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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Large atré shopping center just north of the station.
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.
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.
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.
Exit JR Ikebukuro Station @ the South Exit and immediately turn right (north). Esola is just on your right. The south exit is near the LUMINEdepato (formerly Metropolitan Plaza). The TOBUdepato is just behind Esola.
If you come out of the mainIkebukuro 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.
Head left down this street from the West Gate Park exit. Global Ring is on the right, Esola is down on the left.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.