Exploring the Ikebukuro Neighbourhood – Episode 8

One of the big draws for us to pick a single place to call home while on these longer trips is to get the chance to settle into a neighbourhood and call it home. Get familiar with the area, how to navigate it, finding little short cuts, discovering a favourite local restaurant or cafe are all things we do not get to do when we’re visiting a place for a few nights. We really enjoy the experience of living a little more like a local and noticing things that would usually pass us by.

Episode 8 Part 1: https://youtu.be/6XU7pf_qFRI
Episode 8 Part 2: https://youtu.be/PfH7uzJSwUY

In this 2 part episode we spend a few days staying relatively close to home exploring our neighbourhood Ikebukuro. We’ve already gotten pretty comfortable with our immediate area, the walk from home to Ikebukuro Station, but wanted to branch out a little bit further.

On the opposite side of the station from our apartment we found an amazing little mom and pop shop serving some outstanding Tendon. You saw us visit a tendon chain restaurant our first night in Tokyo, and we really do enjoy that place, but this find blew it out of the water. In terms of atmosphere and quality of the food. As soon as you walk in it’s apparent that this restaurant has been here forever. It is well established and they definitely have their system of handling guests setup to be as efficient as possible. With it being a small shop they will depend on high turnover of customers and they manage that without you feeling pressured. Luckily when we went it wasn’t packed, there was always a few spots to sit, so we didn’t feel the need to rush our way through our meal. But many people who came and went definitely did. That could have been because it was a Friday and many people there seemed to have popped down from their office to grab a quick lunch. Or perhaps it’s just the way and no one thinks twice about a quick meal.

The food was delicious, and I said on many occasions while eating that we have to come back. Unfortunately, or rather fortunately, we found so many other great restaurants that we never did make it back for a round two. But we both thoroughly enjoyed our meals and still rave about it months later.

We often speak highly of the 100 Yen shops in Japan. The quality of the products you can find, and the diversity as well. You will find all sorts of items that can make life a little better. We’ve always brought home related items back to Canada with us, but this is the first time we could experience actually having a need and going out looking for purpose made products to help us solve them. Our apartment was quickly becoming a mess, and the root of that problem was lack of storage. Staying there for a month meant we had quite a bit of stuff with us, and it was spilling out of the storage options available. We also didn’t have a great place to hang our towels, and the only way we found to do so meant that they never really dried. So off we went to the closest Daiso, a large 100 Yen shop chain throughout Japan, to see what we could find to help us stay a little more organized.

Check out part 1 to get a glimpse of the Daiso and what we bought to solve these problems.

Check back for part 2 where we take you to Sunshine City, a massive complex dubbed a city within a city not far from home.


There were several locations featured in this episode

Part 1

  • Tendon Fuji – A fantastic mom and pop tendon restaurant we would highly recommend. Check out the accompanying episode for a feel of the place and a look at the delicious food.
  • Daiso – The closest Daiso location to home, which was a little disappointing because it was just a small one, but still had the few items we were looking for.
  • Yakiniku (BBQ) Restaurant – A good yakiniku restaurant which was our second choice because our first choice was closed. We enjoyed our meals but unlike the tendon restaurant it didn’t blow us away nor had us wanting to return for more. But a decent meal to get our day started.

Part 2

  • Sunshine City – Billed as a city within a city, Sunshine City is a massive complex with all sorts of things to do.
  • Seiyu Sunshine Grocery Store – Right beside Sunshine City, this ended up being one of our favourite grocery stores to visit and stock up at.
  • Yamaya Ikebukuro East (Liquor) – We happened upon this liquor store on our walk after dinner, and was well timed as I had a hankering for some plum wine.
  • Ikebukuro Suitengu – Cute little shrine we found on the North end of Ikebukuro Station.
  • McDonald’s – What would become of favourite place for an after dinner treat, a proper deep fried apple pie.

Thanks for watching/reading!

7 Comments Add yours

  1. Norma says:

    I love your videos! I’ve been following you since your Hokkaido trip. You helped me a lot in my planning for that trip in 2019 – especially the Sapporo Genghis Khan meal at Sapporo Beer Garden. Now I’m planning a trip back to Tokyo and based on your enthusiastic videos, I’m going to make our base in Ikebukuro. We’ve been to Japan so far 4 times (had to cancel our trip in 2020). Your link to the Airbnb didn’t work. Can you send me another link to it? Thanks!

    1. Mike says:

      Hello, thank you, that is very kind. And we’re happy that our videos helped you with your planning.
      Ikebukuro was amazing, that’s great that we were able to give you enough of a view of it that you want to visit as well.
      Strange about the link, here is a new link, please let me know if it does not work for you:
      I saw your comment on YouTube come in but by the time I got to reply it was gone, maybe you deleted it? (Hopefully it wasn’t something I did to delete it!)

      1. Norma Ebisu says:

        Hi Mike,
        After I posted on YouTube, I decided that I posted on the wrong video since I was interested in Ikebukuro. So I deleted it and reposted here. Thank you again for your very informative videos. More people should be made aware of your channel – its one of the best on visiting Japan in my opinion!

        1. Mike says:

          Hi again, oh good, it wasn’t me! 🙂
          We really appreciate the feedback, thank you! I also agree, more people should know, but I am biased. 🙂 Feel free to share!

  2. Norma Ebisu says:

    The Airbnb link just takes me to the general homepage. Maybe it’s not listed anymore? So would you recommend staying in Ikebukuro over Shibuya? Last time we went to Tokyo, we stayed in Shinjuku area. Thanks again for your guidance.

    1. Mike says:

      Oh that’s odd, it was working for me. I contacted the host and she suggested I share her direct contact details with you. If you’re ok with it I will email you to your gmail address.

  3. Norma says:

    I found your Airbnb just by looking at visuals from your most recent video – the one from Tokyo to Shikoku. Question is, is the noise from the trains noticable? Can you sleep through it? Looking forward to your videos on Shikoku – that’s another place I’d like to visit one day.

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