Living in Ikebukuro: What is it Like for Foreigners?

  • Advice

As a bustling community which provides countless shopping, entertainment, and dining opportunities, Ikebukuro is quickly becoming one of the most sought-after areas to live in Tokyo.

At its core lies Ikebukuro Station, which transports millions of passengers each day, making it the world's third busiest train station.

Yet its busyness does not prevent Ikebukuro from giving its visitors the calmest and most serene feeling imaginable, as it is also an area with breathtaking, quiet, and unknown locations that will convince any tourist to make this mind-blowing district in Tokyo their second home.

Find out more exciting things to enjoy in Ikebukuro by reading the rest of this article below.

Ikebukuro - Tokyo's lively and inviting sanctuary

Shops, restaurants, gigantic department stores, and skyscrapers all combine to lay the foundation of Ikebukuro’s energetic and vibrant character, not counting its international gourmet restaurants and numerous cultural institutions.

A battleground of electronic superstores, Ikebukuro also contains Yamada Denki and Bic Camera, two of the largest electronic retailers in Japan.

Another big selling point of Ikebukuro is its easy access. Ikebukuro Station houses the Yamanote Line, Saikyo Line, Shonan-Shinjuku Line, Seibu-Ikebukuro Line, Tobu-Tojo Line, Marunouchi Line, Yurakucho Line, and Fukutoshin Line.

Users of the station can go directly to multiple areas of Tokyo and the Kanto Region, and easily access to several other locations.


  • From Tokyo Station, take the Marunouchi Line to Ikebukuro Station (approx. 20 mins.)
  • From Shibuya Station, take the Yamanote Line to Ikebukuro Station (approx. 20 mins.)
  • From Shinjuku Station, take the Yamanote Line to Ikebukuro Station (approx. 10 mins.)

Famous Locations

1. Sunshine City

Known as Tokyo’s first “city within a city,” this building complex holds at its center the famous Sunshine 60 skyscraper which boasts a 240-meter tall structure, attracting locals and tourists alike.

Opened in 1978, Sunshine City is a fascinating place to enjoy almost any activity imaginable. On the top floors are fancy restaurants and an aquarium. It also houses indoor theme parks, a planetarium, an observation deck, the Sunshine Prince Hotel, offices, and The Ancient Orient Museum.

More fun and thrilling things are waiting to be revealed once you personally visit Sunshine city and explore its majesty.


  • Address: 1-1 Higashiikebukuro, Toshima, Tokyo
  • Directions: 12-minute walk from Ikebukuro Station

2. Tokyo Metropolitan Theatre

In 1990, this fascinating public cultural facility was opened to promote international exchange.

At first glance, the thing which might strike you is the building’s unusual shape. Inside, however, you can witness right in front of your eyes classy performing arts such as concerts, theatre, ballet, and musicals.

The concert hall, which has excellent acoustics, can accommodate 1,999 people while its playhouse has 834 seats. It also includes some smaller spaces.

Meanwhile, the main hall features one of the world’s largest pipe organs. Furthermore, this art center allows visitors to participate in artistic activities, such as lectures, exhibitions, and workshops.


  • Address: 1 Chome-8-1 Nishiikebukuro, Toshima, Tokyo
  • Directions: 5-minute walk from Ikebukuro Station

3. Kishimojin Temple

Meet the unknown side of Ikebukuro and be mesmerized by how its busy atmosphere can change dramatically in just a few meters because of this hidden treasure on the east side of this neighborhood.

Founded in 1578, this sacred area is a place of refuge for the locals where they can replenish their energy. In Haiden, they can also offer their prayers.

Meanwhile, many people gather in this house of worship every year for a large festival called Oeshiki which occurs from the 16th to 18th of October to commemorate sect founder Nichiren’s death.

Enshrining Kishimojin, a goddess of safe birth and child rearing, this Shinto-shrine-like Buddhist temple is considered an Important Cultural Property.


  • Address: 3 Chome-15-20 Zoshigaya, Toshima, Tokyo
  • Directions: 14-minute walk from Ikebukuro Station

Why foreigners live in Ikebukuro

1. The second otaku heaven in Japan

Ikebukuro is considered as one of the most-liked destinations in Tokyo for its otaku culture. Otaku is a Japanese word for those who have an extreme interest in anime and manga fandom.

Often the venue for female-targeted otaku events and shops, Ikebukuro is especially popular among women who would like to experience a taste of Japanese entertainment. They shops at stores such as Lashinbang, Animate, and Kbooks.

Additionally, otakus in Ikebukuro enjoy places like J-World, Namja Town, and Pokemon Center. They also go to game centers like Sega and Adores where they can win merchandise of their favorite characters.

2. Accessible department stores

People admire Ikebukuro not only because of the amazing Japanese entertainment it offers, but also for its massive shopping stores that are within the residents' reach.

In fact, Ikebukuro houses the massive buildings of Tobu and Seibu, two of Japan’s biggest department-store businesses. Apart from those, people in Ikebukuro also take pleasure shopping in Marui Department Store, a leading fashion retailer in Tokyo.

3. Perfect spot for food lovers

When people are searching for something to eat in Tokyo, one of their choices is Ikebukuro, as it is a destination full of mouthwatering foods such as tempura, tonkatsu, udon, and much more.

As a district where ramen is a specialty, Ikebukuro takes pride in its gourmet restaurants that offer different types of scrumptious ramen. Kuwahara, Niwatori no Ana, and Ramen Jiro are just some of the endless options available.

Food enthusiasts in Ikebukuro can visit Curry Wa Nomimono and Go!Go! Curry Ikebukuro to eat different versions of Japanese curry, and they can also indulge in the bestseller sushi of Mawashi Sushi Tairyo.


Considered as one of Tokyo's largest and busiest hubs, Ikebukuro is an entertainment and commercial destination which will surely magnetize every person's heart and attention.

Apart from being the home of one of Japan's tallest structures and the cradle of mixed popular subcultures, there are hundreds (or rather, thousands) more things about Ikebukuro that will make you fall in love in this unique district of Tokyo.

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