I love exploring one place at a time, one suburb a day. It gives you time to really immerse yourself with the culture and the people and the things that are around that area. Last year, we decided to go to Japan for our honeymoon and spent about 10 days there. We spent most of it in Tokyo, as we really do want to just explore the city that we’ve always been wanting to go to. We weren’t mistaken, it was indeed a city filled with so many omoshiroiiii (interesting) things to see. Here’s our trip review…

Day 8: Ikebukuro

If you only have a few days in Tokyo, many people would probably not mention Ikebukuro as one of the places you should definitely visit. But I personally loved it and would recommend you to go. But of course, this depends on what you like. So decide it for yourself once you’ve read this and other online reviews…

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Our first stop was Amlux, a Toyota showroom. We are not car lovers (I don’t even drive), but we found the place rather interesting for a half an hour trip or so. And while we were there, they were showcasing some anime themed cars. My hubby found it amusing. He said that in the western world, everybody wanted to have cool cars, modified to look so masculine and tough. Yet, in Japan, they accessorised with kawaii characters and bright pastel colours. Yep. I told you I love Japan! Even the people working there wore really awesomely cute outfits.

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We then walked to the main shopping area of Sunshine City. This place is so huge that it even has its own observatory tower, aquarium, planetarium and all. Yep, madness.

All over the shopping mall, there were heaps of cat statues. I don’t know why but I don’t care either. I’m totes a crazy cat lady and there’s no stopping me from ooh-aah-ing all the way…


So, yes, I did mention there is an observatory tower. We didn’t actually check it out, but we did check the lift out (you don’t have to pay until you’re upstairs)! As soon as the lift closed its doors, the room turned dark(er) with bluish lights that made the whole place looked like we were in a planetarium. Then, constellation signs started to appear on the wall and the ceiling of the lift. It was worth your 10 minutes going up and down! LOL.


Personally for me, though, Namja Town alone makes Ikebukuro worth the visit. (PS: Now, Namja Town has been halved in size as they have opened a new attraction called J-World. This is not bad news at all, especially if you are an anime lover. J-World is a Shonen Jump indoor theme park, well known for characters like Naruto, One Piece, Bleach and my favourite Hunter x Hunter. I will be visiting it this December, so wait for my upcoming review!)

Namja Town is an indoor theme park by Namco, the creator of Pacman and many other arcade games and leisure products. Namja Town was recently renovated and includes various small rides and attractions. There are two food corners specialized in gyoza and deserts, in a nice Showa Period town setting with recreated old alley.

(Source: Japan Guide)

Oh well, who needs explanation when you have pictures?! Scroll now!

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As with most places in Japan, there were heaps of claw machines and games around the area. We actually won two things from this place *proud*. Look at my Hello Kitty skeleton soft toy! I’m no Hello Kitty fan, but my emo-self likes this particular one a lot.

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We then walked to the dumpling food theme park. It was like we were transported back to the olden days Showa period! I gotta tell you that I’m obsessed with food theme parks and am deeply sad that we don’t have any here in Melbourne. But anyway, we did try 2 different types of dumplings… There were many more to try, if you can fit them all in. Come in bigger groups to try more.

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After the “main meal”, it was time to travel to the Ice Cream City food theme park. Yup, guess what they have in abundance here?! No prizes for guessing though. Ha.

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Have I told you how much I love cats? So much that I would eat them. No, no, no. Not a real one, yuck. But this, I would! Kawaiiiiiiiii…

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The hubby did have an ice cream too, but I think he went for a normal soft serve cone (always yummy, but without a cute cat, sad!) So after that, we walked around the area where there were still lots of other things to see and do.

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We also walked around the Sunshine City shopping complex for a little bit before leaving to find something else to do. We found a neko cafe which is basically a cafe with lots of cats in them. You pay a certain amount of money (in our case ¥1000 for 1 hour) and you get to play with the cats for that amount of time! Crazy? For most people, yes. But for the Japanese, their homes are so tiny that they wouldn’t have much space to keep a pet. So instead, they would visit one of these cat cafes after work and interact with these little angelic creatures.

The hubby wasn’t very impressed, he’s not an animal person, but the admission fee also covered unlimited drinks from the vending machines and some cookies. He made sure he had his ¥1000 worth of beverages that day!

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I wish there’s a cat cafe here in Melbourne too. Ahhhh.. Anyways, by the time we left the neko cafe, it was getting late so we decided to search the web for an awesome meal idea at Ikebukuro. We found a highly rated ramen place called Mutekiya. When we arrived, there was already a bit of a queue – which is always a good sign. This was the first time I tried tsukemen, which is dipped ramen (instead of having the soup and noodles in one bowl, you actually dip the noodles in the hot thick soup and slurp!) I was addicted right away.

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It was then time to go back home. On the way to our hotel, we walked past a Krispy Kreme store and couldn’t help ourselves. Hubby loves his Krispy Kreme doughnuts.

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And there you go. Our day at Ikebukuro was so much fun, especially because I felt like my cat obsession was truly fulfilled today. And yes, I even brought one back home… Welcome to our family, Niku-chan! (Neko is cat in Japanese, niku is meat. LOL!)


Yep, Ikebukuro. We will return. Thank you for a fun day!

Note on the type of travellers we are: The hubby loves to just walk around and immerse himself into the culture, getting lost in the process and tasting local foods. I, on the other hand, love photography and I love people watching. Oh and I’m a keen observer of all things kawaii. We both appreciate the beauty of nature, but are more the type who love big cities and the hustle bustle. Castles and temples won’t make us go WOW! as much as Kit Kat in different flavours.

The rest of the days of our March 2012 Japan trip:

Have you been to a food theme park before? Did you enjoy that trip? Tell me your story.