Last Updated: May 21, 2021

Ikebukuro Travel Guide

Ikebukuro at a glance

Home to two of the world’s largest department stores, Ikebukuro is a major shopping, entertainment, and commercial district in Tokyo. The area was mostly swamp and farmland up until a century ago but was slowly absorbed by the city after a train station was built in 1903.

Ikebukuro Station is now serviced by six railway lines and, with one million passengers per day, is Tokyo’s second-busiest subway station after Shinjuku Station. At the beginning of the 20th century, Ikebukuro’s relatively inexpensive land prices drew artists and foreign workers. Ikebukuro’s popularity with foreign residents has continued to grow in years due to the area’s relatively cheap housing and access to other parts of the city and is slowly taking on a more cosmopolitan feel.

Click on the Ikebukuro map for a larger image.


Ikebukuro is located northwest Tokyo on the JR Yamanote Line. Ikebukuro station is Tokyo’s second busiest and can be used to access many parts of the city and suburbs. Like Shinjuku, Ikebukuro is divided into East and West.

West Ikebukuro

West Ikebukuro (Nishi Ikebukuro) is home to Tobu, the largest department store in Japan. The complex consists of three connected buildings with over 80,000 square meters of floor space. It’s Metropolitan Plaza houses the Japan Traditional Crafts Center, where visitors can admire and purchase outstanding arts and crafts from all over the country.

The Tokyo Metropolitan Art Space is also on Ikebukuro’s west side. It hosts different kinds of exhibits and concerts and was part of the Department of Education’s ‘Tokyo Renaissance’ plan. The building is famous for having the world’s longest escalator.

East Ikebukuro

East Ikebukuro (Higashi Ikebukuro) is dominated by Seibu, the world’s largest department store for many years and Japan’s biggest until Tobu surpassed it several years ago.

Sunshine 60 is farther east and, at 240 meters, was Japan’s tallest building until the Landmark Tower was built in Yokohama.

Across the street from Sunshine 60 is Toyota’s Amlux, a five-story car showroom displaying Toyota’s latest cars and accessories.

How to get to Ikebukuro

Ikebukuro Station is a major hub and is served by the following lines:
JR: Yamanote Line, Saikyo Line, Shonan Shijuku Line
Tokyo Metro: Marunouchi Line, Yurakucho Line, Fukutoshin Line
Seibu Ikebukuro Line
Tobu Tojo Line

Ikebukuro can also be reached from Narita Airport by limousine bus.

About the Author Roger Timbrook

Roger is a little obsessed with travel. He has been to over 40 countries, broken 3 suitcases and owned over 10 backpacks in 12 months. What he doesn't know about travel, ain't worth knowing!

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