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Coordinates: 35°43′48″N 139°42′40″E / 35.73°N 139.71111°E / 35.73; 139.71111

Seibu Department Store, Loft, and Parco
Ikefukurō-zō
Sega amusement center at Ikebukuro
Ikebukuro at night
Ikebukuro Station as seen from the Sunshine 60 building

Ikebukuro (池袋?), a part of Toshima ward, is a large commercial and entertainment district of Tokyo, Japan. It is the location of the Toshima ward offices, Ikebukuro station and several extremely large department stores.

At the center of Ikebukuro is the train and subway station, a huge urban gathering shared by the JR East lines, the Seibu Ikebukuro Line and the Tōbu Tōjō Line. It is one of the main commuter hubs in the western Yamanote area of Tokyo. Ikebukuro Station is the second busiest station in Japan, second only to Shinjuku Station.

Around the station are the Seibu and Tōbu department stores. Seibu, written with the characters for "West" and "Musashi (province)" 西武, is on the east end of the station and Tōbu, written with the characters for "East" and "Musashi" 東武, is on the west end. East of the station, on the site of Sugamo Prison, stands Sunshine 60, which was Tokyo's tallest building at the time of its construction. Otome Road, a leading shopping area for otaku products aimed at women, is located nearby. Marui and Don Quijote also have department stores in the area. The principal electronics retailer in Ikebukuro is Bic Camera. There is a small pleasure district similar to Shinjuku's Kabukichō, but less lively and less attractive for tourists.

The old village of Ikebukuro stood to the northwest of the station. Most of the area on which modern Ikebukuro is built was historically known as Sugamo. In the Taishō and Shōwa periods, the relatively low land prices attracted artists and foreign workers, who lent a somewhat cosmopolitan atmosphere to Ikebukuro. Until October 1, 1932 when Toshima ward was established, the area was an independent municipality of Ikebukuro-mura (池袋村).

The kanji for Ikebukuro literally means pond bag. Outside the west exit of Ikebukuro station near an entrance to the Yurakucho New Line is a small plaque explaining three origins of the name Ikebukuro. The first is that in the northeastern part of the village there was a lake shaped like someone holding a bag. The second is that there was once a large number of lakes in the area of various sizes (thus implying a bag full of lakes). The third is that long ago a turtle came out of the lake carrying a bag on its back.

There is a small statue of an owl located near the center of the city called Ikefukurō-zō (いけふくろう像), meaning lake owl statue. It may be a hint of the true origin of the name given to Ikebukuro, but it was more likely constructed as nothing more than a joke, a play on words and as a point of interest by the city administration. The play on words arises from the alternative meaning of "fukuro" as "owl" (although owl is pronounced with a long final "oh", rather than a short "o" in the word "fukuro" for bag). Perhaps because of this, the owl statue has become a famous meeting place along the lines of the statue of Hachikō located outside of Shibuya Station.

Education

Public elementary and junior high schools are operated by the Toshima Ward.

Public high schools are operated by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Board of Education.

Notable people born in Ikebukuro

External links


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to Tokyo/Ikebukuro article)

From Wikitravel

Contents

Ikebukuro (池袋) is a shopping district and major stop on the Yamanote Line. It is located in Tokyo's Toshima ward.

Ikebukuro Station East exit
Ikebukuro Station East exit

Ikebukuro is served by the JR Yamanote, Saikyo and Shonan-Shinjuku lines. There is also Narita Express train and limousine bus service to and from Narita Airport. The Super View Odoriko (スーパービュー踊り子) Limited Express service departs each morning for Atami, Ito and Shimoda, and returns in the afternoon.

Two private railway lines start from Ikebukuro. The Seibu Ikebukuro Line has departures for Tokorozawa, Irumashi and Hanno, with Chichibu (ちちぶ) Limited Express trains running all the way to the national park in Chichibu. The Tobu Tojo Line runs trains to Kawagoe and Ogawamachi.

From Narita airport you can take the limousine/bus leaving every 1/2 hour (make reservation inside the airport) directly to the Sunshine City Prince Hotel, which is right next to the Sunshine 60 tower and shopping complex.

By subway

The Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line starts here, and the Yurakucho Line for Ginza, Shin-Kiba and Wakoshi stops here. The Fukutoshin Line connects Ikebukuro to Shinjuku and Shibuya, paralleling the Yamanote Line.

Both the Yurakucho and Fukutoshin subway lines offer through-runs to the Seibu Ikebukuro and Tobu Tojo lines (at Kotake-Mukaihara and Wakoshi stations, respectively).

  • Sunshine 60. At one point Sunshine 60 was the tallest building in Japan, and it remains the most prominent building within the Sunshine City complex. The surrounding Sunshine City complex includes shops, restaurants, an aquarium, and an observatory at the top of the Sunshine 60 building.  edit
  • Toyota Amlux. A 5-story automotive showroom across the street from the Sunshine 60 building.  edit
  • Nekobukuro. A unique shop on the top floor of the Tokyu Hands building where you pay 600 yen entry fee to enter and pet or play with the 20+ cats that live on the premises. The building is located at the end of Sunshine-60 dori.  edit
  • Metropolitan Art Space, on the west side of the Ikebukuro train/subway station. Has the world's longest escalator and offers various exhibits and concerts.  edit
  • Ikefukurou. A statue of an owl near the east exit. Many people meet here.  edit
  • NamjaTown, (in Sunshine60 2&3F), [1]. The Namjatown has many attractions - Gyoza studium, ice cream city, and dessert empire of Tokyo.  edit
  • Animate, (next door to K-Books, down the street from Mandarake, and across the highway from the Sunshine 60). Lots of new anime/manga-related merchandise.  edit
  • K-Books, (next door to the Animate, down the block from Mandarake, across the highway from the Sunshine 60). Good selection of anime, manga, and posters.  edit
  • Mandarake, Lions Mansion Ikebukuro B1F, 3-15-2 Higashi-ikebukuro (Not far from the Sunshine 60). One of the newest in the Mandarake chain of used anime/manga goods stores, the Ikebukuro branch specializes in doujinshi, in particular doujinshi for girls.  edit
  • Two of Tokyo's major department store/railroad conglomerate chains, Seibu and Tobu, are based in Ikebukuro and the stores here were not long ago the largest in the world. Paradoxically, Seibu, which roughly means "west Tokyo", is on the east side of the station, while Tobu, which means "east Tokyo", is on the west side.
  • Bic Camera, [2]. This discount retailer's flagship store on the east side of the station, with several branches nearby.  edit
  • Junkudo, [3]. A 9-story bookstore (top floor has English titles).  edit
  • Tokyu Hands, 1-28-10 Higashi-Ikebukuro (next to Sunshine 60). 10AM-8PM. A crazy 7 story 'DIY' store with floors of kitchenware, bath accessories, paper goods, scrapbooking supplies, tools, hardware, exotic woods, travel supplies, toys, pet supplies, and Nekkobukuro on the top floor. This is a place where you can find, for example, lava lamps next to a shark suit next to a Gundam model.  edit
  • Tobu and Seibu basements. Urban Japanese keep their grocery stores beneath their department stores. If you go to the B1 and B2 levels of the massive stores flanking the Ikebukuro station, you will find endless acres of raw and prepared food. Buy a bunch and take it back to your hotel fridge.  edit
  • Shakey's Pizza. Down Sunshine-Dori on the way to Sunshine 60, on the left, there's a Shakey's Pizza. There are lunchtime buffets with great pizza the way only Japanese like to serve it.  edit
  • Ghiottone, Nishi-Ikebukuro 3-27-1 (5 min. walk from west exit). Excellent pasta and salads, in portions that are ample for two. The crab spaghetti is very popular. No non-smoking tables.  edit
  • Kaiten Sushi. A very nice "conveyor belt" sushi restaurant  edit
  • Malay-Chan, (locate the Metropolitan Art Space and the bus loop that services that area. Walk to the curve of the loop, cross the main street (Geikijo dori) there and walk up a little street that winds left, then right. Then walk about 2 blocks farther). A small Malaysian restaurant on the west side of the train/subway station that is a little hard to find.  edit
  • Mutekiya, (on the east side of Ikebukuro, opposite Junkudo Bookstore). Good ramen.  edit
  • Vegetarian: Al-Flah, (on the righthand-side of the Royal Hotel in Ikebukuro, on the 4th floor), [4]. A halal supermarket and restaurant that sells halal food, including vegetarian curries. The store also conveniently has a bollywood-movie section.  edit
  • Cafe du Monde, (right outside the west exit). The Tokyo version of the New Orleans cafe.  edit
  • ZOZOI, Nishi-Ikebukuro 3-22-6 (5 min. from west exit). A cozy and quiet French-style cafe located next to a small park. Light meals are served, and there's an amusing collection of French books to browse.  edit
  • ZAO, Nishi-Ikebukuro 1-18-1. This 24-hour basement coffee shop, with an interior that probably hasn't been changed since 1975, seems to be a favorite for smoking insomniacs and college students pulling all-nighters. You'll need to order something every two hours to hang around (and not fall asleep), but the toast and boiled eggs are free. If that's not enough, try the huge jumbo parfait (ice cream sundae), which is literally served in a fishbowl.  edit
  • Sakura Hotel Ikebukuro, 2-40-7 Ikebukuro (6 min walk from Ikebukuro station), +81-3-3971-2237, [5]. Various rooms are good for groups and private. All staff speak English. Single 6,800yen, Dormitory 3,200yen.  edit
  • Kimi Ryokan, 2-36-8 Ikebukuro (8 min from JR Ikebukuro West Exit), +81-3-3971-3766, [6]. This friendly if very tourist-oriented minshuku (no, it's not a ryokan) is an excellent option for first time travelers to Tokyo. It is reasonably priced (4500 yen) and has English speaking staff. A nice way to spend your first night on Tatami.  edit
  • Crowne Plaza Metropolitan - Tokyo, 1-6-1 Nishi-Ikebukuro, 03-3980-1111 (fax: 03-3980-5600), [7]. A short walk away from Ikebukuro station, a decent 4-star hotel with nice, clean rooms and friendly staff who mostly speak fluent English. Limosine bus services are available to both Narita and Haneda airports.  edit
  • Dai-ichi Inn Ikebukuro, 1-42-8 Higashi-Ikebukuro, 03-3986-1221 (fax: 03-3982-4128), [8]. A 1 minute walk from the station (take East Exit), right across from the back of Parco. In-room broadband internet, massage service, 24-hour convenience store, and many other amenities. TV channel list includes CNN. Some of the staff speak near-fluent English, others not so much. Internet reservations can greatly reduce room rates.  edit
  • Hotel Grand City, 1-30-7 Higashi-Ikebukuro (5 minute walk towards Sunshine City), 03-3984-5121 (fax: 03-3984-5127), [9]. The staff doesn't speak English very well.  edit
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