Shibuya Superguide

Name: Shibuya

Kind: Town

Free Wifi: Yes

Location: 35°39’33.62″ N 139°42’03.08″ E

Stations: Shibuya Station, Ginza Line, Hanzomon Line, Fukutoshin Line, Keio Shibuya Station

Worth it? Do not miss it.

Our Rating: ⭑⭑⭑⭑⭑

Updated 3/24/2021

©2019-2021 tenmintokyo.com

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Shibuya is known as a fashion + nightlife area among the young in Tokyo. One of the most dazzling + vibrant areas in Tokyo, Shibuya is full of life. There are an endless variety of things to do here. The area is surprisingly compact and can easily be walked in a day or night, but not in only 1 day if you want to enjoy everything it has to offer.

Be sure to check out the offical redevelopment site Hello Neo-Shibuya.

Also be sure to check out the Shibuya City Official site.

Access

The main rail transit point is Shibuya Station – which intersects several major rail lines and 3 Tokyo Metro Subway Lines: The Ginza, Hanzomon, and Fukutoshin Lines. In fact, it’s the western terminus for the Ginza and Hanzomon lines, and the eastern terminus for the Fukutoshin line. The station is being vastly remodeled as part of Neo-Shibuya – a complete redevelopment of the entire area not expected to be completed until 2027. Redevelopment is well underway and several new large complexes are already complete, which we will discuss below.

You may also take the JR Yamanote Line to Shibuya Station and exit the gate to the west into Hachiko Square. There is also another line at the station called the Tōkyū Tōyoko Line which runs south to Yokohama.

Shibuya Station extends 3 floors below ground as well with a huge shopping mall and restuarants inside as well. There is also a large east-west passage underground known as Shibuya Chikamichi.

There are 1/2 a dozen exits from the station, but the most popular exit is the Hachiko Square exit on the west side as it leads directly to Shibuya Crossing.

There is also another station underground a few blocks to the west around 35°39’29.78″ N 139°41’56.37″ E called KEIO Shibuya Station on the Keio Inogashira Line. KEIO is a big depato (department store) chain in Japan and they often locate rail stations near their stores.

Shibuya is just south of Harajuku/Omotesando just to the north. In fact, you can walk there in just a few minutes from Harajuku Station by taking the street south from Yoyogi National Gymnasium next to Harajuku Station. The street brings you right into the central Shibuya Crossing – one of the most iconic and filmed city locations in Tokyo.

Oddly, the word Harajuku means “Original lodgings“, whereas Shinjuku just to the north means “New Lodgings“. The etymology of both words is unclear, but undoubtedly are related to the Edo Period when the capital of Japan was moved from Kyoto to Edo (present-day Tokyo).

Also see our other pages about most of the other stops on the Hanzomon Line.

Area Layout

Facing north. Shibuya Crossing is in the top center, Shibuya 109 just to the left of that up the street, and Shibuya Scramble Square and Hikarie Shibuya are the large skyscrapers off to the right. If you follow the central north street from the Crossing, you will arrive at the next town to the north – Harajuku. Shibuya Mark City is the tall complex on the center left which includes a very nice deluxe hotel. The hidden backstreets are just up the small street to the left next to the building in the upper center in this photo.

Another view of Shibuya Crossing – this time from the northwest facing southeast. The crossing is in the middle center. Shibuya Scramble Square and Hikarie Shibuya are the two large skyscrapers in the top center. (Hikarie or Hikari means “light” in Japanese). If you head left (east) down the main street, you will come to the more business-oriented side of Shibuya, which also has some nice restuarants + shops on the street level worth checking out.

4 Main Avenues

There are 4 main avenues around the center of Shibuya: 1) the east-west street with the business area on the east side and Shibuya 109 on the west side, 2) the north-south street running from the central Crossing up to Harajuku, 3) the area south of the station, and 4) the hidden north backstreets to the northwest of the square.

You can spend hours exploring each so it’s best to plan to spend an entire day + an entire night in the area if possible. If you really want to see everything in-depth, plan on 2 days.

Hachiko Square

Just to the west of the JR station exit is the world-famous Hachiko Square area. A small courtyard just outside the station, it’s a popular meeting spot for young people. The square is named after the dog Hachiko who famously waited for his late master every day at the station for 9 years. The square is the gateway to central Shibuya and Shibuya Crossing is just to the north of it.

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Facing east at Shibuya Crossing. The JR Shibuya Station entrance is right next to Hachiko Square shown on the right. Shibuya Scramble Square and Hikarie Shibuya are the 2 large skyscrapers shown on the right.

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Facing south at Shibuya Crossing. The JR Shibuya Station entrance is right next to Hachiko Square shown on the left. This entire section including the station is slated for a mega-renovation to be completed by 2027. The redevelopment will change the face of Shibuya forever.

©2019 tenmintokyo.com

Shibuya Crossing, facing north. Shibuya 109 is down the street to the left. Hachiko Square is behind the camera. The small sidestreet in the center of the photo leads to an endless array of backstreets as well as to the Sakura Currency Exchange (explained below). Heading north from the TSUTAYA on the right leads to Harajuku. Described later are backstreets, some of which are reachable by following the small entrance under the Forever 21 sign straight ahead.

©2019 tenmintokyo.com

Another view of Shibuya Crossing facing south. Hachiko Square is straight ahead. Shibuya Scramble Square is the tall skyscraper on the left. As of 2021 the white Tokyu bldg. ahead is slated to be torn down for Shibuya’s redevelopment.

©2019 tenmintokyo.com

Southwest corner at the Crossing. The street to the right (west) is full of interesting shops, cafés, and restaurants. Shibuya 109 is also to the right. Down at the end of this street is the very nice + afforable APA Hotel Shibuya. The tall bldg. in the back is the Shibuya Mark City Hotel. The bldg. shown here is a “food tower” or food palace – a throwback to 1950’s-style dining. These buildings are all over Tokyo and offer all sorts of different culinary experiences. The L’Occitane Café on the first 3 floors is an upscale experience.

Shibuya Scramble Square + Hikarie Shibuya

Around 35°39’27.42″ N 139°42’09.26″ E there are 2 huge new skyscraper developments in Shibuya: Shibuya Scramble Square (SSS) + Hikarie Shibuya. Hikarie Shibuya is on the east, which opened in 2012 and which has a big office tower, a shopping mall, a mezzanine level, a museum, and lots of restaurants. In its basement are routes into the new Shibuya Station including the Ginza Metro line. There are some vids we shot below looking down on Shibuya from the Mezzanine Level. This place is a must-see even if it’s just to walk around.

Also as part of the Neo-Shibuya development, just across the street to the west is the brand new Shibuya Scramble Square complex which opened in Nov. 2019. It also has a mall, restaurants, offices, and lots of shops + passages into the subways. But its most interesting + dazzling feature is a rooftop observatory described next. There is also a floor guide on their website.

Shibuya Sky

On the top of SSS is a huge open-air rooftop observatory, Shibuya Sky. It’s not to be missed for anything. Only a glass wall separates you and a 360-degree view of all of Tokyo. A spectacular must-see. Adult tickets are a little spendy @ around $18/person, but it’s well worth it for an experience you’ll never forget.

To get to either development, head a block east from Hachiko Square, then south 1 block. You can also get to the buildings from inside the station.
You can find out more about the area and the redevelopment plan over on the excellent https://www.shibuyastation.com/shibuya-station-area-redevelopment-plan/ site.

Shibuya Sky

Entrance to Shibuya Sky.

Shibuya STREAM

On the back (south) side of SSS is a cool little multiuse area called Shibuya STREAM. The area has lots of food + shopping + is a nice place to stroll.

You can also get to it from street level across from Shibuya Hikarie, or from the elevated walkway at the intersection just south. If you go to SSS, be sure to check out Shibuya STREAM.

Shibuya STREAM on the backside of SSS.

Shibuya STREAM is quite extensive and has lots of food choices. There’s a Dean + Deluca on the 2nd floor.

Shibuya Mark City

Shibuya Mark City is a large mall + hotel just to the west of Shibuya Station. There are loads of great restaurants + cafés inside. It’s just across the street from Hachiko Square so be sure to check it out. There are also a bunch of interesting side streets around the complex worth exploring as well.

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Shibuya Mark City is just across the street to the west from Hachiko Square.

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Entrance to Shibuya Mark City.

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Looking back east towards the Shibuya Mark City Hotel from a few blocks away.

Shibuya 109

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Just up the street to the west of Hachiko Square is a complex called Shibuya 109. It’s mostly just shops + restaurants, but it’s worth a look. At the corner of Shibuya 109 the street splits in two – you can head north (right) into some more shopping, the MEGA Don Quijote (see below), and eventually pass the Hotel koé Tokyo – which is a little spendy, but very nice if you plan to stay in the area.

Alternatively you can head up the street on the left (west) side of the corner, which in our opinion is more interesting. At the end of this street is APA Hotel Shibuya which is a really good value. There are also a lot of really good cafés including Café Legato on this street. The area is tree-lined and makes for a very enjoyable walk up and back. Definitely a must-see.

Bic Camera

No trip to Japan would be complete without an electronics store stop and Shibuya doesn’t disappoint. Just to the west of the L’Occitane Café mentioned above is Shibuya’s large Bic Camera – one of the biggest electronics shops in Tokyo. There is also a smaller Bic Camera Annex 2 blocks to the east around 35°39’35.03″ N 139°42’07.47″ E (on the corner just before the turn north to Shibuya Miyashita Park mentioned below).

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The main Bic Camera facing east.

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Bic Camera Annex is just out of frame to the right 2 blocks to the east of the Crossing. This photo is facing back west towards the Crossing. The tall tower in the distance is Shibuya Mark City Hotel. Shibuya Station is ahead on the left. There’s a video of this scene at the end of the page.

Giant Tokyu

If you head a few blocks north of Shibuya 109 up the street to the right side, you’ll come to another huge Tokyu Depato (department store) around 35°39’39.30″ N 139°41’48.70″ E. Shibuya 109 is actually owned by Tokyu also. The name “109” is actually a Japanese play on words because To-kyu sounds a bit like the Japanese numbers for ten and nine. There is also a huge H+M mall on the right just before it. There are all kinds of fascinating tiny backstreets and alleys around the area. You can spend hours exploring.

Internet Cafés + Shibuya Maruyamacho

Along this route you’ll also pass the INET internet café + Karaoké lounge. If you’re looking for a really dirt cheap place to stay in Shibuya, INET might work, but be prepared for cigarette smoke, noise, and lots of other people – the place offers a small cubicle with a bed, chair, tiny desk, and PC for around $24/night. But if you’re in need of a really cheap place, or need a quick place to crash, INET might work. Shibuya has many such internet cafés – search the web for the best picks.

Also, just to the north (left) of INET there’s a very interesting side street called Shibuya Maruyamacho worth checking out (see vid below).

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Also on this street a little further west is the very nice Café Legato hidden away on the 3rd floor of this bldg. on the left:

©2019 tenmintokyo.com

©2019 tenmintokyo.com

Also in the vicinity is this very large 2-story Excelsior Café.

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Looking back east towards the Crossing from the steps of Shibuya 109. There is plenty to see + do on this street too. Just up the street behind the camera is Shibuya’s MEGA Don Quijote discount store. There is another small food palace and Big Echo Karaoké place in the building on the left.

MEGA Don Quijote just north of Shibuya 109.

Also further north on this street you’ll pass a great bike shop called Y’s Road (there are many of them in Tokyo). They mostly sell higher-end performance bikes, but you can sometimes find bargains.

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Shibuya Miyashita Park

1 block to the northeast of the Crossing is the newly-opened Shibuya Miyashita Park. It’s a very nice multi-level food, shopping, and entertainment complex. The roof has a volleyball court + other stuff to do. Definitely check it out. To get there head east from the Crossing for 2 blocks, then turn left (north) and it will be on your left.

See our full post on SMP here.

Backstreets

There are endless backstreets to explore in Shibuya. The most interesting are behind the Q-Front bldg. with the TSUTAYA in it shown above center-right. Head up the small street just to the left of the bldg., then head north, west, or down any other side street. There is an entire web of interesting streets in this are as shown below:

©2019 tenmintokyo.com
©2019 tenmintokyo.com
©2019 tenmintokyo.com

Winter Illuminations

In Dec-Jan, Shibuya has dozens of spectacular winter illuminations all over the city. The most impressive one is just north of Shibuya Crossing in a small park just to the south of Yoyogi National Gymnasium. If you’re there in the winter, check them out – it’s well worth it.

Shibuya Cultural Center + Planetarium

A few blocks to the south of the Crossing around 35°39’19.44″ N 139°41’59.49″ E is the Shibuya Cultural Center + Planetarium – which has a number of traditional arts plus a very nice large planetarium. Definitely worth checking out.

Hotels

There are lots of great hotels in Shibuya, some of them quite reasonable. It’s best to go during off-peak season for the best rates – try to avoid spring as that is when the demand is highest. We recommend checking out agoda.com for hotel/travel searches.

If you’re looking for an upscale hotel, there is the Shibuya Mark City mentioned above, and around 35°39’22.11″ N 139°41’58.31″ E there is the huge Cerulean Tower Tokyu Hotel which runs around $200/night. The APA Hotel Shibuya mentioned above is a much more affordable and is also very nice. There is also the very nice sequence MIYASHITA PARK for around $100/night.

If you’re willing to head about 1/2 mile south of the Crossing, there is also the very popular MUSTARD HOTEL which has slightly more reasonable rates.

Food

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Food options in Shibuya are endless. Restuarants, noodle shops, cafés, and specialty shops are everywhere. There is something to fit every taste and budget. From deluxe restaurants on the upper floors of hotels and skycrapers to hole-in-the-wall noodle shops there is something for everyone.

Shibuya Mark City has a huge restaurant court on its upper floors. To get there, head into the east side entrance to the west of Hachiko Square, then take the escalator up. There are dozens of restaurants everywhere. Shibuya 109 and Shibuya Scramble Square + Hikarie Shibuya also have lots of great restaurants. See their websites for floor guides with detailed lists of places to eat.

GEMS Food Tower

Just north of Shibuya Miyashita Park on the east side of the street around 35°39’48.87″ N 139°42’11.39″ E there is a huge food palace called GEMS Jingumae Food Tower. It has 8-9 floors of all kinds of stuff. Definitely check it out. Don’t forget that Shibuya Miyashita Park itself also has lots of great restaurants.

©2019 tenmintokyo.com
©2019 tenmintokyo.com

Shibuyacast

Also just around the same area at 35°39’46.02″ N 139°42’09.03″ E is a small courtyard called Shibuyacast. This place often holds outdoor gatherings at night with lots of outdoor food stalls and vendors. There are also shops and a small microbrewery called Brewdog. Worth a look:

©2019 tenmintokyo.com
©2019 tenmintokyo.com

Tower Records Café

Around 35°39’42.97″ N 139°42’03.22″ E there is a Tower Reccords store (a CD chain that went out of business in the US long ago), and it has a surprisingly good café on the upper floors.

Legato Café

The Café Legato mentioned above is also quite good and has a a full restaurant.

If you venture into the east side of Shibuya, there are several major streets lined with great places to eat.

Sarutahiko Cohee

“Cohee” is the Japanese word for coffee. If you head up the east side street north like you’re going to Harajuku, you’ll come to a big MODI shopping complex. Inside is a great café called Sarutahiko Cohee. If you’re a coffee lover, it’s a must-see.

MOS Burger Shibuya

If you’re in the mood for a quick fast food burger, check out MOS Burger Shibuya around 35°39’32.45″ N 139°41’52.03″ E. It’s just west of the UNIQLO store on the street heading up west from Shibuya 109:

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©2019 tenmintokyo.com

Toki Seven Tea

On the way to Sakura Currency Exchange (shown below) be sure to stop and check out the “boba tea” shop Toki Seven Tea:

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DEN Shibuya

Around 35°40’23.71″ N 139°42’45.76″ E is a really nice restaurant called DEN Shibuya. Check it out – it’s really nice.

Sakura – The Hidden Currency Exchange

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If you head north through the Crossing and go up the backstreet just to the left of the TSUTAYA record shop, in a few blocks around 35°39’36.75″ N 139°41’56.48″ E you’ll come to this tiny elevator right on the street which leads to the Sakura Currency Exchange on the 4th floor. Rates at this exchange are much better than at airports or banks in Japan. You’ll need to show your passport and they will scan it in order to make the transaction. Fees here are low so it’s worth a stop if you need to exchange money.

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On the way north to Sakura Exchange, which is just on the left after the Wendy’s.

Shibuya E-Space Tower

If you continue up the street to the west from the Crossing, around 35°39’26.58″ N 139°41’44.64″ E you’ll come to a building called Shibuya E-Space Tower. This building has some nice restaurants on the top floors, but it also has a nice glass elevator which faces the street. You can get spectacular views of Shibuya from the elevator on the way to the top. It also happens to have one of the coolest Kobans (police boxes) in all of Tokyo:

©2019 tenmintokyo.com
©2019 tenmintokyo.com

View from the E-Space Tower elevator.

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Also nearby is the one-of-a-kind World Liquor System. Who says the Japanese don’t have a sense of humor?

Meguro Sky Garden

If you’re up for walking about a mile southwest of Shibuya, there is the spectacular Meguro Sky Garden – a huge lush garden built on top of a round freeway interchange. You can sit in the garden and relax + watch the clouds go by or enjoy the immaculately groomed landscape. There is also a subway station nearby so check the routes + maps. It’s well worth a quick visit if you have the time.

Conclusion

Well, that’s it. Shibuya is a vibrant + exciting area of Tokyo and you won’t want to miss it. You can easily spend a few days here so if you want to see it in-depth, stay at one of the good reasonable hotels in the area and spend a couple of days here. It’s worth the time.

Enjoy!

Additional Photos

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On the JR Yamanote platform at Shibuya Station.

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Inside a JR Yamanote Line car.

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This walkway to the south of Shibuya Mark City leads towards the west of Shibuya Crossing and to Shibuya 109. Just on the left is an excellent hamburger joint.

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Inside Shibuya Mark City.

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The entrance to Hakkendana next to INET.

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Shibuya’s hidden side streets offer adventure at every turn.

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©2019 tenmintokyo.com
©2019 tenmintokyo.com

Heading north on the north-south street which leads to Harajuku. A must-see walk. There are also loads of good cafés inside the MODI building.

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MEGA Don Quijote up to the north past Shibuya 109.

©2019 tenmintokyo.com

You can actually eat quite cheap+ healthy in Tokyo by utilizing Don Quijote specials such as these. Great meals for a few dollars. In this case only about $2 USD. The grocery areas are usually hidden away in the basements of most Don Quijotes.

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Don Quijotes also have surprisingly good produce.

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One of many backstreets just northwest of the Crossing. You can spend hours and even days exploring.

Entrance to Shibuya STREAM.

Another view of Hikarie Shibuya, facing east. The walkway heads west into Shibuya Scramble Square across the street. The station is to the left, although you can also get to it from inside in the basement.

The vastness that is Tokyo.

LINKS

Shibuya City Official

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

Metro Ginza Line

Metro Hanzomon Line

Tokyo Metro Hanzōmon Line – Wikipedia

Shibuya Station – Wikipedia

Hanzomon Line Posts

Keio Shibuya Station

https://helloneoshibuya.jp/swi/

Fukutoshin Line

Shibuya Station – Shibuya Transportation Guide

Shibuya Area Overview

https://helloneoshibuya.jp/

https://helloneoshibuya.jp/swi/

Tokyo City Guide: Shibuya

THE 15 BEST Things to Do in Shibuya – Tripadvisor

Shibuya Crossing

SHIBUYA SCRAMBLE SQUARE

Shibuya Sky

Shibuya Hikarie

Shibuya Mark City

Shibuya 109

MIYASHITA PARK 公式ウェブサイト

Shibuya Cultural Center

Sarutahiko Cohee

Hachiko

HELLO neo SHIBUYA | b’s mono-log

shibuya | Flickr

Mega Don Quijote, Shibuya – Japan’s Largest Discount Goods Store

Big Echo

hotel koé, Shibuya

Meguro Sky Garden

Shibuya-kei

VIDS

Shibuya Scramble Crossing Live Camera shows a cool 24/7 view of the Crossing.

Ground-level view of the Crossing facing north. Take the street ahead to get to Harajuku.

Hachiko Square is just across the street to the east.

There are 2 Bic Cameras in Shibuya – one just to the west of the Crossing, and the one shown here 1 block to the east on the northwest corner.

A birdseye view of Neo-Shibuya from Hikarie Shibuya to the east. This vid also shows the major redevelopment area south of the station as well as the Crossing at night.

View from the east side of Shibuya looking back towards the Crossing. There’s plenty to see + do on this street as well. Be prepared to walk for hours.

Down an east-side street. Wait for the roar of the train as it rushes by in a flash.

A few blocks up the street to the west of the Crossing. There are all kinds of great restaurants + cafés on this street. APA Hotel Shibuya is just at the end of the street to the west (behind the camera).

Sun Road is another hotel in Shibuya.

Inside the busy Starbucks just at the north end of the Crossing. On the 1st floor is a very nice TATSUYA record shop. The view from the window here of the Crossing is spectacular.

This vid starts 1 block west of the Crossing. The Bic Camera ANNEX is straight ahead in this thumbnail. Turn right here for Shibuya Miyashita Park.

Check out this very cool History of Shibuya Station.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v5VOTx1YfAg

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jMk-Le01o_w&feature=emb_logo

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wOTCGZd3qEo

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FoWm9fAaEl4

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 4/3/2021

©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.

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JR East Travel Service Center

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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:

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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.

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Inside the station.

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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.

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Seria in OIOI City.

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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.

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 the side streets 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.

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.

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Entrance to Sunshine City.

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Street view from Sunshine City‘s 60th floor.

Entrance to Sunshine City Annex on the west side street.

To get to the most interesting side 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 the interesting main shopping street. As you come to the end of the street, 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.

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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.

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

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

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SEIBU Ikebukuro Station just south of the JR entrance above.

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Entrance to the east side 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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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

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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.

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

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Food Trucks

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

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.

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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

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

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LUMINE complex.

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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:

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

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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.

Mitsukoshimae + Nihonbashi Superguide

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Name: Mitsukoshimae

Kind: Town

Location: 35°41’22.49″ N 139°46’10.71″ E

Station: Mitsukoshimae, Ginza (G12) or Hanzomon (Z09) Line on Toyko Metro Subway

Free Wifi: Yes

Our Rating: ⭑⭑⭑⭑⭑

Worth it? Do not miss it.

Updated 2/12/2021

©2019-2021 tenmintokyo.com

Mitsukoshimae is a subway station on the Tokyo Metro Ginza (G12) or Hanzomon (Z09) Lines. It is named after the depato (department store) that sits over it called Mitsukoshi. Mitsukoshi is one of the oldest depato in Japan and dates back over a century. The building itself has an architecture + decor from that era. It also has a tax-free shop.

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Mitsukoshimae Station.

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Aside from the store itself there are all kinds of things to do in the area (known as Nihonbashi) named after the Nihonbashi Bridge at the north end of the town. The original bridge dates back to 1609. In fact, the Nihonbashi Bridge is the central point (Kilometre zero) from which all other road distances are measured in Tokyo.

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Nihonbashi Bridge and Kilometre zero facing south towards central Tokyo.

The Bank of Japan bldg. is also located near here.

Just a short walk north from Nihonbashi is Kanda Station (G13). You can easily walk from there if you chose to get off there. Just north of that is Akihabara.

The area plays prominently in medevil Japan’s history with many Ukiyo-e prints by famed artist Hiroshige from the 1800’s still in existence from that era.

The Nihonbashi area is just north of central Tokyo’s Marunouchi and Otemachi areas. You can easily walk here from Tokyo Station which is to the south. You can also exit Otemachi Station on the Hanzomon (Z09) Line + head north. If you have a whole day to spend you could sightsee around Tokyo Station, then walk north to Otemachi, then north to Nihonbashi (although that would be a very full day since there is a lot to do in each area).

Just to the north of the bridge is a small information booth which is worth a stop:

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The most interesting thing about the Nihonbashi area is simply how immaculately spotless it is – maybe even more so than Ginza to the south, and the Tokyo Station area. Streets here are so clean it’s hard to believe a city this size has the ability to keep any area so spotless.

There are endless things to do in the area. The station has a mixed use area with shops + restaurants, and the streets are lined with both too. You can walk and explore for hours and not get bored.

Mitsukoshi Depato

Mitsukoshi is the main attraction and it has several floors of shops, food, restaurants, and other interesting places, but its food basement (Deepchika) is perhaps the most interesting. Here you can get all kinds of foods + luxury delicacies of all kinds. Plan to spend an hour in the basement at a minimum.

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Mitsukoshi at sunset facing south.

The store also has a special card for overseas visitors which gives you 5% off all purchases. There is also a brand new Bic Camera store in Mitsukoshi.

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Mitsukoshi south entrance facing north at Christmas.

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Depachika in the basement of Mitsukoshi Depato.

COREDO Muromachi Mixed Use Development

After Mitsukoshi, the other big attraction in Nihonbashi is the COREDO mixed use development. The complex sits above the station and its first floor is inside the station bldg. But there are three COREDO bldgs. and you can spend hours exploring them all – possibly even days.

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COREDO at night.

Mitsui Shopping Park Urban

1 block to the west of COREDO is Mitsui Shopping Park Urban. Well worth a look. There are lots of shops + cafés, and restaurants here – some with outdoor seating.

Streets

Chuo-Dori is the main street that runs through Nihonbashi and the COREDO complexes are on either side. Chuo-Dori runs north-south and bends west @ Nihonbashi, then north through Kanda and into Akihabara. Running south it takes you to Maronuchi and Tokyo Station. But there are side streets as well and every side street has something of interest. Shops abound. In the center of the multi-building COREDO complex there is an open-air part of the street that is blocked off to traffic which has dozens of nice restaurants + shops you can visit. A great place for a walk and a definite must-see.

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Cool shops abound on Chuo-Dori.

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Hotels

Lots of good hotels abound in the area, many with entrances to the station in their basements or right outside on the sidewalk. By far the best hotel in the area is the Mandarin Oriental, just across the street from Mitsukoshi Depato. This is a 5-star hotel and it will cost you a pretty penny to stay here but the luxury + experience are out of this world. From the upper floors of the hotel you get a spectacular view of downtown central Tokyo to the south, and Tokyo Sky Tree to the east.

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Mitsui Memorial Museum

Also nearby is the Mitsui Memorial Museum – well worth a stop this museum has traditional prints, paintings, and ceramics.

SUIGIAN Performing Arts Theater

Also in the complex is the SUIGIAN Performing Arts Theater. You can catch a traditional Noh play here as well as other shows.

Nihonbashi Info Center (Omotenashi Nihonbashi)

There is also an information center in the complex called Nihonbashi Information Center which has an incredible amount of info on the area. Worth a stop.

Additional Photos

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Well, that’s it for now. Enjoy Nihonbashi + Mitsukoshimae. There is loads to do here and its well worth the trip.

LINKS

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

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

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

https://www.gotokyo.org/en/spot/44/index.html

https://www.centraltokyo-tourism.com/en/spot/detail/100301011

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Fifty-three_Stations_of_the_T%C5%8Dkaid%C5%8D

https://www.gotokyo.org/en/spot/411/index.html

https://mitsui-shopping-park.com.e.act.hp.transer.com/urban/muromachi/index.html

http://www.nihonbashi-info.jp/omotenashi/

https://www.timeout.com/tokyo/shopping/coredo-nihonbashi

https://otemachi-one.com/

http://tenmintokyo.com/2020/09/25/hanzomon-line-posts/

Store Information

Coredo Muromachi 1 2-2-1 Nihonbashi Muromachi, Chuo 103-0022, Tokyo Prefecture

Address: 1-4-1 Nihombashi Muromachi, Chuo-ku, Tokyo > Access

Phone: 0081-3-3241-3311

Hours: 10:00~19:00

*Main Building and New Building B1, 1F and 2F Tax-Free counter: 10:00-19:30

*Restaurants on New Building 9F and 10F: 11:00-22:00

COREDO Nihonbashi

Address 1-4-1, Nihonbashi, Chuo-ku, Tokyo

Contact Web Site https://mitsui-shopping-park.com/urban/nihonbashi/

Directions: Directly connected to Nihonbashi Station on the Tokyo Metro Ginza Line, Tozai Line, or the Toei Subway Asakusa Line, a three-minute walk from Mitsukoshimae Station on the Tokyo Metro Ginza Line or Hanzomon Line, or a six-minute walk from Tokyo Station on JR Lines.

https://mitsui-shopping-park.com.e.act.hp.transer.com/urban/muromachi/index.html

VIDS

Toranomon Superguide Part 1

©2019-2021 tenmintokyo.com

Name: Toranomon

Kind: City/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

©2019-2021 tenmintokyo.com

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)

5 Things to Do in Toranomon

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

Tokyo International Forum

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Name: Tokyo International Forum

Kind: Venue

Where: Yurakucho, Tokyo 35°40’35.92″ N 139°45’51.03″ E

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Just south of Tokyo Station and just west of Ginza is the Tokyo International Forum – a huge modern venue for all kinds of conferences, performing arts, concerts, talks, trade shows, and other activities.

The Forum was completed in 1997 and is spectacular.

Inside there are elevated walkways, a huge cavernous interior and a few restaurants on the lower level. The Forum’s main tourist attraction is its architecture which is designed to look like a large ship and is ultra-modern.

Outside the Forum are all sorts of great restaurants, shops, and other activities. At the South end of the Forum is a large Bic Camera, and Yurakucho Station – the gateway into Ginza which is just to the east.

To get to the Forum you can either get the JR line to Tokyo Station, exit the west (Maronuchi) side and walk south on the sidewalk, or you can get off at Yurakucho Station and then head north under the train tracks, then west and 1 block north to the Forum. Both are very easy to get to and are accessibile.

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You can also take the Metro Ginza Subway Line to Ginza Station and exit there, then walk a few blocks south to get to the Forum. The Ginza Station exit is just outside the north Maronuchi-side exit at Tokyo Station, roughly at 35°40’55.82″ N 139°45’57.01″ E. You can also get to the Ginza Line inside Tokyo Station but it requires a long hike through various underground corridors and stairs like this:

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©2019 tenmintokyo.com

Ginza Metro subway line. Ginza (G09) is in the middle of the line, Shibuya on the west, and Asakusa on the east. Another alternative is to take the Maronuchi Line and exit at its Tokyo Station (M17) exit onto the surface and then walk south from Tokyo Station to the Forum:

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Maronuchi Line Tokyo Station (M17)

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Yurakucho Station. Tokyo International Forum is straight ahead past the tracks. Bic Camera is on the left next to the Forum.

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The Forum has a huge lighted glass floor on its north side.

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Inside the cavernous Forum.

Restaurants/Coffee/Shops

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In the basement of the Forum is the Cafe Lexcel, an upscale division of Doutour. There is also one in Yokohama.

On the west side of the Forum there is an outdoor patio with a line of excellent restaurants, coffee houses, and shops. Definitely worth checking out.

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There is also a Shake Shack and an 800 Degrees Woodfired Kitchen on the patio promenade.

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©2019 tenmintokyo.com

Brooklyn Roasting Company is not to be missed.

At the very north end of the promenade there is a JR entrance and downstairs is a New York Perfect Cheese:

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©2019 tenmintokyo.com

Entrance to Tokyo Underground Concourse. You can actually walk underground here all the way to Tokyo Station to the north. Behind it is a Le Meré Poulard – a very upscale French restaurant. The original one is in France and also has a hotel in it. Thanks to Tokyo Drew for this tip.



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©2019 tenmintokyo.com

There is plenty more to do in the area – don’t be afraid to wander around.

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Yurakucho Station Christmas illuminations.

Bic Camera + Ginza to the East

If you walk south from the Forum + cross the street, first you’ll come to a large Bic Camera on the corner – well worth a stop:


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South end of Bic Camera. Yurakucho Station is on the right.

If you then head east (left) at Yurakucho Station, you’ll come into a small area at the east exit of the station filled with department stores, such as OIOI (pronounced Marui). This is Yurakucho. To get to Ginza, head directly east for 2 blocks. The two areas are right next to each other.

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Underneath Yurakucho Station. Ginza is straight ahead (facing east).

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Yurakucho Station. Ginza is on the other side. The Forum is 2-3 blocks to the left (north). Under the 2 arches on the left you can cut to the other side. The area on the other side is one of the best trainspotting places in Tokyo – you can watch bullet trains come in and out in both directions.

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Ginza east of Yurakucho Station.

Well that’s it for now. Enjoy your trip. There’s loads to do near Tokyo International Forum + the surrounding area.

LINKS

Tokyo International Forum Official (this page also has a floor guide PDF).

Tokyo International Forum: Marunouchi – Where In Tokyo

JR East

Cafe Lexel

800 Degrees

Ginza-Itchome StationYurakucho Line

Yurakucho Line

VIDS

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John Daub @ TIF.

Tokyo Drew did a walkthrough of TIF in this video around 40:00.