Fire up them emulators, folks.
Free Wifi: Yes
Location: 35°44’05.39″ N 139°42’27.83″ E
Worth it? A must-see.
Our Rating: ⭑⭑⭑⭑⭑
Also see our Ikebukuro Superguide.
While the town of Ikebukuro in west Tokyo is interesting in its own right, many people don’t know there is a vast + interesting underground area below the city.
Most of it is shopping, of course, including the mixed-use Sunshine City at the east end.
But there are loads of other goodies to be discovered beneath the streets – including the ISP and Echika centers. On the west side of the station is a street entrance to TOBU Hope Center – an oddly named shopping area underneath the station which extends southwest into the basement of the TOBU department store (depato, in Japanese).
ISP does have an English website.
One can spend hours under here roaming around, so next time you’re in Ikebukuro, check it out.
At the very east end of the town is the oddly named Sunshine 60– the tallest building in Ikebukuro, but underneath, to the east of the actual building is an an underground shopping mall called Sunshine City. The place is vast and you can walk around for hours and not see it all. The entrance is just on the east end of Sunshine 60 Street, on the south side of the street.
As a historical footnote, at the end of World War 2, Imperial Japanese Army General Hideki Tojo was executed at the site where Sunshine 60 now stands. The building is said to be haunted by many Tokyoites, and several Japanese have committed suicide by jumping from its rooftop.
It turns out the ISP complex is especially vast. There are 3 entrances: 2 on the east side of the station just outside, and 1 inside before the east exits. The complex extends all over the east side of the station below street level. There’s a floor guide.
The ISP entrance inside JR Ikebukuro Station.
ISP entrance across from JR Ikebukuro Station. The large Bic Camera is straight ahead.
TOBU Hope Center
TOBU Hope Center extends below the west side and under the central part of the station. There are 2 entrances: one just outside the west exit (directly across from the JR Service Center), and one inside the station. While not as upscale or elegant as Sunshine City or ISP, it’s still worth a look.
There is also a separate food basement (depachika) in TOBU which is quite good.
There are also a lot of coin lockers near the underground entrances to Hope Center.
ECHIKA Ikebukuro + Esola
Perhaps the best + most upscale of the underground supermalls in Ikebukuro is ECHIKA Ikebukuro – another vast and upscale mall. There is a long food court tunnel which has endless smaller food shops as well as a larger mall area. Definitely check this one out.
Food seller under Ikebukuro Station.
West side of JR Ikebukuro Station. The TOBU Hope Center entrance is on the right.
East side of SEIBU Ikebukuro Station.
There is also a complete 3rd-party Ikebukuro Guide site.
Another quick tip is if you find Ikebukuro Station crowded, you can go downstairs below the normal station level and walk underground in nearly empty tunnels, all of which have signs for platforms + station exits. There’s almost never anyone in the tunnels.
If you’re ever in Ikebukuro, be sure to drop below street level and check out a whole hidden world full of delights.
Like the current pancake craze in Tokyo at the moment, Japan is crazy for donuts. There are so many cool donuts in Japan it’s hard to know where to start.
The real donut crazes hit around Halloween + Christmas – 2 major holdays in Japan. Halloween especially is huge. Spring is also a big donut time in Japan – mostly with all kinds of Sakura donuts everywhere.
The biggest donut chain in Japan is Mr. Donut – a US chain that went bankrupt in the US, but was bought by a Japanese company. There are 1000s of Mr. Donut stores all over Tokyo and Japan. We have some more info on Mr. Donut on our other post Inside a Japanese Post Office.
Mr. Donut right next to Akabane Station in Akabane.
Another Mr. Donut.
A Mister Donut “set” from back in 2001. Today’s donuts are a bit more colorful + themed.
Donuts @ Tokyo Station
The Doughnut Plant: There’s a great little donut shop in Yurakucho called The Doughnut Plant. Well worth a stop. It’s 1 block to the north and west of Yurakucho Station and 1 block west of the Tokyo International Forum around 35°40’35.99″ N 139°45’47.31″ E. They close nightly @ 7PM. Yurakucho is just south of Tokyo Station.
ITOCIA dept. store, right.
Akihabara – Jack In The Donuts, Mr. Donut + More
Jack In The Donuts: Just outside Yodobashi Akihabara is a small donut shop called Jack In The Donuts. You can watch workers prepare donuts live + they have a great variety of donuts including matcha donuts. The shop is hidden in a small shopping tunnel just on the south side of Yodobashi Camera. Well worth a stop.
Fukushima Tasting Market: 2 blocks to the east of the Mr. Donut here is the Fukushima Tasting Market which also has a pastry shop with lots of donuts. Well worth a stop and nearby.
Mont-Thabor Tōkyō: A little to the west just across the Kanda River is a shop called Mont-Thabor Tōkyō Waterras Mall Shop. It’s actually in Ochinamizu in the Waterras complex. There is also a Mr. Donut on the north side of Waterras.
Donuts in Ikebukuro
There is also a Krispy Kreme shop 2 blocks west of Ikebukuro Station on Mizuki Dori.
Donuts @ Tokyo Sky Tree
Right out front near the door is this pastry shop with donuts.
Halloween is huge in Japan and most cafés go nuts trying to out-do each other in the madness of the Halloween donuts they can come up with. This selection is from Mr. Donut:
Halloween donuts @ Mr. Donut.
Even chain cafés such as Tully’s gets into the act. There are others in smaller privately owned cafes and smaller places such as Peace and Lamb in Q Plaza in Ikebukuro. There is also a CAPCOM Café in Q Plaza.
Floresta nature doughnuts
Dumbo Donuts + Coffee
Harajuku + Omotosando
Higuma Doughnuts + Coffee Wrights
There’s a great little donute shop around 35°40’01.62″ N 139°42’35.34″ E in Omotosando called Higuma Doughnuts along with a coffee shop called Coffee Wrights.
Good Town Donuts Shibuya
In Shibuya there’s a nice spot called Good Town Donuts. They have some very interesting low-sugar Vegan donuts. There’s a good post on the place over at grapejapan.com
Well that’s about it for now. Tokyo is a donut-lover’s paradise and there’s no end to the funny + delicious donuts you can find here. Enjoy!
Address: Japan, 〒171-0022 Tokyo, Toshima City, 豊島区Minamiikebukuro, 2−24-1 八大ビル
Free WiFi: Yes
Worth it? Yep.
Our Rating: ★★★
Last updated 9/5/2020
Darcy’s Craft Beer and Burger is a really great burger restaurant several blocks southeast of JR Ikebukuro Station in west Tokyo. They also sell a variety of craft beer + drinks. It’s 3 blocks southeast of Coffee Valley. Minami-Ikebukuro Park is 2 blocks to the northeast.
They have awesome triple-decker burgers that are really great for around $12-$15. They also have seafood, chicken, and deserts. Tables are indoors and out and they just installed a nice new tile sidewalk out front next to the tables.
Inside is a relaxed bar-type atmosphere with wood paneling, and subdued lighting. You may want to arrive early in the evening because apparently they run out of burgers early.
To get here, exit the east side of JR Ikebukuro Station, head south 3 blocks, east 2 more blocks, then south one more block, then east 2 more blocks. It’s on your left on the corner as you face east.
Tokyo Drew has a vid showing Darcy’s: