Ikebukuro Station Travel Guide
Learn the ins and outs of Ikebukuro Station with our travel guide. Train lines, facilities and much, much more.
Japan is a rainforest of railways, with staggering amounts of trains leaving and arriving stations around the country each day. The busiest railway station in the world, after Shinjuku, is Ikebukuro, having nearly three million passengers walk through its concourses and onto its platforms every day. It has been serving the public since it was opened during the Meiji Period on April 1, 1903, thirty-one years after the opening of Japan’s first railway in Shimbashi in 1871.
Today, the station is much more than that, also serving as a hub of shops, restaurants and an array of amenities. Let us be your guide to everything Ikebukuro Station has to offer.
Ikebukuro Station Map and Entrances
Ikebukuro Station has two main exits: East and West, plus a variety of sub-exits such as the JR North exit and exits leading from the various private train lines.
From the West Exit, visitors enter out onto Ikebukuro’s main shopping and commercial district, which includes the Sunshine City shopping mall.
The East Exit, again, offers an array of shopping and entertainment options as well as access to the the ivy-covered Rikkyo University.
Railway Lines and Destinations
Ikebukuro Station is well equipped with signs pointing passengers in the direction of their desired platform. They are clearly labeled in Japanese and English, some in Korean too, and are distinguishable by color, so even those with a visual impairment are able to navigate the station.
Beyond the gates, on the platforms themselves, electronic signs display the train schedule in Japanese and English, letting passengers know the expected time of arrival for the next train and whether it a Local, Semi-Express, Express, or Rapid train.
The train lines operating from Ikebukuro Station are the Tobu Tojo Line (Blue), Fukutoshin (Brown), Marunouchi (Red), Yamanote (Light Green), Saikyo (Teal), Yurakucho (Sand), Shonan-Shinjuku (Orange, Dark Blue) and the Seibu Ikebukuro Lines. Trains arrive every three to five minutes in most cases.
We’ve detailed three of Ikebukuro Station’s most useful lines below:
The Yamanote Line is one of Tokyo’s most widely used and convenient lines for traversing the city. A loop line, it circles central Tokyo, passing through major stations such as Shinjuku, Shibuya, Shinagawa and Akihabara along the way.
Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line runs underground through central Tokyo, taking in Shinjuku, Ginza, Nakano, Yotsuya and ending up in Ogikubo.
The Yurakucho Line runs north from Ikebukuro to Wakoshi, taking in much of Toshima along the way, as well as south through Yurakucho and Ginza and terminating at Shin Kiba.
Ticket gates, aside from their obvious use, are also handy for finding out train information or asking directions. Always staffed, simply approach the window and ask. Be ready to use some sign language and your best Japanese, however, as English speaking staff are not always on hand.
Find ticket machines lined up throughout the station. Buy single or multi-journey tickets, a Pasmo or Suica IC card or charge your IC card at these machines which all come with an English language option. Some ticket machines, though not all of them, will allow you to charge your IC card with coins as small as ¥10, otherwise they accept ¥1,000 bills or larger and always provide change.
Towards the East and North Exits, there are ATM machines operated by Seven Bank which accept international credit and debit cards and can be operated in English. Although Japan is very cash-based, many shops also accept payment by IC card.
Restrooms are located in multiple locations throughout the station on both sides of the ticket gates. There are also numerous places to find coin operated baggage lockers, for those of you who might be returning to the station within the same day, that are very convenient. They are located near all ticket barriers in all areas of the station.
Ikebukuro Station also acts as a bus terminus for local buses and those traveling further afield.
From 4:24 to 22:15 buses depart for Haneda Airport, a journey which takes roughly 50 minutes. A variety of highway buses for destinations throughout Kanto, Shinshu and Koshin also run from the station for popular spots such as Mount Fuji, Ueda and Nagano Prefecture. The Seibu Group also run overnight buses to Osaka, including those that directly reach Universal Studios Japan.
Local buses for all parts of Tokyo also depart from Ikebukuro Station, including the number 86 bus for Shibuya Station and the 63 to Asakusa.
Taxis and Bicycles
Taxis surround the station, easily identified by their mainly green or yellow designs. Bear in mind that most taxi drivers in Japan do not know very much English, so having a map ready will doubtless solve any problems.
There are also several locations near the station and elsewhere in Ikebukuro for renting a bicycle. The process is pretty easy, involving a small deposit and time limit.
Restaurants and Cafes
Traveling makes anyone hungry, and there are many places to eat and have relax in and around Ikebukuro Station. If you’re in a rush, you can grab a rice ball or a drink at many one of the many convenience stores located in the station or at one of the small supermarkets, one of which is located in the corridor to exit C3, by the Fukutoshin Gate.
Some other options include:
Saffron Ikebukuro-The Indian RestroBar
Here you can enjoy many a dish prepared by Indian chefs with the finest imported ingredients in a fast and affordable manner. This eatery sheds some light on the heritage, culture, and cuisine of this other, enormous far eastern nation.
Access: 8 minutes away on foot
Website: Saffron Ikebukuro
To some Japanese, sushi is only true sushi if served and eaten in Japan. Midori Sushi does a good job of proving this, serving a variety of fresh and delicious sushi and sashimi.
Access: 5 minutes away on foot
Website: Midori Sushi (Japanese)
Kineya Ikebukuro Lumine
Here you can enjoy some sensational, hand-made udon noodles and other Japanese dishes.
Access: 3 minutes away on foot
Website: Kineya Ikebukuro (Japanese)
If you’re in Ikebukuro, no visit can be complete without having had a glimpse of Sunshine City, a city-within-a-city located beyond the East Exit and filled with shops, cosplay cafes and electronic goods stores.
Just follow the path alongside the ticket gates to the Yamanote, Shonan-Shinjuku and Saikyo Lines towards the East Exit, past a 7-Bank ATM and some ticket machines and you’ll come to the surface of the street with Seibu department store overlooking you. From here, Sunshine City is easily reachable.
Access: Take the East Exit from Ikebukuro Station
Website: Sunshine City (Japanese)
There is a plethora of shops within the confines of the station itself, but the bulk of the shopping facilities can be found within the Tobu and Seibu department stores, located on the North and East Sides of the station respectively. There is nothing you can’t find in these mammoth stores.
Adjacent to the West Exit, the Tobu department store has many floors of household items, stationary and clothing.
Access: 350 meters on foot from the West Exit
Website: Tobu (Japanese)
Seibu has an equal number of options under one roof, as well as its own food court on the ninth floor. It can be reached directly from the East Exit.
Access: 300 meters on foot from the station center
Website: Seibu Ikebukuro
Hotels, like shops, proliferate around Ikebukuro Station. Whether you’re after some luxury or just a roof over your head, you’re covered.
Hotel My Stays Higashi-Ikebukuro
A great base from which to explore the vibrancy of Ikebukuro, this hotel is also only a stone’s throw away from the Ancient Orient Museum. Complimentary WiFi is included.
Access: 8 minutes by bus from the station
Website: Hotel Mystays
Price: Starting from around 5,000 yen per night
Hotel New Star Ikebukuro
Plenty of shopping centers, bars and restaurants are well within reach of New Star Ikebukuro, as well as excellent transport links. A professional and clean hotel.
Access: 10 minutes on foot
Address: Japan, 〒171-0014 2-61-6
Website: Hotel New Star
Price: Starting at around 6,000 yen per night
Tokyu Stay Ikebukuro
Tokyu Stay is consistently remarked on for its cleanliness, proximity to Ikebukuro Station and its grand views and kitchenettes in nearly every room. There is also a laundry service and a delicious breakfast for only 500 yen.
Access: 3 minutes away by car, 8 minutes by foot
Website: Tokyu Stay
Price: Starting at around 10,000 yen per night
From Ikebukuro Station, the Magic Kingdom is just 48 minutes away. Take the Marunouchi Line (Red) to Tokyo Station and transfer to the Keiyo Line (Maroon) and alight at Maihama Station, from which the park is just six minutes away on foot.
Access: 48 min by train from Ikebukuro (see above)
Website: Tokyo Disneyland
Rikkyo is one of the oldest universities still teaching in the country. Founded in 1874 by a Virginian Evangelical named Channing Moore Williams, the school grew nearer to its present size in 1918. Head to the university for a wander around its charming campus. It’s almost as if Oxford has been transplanted into Tokyo!
Access: 5 minutes on foot from exit C3 of Ikebukuro Station
Website: Rikkyo University
This summer, the Tobu Railway Company will be running nostalgic, old-fashioned trains for those who want to see, hear and smell an SL, as steam locomotives are known in Japan. The Tobu Group plans to operate steam-hauled trains on the Kinugawa Line, brought all the way from Hokkaido. It’s a railway journey unlike any other!
Access: By train from Ikebukuro to Shimo-Imaichi Station via the Nikko-Kinugawa Line (1 hr 43 min)
Address: Shimo-Imaichi Station
Website: SL C11 207 (Japanese)