One of Tokyo’s lesser known districts, Ikebukuro is a colorful and exciting part of the Toshima Ward.
Before I first went to Ikebukuro, I had no idea what to do there… Especially at night.
Getting straight to the point, here are some of my recommendations for what to do in Ikebukuro at night, from research and personal experience.
- Relax In The Somethin’ Jazz Club
- Get Your Fill Of Kawaii At The Maidreamin Cafe
- Experience The Slick Service At Swallowtail
- Feed The Penguins In The Penguin Bar
- Dance Into The Early Hours In Club BED
- Show Off Your Skills At BAGUS
- Get Close To The Animals At Ikemofu Cafe
- Rock Out In Ikebukuro Edge
- Get A Thrill At Namja Town
- Visit The Sunshine International Aquarium
- Gaze At The Stars At The Sunshine Planetarium
- Shop ‘Til Your Feet Hurt
- Take in Ikebukuro All At Once From The Sunshine 60 Skyscraper
- Devour Pancakes At Cafe H
- Inhale Miso Ramen In Kikanbo
- Savor The Flavor At Kotobuki
- Mix It Up With Torionara
Let’s dive into them in more detail!
A Quick Overview Of Ikebukuro
What’s the one thing you’re guaranteed to experience in Japan? An out of this world experience!
The country is home to one of the most diverse cultures, the latest innovations, and bizarre experiences – the perfect trifecta for tourists!
Given their massive yearly influx of tourists, the country has designated certain commercial and entertainment hubs to give tourists as we as locals a chance at to experience all that Japan has to offer.
Ikebukuro is one such district located in Toshima, Tokyo. The city center comes second only to Akihabara as Japan’s leading Otaku culture points.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with the term, an Otaku is a term used to refer to people who are fans of Japan’s distinct style of graphic novels and animation – manga and anime.
However, that isn’t all that Ikebukuro has to offer.
The area is home to Sunshine City, a leading shopping and entertainment complex at the heart of Ikebukuro. Sunshine 60, the primary entertainment location was considered as Asia’s tallest building during the time of its construction.
There’s also a quieter side to this district, where you can unwind and relax at temples, visit shrines or have a nice cup of coffee at one of their many book cafes. Regardless of what sort of experience you’re looking for, you’re sure to make memories in Ikebukuro.
While you’ll find fewer tourists here than some of the more famous spots in Tokyo, if you want to experience a more retro vibe and have a quieter night, check out my article on Gotanda. They’re both great options, though, and both worth checking out!
If you’re reading this, you’ve probably already decided to visit Ikebukuro.
The question now is: How do I spend my time here to the fullest?
It’s true what they say, the party starts after 9:00 pm and to prove testament to that fact, here’s a list of things you can do at Ikebukuro after dark:
Themed Clubs, Cafes, And Bars
To experience all that a country has to offer on a time-crunch, there’s nothing better than to go on over to a themed location. In Japan, these themed locations (bars, cafes, and clubs) are scattered throughout the country – especially in Ikebukuro.
1. Relax In The Somethin’ Jazz Club
Located at a five-minute walk from the North Exit of the Ikebukuro Station, there’s the Somethin’ Jazz Club.
The club offers a unique experience for tourists who are looking to deflect from the general anime aura of Ikebukuro.
Every night after 7:30 pm, the club opens its doors for professionals and club-goers to come in and enjoy a drink, a meal, and a jamming session.
The soothing environment is what’s garnered the Somethin’ Jazz Club a top spot on my list.
2. Get Your Fill Of Kawaii At The Maidreamin Cafe
Ikebukuro inclines themed cafes, primarily those that draw on from elements seen in leading Japanese animation. The next two spots on this list are occupied by maid/butler themed cafes.
First off, we have Maidream Cafe – a cafe where the staff is dressed up in adorable, anime-ish, maid outfits.
The menu is based on popular Japanese cuisine and the staff is even trained to perform each night to make the cafe as bright and bubbly as it possibly can be.
3. Experience The Slick Service At Swallowtail
Next up we have SWALLOWTAIL – a butler themed cafe for Ikebukuro’s predominantly female tourist and the local population. However, there are just as many recurring male visitors as there are female.
The cafe is located on Otome Road, at a ten-minute walk from the East Exit of Ikebukuro Station. Their menu is composed primarily of sweets – with the cake menu changing every month.
4. Feed The Penguins In The Penguin Bar
You’ve heard of cat cafes, you’ve heard of dog cafes, but have you ever heard of a Penguin one?
Better yet, did you even think there would ever be such a place?
Well, there is one in Ikebukuro. Located near COSMY, the Penguin no Iru Bar offers guests the chance to see penguins up close, feed them and take pictures with them.
The bar has a wide range of items on its menu with multiple cuisines from all over the world.
Animal cafes in Japan are a bit of a controversial topic. While I haven’t personally been to this place, I have heard some mixed reviews about the living environment of the penguins. On the whole, though, it seems most people agree the penguins seem content there.
It’s something I’d like to check out for myself so maybe this recommendation will be removed in the future! Let me know in the comments if you’ve been here and what you think.
5. Dance Into The Early Hours In Club BED
A fitting name for a club that stays open until 5 in the morning.
Club BED is located at a five-minute walking distance from the West Exit of Ikebukuro’s Station. The club is a rarity even in Japan due to its music being primarily hip-hop and R&B.
Every night, 350 club-goers have come together to live the Japanese hip-hop culture (unparalleled one and unlike any other in the world). A 2000 yen entrance fee is applied.
6. Show Off Your Skills At BAGUS
Bagus is a club located near Humax Pavilion in Ikebukuro.
The club offers visitors drinks, food, and games. The entire atmosphere at Bagus is a laid-back, relaxed yet thrilling one.
Guests can enjoy a range of games from darts to table games and karaoke nights.
7. Get Close To The Animals At Ikemofu Cafe
While Ikefukuro cafe might not have operating hours that go too far into the night, needless to say, it should be the very first place tourists who are going about the city center at night should visit.
The cafe is an animal cafe with animals of all sorts for guests to interact with, feed, and take pictures with.
Customers are only allowed to visit the cafe for an hour block as there’s a one-hour shift system.
8. Rock Out In Ikebukuro Edge
About a five-minute walk from Ikebukuro’s Station, there’s a rock-themed eatery named Ikebukuro Edge. Again, rock music and hip-hop are seen as rarities even in Japan.
This is why tourists and visitors to Ikebukuro are advised to relish everything that Ikebukuro has to offer.
The entire atmosphere is exhilarating, you won’t want to miss it.
Shopping Centers And Aquariums – Sunshine City
Sunshine City has been regarded as Tokyo’s first “city within a city.”
Since opening in 1978, Sunshine City has become Ikebukuro’s leading tourist destination. The hub is everything Ikebukuro has to offer – entertainment.
The Sunshine City Complex is composed of two shopping malls: the ALPA shopping mall and the ALTA shopping mall. Both having a combined total of over two hundred retail stores between them.
That’s not all: the City Complex is also home to Ikebukuro’s leading restaurants, cafes, and entertainment centers.
Maybe what caught your attention first was the 787-foot tall Sunshine 60 skyscraper (which, at the time of its creation, was the largest building in all of Asia).
9. Get A Thrill At Namja Town
Open from 10-10, Namja Town is a three-story indoor theme park located at Sunshine City.
The park entertains all sorts, including; old-school arcade games, haunted houses, and escape rooms. Namja Town is where tourists who are looking to experience something other than anime in Ikebukuro head over to.
While there are anime-centered games and such at Namja Town, the indoor theme park does not have a specific theme.
Admission to the amusement park costs just $5 for adults and $2.75 for children, but there is an extra charge for individual attractions.
10. Visit The Sunshine International Aquarium
At the very top of Sunshine City World Import Mart Building, there’s the Sunshine International Aquarium.
Open to adults and children for all hours of the day and at night during the summers, the Sunshine International Aquarium is one of Asia’s most prized animal exhibits: 750 species of fish, a jellyfish tunnel, penguins, sea lions, turtles – and that’s just the half of it.
The aquarium isn’t solely home to marine animals, there are flamingos, lemurs, anteater, and iguanas about too.
The admission fee is $16 for adults and $8 for anyone under the age of 11.
11. Gaze At The Stars At The Sunshine Planetarium
The Sunshine Light Dome is one of Sunshine City’s leading tourist destinations (battling it out with the aquarium).
Visitors are taken for a night with the stars in the locations stunning recreation of a clear, starry night. Filled with 360-degree images, 4 million lights, and surround sound for the ultimate experience.
The entry fee is $8 for adults and $5 for children under the age of 11.
Visitors can come by the Sunshine Star Light Dome on any day between 11:00 to 7:00. This means if you’re on your binge to find the perfect night in Ikebukuro – you might want to visit the planetarium first.
12. Shop ‘Til Your Feet Hurt
As aforementioned, Sunshine 60 is home to over 200 leading retail stores: local and international. When all has been said and done, there’s nothing better than having a good shopping spree.
You can shop for high-end products, locally manufactured goods, or shop for souvenirs to take home.
13. Take in Ikebukuro All At Once From The Sunshine 60 Skyscraper
At the end of your day roaming about in Sunshine City from the aquarium to the planetarium, take some time out to see all of Ikebukuro all at once from the 787 foot tall, Sunshine 60 skyscraper.
Price: ¥1,200 (adults), ¥900 (high school, university, technical college’s students), ¥600 (elementary and junior high school students), ¥300 (4 years old or older).
Best Places To Satisfy Late Night Cravings In Ikebukuro
14. Devour Pancakes At Cafe H
Cafe H is home to Ikebukuro’s special pancakes.
This light and fluffy treats are just what you need to start your advent into the night discovering all that Tokyo’s city center has to offer.
There’s nothing better than having breakfast for dinner and that’s why you should head on over to the Cafe H before it closes at 10:00 pm!
15. Inhale Miso Ramen In Kikanbo
Located about a fifteen-minute walk from the East Exit of Ikebukuro’s Station, we have one of it’s most popular eateries.
The Kikanbo eatery is famous for its miso ramen – a popular staple in Japan. Think of it as an open dining experience for high-end Japanese street-food.
The best value for your buck.
16. Savor The Flavor At Kotobuki
Another great place not so far from the station too is Kotobuki. This tiny eatery serves a range of Japanese cuisine from street food to fine dining.
However, if you’re looking for recommendations, then perhaps try their special lemon ramen. This is a delicacy found only in Kotobuki – try it while you’re here.
17. Mix It Up With Torionara
Lastly, we have Torionara. Falling in theme with the other eateries I’ve mentioned, Torionara has a mixture of traditional Japanese cuisine as well as high-end cuisine from other countries.
So, What Are You Waiting For?
By now you’ve probably realized that Ikebukuro is home to some of the finest and most memorable experiences Japan has to offer. The city center is a booming region in Tokyo with entertainment complexes, commercial outlets, eateries, and cafes unlike any you’ve ever seen before.
I’ve compiled my list of top picks for what you should do in the bustling city centers but don’t limit yourself.
Travel from the station and head on over in any direction, you’ll find a building with a party at every corner.
Relish in all that Ikebukuro has to offer: entertainment, experiences, and great food. You’re in for an experience of a lifetime.