Things to do in Ikebukuro

Are you planning to come to Japan? Are you planning to stay in Tokyo? Are you planning to check out Ikebukuro? Then this is the post for you! I’ve been living in Ikebukuro for about a year now and decided to come up with this list to help people who are thinking about traveling to Ikebukuro. Below are my suggestions for things to do in Ikebukuro.

Getting Around

Before we get started, I strongly urge you to get the app Google Maps. Simply type in a location or address you want to go to and Google Maps will tell you how to get there and how long it’ll take. However, the details are not always 100% correct. I’ve been using Google Maps in Japan for about 2 years now and it’s been correct about 90% of the time. Also, you can bookmark locations so that you can easily find it for future reference. If you need help getting or using the app, please don’t hesitate to ask in the comments section and I’ll be more than happy to help.

Nearby Eats

  • Mutekiya – Probably one of the most popular ramen restaurants in Ikebukuro. There’s almost always a line. Click here to read my post on Mutekiya.
  • Ichiran – Despite being a ramen chain, this ramen shop is a must. You can even customize your own ramen! Click here to view my post on Ichiran.
  • Hayashiya – An izakaya that specializes in pork, this place is more for the adventurous. They serve pork meat, including the insides, cooked and raw. Expect to wait because this place is always busy. Click here to check out my post on Hayashiya.

Nearby Bars

  • Beer Saurus – Come here if you love beer, especially during Happy Hour where beers are 50% off. This place also has one of the best bar food in Tokyo. Check out my post on Beer Saurus by clicking here.
  • HUB – HUB is a British Pub chain in Japan. Due to its inexpensive prices, a lot of young people come here to drink, especially during Happy Hour.
  • Penguin Bar – Ever thought about drinking with penguins? Now you can! Well, not literally but within view at least. If you don’t mind the fishy smell, then check out the Penguin Bar.

Nearby Cafes

  • Ikefukurou Owl Cafe – I personally have not been here, but do check this place out if you’re into owls. This place is located on the 6th floor in the same building as Mutekiya.
  • Nekorobi Cat Cafe – I haven’t been here as well, but give this place a try if you’re into cats.
  • Swallowtail Butler Cafe – Forget about the maid cafes. Check out the butler cafe!
  • Ikebukuro Danshi BL Gakuen – For those that are interested, this is a BL or Boys’ Love cafe. I haven’t been to it before nor will I ever go, but you can watch this video for more info:
  • Animate Cafe – Watch anime or read manga? Then check out the Animate Cafe. Keep in mind that this place is super busy on the weekend because flocks of female anime lovers visit here. People say Ikebukuro is like the girls’ version of Akihabara. This location has an entire building and almost an entire street worth of anime related establishments.

Nearby Things To Do

  • K-Books Cosplay Store – Even if you have no intention of buying a cosplay outfit, do check this place out because it has almost every anime outfit you can imagine. Who knows, maybe you’ll end up leaving with an outfit on.
  • J-World – An indoor theme park with fun and unique One Piece, Naruto, and Dragon Ball attractions.
  • Sunshine City Aquarium – An aquarium located on the 10th floor of Sunshine City.
  • Pasela Resorts – A resort of cafes, restaurants, karaoke, bars, ballrooms, and more. However, I recommend coming here for karaoke and their honey toasts. Pasela Resorts probably has one of the nicest karaoke rooms in Japan. Click here to view my post on Pasela Resorts in Shinjuku.
  • Round1 – Round1 is like an all-in-one for entertainment. It offers bowling, arcade games, karaoke, billiards, darts, ping pong, and so much more.

Nearby Places To Shop At

  • Sunshine City – A commercial complex that features a variety of facilities including an office building, aquarium, observatory, and shopping center. There are lots of places to shop and eat at here.
  • Parco – One of the most famous shopping centers in Japan, Ikebukuro Parco has about 200 shops and restaurants.
  • Tokyu HandsThe one stop shop for hobby and crafts products unique to Japan.
  • Don Quijote – A discount chain store that’s opened 24 hours and has about everything. This is a good place to buy gifts, such as green tea flavored Kit Kat, for yourself or friends and family back home.
  • Okashi no Machioka – A discount snack and candy shop. Definitely check this place out if you love your sweets and snacks.
  • Matsumoto Kiyoshi – A drugstore chain that sells a variety of beauty and health products.
  • Daiso – A famous franchise store that sells a wide range of products for only 100 yen.
  • Cando – Another 100 yen store that sells a wide range of products, but not as famous as Daiso.
  • Seiyu – A decent sized 24 hour supermarket.
  • Bic Camera – One of the two largest electronic retailers in Japan. The other is Yamada Denki.
  • Yamada Denki – One of the two largest electronic retailers in Japan. The other is Bic Camera.

If you want more information about a specific place, let me know in the comments area and I’ll try and reply as soon as possible.

Here’s a map of all the locations for your reference. Click on a point to view the location name. You can then get directions to that location from where you’re located or a specific address. Furthermore, you can also zoom in on the point or view it from street view to get a better idea of where it is.

Ichiran Ramen in Ikebukuro

Open 24 hours 7 days a week, Ichiran is probably the only ramen chain that I’d suggest you go if you’re ever in Japan. Despite the negative connotations that chain restaurants usually get, I definitely recommend you eat at Ichiran. Although there are Ichiran ramen shops all over Tokyo, I’ll be talking about the location in higashi or east Ikebukuro.

Ichiran Ramen in Ikebukuro

Ichiran Ramen in Ikebukuro

When you enter the shop, you’ll be faced with a ticket vending machine. If you’re new to Japan, these vending machines are pretty much a substitute for a cashier. But instead of paying at the end of your meal, you pay for a ticket in the beginning and hand the ticket to a worker. Oh by the way, if you’re ever at a restaurant that has a ticket vending machine like this, but there’s no pictures and it’s all in Japanese, I recommend just picking the item on the top left corner. Why? Apparently restaurants usually put their most popular dish on the top left corner. So if there’s no pictures and you can’t read Japanese, your safest bet is probably to choose the top left button. So first you insert your cash or coins into the machine. The digital 0 will turn into the amount of value you put into the machine. After insert your money, you push the button that you want. A ticket will then come out and the number will subtract the amount of the button you pushed. From this point, you can either order something else if you have enough money, or you can push the lever to collect your change. Oh, I recommend getting an extra portion of noodles because the portions are slightly small at Ichiran.

After getting your ticket, look for the seating chart on the wall. The digital seating chart shows you which seats are open via a sensor. This allows you to know which seats are free without actually going in for yourself. After you get seated, you’re handed a sheet of paper by the worker. I think they have several languages to choose from, including English. On this sheet, you can customize your ramen such as flavor strength of the soup, texture of the noodles, spiciness, etc. After finish filling out the sheet, you hand the ticket and sheet to the worker.

Ichiran Ramen in Ikebukuro

Ichiran Ramen in Ikebukuro

One difference between Ichiran’s tonkotsu ramen and other ramen shop’s ramen is the amount of oil in the soup. Unlike most ramen restaurants out there, Ichiran’s soup contains less oil. This may not be a big deal to most of us, but there are some people who get stomach aches if they eat food with too much oil. As for the ramen itself, it’s amazing. But don’t take my word for it, try it yourself. If you’re unsure of what to choose for the customization sheet, just check off the middle box to be safe. So if you’re ever in Ikebukuro and craving for some ramen, but don’t want to wait in a long line like at Mutekiya near the south exit, then check out Ichiran.

Ichiran, Ikebukuro
1-39-11 Higashiikebukuro, Toshima, Tokyo