Hello everyone! I’m Ayumi, your favorite MANGA.TOKYO writer who also loves otaku activities!
Ikebukuro is a holy place for Durarara!!, for otaku girls, and, like Akihabara, it is an otaku city. The otaku events for girls are held mostly in Ikebukuro. I know many of you have been there, but I want to introduce Ikebukuro to both you and to the anime and otaku fans of MANGA.TOKYO who will visit the city in the future.
This is Ikebukuro from my own personal otaku point of view. Enjoy!
The east exit of the JR Ikebukuro station is the best to use to start any otaku activities.
Game Centers (Games Arcades)
There are many game centers, big and small, in Ikebukuro. The most famous are SEGA and ADORES.
These 2 shops collaborate with many anime every season, and that’s why new items arrive very fast and sell like hot cakes. It isn’t just a game center, but an entertainment center! It displays limited items only available in the Ikebukuro store, and that’s why Ikebukuro is an area where many professional otaku come.
As there are many people who are good at games, the crane games here are very, very difficult. It depends on the game, but it’s normal to not get what you want even when spending more than 1,000 yen. It really depends on how good you are. I have tried many different ones around Japan, but I can definitely say that this is the most difficult one. Challenge it if you think you are good at it, but if you are not confident in your gaming skills, you might want to save the disappointment and instead search for the items you want at nearby good shops I am going to mention later. It will certainly be cheaper.
Otome Road and Shops for Girls
This road is known as Otome road. ‘Otome’ means something like ‘maiden’ in Japanese. The road is named as such because Animate and the rest of the anime and otaku shops in the area sell items that are aimed at women. You will see many otaku sporting ita-bags here. Let’s see what kind of shops Otome road has.
The Lashinbang store in Otome Road only has goods for girls. The wagon outside is always filled with bargain goods and ‘today’s specials’! You’ll hurt your wallet if you go there thinking: ‘They must be lame if they are on special, right?’ [laugh] You’ll end up holding many goods in your hands in front of the cashier saying, ‘Is it really okay at this price!?’
I recommend that you go to the shop right at opening time, before it gets crowded with female shoppers in the afternoon.
Oh, there’s also a Durarara!! vending machine right next to it.
It’s full of sports drinks. If you like Durarara!!, then why not try it!
This building hosts a collaborative cafe by Animate where you can buy make-up items and clothes for cosplay.
There are many capsule toy vending machines outside.
The building has more cosplay items than anything else. They don’t have any goods and manga so please go to the Animate flagship store listed below.
Animate flagship store
This is the flagship store of Animate. The 8-storey building is filled with manga, anime and goods. The store is constantly filled with people, and it has an incredible variety of items. There’s a chance that you can find things here that the other stores don’t sell anymore.
There are many events like people with costumes visiting on holidays…and they have sales too.
There is an off-branch of Animate cafe here, a kitchen car. It was collaborating with ALL OUT!! on the day I went for this report (it is currently collaborating with Yuri!! on ICE).
There were many girls trading goods at the park next to it. It’s a place that truly represents the city called Ikebukuro.
KBOOKS at each shop
Used shops divided by genre.
They actually have a gijinka store (a shop that specialises in anthropomorphic goods such as Hetalia,Touken Ranbu and more). I wonder how specific they are going to be…
For those who like 2.5D stage shows, I recommend the live store, although it’s a little far away. There are so many cast portraits, collection of photographs, and DVDs of the cast members!
There are even more stores like the game store, the doujinshi stores and many more. I recommend that you look around since you need to move around a lot. I get lost sometimes because some of the stores change places once every few months…
Sunshine City is a facility famous for its observatory, aquarium, and planetarium. Otaku-oriented places have been enjoying great success here recently. The places listed below are ones you should visit when you come to Ikebukuro!
J-World is a theme park in Ikebukuro based on everybody’s favourite manga magazine: Weekly Shonen JUMP! It has new events almost every week and a variety of limited goods. One Piece, Naruto, Gintama, and of course, Kuroko’s Basketball, Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure, Haikyuu!! and more. This is a dreamy place for shounen fans where you can experience the manga world from JUMP!
In the food court, you can actually eat the ramen that Naruto always eats! Naruto always says, ‘What should I eat today?’, so you can choose from 4 different flavors. Of course, it looks exactly like in the original. (Since it’s official!)
They have the regular menus and menus that change with every season or event, so it’s a facility where you can find new surprises and have fun whenever you visit.
This used to be a Gyoza Stadium where you could eat gyoza from all around Japan, but I think that lately it is always collaborating with some anime. There is usually a long line on the first day of the collaborations. They do still sell gyouza, so they have an illustration with a character holding gyoza or an image based on gyoza that you can’t see anywhere else. [laugh] The taste is great since its a gyoza specialty shop. It has a Showa period resting spot and a game center where you can get limited items, so you won’t come out for a while once you enter…
An illustration of a huge Charizard will welcome you at the Pokemon Center! The Center in Ikebukuro is huge. The chances are high that a limited event will be held when you visit there, so you should definitely bring your Nintendo DS! They have so many Pokken, the very popular fighting game. It might also be fun to play with the little kids, too. And don’t forget to buy souvenirs here for those who like Pokemon.
Any places you can rest?
There are many restaurants for families in Ikebukuro compared to Akihabara. You can find cafes and small restaurants everywhere in the city. They even have a restaurant street inside the Sunshine city and there are many fast food restaurants like McDonalds if you go back to the station.
J-WORLD and Namja Town also have a facility where you can sit and eat so it seems like you won’t have any trouble finding a place to rest, especially compared to Akihabara.
Ikebukuro is a city where you can do otaku activities with ease.
Ikebukuro is a holy place for girls.
What do you think? Isn’t Ikebukuro THE BEST?
Ikebukuro is a place where you can walk around easily since it is very small compared to Akihabara. There is more interaction between the fans, especially girls. Most otaku I know they ‘like ‘Bukuro since it feels like you’re at home.’ To be honest, I think I made many friends here. [laugh] It’s a place I want you to visit if you like manga for girls and JUMP! I am sure that many fun memories are waiting for you. ^^
I'm a good-for-nothing otaku who works as a freelance web writer.
I live in Kyoto, Japan, but I am so often in Tokyo for anime-related cafes and products that people frequently misunderstood that I live there. Yowamushi Pedal helps me overcome all difficulties. I'm also a huge fan of Touken Ranbu! In order to deliver to you the latest otaku info and trends, I'll keep dwelling in the 2-D world. Thank you very much!