ E

Station: Kameido Station, Chūō-Sōbu Line or Tobu Kameido Line

Free Wifi: Yes

Our Rating: ⭑⭑⭑⭒⭒

Worth it? For a quick trip

Updated 10/1/2020

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Be sure to see our guide to Kameido‘s sister city – Kinshicho to the west.

Kameido (Ka-meh-ee-do) is a small town in east-central Tokyo. About a mile to the west is another popular town called Kinshicho. Kameido is smaller and there’s less to do but it’s still worth a quick stop + look.

Area Layout

Kameido centers around its train station on the Chūō-Sōbu Line and Tobu Kameido Line. To the northeast is the atré shopping mall + center square, and a large Don Quijote and Mister Donut. On the south side of the station there is a huge square-shaped pedestrian walkway next to the Don Quijote. There are also a variety of shops + restaurants under the train tracks.

Attractions

There’s not a lot to do in Kameido since it’s a very small town, but it’s still worth a look. It’s a bit of an older slightly run-down town that could use a redevelopment, but it’s so small the Tokyo Metro Gov’t hasn’t made that a priority. There’s a big atré shopping mall with various shops right next to the station. There are also a lot of nice restuarants underneath the train tracks.

South of the tracks on one corner there’s a huge Don Quijote 100¥ shop worth a stop. Right across to the east is a huge (and we mean huge) Mr. Donut with every kind of donut you can imagine. The Japanese have an abbreviation word for Mr. Donut: Misado.

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Restaurants underneath Kameido Station.

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Don Quijote Kameido. Note the walkway.

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Mr. Donut: Misado.

Atré Kameido

To the northeast (right) of the station is a large atré shopping center worth a look. They also have a Tully’s Coffee which has charge ports for your devices. There’s also groceries here. There’s a complete Atre Kameido Floor guide.

There are also a few bus stops in the center square, but their signs are only in Japanese so you’ll need to know where you’re going ahead of time.

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Large atré shopping center just north of the station.

Shopping Street

If you head north from the square where the atré is, there main street is lined with lots of shops – worth a quick walk up + down for a look.

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Cultural Center + Museum

If you head west of the atré, there’s a small cultural center called the Kameido Cultural Center. Right next to that is a bldg. housing a small museum. Both are worth a quick look, although the museum is quite limited.

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Small museum.

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The museum is in this bldg.

To get to the museum cross the square from atré west past this Koban (police box) and head to the building with the triangular earthquake reinforcements on the front shown on the left above.

Well that’s it for Kameido – it’s a small town. So just wander around a bit and have fun exploring.

LINKS

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

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

https://www.kcf.or.jp/kameido/

https://www.donki.com/en/store/shop_detail.php?shop_id=67

https://www.misterdonut.jp/

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

VIDS

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

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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.

Get lost in Akabane

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Name: Akabane

Kind: Town

Free Wifi: Yes

Location: 35°46’47.87″ N 139°43’22.99″ E

Station: JR Akabane Sta. on JR Saikyo Line

Worth it? Yep.

Updated 9/11/2020

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Akabane is another fun, charming small Japanese town in northwest Tokyo. A nice short day trip, it sits just south of Saitama Prefecture in northwest Tokyo. Its train station is the 1st stop on the JR Saikyo Line with other notable stops to the south: Itabashi, Ikebukuro, Shinjuku, Shibuya, Omiya.

Be sure to check out the town square right outside Akabane Station. There are also very nice hotels right next to the station and even a western-style Denny’s. The lobby of the hotel Denny’s is in also has a 7-11 ATM which accepts some foreign bank + debit cards.

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The newly remodled JR Akabane Station

The JR Akabane Station has just been rebuilt and is very nice. Lots of shops and restaurants right in the station itself. Lots more just outside the west and east exists.

Akabane is 1 stop north of Jujo and 2 stops north of Itabashi on the Saikyo JR line. It’s easy to get to from Shibuya, Shinjuku, or Ikebukuro: take the Yamanote Line north from Shibuya, Harajuku, or Shinjuku, then get off at Ikebukuro Station and change to the Saikyo Line headed north. Akabane is 2 stops north of Itabashi on the Saikyo Line and 4 stops north of Ikebukuro.

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West exit, JR Akabane Station.

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South of the East Exit – there’s also a large Family Mart here.

There’s even a Mister Donut at the east exit: leave the station and turn right – you can’t miss it.

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Decisions, decisions...

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Careful – this can get dangerous real fast.

There’s more usual western fast food, and coffee in the area. But the real treats are the fine dining restaurants located on the upper floors of buildings overlooking the square. Give any one of them a try:

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There are 2 handy spots just to the north of the west exit: a bank of coin lockers where you can stash your stuff for a few bucks – and a free public WiFi spot. Go out of the west exit, turn left, cross the street, then turn left again. Cross the next intersection and immediately turn right – both the coin lockers + WiFi spot are just on your left.

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After dark, visit Akabane Ichibangai alley – which dates back to the turn of the 20th century and survived World War 2 air raids intact. Locals pour into bars and tiny restaurants here. There’s an endless variety of local food.

Just across from the station is a long covered shopping arcade that is worth a look.

Aeonbike Akabane

There’s a also a huge AEONBike bike shop on the side streets of Akabane around 35°46’46.24″ N 139°43’29.54″ E.

〒115-0045 Tokyo, Kita City, Akabane, 2 Chome−3−8

ダイエー赤羽店別館1F
+81 3-3901-0701

Open until 9:00 PM

Department Stores + Arcades

There’s also a SEGA arcade, a UNIQLO and ABC Mart on the west side of the station.

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©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

There’s also a huge Ito Yokado depato just across from the UNIQLO shop.

At the south end of the city – away from the square is a great little cafe called Nine Tea. Worth a stop. From the west exit, head one block east, then south.

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Nine Tea

Also check out the huge Kyu-Furukawa Gardens.

One of the first Walmarts to open in Japan is to the east of the station – and they seem intent on putting traditional Japanese depatos such as Seiyu out of business.

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It’s also easy to get lost in Akabane. There’s a long road which rings the town and if you walk far enough on it, you can almost end up at JR Jujo Station to the south.

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Walk far enough east + south – you’ll end up in Jujo. It’s a good idea to have a cell phone or GPS device available at all times in case you get lost.

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Some areas in Japan are finally starting to install bike lanes – something long overdue. This one is just to the south west of JR Akabane Station.

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There’s also a large Catholic Church built right after World War 2 to the east of the station.

Links

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

https://www.gotokyo.org/en/destinations/northern-tokyo/akabane/index.html

https://digjapan.travel/en/blog/id=12259

VIDS

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VhnLc8k6Ebk&feature=share