Ikebukuro Superguide

Name: Ikebukuro

Kind: Town

Free Wifi: Yes

Location: 35°44’05.39″ N 139°42’27.83″ E

Station: JR Ikebukuro Station, Seibu Ikebukuro Line, Marunouchi Line, Yurakucho Line, Fukutoshin Line

Worth it? A must-see.

Our Rating: ⭑⭑⭑⭑

Updated 4/10/2021

©2019-2021 tenmintokyo.com

Ikebukuro is a hip quirky hang out spot in central western Tokyo. Smaller than Shibuya or Shinjuku, it’s often overlooked by tourists. Ikebukuro has a small-town fun vibe, yet still feels cosmopolitain enough to be exciting. There is more than plenty to do. In fact, you could spend a few days in Ikebukuro and barely scratch the surface. Around every corner and down every side street is something surprising and interesting. The fact that it’s not overcrowded the way other major areas of Tokyo are only adds to it charm.

Access

To get to Ikebukuro you have several options: the JR Yamanote or Saikyo Lines, the Seibu Ikebukuro Line, or Marunouchi Line, Yurakucho Line, or Fukutoshin Line on the Tokyo Metro.

You can also walk or bike to Ikebukuro from Shinjuku to the south, or from Itabashi to the north. The walk from Itabashi is just over 1 mile.

You can also walk from Meijiro Station 1 stop south on the Yamanote Line along a quiet charming side street which runs north-south along the train tracks.

JR Ikebukuro Station

The main station is located in the 1st floor + basement of the PARCO depato (department store) in the main station. The Metro lines also exit this station. Just to the south in the SEIBU depato is the Seibu Ikebukuro Line Station. All of them are centrally located in Ikebukuro and are very convenient. There are also several street-level station portals on sidewalks all over the town as shown here:

Courtesy Totally Drew

One of many street-level station entrances.

Courtesy Totally Drew

On the JR Ikebukuro platform, you can purchase a Suica IC card for fares from these machines.

Area Layout

Ikebukuro is centrally laid out with an east, west, north, and south side. The stations are on the main thoroughfare running north-south through the town. The station in the photo above is in the center, the main street is just to the right running north-south, West Gate Park is to the left, center. At the very top center is a huge waste recycling plant with its telltale tall cracking tower. To the east are a dizzying array of side streets with endless shops + restaurants. Just to the east of that out of frame is the Sunshine City complex and 2 Ikebukuro parks (Minami-Ikebukuro Park).

View from the WTC building in west Tokyo facing west: Ikebukuro is the small city in the distance on the right, Shinjuku several miles to the south is on the left in the distance. Just behind Shinjuku, barely visible is Mt. Fuji.

West Side

The town is roughly divided into east, west, and north ends. The south end holds a few interesting spots, but as soon as you leave the main area east of the station, it’s mostly residential. You can get from the east side to the west and vice versa by passing directly through the center of JR Ikebukuro Station.

West Gate Park

At the West Gate Exit is a popular meeting spot called West Gate Park. The area was also the title of a popular dorama (drama) TV series in Japan. Also in West Gate Park just to the north of the west gate is a JR Tourist Information Office – which has English-speaking staff. You can also reserve bus tours in the office.

West Gate Park is a large area to the west of the station. There are all sorts of restaurants, cafés, shops, and other attractions. About a block further east are a Bic Camera annex and a block beyond that a OIOI (pronounced Marui) depato. In the OIOI is a very nice Seria 100¥ shop.

OIOI (Marui).

Global Ring + Esola

Just to the south of West Gate Park is a new outdoor performing art center called Global Ring. It was finished in 2020. There is also a café here. Further south is the Metropolitain Theater. 1 block south of that is a very nice MOS Burger.

Also in West Gate Park is a street entrance to the oddly named underground shopping mall Hope Center.

To the north of West Gate Park are endless backstreets. If you head northeast in this direction, you come to a small tunnel north of the station which heads to the east side of the town.

Also on the west side, a few blocks north of the OIOI is the world-famous Sakura Hostel – which although spartan is known for its dirt cheap prices, and fairly clean atmosphere. If you want to stay cheap in Ikebukuro, this is your spot. Sakura Hostel is also known for its huge outdoor seating area for guests. You don’t get much in the way of ammenities – most beds are mere bunks in shared rooms, but for the incredibly cheap price, it’s worth it.

Ikebukuro is also home to some of the largest electronics shops in Tokyo – including Bic Camera, Yamada Denki, and Sofmap.

Just south of West Gate Park is a shopping area called Esola. Check out the Coffee Roasters Laboratory on the ground floor. There’s also another Metro entrance here. Just beyond Esola is the LUMINE complex and MOS Burger.

Here are a few photos from the west side:

Ikebukuro West Gate Park. The JR East Travel Service Center is straight ahead.

©2019-2021 tenmintokyo.com

JR East Travel Service Center

©2019-2021 tenmintokyo.com

©2019-2021 tenmintokyo.com

Just south of West Gate Park facing north. Turn left at the next street for OIOI City and the Sakura Hostel. Flip 45 degrees left from this image and you will see Global Ring on your left:

©2019-2021 tenmintokyo.com

Facing west, the Metropolitan Theater is the bldg. with the sloped roof straight ahead. The 2nd Bic Camera Annex is the bldg. on the far right. Global Ring is on the far left. Global Ring was built on the real former Ikebukuro West Gate Park – an area which previously had a large fountain. Now the entire area has been replaced by Global Ring.

Facing southeast from the Global Ring area. The Esola complex is straight ahead. The MOS Burger is 2 blocks to the right.

Just beyond Global Ring is the Esola complex (left) and LUMINE (right). LUMINE + TOBU complexes have excellent food courts on their top floors. Don’t miss ’em. LUMINE was formerly called Metropolitain Plaza.

©2019-2021 tenmintokyo.com

Inside the station.

©2019-2021 tenmintokyo.com

On the JR Saikyo Line platform behind the PARCO depato.

OIOI City west of the station facing west. Turn right here for the Sakua Hostel.

©2019-2021 tenmintokyo.com

Seria in OIOI City.

©2019-2021 tenmintokyo.com

The west Bic Camera Annex a block east of OIOI City.

East SideEndless Shopping + Restaurants + Sunshine City

The east side of the station is considerably more interesting. Not only is there a main street which runs north to south which has a myriad of shops, cafés, and resturants on it, but there’s an entire area east of that that is really interesting (Sunshine60 Street).

There’s PARCO + SEIBU depatos, and Bic Camera and other denki (electronics) shops on the north end of the street, but the south end of the street also has lots of coffee shops + restaurants.

Sunshine City

To the far east of Sunshine60 Street is a huge skyscraper and complex called Sunshine City. The area’s big attraction is Sunshine 60 – which until recently was one of the tallest skyscrapers in Japan. It has a top-floor observatory not to be missed. There is also a western Mailboxes Etc. CMRA on one of the top floors if you need to get a local mailbox or mail anything to the west.

Hidden away in the basement of Sunshine City is a vast mult-floor shopping mall. You can spend hours in here – and it’s so huge it’s easy to get lost. There is also another entrance to the mall on the east end of the major side street next to the the Tokyu Hands store.

As a historical footnote many locals believe Sunshine 60 to be haunted because after World War 2, the Japanese imperial army general Tojo was executed there. Several Japanese have committed suicide by jumping from its roof. There is also a very nice small park next to the area where you can kick back and chill. Sunshine City is around 35°43’45.15″ N 139°43’05.09″ E.

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

Entrance to Sunshine City.

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

Street view from Sunshine City‘s 60th floor.

Entrance to Sunshine City Annex on Sunshine60 Street.

To get to Sunshine60 Street, head south from JR Ikebukuro Staiton, turn left (east) at 35°43’48.45″ N 139°42’46.56″ E 2 blocks down, follow the sidewalk as it winds east, then cross at the Milky Way Café and head straight. Make note of this sidewalk and the small alley off it to the left for later below

This puts you right into Sunshine60 Street – the main shopping street. As you come to the end, turn right, then left again for Sunshine City. There is also an entrance to the underground mall part of Sunshine City about a block before the final right turn. You can’t miss it – it has a huge sign on the front of the bldg. next to the Tokyu Hands depato also on the right.

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

Main street in east Ikebukuro. Meiji-Dori runs north-south. The JR Ikebukuro Station is up on the left. The white bldg. with the red sign on the left is Bic Camera. Just to the southeast is Yamada Denki (LABi). SEIBU + PARCO depatos are on the far left of the frame above the stations. The street to the left of Bic Camera leads to dozens of other interesting side streets on the north side of town.

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

A closer view of the PARCO bldg. on the east side. The JR station entrance is at the bottom of the bldg.

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

There’s also a Becker’s burger place just at the east exit of the station.

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

SEIBU Ikebukuro Station just south of the JR entrance above.

If you head down this street just across from the JR east station exit, you will discover a wealth of interesting small side streets.

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

Entrance to Sunshine60 Street @ the Milky Way Café, right. At the end of this street turn right for Sunshine City.

New South Ikebukuro Park

Around 35°43’41.35″ N 139°43’17.74″ E – just east of Sunshine City is brand new South Ikebukuro Park. Completed in 2020, this stunning new park offers a huge green lawn, a café on the north end, and a large bike parking lot to the south. It’s just 1 block east of Sunshine City so if you’re in the area, check it out:

Courtesy tkviper
Courtesy Nippon Wandering TV

The underground bike park just to the south of South Ikebukuro Park.

Ikebukuro Shopping Plaza (ISP)

In the basement of the station and under the east side of the streets is a small mall called Ikebukuro Shopping Plaza (ISP). There are portals to ISP in the station just before the east exit, as well as one on the sidewalk outside the station and in the middle of the crosswalk facing east. Most of ISP is underground.

Q plaza

About 1/2 way down the main side street to the east is another new complex called Q plaza. Well worth a stop. Lots of good cafés, and a CAPCOM store + café on the 4th floor. The sides streets all around this area are charming to explore and worth a walk. Plan on spending a whole day in the area.

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

Food

There are endless food options around Ikebukuro. 2 really awesome places are Darcy’s Beer + Burger and Coffee Valley. Darcy’s has a triple-decker hamburger that is out of this world for $12. Not to be missed. We did a review of both places above. There are also no less than three Mr. Donut places around town – 2 on the West Gate Park side, and 1 older one tucked away on a backstreet on the east side. Not particularly healthy, but delicious. There are also endless ramen and yakiniku (steak) places, and of course, the aforementioned MOS Burger. There’s also a Tully’s Coffee in Q plaza as well as a nice café called Peace and Lamb.

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

Food Courts

Japan’s food courts are a throwback to 1950’s-style dining. There are some on the top floors of depatos such as TOBU + SEIBU, and there are other standalone bldgs. which are all restaurants top to bottom. There’s no lack of good dining in Ikebukuro. In particular the food court in TOBU Ikebukuro is awesome – there’s a really great Hawaiian burger place, and lots of other restuarants. PARCO also has a food court + rooftop beer garden. Of course there are endless ramen and yakiniku (steak) places everywhere. As well as fast food.

TOBU also has a basement Depachika (short for “depato basement”) – a huge food floor below ground level which is especially good. Here you can get everything from seafood, to packaged gift food, to deserts. If you’re in Ikebukuro definitely check out the food basement in TOBU.

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

Food court on top floor of TOBU on the west side.

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com
©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com
©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com
©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

Don’t worry – walking 15 miles/day sightseeing in Tokyo and you’ll burn it all off.

Pancakes – The New Tokyo Craze

A new food craze has hit Tokyo – pancake shops. They’re everywhere. In Ikebukuro there are several good ones but the 2 best are A Happy Pancake and

Around 35°43’48.11″ N 139°42’46.90″ E at the small side street mentioned above, turn left (north) into a small alley and a few stores down you’ll come to A Happy Pancake. This small underground shop has great food. Careful going down the stairs to the basement: they’re steep and there’s no handrail.

In the SEIBU depato a few blocks to the west is Rainbow Pancake – also a must-visit. Both are excellent, and worth the trip. All-in-all we would rate AHP best, but it’s up to you to decide on taste. There is also another AHP in Omotosando.

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com
©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

If it’s pancakes you want, Tokyo’s got ’em. Lots of ’em.

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

There are lots of other pancake places all over Tokyo. Get ready to eat.

Micro Food Stalls

All over Tokyo in stations + in other places you’ll see these tiny little food places everywhere. Most stations have them, and Ikebukuro Station is no different.

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

The Japanese love contractions and in this case “Press Butter Sand” means “Pressed Butter Sandwich”.

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

Food Trucks

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

There are also lots of tiny micro food trucks in Tokyo – such as this crepe truck in Ikebukuro.

Courtesy Tokyo Night Walker

On the east-side backstreets is this great Italian restaurant – Palermo.

Courtesy Tokyo Night Walker

Just next to the oldest of the Mr. Donuts – on the east side – is a small concrete park with lots of food. One of the best places among them is the Saikyou Butter Coffee Shop.

North Side

On the north side the streets are a little less lively but interesting nonetheless. To the northeast just a few blocks is a small concrete park surrounded by restaurants and a large performing arts theather – Brilla Hall. This entire area is being renovated as of 2021. There are endless small side streets in the north end worth exploring. There are in fact, 2 more major north-south streets in the north area full of shops. Both entrances are around 35°43’54.13″ N 139°42’34.12″ E.

More Discount Stores: Don Quijotes + CAN ⭑ DO

Aside from Seria, there are several other discount stores in Ikebukuro. There are 2 Don Quijotes: 1 just northwest of the station, and another just east of the east exit right across the street. There is also a CAN ⭑ DO discount store just south down the street on the east side. Both Don Quijote + CAN ⭑ DO have some good cheap food selections + snacks.

The Don Quijote just to the northwest of the station.

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

The east-side Don Quijote across from the station is huge. The food basement is quite good.

Meiji-Dori to Itabashi

You can also walk north on Ikebukuro’s main street on the west side – Meiji-Dori a few miles north to the small town of Itabashi.

Hotels

There are plenty of good hotels in Ikebukuro which won’t break the bank. We recommend checking agoda.com for rates. One of the best, of course, is the APA hotel, which is very clean + upscale but under $70/night in most cases. It is however a bit further to the northwest but can be easily walked from in a few blocks. There is the aforementioned Sakura Hostel, which is great if you’re on a budget. There is also the Hotel Metropolitan – which is upscale and very good, but much more expensive at around $130/night. There is also Sunshine City Prince Hotel.

For Cat Lovers It’s Nekobukuro

The weird cat obsession that is gripping Japan can be found at several cat cafés all over the city, but in Ikebukuro the place for cats is Nekobukuro Cat’s House (ねこぶくろ) – a petting zoo for cats located on the eighth floor of the Ikebukuro Tokyu Hands store. If you’re into cats check out their site at https://nekobukuro.com/ Tokyu Hands is just at the end of the east side street in the small Sunshine City building across from Victoria’s Sports around 35°43’48.45″ N 139°43’00.02″ E.

Victoria’s Sports across the street from Sunshine City.

Conclusion

Ikebukuro is one of Tokyo’s most exciting areas and is a thrill to visit. A must-see. There’s so much to do here plan on spending a couple of days. There are endless places to eat + things to do, yet the area is not so huge that’s it’s overwhelming like some other parts of Tokyo.

Enjoy!

Additional Photos

Facing north just outside the east JR station exit.

Night view from West Gate Park facing south. Global Ring is in the center.

©2019-2021 tenmintokyo.com

LUMINE complex.

©2019-2021 tenmintokyo.com

Inside LUMINE complex.

At the north end of West Gate Park is this side street. If you turn right here, then left, you’ll find the entrance to the small tunnel which leads to the east side of the station:

©2019-2021 tenmintokyo.com

Turn right at the tunnel entrance a few yards ahead to get to the east side.

©2019-2021 tenmintokyo.com

As you exit the tunnel on the east side, you’ll see the PARCO building shown here. If you turn south from here, you’ll see the main larger PARCO bldg. and just beyond that, the east entrance to JR Ikebukuro Station.

©2019-2021 tenmintokyo.com

Northeast side at night. Yamada Denki is the tall bldg. on the right.

©2019-2021 tenmintokyo.com

An early morning West Gate Park tourist breakfast: some ham, a few croissants, a conbini (convenience store) hot dog, a BOSS Coffee and a pint of milk. Rice-fed cows’ milk in Japan tastes like a bowl of Rice Chex cereal, unlike milk in the west. Contrary to popular perception in the west, you can eat pretty cheap in Japan, although it’s not optimally healthy.

©2019-2021 tenmintokyo.com

View of Shinjuku from the roof of Sunshine City. Just beyond, barely visible in the distance is the Landmark Tower in Yokohama 40 miles to the southwest.

©2019-2021 tenmintokyo.com

Inside Sunshine 60’s observatory – which affords spectacular views of Tokyo in all directions. Looking out the window shown here to the right provides a great view of Tokyo Sky Tree.

An epic panorama facing west. On the far right is Ikebukuro to the north, the tallest bldg. of which is Sunshine 60, and Shinjuku on the far left to the south. If you look closely, the farthest left bldg. on the main skyline is the NTT Docomo Yoyogi Building (Yoyogi is just south of Shinjuku). The large white object in the right center is Tokyo Dome to the east. You can walk to all 3 areas, but the distance from one to another is quite a hike and would take a couple of hours.

Tokyo Sky Tree lies 16 miles to the east near the Sumida River.

Phone map of Ikebukuro. The station is in the center.

Facing northeast. The station is out of view to the left (west). Turn right at the bottom of the photo for the main side street with shops. A Happy Pancake is just down a tiny alley next to the brown bldg. on the right side of the frame. The first Bic Camera Annex is just to the left of the alley. Yamada Denki is the large white bldg. on the far left of the frame. If you head down the side street to the right of the next bldg. you’ll find Coffee Valley. The older Mr. Donut is also down here. The small green-roofed object in the lower left corner is the entrance to the undergorund Ikebukuro Shopping Park (ISP).

The end of the side street on the east side. Head right (south) here to get to Sunshine City.

Another view of the Milky Way Café, left, facing south. Turn left here for Sunshine City and the main side street. Heading straight ahead to the south eventually brings you to Shinjuku.

YA view of the Milky Way Café.

Just left of the Mily Way Café facing north.

Tokyu Hands entrance just next to the Sunshine City Annex.

The ISP street entrance just east of the JR station.

©2019-2021 tenmintokyo.com

Entrance to another side street in Ikebukuro which runs north-south.

©2019-2021 tenmintokyo.com

Entrance to Yamada Denki, on the east side. The small yellow boxes are Gatchapon dispensers – which sell very popular small toys.

A large NAMCO arcade.

Another view of Q plaza.

Hidin’ on the backstreets.

Courtesy Tokyo Night Walker

Looking back west from the east end of the long side street. The station is straight ahead. The entrance to Tokyu Hands and Sunshine City is on the left.

Courtesy Tokyo Night Walker

If you turn left (south) at the previous photo you’ll come upon K-BOOKS book + game stores. Sunshine 60‘s main complex is down a few blocks on the left. If you head further down, across the street from Sunshine 60 on the corner, you’ll find a great cheap coin locker on the corner:

Courtesy Tokyo Night Walker

LINKS

http://www.city.toshima.lg.jp/340/shisetsu/koen/029.html

JR Ikebukuro Station

Seibu Ikebukuro Line

https://www.jreast.co.jp/e/customer_support/service_center_ikebukuro.html

https://www.jreast.co.jp/e/pass/suica.html

JR Sightseeing Map

Google Map

https://mapcarta.com/16069282

https://livejapan.com/en/in-tokyo/in-pref-tokyo/in-ikebukuro/article-a0000723/

https://www.jrailpass.com/blog/ikebukuro-station

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

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

SEIBU Ikebukuro Station guide map

Ikebukuro Station | Tokyo Creative Travel

Essential Tokyo: The Complete Guide to Ikebukuro Station

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

Narita to Ikebukuro: The Best Transport Options | Tokyo Cheapo

Coin Lockers at Ikebukuro Station

Ikebukuro Station Area Guide: Top 15 Spots When You Escape the Station’s Maze! | LIVE JAPAN travel guide

Awesome Things to Do In Japan: Most Popular Spots in Ikebukuro! (January 2020 Ranking) | LIVE JAPAN travel guide

https://www.japanvisitor.com/japan-city-guides/japan-stations/ikebukuro-station

Ikebukuro | The Official Tokyo Travel Guide, GO TOKYO

Ikebukuro | A funky, high-energy northern Tokyo neighborhood built to entertain

Tokyo Travel: Ikebukuro

Ikebukuro Guide @ The Best Japan

https://www.japan-guide.com/e/e3038.html

Shops / Services | Sunshine City

Sunshine 60 Tower – The Skyscraper Center

Sunshine 60: Tokyo’s Haunted Skyscraper – Japan Talk

Coffee Valley Ikebukuro

Coffee Valley

COFFEE VALLEY – Tokyo [Good Coffee]

Esola Complex Ikebukuro

LUMINE Ikebukuro Food Court

Q plaza Ikebukuro

Darcy’s Beer + Burger Ikebukuro

A Happy Pancake – Ikebukuro Edition

Rainbow Pancake

Japan’s Massive Depato Food Courts

Press Butter Sand – Ikebukuro Station

http://www.web-isp.co.jp.e.qf.hp.transer.com/

Ikebukuro West Gate Park (TV series) – Wikipedia

VIDS

This vid by View Japan gives a great lay of the land in Ikebukuro.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OKnX1HSvnwo
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OKnX1HSvnwo

Pokémon Cafe Nihonbashi

Name: Pokémon Cafe

Kind: Café

Location: 35°40’51.09″ N 139°46’23.28″ E

Worth it? Yep.

Updated 9/27/2020

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

The Pokemon Café is located on the 5th floor of the Takashimaya store in Nihonbashi just west of Tokyo Station.

Reservations are required.

LINKS

https://www.pokemoncenter-online.com/cafe/en/

https://www.pokemoncenter-online.com/cafe/pikachu_sweets/

https://www.japan-experience.com/city-tokyo/the-pokemon-cafe

https://www.takashimaya-global.com/en/stores/nihombashi/nihombashi-floor/

VIDS

Suitengumae Superguide

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

Name: Suitengumae

Kind: Town

Location: 35°41’02.66″ N 139°47’04.25″ E

Station: Suitengumae, Metro Hanzomon Line

Worth it? For a quick look.

Updated 9/25/2020

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

Suitengumae

Suitengumae (or simply “Suitengu“) is a small residential town just to the northeast of Tokyo Station. You can get here by taking the Metro Hanzomon subway line, or by walking or cycling. The walk is not far – about 2-ish miles. To walk or cycle from Tokyo Station, exit on the Yaesu (east) side of the station at the north exit, then head north until you hit Rt. 10 (Eitai Dori), then head east. About a mile down, you’ll come to the Minato Bridge which crosses the Nihonbashi River. The coordinates for this turn are roughly at 35°40’44.68″ N 139°46’59.90″ E. Turn left (north) and cross the bridge. Head north a few blocks and you’ll come to a massive 4-level freeway interchange above you. Turn left here. Keep this interchange in mind as it’s an important landmark for several reasons explained below. Also under this overpass is an entrance to the Metro subway Suitengumae Station which also houses the Tokyo City Air Terminal (T-CAT) which is explained below.

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

The huge freeway interchange north of Eitai Dori looking back west along Rt. 50. Suitengumae Station is behind the camera to the left.

Yaesu (east) exit with Tokyo Station on the right. This is facing south. Eitai Dori is to the left (east).

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

Just outside the Yaesu (east) side of Tokyo Station. Head north here to reach Eitai Dori, then head east (right).

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

West (Marunouchi) side of Tokyo Station at night. Just to the left out of frame is an entrance to the Hanzonmon Line underground. Suitengumae is to the east of Tokyo Station down Eitai Dori (Rt. 10). This photo is facing northeast.

If you turn right at this interchange you’ll come to the Sumida River a few blocks down. But instead turn left and a few blocks back east you’ll pass the Royal Park Hotel on your right, and come to another Suitengumae Station entrance on your left. You’re now in the heart of Suitengumae. In fact, there are several Suitengumae Station entrance/exits scattered all around the area. You’ll have to go inside the station to get familiar with all the exits and where they lead. The station itself is entirely underground and except for the large entrance where T-CAT is, the only evidence of the station you’ll see are the small stairwells on the sidewalks.

An alternate walking route would be to cut down side streets east of Tokyo Station, then re-emerge onto Rt. 10 a few miles down.

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

Cutting east down side streets in Tokyo on the way to Suitengumae.

Trains

If you want to take a train to Suitengumae you’ll need to find the Hanzonmon Line on the Tokyo Metro. You can get it from Tokyo Station, or from Otemachi Station just to the north, but be warned that the tunnels + routes to Hanzomon Line are underground in Tokyo Station and are miles of labyrinths. You can easily get lost in them, and even if you don’t it takes forever to get to the actual Hanzomon Line platform under Tokyo Station. An easier way is to find a Hanzomon Line entrance on the surface streets north of Tokyo Station and head down. You still may have to walk a bit so be prepared. The entire experience is generally known around Tokyo to expats as Hanzomon Hell (see videos below). Sometimes you have to walk through entire shopping centers + up and down multiple flights of stairs to get to where you want to go. You can literally spend hours walking around in the system under Tokyo Station – so be prepared.

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

Abandon all hope of your feet not hurting all ye who enter here. Once you descend into Hanzomon Hell in search of a subway entrance, it may be quite some time until you find what you are looking for. Be prepared to walk. It may take hours.

Another corridor in Hanzomon Hell. Be ready to walk (and walk, and walk, and walk).

You can also get on the Hanzomon Line at Otemachi Station (Z08) just to the north, or you can switch at Otemachi Station from the Tozai Line, Chiyoda Line, or Marunouchi Line. If you’re coming from Ginza just to the south, you can take the JR Yamanote Line to Tokyo Station from Yurakucho Station or the Yurakucho Line from Yurakucho Station. You can also change directly to the Hanzomon Line from Nagatacho Station on the Yurakucho Line. If you’re on the far west side of the city, you can get on the Tozai Line at Nakano Station, then change at Yurakucho Station. The Hanzomon Line stops at various other places all the way across the city, terminating at Shibuya.

Jump To Tokyo Sky Tree, Sumiyoshi, Kinshicho, and Shibuya

One other interesting footnote about the Hanzomon Line and Suitengumae is both make access to Tokyo Sky Tree easy. Oshiagé/SKYTREE is the western terminus of the Hanzomon Line. If you stay at lodgings near Suitengumae Station, it’s mere minutes to Sky Tree to the northeast. Suitengumae Station is roughly at the middle 1/3 of the Hanzomon Line (Otemachi) which makes it a good spot for access to both the east + west sides of Tokyo. It’s closer to Sky Tree than to Shibuya in the west, but both are still easily accessible. We’ll discuss lodgings a bit more below.

2 stations to the west is Sumiyoshi, then Kinshicho, and then Oshiagé/SKYTREE.

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

Station maps of Marunouchi, Chiyoda, and Tozai lines. Colored circles next to each station indicate line interchange stations. The station highlighted in red is the current station.

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

One of many surface street entrances to the Hanzomon Line in Otemachi.

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

Approaching the Ootemori level of Hanzomon Hell under Tokyo Station – only one of many levels you will have to pass through to find the subway platform you want. The station levels themselves are quite nice – it’s the miles of walking that makes it hell.

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

Ootemori

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

Deep inside Hanzomon Hell under Tokyo Station. As you come upon a Metro line sign in Hanzomon Hell, you may think your walk is over, but you’re not even close. You’ll often see signs like these color-coded with the line symbol and color, and a message of how much further (such as “Hanzomon Line 500m”) with an arrow. You get duped into thinking it’s just ahead but in reality you’ll have to pass through many such signs to reach the desired platform. What these signs really mean is “X number of meters until the next corridor junction or stairwell or escalator. So it really ends up being many such paths of 500m + 700m + 300M + 200M…. Before you know it, you’ve been walking for 2 hours and have walked over 5 miles!

Suitengumae Station + Tokyo City Air Terminal (T-CAT)

One of the best-kept secrets in Tokyo is the Tokyo City Air Terminal (T-CAT). It’s inside Suitengumae Station and it has buses that depart to both Narita International Airport and Haneda Airport. The buses are very cheap at around $9 per one-way ride. That’s about 1/2 the cost of taking the NE’X or Keisei Skyliner from say, Ueno. It’s a good idea to go a few days before your departure date and buy a ticket in advance.

Tokyo City Air Terminal (T-CAT) just under the freeway overpass interchange. Suitengumae Station is also inside. There’s also a small shopping mall. The pink bldg. visible ahead on the left side of the photo is the Royal Park Hotel. Just to the right behind the station next to the hotel is a huge paid bike parking lot. There is also a station entrance leading underground inside the hotel.

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

Inside Tokyo City Air Terminal (T-CAT).

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

Station map inside Suitengumae Station.

Bike Parking + Royal Park Hotel

Just west of the station is the very luxurious Royal Park Hotel. It’s very nice but a bit expensive. Expect to pay $200 or more per night. On the northeast corner of the hotel is a huge outdoor paid bike parking lot where you can lock your bike for the day if you need to. Cost is around 400¥ ($4) for 8 hours.

AEON Supermarket + Doutour

There’s not a lot in the way of food around Sutengumae Station. There’s a Family Mart conbini (convenience store) just across the street as well as a 7-11. Just to the east across the street is a Doutour café which is quite good. A few blocks to the east on the same side as the station is a nice AEON supermarket which has good organic vegetables very cheap. They also sell KAGOME bottled vegetable drinks + bottled coffee. Most of the real food in Suitengumae is back towards the west along Rt. 50 where Suitengu shrine is (see below). There is also a post office along this route.

Looking back east along Rt. 50 towards the expressway interchange. The Royal Park Hotel is on the left.

The AEON Supermarket a few blocks east of the station.

Doutour café also a few blocks east of the station, facing south.

Eitai Bridge + Ookawabata River City

If you walk back to where the IBM HQ bldg. is, you’ll find a small bridge named Toyomi Bridge. You can cross back onto Eitai Dori by crossing this bridge. Once you’re back on Eitai Dori, if you head further east you’ll come to the world-famous Eitai Bridge with its iconic view of Ookawabata River City. You can walk or ride a bike across this bridge and stop mid-way to take photos. If you cross the bridge to the east and keep going, then turn south along Kiyosumi Dori, you’ll find the Tokyo University Centennial Museum of Marine Science and Technology (TUMSAT), which also has a large wooden sailing ship, the Seimyo-maru outside to check out.

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

Ookawabata River City as seen from Eitai Bridge.

View of Ookawabata River City + Eitai Bridge from futher up the Sumida River.

Kiyosumi Park + Kiyosumi Teien Japanese Garden

A bit to the northeast of Suitengumae across the Sumida River is Kiyosumi Park and Kiyosumi Teien Japanese Garden/Ryōtei Tea House. The garden is spectacular, especially in the fall and is well worth a stop. You’ll need to cross the river and then head north on side streets for a few blocks, but it’s not too far and is well worth the trip.

Suiten-gū (水天宮) Shrine

Perhaps the biggest historical attraction in the area is Suitengu Shrine, established in 1881. It’s just up Eitai Dori on the north side of the street to the west of Suitengumae Station. The shrine’s wooden architecture is amazing. Worth a look.

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

Suitengu Shrine, facing north. Suitengumae Station is to the right, out of frame.

Lodging

Aside from the Royal Park Hotel, there are a lot of guest houses and AirBnBs in the area, but the hidden gem to stay at is First Cabin Suitengumae. First Cabin provides luxury capsule lodgings for a reasonable price. Expect to pay $42/night or so. Hidden down a little side street just to the east of the interchange overpass, First Cabin Suitenguemae is worth a stay. The building has been fully remodeled and the facilities are spotless. There’s also a small Lawson conbini a few blocks to the north. The staff is very helpful and there’s a large lobby with tables + chairs to sit at where you can eat your brought-in food. The hotel also sells small breakfasts in the form of croissants, bagels, and pastries. There’s also a coffee machine. Overall, very nice. To get to FCS, head back east on Rt. 50 through the overpass, past a small Koban (police box), past the AEON supermarket, then make the next left (north) down the next side street. Continue north past the bagel shop, then a few blocks up turn right. The building is a tall narrow white/gray bldg. with a First Cabin sign on the front.

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

Head left (north) past Ozo Bagel.

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

Look for First Cabin down a side street to the right.

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com
©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

Looking south from the entrance to First Cabin. The overpass is straight ahead over Rt. 50. Turning right onto Rt. 50 here will lead you to Suitengumae Station a few blocks up.

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

Inside First Cabin standard room. There is also a small lock box on the left for your belongings.

Lobby lounge inside First Cabin Suitengumae.

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

Restroom inside First Cabin Suitengumae.

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

Another First Cabin – this one over in Toranomon.

https://first-cabin.jp/en/hotels/32

Additional Notes

From Asakusa you can take a world-famous boat cruise up the Sumida River past Suitengumae.

Just to the south of Suitenguemae on the banks of the Sumida River is the Japanese HQ for IBM Corporation. There’s a walkway all along the Sumida River which runs for miles.

Additional Photos

Suitengumae is just to the right of the bldg. in the center with the square hole in it. The river shown is the Sumida River. This is facing southwest.

The massive 4-level Metropolitain Expressway interchange north of Eitai Dori. The T-CAT/Suitengumae Station are underneath this overpass on the north side. If you head far enough east on this road and turn left (north) you can hike to Sky Tree in about 9 miles.

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

Hanzomon Line entrance in Tokyo Station. The line map is overhead with each station. Red indicates the current station.

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

Line entrances @ Otemachi Station. Each line has a colored circle, and a letter. The current station number for this station on each line is inside each circle at the bottom. Some, but not all stations are interchanges for other lines.

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

Another street entrance @ Otemachi Station. There’s also an area map. The green symbol to the right is the Toei subway system symbol – an alternate system from the Metro but which uses many of the same stations.

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

Inside the lower level of Suitengumae Station. Note the bank of coin lockers on the right.

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

Street entrance to Suitengumae Station on Eitai Dori. Just to the right in the upper corner is the Royal Park Hotel. Just down the side street to the right is an outdoor paid bike locker. This is facing west towards Tokyo Station.

Hanzomon Line platform.

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

Hanzomon Line platform. The yellow rubber tracks are for sign-impaired people. The rubber tracks allow them to use their canes to find their way. Sort of like braille for walking.

The Marunouchi Line whizzes by under Tokyo Station. “Marunouchi” literally means “Home Circle” in Japanese ( “Maru” (circle) “no” (of) “uchi” (home) ).

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

Entrance to Hanzomon and Chiyoda Lines in Tokyo Station. The numbers indicate which platform side, the colors indicate which line. Some recent renovations in some stations in Tokyo also include lighted color stripes on the walls to indicate which path to take.

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

More levels inside Hanzomon Hell.

LINKS

Metro Suitengumae Station

https://www.tokyometro.jp/lang_en/station/otemachi/index.html

https://tokyo-tokyo.com/Suitengumae.htm

https://tokyocheapo.com/locations/central-tokyo/suitengumae/

http://www.suitengu.or.jp/

https://tokyosharehouse.com/eng/

http://www.ootemori.jp/index.php

https://www.pokemoncenter-online.com/cafe/

https://first-cabin.jp/en/hotels/32

VIDS

Tokyo Sky Tree Superguide

©2019 tenmintokyo.com

Name: Tokyo Sky Tree

Kind: Tower/Multi-use

Location: Oshiagé @ 35°42’36.40″ N 139°48’45.84″ E

Address: 1 Chome-1-2 Oshiage, Sumida City, Tokyo 131-8634, Japan

Free WiFi: Yes.

Worth it? Do not miss it.

Our Rating: ⭑⭑⭑⭑⭑

Last updated 9/20/2020

©2020-21 tenmintokyo.com

Page takes a while to load due to photos.

Also see our full ONE @ Tokyo Hotel Review + Postal Museum Japan pages.

Buckle up – this is a long post.

Tokyo Sky Tree is a massive 635m tall multiuse tower in Tokyo’s eastern town of Oshiagé (pronounced Oh-she-a-geh). We highly recommend it. The tower was completed in 2012 to serve as a new terrestrial TV + radio broadcast tower because Tokyo had expanded so much that the old tower used for that purpose – Tokyo Tower – could no longer reach the outskirts of the city.

Sky Tree includes a 635m tall steel-truss/core tower, a side multiuse shopping/restaurant complex called Solamachi, and an office tower. There are also two observation decks, an indoor circular walkway, a restaurant level on floors 30-31, and a flat surface on the very top for helicopters/emergencies, and maintenance.

In the multiuse complex there is a giant food/gift floor, shops, lots of restaurants, and a postal museum and Sumida Aquarium. The ground floor has two food courts with eateries + gift shops.

Courtesy Tokyo Drew

The Sumida Aquarium on the East Yard roof.

Courtesy Tokyo Drew

Just to the left of the aquarium are a row of shops + restaurants including a Cold Stone Creamery.

There is also a large car parking garage + a bicycle parking garage in the complex (see below).

Train Access

2 train lines service the complex: The Metro Subway Hanzomon Line and the TOBU Sky Tree Line. The Hanzomon line is more direct + stops at more important stops than the TOBU line.

The complex is huge and is ringed by sidewalks. Its official civic name is Sumida Oshinari-koen Park (this is actually a bit redundant because koen means “park” in Japanese). Sumida is the large river which runs North-South to the west through the middle of Tokyo. You can easily walk from to Sky Tree to Asakusa near the Sumida River. The Yokojiken River also runs near Sky Tree – north to south.

You want to try to avoid weekends @ Sky Tree because the place is a mob scene of 1000’s of screaming kids everywhere. Lines for the observation deck tickets can be quite long on weekends – even into the 1000’s of people. So you shoud plan your Sky Tree trip on a weekday. 2-3 nights will be more than enough – you should be able to see everything in + around Sky Tree in 2 full days.

Sky Tree as seen from the Sumida River to the south.

Sky Tree facing north from Tokyo. The large river is the Sumida River. If you cross to the left (west) over one of the nearby bridges you will come to the town of Ueno.

Getting There

If you are coming from the Tokyo Station area, walk to Otemachi Station and get the Hanzomon Line there – but be warned – the underground tunnels from Tokyo Station to Otemachi Station are quite a hike through endless underground cooridors, shopping centers, and stairways – you may want to walk it on sidewalks on the surface instead – which is only a few long blocks. You can also get the Hanzomon Line at its western terminus Shibuya, near the central gov’t at Nagatcho, change from the Ginza Line at stations 1, 2, 3, 4, and 9 , or get on from the south at Kinshicho. You can also take the JR Yamanote Line from around Tokyo to Yurakucho Station, then get the Ginza Line from there. There are various other interchange points. Another line, the Hibiya Line, allows you to change to the Ginza Line @ Ningyocho Station. Consult a station map:

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

Hanzomon Line Map. Oshiagé/SKYTREE station is on the far right (east), Shibuya, the western terminus is on the far left (west). Notable stops include Kinshicho, Suitengumae, Otemachi, Omotosando, Shibuya. Shibuya, Nagatcho, Otemachi stations are major interchange points for other lines (indicated by the colored circles above stations on the above map). At 5 of the stations you can change to the Ginza Line for Akihabara and Ginza stops.

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com
©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com
©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

Hanzomon Line

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

Head up out of the Oshiagé/SKYTREE station to the TOKYO SKYTREE TOWN mezzanine, then hang a left here to get to the escalators up to the lobby. There are lots of stores and vending machines here. There is also a huge map. Note the color-coded Metro exit sign in yellow.

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

There’s also a mini-Lawson inside the station.

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

The massive escalators from the station mezzanine area up to the Solamachi Bldg. lobby. A Family Mart conbini is straight ahead. Also note the small bank of coin lockers just to the right – you can stash your stuff there for a few ¥ – if you can find one that is not in use. There is another larger bank of coin lockers on the outdoor roof patio of the Solamachi Bldg.

Also nearby on the Hanzomon Metro Subway Line is Sumiyoshi. There is also another train line called the TOBU Line which has its own station on the other side of the complex to the northwest – The TOBU Tokyo Sky Tree Station. Either line works fine, but the Hanzomon Line is generally quicker + more direct.

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

The TOBU Tokyo Sky Tree Station.

There is also an airport shuttle from Sky Tree – but only to Haneda airport, and not to Narita.

Town Layout

Sky Tree sits in the middle of the small town of Oshiagé east of the Sumida River. To the west are Asakusa, and over the river, Ueno. In fact, you can walk to Ueno easily from Sky Tree by heading west on Rt. 453 (Asakusa Dori). Total distance is only about 2 miles.

The Google Map is shown here.

Tokyo Sky Tree and Solomachi bldg.

The complex is a long rectangular shape running from west to east. On the east side is a street-level Metro exit, a Life Supermarket + mixed-use complex across the street, restaurants, a small post office to the south east, and various stores and residences along side streets. The intersection of Asakusa-Dori + Yotsumé-Dori marks the southeast corner. Just to the west of this intersection is a large Mr. Donut shop. The Solamachi Bldg. is at the southeast end of the complex with its entrance on the same side.

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

The intersection of Asakusa-Dori + Yotsumé-Dori – where there’s a large Mr. Donut shop.

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

Life Supermarket + Sizzler steak house complex. The Richmond Premiere Hotel is behind it. Directly across the street is the bus/taxi stop, a Metro exit, and the entrance to the Solamachi complex.

Also in the Life Supermarket complex is the Richmond Hotel. There is also a large Nitori home furnishing store in the complex. All 3 areas are on the same corner.

location_r

Richmond Hotel Premiere @ Oshiagé/SKYTREE.

Also across from the Life Supermarket complex is another surface Metro entrance/exit, as well as a bus/taxi stop. There is a public Sumida City sightseeing bus which stops here. You can board it for free + take a quick tour around the city.

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

Oshiagé/SKYTREE station Metro exit across from the bus/taxi stop just next to Life Supermarket. There is also a large UNIQLO depato (dept. store) just to the right, out of frame, shown below:

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

At the corner of the Richomd Premeire Hotel looking towards Sky Tree. The Life Supermarket is to the left, the bus stop and Metro entrance are straight ahead on the left. Ahead is the large UNIQLO store. Beyond that is the entrance to the Solamachi Bldg.

Just across the street on the other (east) side of the Solamachi complex is a small elevated walkway where you can get a great view of Sky Tree and the trains. It’s popular with families to take their kids.

Enter on the stairs at the left in this photo for the walkway and elevated viewing area. Sky Tree/Solamachi is just to the left, out of frame.

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

Southeast corner of the Solamachi Bldg. at night. Entrance is just around the left:

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com
©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

Just inside the 1st Solamachi entrance is a Kau’Aina Burger joint. A must-try.

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

This entrance leads to one of the food/gift courts. The info desk is at the far end.

If the Richmond Hotel is a bit out of your price range, head one more block east, then turn northeast (left) down Rt. 465. 2 blocks up the street on the right is the excellent ONE @ Tokyo Hotel. We highly recommend it.

As you turn left here, you’ll also see a great MOS Burger – also worth checking out. MOS Burger prides itself on natural ingredients, and their sandwiches are incredibly cheap – 280¥ (about $3 US) for a burger with trimmings and sauce. Can’t go wrong. Just across the street from the MOS Burger is a Family Mart.

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

Awesome MOS Burger located at 35°42’36.62″ N 139°48’52.78″ E

As you turn left up Rt. 465, you’ll be in one of 2 main parts of the town – the other part is on Rt. 453 heading west towards Sumida. You can get a feel for small-town life in Tokyo here. There’s a Star Dust Pachinko parlor here (if you can stand the smoke-filled room), and lots of other little diversions. There’s also a great natural supermarket just up on the left past the pachinko parlor called AEON. Very inexpensive and fresh. If you stay at the ONE @ Tokyo Hotel, it’s a lifesaver. Just beyong that is a big 2-story noodle house worth checking out. See our review of ONE @ Tokyo Hotel.

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

Downtown Oshiagé at night.

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

2-story noodle house across from ONE @ Tokyo Hotel.

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

AEON Supermarket across from ONE @ Tokyo Hotel.

Coin Laundry

If you make a right on the side street directly across from the pachinko parlor, a few blocks down you’ll find a small clean coin laundry where you can wash clothes if you need to. They also sell small boxes of laundry detergent. Turn down this side street and it’s up on your right a few blocks:

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

Sky Tree

Hours are 9:00AM – 9:00PM.

Ticket info is here.

Sky Tree itself is attached to the Solamachi Bldg. on the west (left) side. To purchase tickets, take the escalators up to the 4th floor. But be ready: the ticket lines can be insanely long on busy days – especially on weekends. Tickets to the observatories run around $34 per adult. You may have to stand in line for hours to wait to purchase. There’s a huge mezzanine on the 4th floor where a crowd lines up for tickets.

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

Just inside the Solamachi entrance. The entrance to the food/gift hallway is through the door to the left.

Courtesy Tokyo Drew
©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

Solamachi 4th floor ticket floor. There is also an express ticket counter up the escalator, but it costs more. This is also the entrance to Sky Restaurant 634. On busy days this floor is packed with people.

Observation Decks

At the Tokyo Solamachi Bldg. there’s more to do: 2 long food court hallways, an aquarium, an info desk, a rooftop terrace outside Sky Tree itself, coffee shops, and various other attractions – and tickets to the Sky Tree‘s 2 spectacular observatories (floors 350 + 450). Cost for the observatories is around $50 per adult as of 2019. Be sure to check out the glass floor in the 1st observatory – for a dizzying view of the ground 340 floors below.

TEMBO DECK

Tembo Deck is on floor 340 and houses both the glass floor and the Sky Tree Cafe´– both must-sees. There’s also a photo service on this floor. Tembo Deck also contains the Official Sky Tree Shop. There is also another official Sky Tree Shop on the ground floor on the south side of the complex.

Tembo Galleria

Floor 450 is called Tembo Galleria. It has an enclosed glass walkway (Tembo Shuttle) which slowly arches upwards to floor 454 (Sorakara Point). Floor 454 is the highest user-accessible floor in the tower. From this height, you can see the curvature of the earth out the windows.

Restaurants + Food Palaces + Shops

There are also lots of restaurants on floors 340-350 including the Sky Tree Cafe. You can have a nice meal 1/4 mile up in the sky + take in the breathtaking view as you eat. There are more restaurants on floors 30-31 of the Solamachi tower part of the complex.

There are 3 food “palaces” @ Sky Tree, and boy, do the Japanese love their food palaces. One wonders how they can eat so much and stay thin, but once you walk around Tokyo all day, every day, you’ll find yourself losing weight too. It’s not uncommon in Tokyo to see 90 lb 5’4″ women wolfing down 12-stack high plates of pancakes or giant ice cream sundaes.

The first food palace is a hallway which cuts through the center of the Solamachi Bldg. Both sides are lined with crepé shops, gift shops, ice cream, burger places, and other various food. You can stuff yourself silly if you’re not careful.

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com
©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com
©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

The second is a huge floor on the upper floors called Food Marché, which is like an entire mall unto itself. There’s an unbelievable amount of variety here – both restaurants + gift shops. And a large grocery store. There’s even a western Krispy Kreme donuts here. And some higher end stores such as Godiva.

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

A massive food shop @ one end of the food mall floor.

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

The “food madness” level – get ready to walk – and to eat.

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com
©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com
©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

There is also a Vegeteria juice bar here.

There is another small food court on the patio roof (East Yard) just before the entrance to the Sumida Aquarium. On the way up the escalator to this level is another smaller food level with various restaurants at one end which leads into the massive mall-like food court. You can spend several hours on this level looking at everything.

At one end of the large food level is Nana’s Green Tea – a must-visit. The first one in America also just opened in Seattle, WA. At Nana’s Green Tea you can feast on a matcha green tea sunday like this one for around $7:


©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

Forget Paris or Italy – Tokyo is the food capital of the world. But then again, you’re probably going to walk this off because you’re going to be walking 15 miles/day when you’re there. There is also a NGT in Tokyo Dome City:

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com
Menus | Nana's Green Tea in Seattle, WA

Pig out.

Nana's Green Tea Drink And Sweets Menu | Tea cafe, Green tea ...

NGT‘s OTT menus.

Coin Lockers

As shown above, under the initial escalators into the complex, there is a small coin locker bank. On the patio roof (“East Yard”) of the Solamachi Bldg. there is a much larger bank of lockers. It usually has open lockers except on the busiest days. There are also various banks of coin lockers around the town itself hidden down side streets. Some of them are as cheap as 200¥ (about $2) for 8 hours of use. To use them, open one of the locker’s doors, insert your belongings, close the door, insert the coins indicated on the locker, then turn and remove the key. Don’t lose the key or your stuff will be trapped in the locker. You must retrieve your items before the limit is up (usually 8 hours).

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

Coin locker bank on the patio (East Yard) roof of the Solamachi Bldg.

Looking down from the roof of the Solamachi Bldg.

Japan can be very wacky at times. The Kirby Cafe is just to the right:

Courtesy Totally Drew

There is also a small bank of lockers inside the Oshiagé/SKYTREE Metro station itself but you’ll have to find them near one of the exits:

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

Down behind the East Yard is this staircase which leads down to the street on the other side of Sky Tree:

Courtesy Tokyo Drew

Mural

On the 1st floor of Sky Tree is an incredible hybrid mural which took over a year and a half to complete. It’s well worth a look.

Sumida Aquarium

On the 5th + 6th floors of the rooftop patio (East Yard) in Solamachi is the Sumida Aquarium. Buy tickets in the lobby, and then head up the elevators or escalators to the roof and turn left once out in the open for the entrance. A big hit with kids.

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

East Yard patio roof. Sumida Aquarium is in the opposite direction – as is one of the small food courts. The coin locker bank is just up ahead on the right. You don’t really get the scale of Sky Tree until you start to aproach it close to its base. Those large struts at the base are about 25′ in diameter.

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

East Yard patio roof. From here you can begin to get a sense of Sky Tree’s scale.

Bike Parking/Lockers

On the southwest side of the complex is the West Bicycle Parking lot. It’s expensive – about $20/8 hours. And it has a metal shutter that closes late at night, so if you don’t have your bike out by then it will be trapped overnight. To get to the bike garage, head south along the sidewalk, then right past the Solamachi entrance and head west. You’ll pass the car parking garage, cross a street in the middle, and then see it on the right:

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com
©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

Roll your bike into a stand until it clicks – that’s it. You pay when you take it out, not when you lock it. When it comes time to take it out, head to this machine near the entrance, and enter the rack #. It will display the amount you need to pay. Insert your ¥ and the machine will unlock the bike rack – and your bike will be free:

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com
Courtesy Tokyo Drew

Inside the bike parking garage.

Also – if you stay at the ONE@Tokyo hotel up the street they have a very small, free outdoor bike locker at the hotel (on the north side). There’s only room for about 6 bikes, but it’s easy and free – just roll your bike onto the rack. You may want to buy a small combination wire lock to lock it there.

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

Kicking back at ONE@Tokyo‘s elegant rooms.

Coheé (Coffee)

The Japanee word for coffee is coheé. If you come out of the bike garage + head right (west) again, on the next corner you’ll find the Unlimited Coffee Bar + Barista Training Lab Tokyo. Both are excellent. Japanese love coheé too and there are plenty of great cafes all over the city. This one is definitely worth checking out.

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

There is also an excellent Hoshino’s Coffee in Sky Tree. They also have some pretty wild pancakes. There is another café on the south side of the complex called The Alley which is is very good:

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

The Alley (white lit sign) @ the entrance to Solamachi.

Also along the south side is a somewhat more ice-cream oriented place called Dog Dept. Cafe:

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

Sagawa Baggage Service

On the south side near the bike parking there is also a Sagawa Baggage Service. This place will store + ship your luggage for a mere $5-$7/bag, usually in 24 hours to most places in Tokyo including the airports. You can drop your bags here, then pick them up at the airport and check them in – no need to carry them with you. The staff is really sharp and it’s easy to do – just fill out a small form and provide your phone number. You can also do the reverse – ship your bags from the airport right to your hotel. There is also a Sagawa office @ Narita airport and @ Tokyo Station. All of them are excellent.

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

River Walk

Along the entire south side of the complex is a nice river walk with sidewalks. You can stroll up and down the area and watch the river. A nice little walk. The bike parking garage is at the far end in this photo:

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

Yokojiken River Walk + Backstreets

Once you’ve had your fill of Sky Tree/Solamachi, you might want to venture off the beaten path for a while to see a little more of local small-town Tokyo. The roads up + down the Yokojiken River are perfect for that. You can wander down lots of Oshiagé’s backstreets and discover some interesting things. It’s also a great way to get some awesome views of Sky Tree you can’t get any other way.

There’s a small branch of the Yokojiken River that runs south/southeast through the town and a long jogging path that follows it. You can walk for miles down this path and get some great views of Sky Tree.

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

Hiding on the backstreets… in this case near the Yokojiken River.

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

View along the Yokojiken River about 5 miles from Sky Tree.

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

View from the Sumida River to the southeast.

View from Asakusa way to the west about 4 miles.

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

There is actually a Tobacco + Salt Museum just to the southwest of Sky Tree, believe it or not. Tokyo is full of weird + wonderful museums like this.

Just to the north of Sky Tree near the Asahi Beer Hall is this park:

Courtesy Totally Drew

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

Marunouchi Metro Line train bound for Tokyo Station tearing through Oshiagé late at night.

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

Sometimes when walking around, a simple street scene will strike you so perfectly, you just have to snap a photo. These chances usually appear out of nowhere. This is why backstreet strolls are so worth it.

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com
©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

The Japanese are kings of weird + funny restaurant names.

Well, that’s it. We hope you enjoyed this guide to Sky Tree and we hope you enjoy your trip there. Sky Tree is one of Tokyo’s most exciting and memorable destinations. It’s a must-see on any trip to Japan. Enjoy!

Additional Photos

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

Solamachi Entrance on southeast side.

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

Sky Tree soars.

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com
©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

Sky Tree in the clouds.

Aerial view facing north.

Footnotes

In the event you find any of the hotels mentioned out of your budget, hop back west a few stops on the Hanzomon Line to Suitengumae – and stay at First Cabin Suitengumae. It’s about $42/night and it’s very clean. The staff is helpful and speaks English, Japanese, and other languages, and they have a free breakfast + a small lobby lounge. It’s off the beaten path back in a side neighborhood near the Sumida River, but it’s excellent for the price. Walk is only a few minutes to the Metro so you can shoot into Sky Tree in under 20 minutes (see vid below).

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

First Cabin Suitengumae is awesome.

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

Kicking back inside First Cabin Suitengumae. You get a bed, power, AC, a TV, charging ports, and a sliding door. Bathrooms + showers are down the hall but are spotless. The cabin is located at 35°40’54.15″ N 139°47’20.29″ E. Get off at the Suitengumae stop, exit to the street, head east down Etai-Dori, hang a left 3 blocks up, and head north. A few streets up to the right is the cabin. Also at Suitengumae Station is the Tokyo City Air Terminal (T-CAT), which has busses to the airports for a mere $9 bucks.

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

Stepping out of the First Cabin you face Etai-Dori, straight ahead. This photo is facing south. Proceed south 2-3 blocks, then turn right and Suitengumae Station + T-CAT are just a few blocks down on the right.

Q + A

Can you buy Sky Tree tickets online?

Answer: Yes and no – not from Sky Tree itself., but several sites sell them, such as Klook and others.

How is Sky Tree earthquake proof?

Answer: Its lattice system allows great flexibility and the ability to twist. It also allows wind loading forces to pass through the structure instead of putting stress on the sides. Sky Tree also uses a large counterweight at the top which offsets the forces of any swaying due to earthquakes. This design was copied from ancient wooden pagodas which used the same design – and are still standing today after centuries.

How tall is Sky Tree?

Answer: 635 meters or about 2083.33 feet – close to half a mile.

How do I get to Sky Tree?

Answer: See our section on trains above. You can also walk or bicycle to Sky Tree from many parts of Tokyo.

When was Sky Tree built?

Answer: the tower was completed in 2012.

Additional Photos

LINKS

Sky Tree

Google Map

Floor Guide @ Tokyo Sky Tree

PDF Floor Guide

Shops

Shop Search

Hanzomon Metro Subway Line

Oshiagé/SKYTREE Station

Tokyo Skytree Station

Access By Trains

Postal Museum Japan

Oshiage Station Post Office

Inside A Japanese Post Office (With a few donuts)

Oshiagé Area Guide

Tokyo Solamachi: The Shopping & Gourmet Paradise at the Foot of Tokyo Skytree

Sakura and Skytree = a dynamic duo if we’ve ever seen one!

Sky Tree Sightseeing App

Tobacco and Salt Museum

TOBU Hotel Levant

Richmond Hotel Sky Tree

First Cabin Suitengumae

MOS Burger Japan

AEON Supermarkets

Mr. Donut Near Sky Tree

Nana’s Green Tea

8 Best Places to Run in Tokyo

Hoshino Coffee – the chain that doesn’t feel like a chain!

Hoshino Coffee’s Menu: Look At These PANCAKES!

Hoshino Coffee

Asakusa

Sumida River Walk and Tokyo Mizumachi: Eastern Tokyo’s Coolest New Shopping Complex!

https://www.tokyo-mizumachi.jp/en/

https://cometojapankuru.blogspot.com/2020/05/a-spring-day-in-tokyo-with-tokyo.html

agoda.com

VIDS

Tokyo Drew has a very nice walkaround of the entire Sky Tree complex and town of Oshiagé.