Tokyo Station Superguide Part 1: Marunouchi

Name: Tokyo Station

Kind: Station/Multi-use

Free Wifi: Yes

Location: 35°40’49.41″ N 139°46’07.51″ E

Station: Tokyo Station

Our Rating: ⭑⭑⭑⭑⭑

Worth it? Don’t miss it.

Updated 6/20/2021

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Tokyo Station is Tokyo’s showplace train station + vast multiuse complex.

Renovated + expanded in 2012 the area is an entire city unto itself. In fact, there’s an entire area inside called Tokyo Station City (TSC) – most of it underground beneath and around the station. There are several subdevelopments inside such as TSC, GRANRoof (an elevated outdoor walkway), 1st Avenue underground mall, and others. A new high-rise development just northeast is being planned called Tokyo Torch, which when completed will be Japan’s tallest building. TSC also has its own YouTube channel. Check out the Tokyo Colors.2015 Teaser movie.

There are also huge food palaces, and a large street-level shopping complex with various depatos (department stores), the largest of which is DAIMARU. Inside the station in many areas, there are endless food courts and high-end restaurants + cafés.

Tokyo Station hosts a huge number of train lines and is one of the central departure points for many of Japan’s high speed Shinkansen (bullet trains – shinkansen literally means “new rapid line”). The main lines are Japan Railways (JR) lines, and other lines such as Keio, Tokyo Metro subway and others. You can get to just about any place in the Tokyo region on regular and express trains, and to other parts of Japan on shinkansen.

The station is centered in the central business district called Marunouchi (literally “Imperial Palace Grounds Circle”) in Tokyo just east of the Imperial Palace.

The area is too huge + vast to cover everything so we’ll just hit the major features and points of interest here. To truly experience the station + area, you’ll have to plan on spending a few days walking or biking around.

There are 2 sides to the station – the older but renovated brick side on the west called the Marunouchi side, and the newer, more modern east side called the Yaesu (pronounced ‘Yah-eh-soo’) side (named after one of Japan’s only foreign Samurai, Jan Joosten, or simply Yayōsu for short, from the 17th century) . There are only 2 internal passages which connect the 2 sides the Yaesu North Passage on the north side of the station, and the Yaesu Central Passage in the middle of the station. The two major shinkansen entry areas are also in the center of the station slightly towards the east side. There is also the Yokosuka-Sobu Line Rapid Line to Narita Airport on the west side.

There is actually a smaller 3rd side called the Nihombashi Entrance on the far northeast corner of the station. This entrance/exit is largely used for busses, but if you need to go north of the station, this is the exit to take. There is also a luggage delivery service and a few cafés inside along with coin lockers (see below).

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Northwest (Marunouchi) side of the station + entrance. There is also a luggage forwarding + a large tourist info office just inside.

Tokyo Station and the Marunouchi area are incredibly spectacular + clean and are the showplace of Tokyo. You won’t want to miss it for anything.

Also on the west side right in the center of the station is the incredibly luxurious and ornate Tokyo Station Hotel, which runs about $400/night.

At the very south entrance on the west side there is also a small Koban (police box). There isn’t much else on the exterior of the west side – most of the interesting points are inside, or in the surrounding area. The west side facadé was renovated in 2012, along with the ornate northwest entrance area which has soaring Victorian ceilings.

An important point of interest to note is that the quickest way to get from Tokyo Station to the west side of the city (to Shinjuku) is on an express line called the JR Chuo Line which departs Tokyo Station and only makes 5 stops on the way to Shinjuku (which is the busiest train station in Tokyo and in the world).

One word of warning: the interior of the station, its passageways, tunnels, platforms, shopping, and routes to other areas can be daunting. You can easily get lost or walk for hours underground. Sometimes it can take over an hour to get to a particular platform or train line.

In this article we’ll cover only the Marunouchi side and the western surrounding area. See Part 2 for the east Yaesu side.

Access

Nearly all lines in Tokyo lead one way or another to Tokyo Station. There are so many lines + platforms in the station it’s impossible to list them all here. Check out the JR Tokyo Station website or the TSC website for a complete list of lines + maps.

On foot or bike Tokyo Station is an easy walk from many of the other parts of the city: Akihabara and Kanda to the north, Yurakucho + Ginza to the south, Otemachi which is just to the north, or even Ueno further north. From Ueno you can even walk to Tokyo Dome City. The JR Yamanote Line runs to Kanda, Akihabara, Ueno, Nippori, and Yurakucho/Ginza.

There are also dozens of sidewalk street-level portals in the area which lead down into the station. Don’t forget that when you are walking around the streets, below you the station is everywhere.

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A station street portal.

There are 2 main streets running north-south on the west side of the station and both are interesting walks. There are endless hotels, shops, business, skyscrapers, and cafés everywhere. You can stroll around for hours and not see it all.

Shuttles

There is also a free Marunouchi Shuttle with an app, but the app is in Japanese only currently. The TSC site has a complete list of all shuttles.

Area Layout

Overhead view facing north. The station with tracks runs north-south shown right of center. The Yurakucho area (see below) at the bottom, and the Imperial Palace is in the upper left corner. The 2 parks are to the center left and lower left. Out of view to the lower right is Ginza. The Marunouchi area is to the top, center.

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The central Marunouchi (west) side of Tokyo Station. The Tokyo Station Hotel is in the center. When Tokyo Torch is completed, it will be just to the left of the skyscrapers shown above.

The south entrance on the west side. Note the turret architecture that was popular in Japan in the early 1900’s when the station was built.

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Also inside the north entrance is a central information booth.

Facing west into the Marunouchi area at the south end of the station. There is a spectacular view of the entire area from the rooftop observation deck in the KITTE building on the left. If you head left (south) from here in a few blocks you will come to Yurakucho. Marunouchi Plaza (see next) is just on the right out of frame.

Marunouchi Plaza

Outside the west side of the station is an astonishing large open air plaza called Marunouchi Plaza. It’s mostly just a walking + photo area but provides epic views of the station. There is also a small Metro subway portal here. If you head further west across the street there’s another long paved walkway leading to the Imperial Palace. In the fall the Ginko trees along this walkway turn a brilliant yellow. If you’re there in the fall, don’t miss it.

The epic vista of Marunouchi Plaza facing west. The Imperial Palace is straight ahead.

Another view of Marunouchi Plaza. In the fall the Ginko trees shown here turn a brilliant yellow in a spectacular nature show. The white bldg. on the far left was built in the 1970’s and on it’s ground floor is the largest  Store in Tokyo.

Just to the north and south of the 2nd walkway, there are 2 parks worth checking out around 35°40’57.67″ N 139°45’38.80″ E. To the south is the huge Kōkyogaien National Garden, and to the north a small concrete park with a large fountain called Wadakura Fountain Park. There are various other spectacular hotels around the area.

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Ginko trees in the fall to the west of Tokyo Station.

KITTE + Observation Deck.

At the south end of the plaza, there’s a large white bldg. called KITTE. It offers several levels of indoor shops, food, and a spectacular open-air rooftop garden affording epic views of the station. It’s a breathtaking view and not to be missed. Just enter on the north side and take the escalator up. Totally Drew has a nice vid of the deck in the vid section below. KITTE also has a nice tourist + business info office with people ready to assist you, should the need arise.

Also currently just across the street from KITTE is Tokyo’s largest  Store, in a very retro-70’s style office building at street level.

South to Yurakucho

If you head south past KITTE on side streets, in just a few blocks you’ll be in the Yurakucho/Ginza area, and you’ll pass the nice Tokyo International Forum along the way. Both Yurakucho/Ginza, and Akihabara/Kanda are easy walks from the station.

Mitsubishi Ichigokan Museum

2 blocks to the southeast is a huge museum called the Mitsubishi Ichigokan Museum. The entire 3-story building is done in early British/American colonial brick style and is a must-see. The museum mostly offers rotating collections of paintings + other artwork. There is also a very nice café + garden.

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Mitsubishi Ichigokan Museum

Food

There is endless food at and around Tokyo Station. From ramen joints to deluxe upscale resturants to food courts, you won’t be able to decide. The station is full of food stalls, shops, a central store area with shops selling sweets, delicacies, and all kinds of meals. There are also food courts in the underground tunnels at various intervals.

Perhaps the biggest food extraveganza at Tokyo Station is the food tower in the DAIMARU depato (department store), but that is on the Yaesu (east) side so we’ll save that for Part 2.

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The central shops area inside the station which includes dessert places such as TokyoMe+.

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There are also endless large complexes on the streets around the station such as M Lounge just to the northeast.

1st Avenue Underground Mall

In approximately the center of the west side inside the station near the shops is the entrance to a large underground mall called 1st Avenue. The mall is vast and has all kinds of shops, although many of them such as the Pokemon and LEGO stores seem to be targeted at kids. Still worth a quick look.

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Coin Lockers

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There are several huge banks of coin lockers inside Tokyo Station. Some are along corridors between platforms and areas, but the largest banks are on the west side across from the central shops area, and near the entrances to the shinkansen areas. You can drop your stuff in them to lighten your load, or when traveling on trains, but it will cost you. Small lockers run about $8 USD/24 hours, large ones can cost as much as $14-$19/24 hours. They also accept Tokyo’s Suica IC payment card. To use them, drop your stuff in, then lock it and take the key if there is one. If not, use the touch-screen panel to select + secure your locker. You generally pay when you return to unlock and retrieve your items. Some lockers do require you to pay in advance. Lockers can also come in handy when transporting luggage coming/going to airports or other cities. If you’re looking for a cheaper option, you can find dirt cheap street lockers around Tokyo as low as $4/day such as this hidden bank in Ueno:

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Otemachi to the Northwest

Just to the northwest is a small sister city area called Otemachi. It’s also part of the business district and in fact, is connected underground to Tokyo Station by long vast tunnels + walkways. You can walk in about 45 minutes, but the path underground is complex and requires you to traverse several different levels, shopping centers, stairs, escalators, and walkways. So be prepared. There are also lots of things to see and do around Otemachi including mixed-use complexes such as Otemachi One and Ootemori. But this leads us to the final topic for this post…

Hanzomon Hell

The Hanzomon Line is a Tokyo Metro subway which runs east-west near Tokyo Station and which can be accessed underground in both Tokyo Station and Otemachi Station. But this is where it gets tricky: The Hanzomon Line station is on the far side of Otemachi, but signs underground in Tokyo Station point your way there. The hard part is that many of the Hanzomon Line signs in Tokyo Station merely list the distance to the next part of the path you have to follow. Just when you think you’re there, you have to walk another 350 meters – multiple times. In fact, it’s several miles of walking on a convoluted path to get from Tokyo Station to the actual Hanzomon Line platform in Otemachi Station. So, if you decide to go this route, be prepared for serious walking. On the upside, there are a lot of interesting things along the way and lots of food courts, cafés and other places to stop and rest if need be. This walk is generally known among expats as Hanzomon Hell because it’s no quick trip even though the signs would lead you to believe otherwise. So, we’re just warning you: be prepared to walk. A lot.

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Walking from Tokyo Station to the Hanzomon Line in Otemachi underground – aka Hanzomon Hell.

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Ootemori

Conclusion

Tokyo Station/Marunouchi is one of the most spectacular areas of Tokyo and is not to be missed at any cost. If you want to see just one area of Tokyo, this is it. It’s huge, elegant, spotless, awe-inspiring, and astonishing. It’s an experience you’re not likely to forget in your lifetime. A must-see.

In Part 2, we’ll cover the eastern, more lively, Yaesu side of the station.

Additional Photos

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Another view of the KITTE building from the north.

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To the northwest side of the plaza there are several large multi-use/shopping centers. Very upscale.

tourist info office
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The JR luggage forwarding/pickup office just inside the northwest entrance. You can have your luggage forwarded from airports/hotels for a fee and pick it up here. And vice-versa when leaving. The tourist info office is on the opposite side behind the camera. There are other luggage services around the station such as Sagawa Express.

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Inside the newly rennovated northwest entrance. The main gate entrance is on the right, and the Yaesu side passage is ahead.

One of the shinkansen entrances.

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The vastness around Marunouchi that is corporate Japan.

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There are plenty of interesting things to see and do around Otemachi just a few blocks from Tokyo Station as well.

There are several street-level area maps such as this one in various places outside the station.

LINKS

Tokyo Station – Wikipedia

Tokyo Station Map

Tokyo Station City

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCi7bZHckQlThRDOBLd1mfGQ/videos

Tokyo Station Shopping Guide

Complete Guide to Tokyo Station – LIVE JAPAN

Tokyo Station Area Guide

Discover Tokyo Station and our station map- Your Japan Rail Pass

The Prime Info Spot for your Sightseeing Needs: “Tokyo City i” Tourist Information Center

Narita – Tokyo: choosing your itinerary | Japan Rail Pass

JR Yamanote Line: Tokyo Station to Tamachi | Japan Rail Pass

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

A day out at Tokyo Station – WAttention.com

https://trulytokyo.com/daimaru-department-store/

https://www.gotokyo.org/en/spot/623/index.html

https://trulytokyo.com/daimaru-department-store/

KITTE | The Official Tokyo Travel Guide, GO TOKYO

KITTE Marunouchi

https://marunouchi.jp-kitte.jp/gb/information.jsp

Tokyo Station Hotel

23 of the most popular souvenirs

https://www.tokyoeki-1bangai.co.jp/en/

All hotels in Tokyo

TOKYO TORCH|Mitsubishi Estate Office Information

Live Tokyo Webcams

VIDS

This vid gives a gorgeous, haunting view of the station and area in 4K.

This video gives great 4K views of the malls under Tokyo Station.

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

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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 (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.

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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 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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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.

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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

Facing north just outside the east JR station exit.

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.

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

Book the rooftop of Ikebukuro’s Sunshine 60

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

Ueno hidden coin locker hacks

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Name: Ueno

Kind: Coin Lockers

Location: Approx. 35°42’36.64″ N 139°46’24.46″ E

If you’re in Ueno and you’re looking for cheap coin lockers, there are 2 outside the station, but close to the station. The first is just south of the small concrete park at the south end of Ueno Park near the Keisei Ueno Station.

Go south on the street on the west side the park, about a block, and look right (west) for a small alley. There’s a small bank of lockers with a red awning. These are $2-$3 each and are almost all always empty:

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This bank is located around 35°42’36.64″ N 139°46’24.46″ E

It’s just across the street in the tiny alley on the left here behind this parking garage entrance:

The second one is in a covered shopping arcade between Ameyokocho St. and Okachimachi Station. Unfortunately we’re not sure of it’s exact location, but it’s not hard to find.

Head south on Ueno’s main commercial street, turn left at the PARCO building, go one block to reach Okachimachi Station. Turn left again at the station and you’ll be on a long winding backstreet in Okachimachi. The entrance to this street is just to the right of the JR tracks overhead north of Okachimachi Station shown here:

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Walk down this street, and be on the lookout to your left for a small covered shopping arcade. It has a white ceiling. The coin locker bank is inside:

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They are almost always empty.

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