After my brunch at the Shirokuma Cafe, I headed over to Ikebukuro, just 2 stops away from Takabanobaba. Ikebukuro is often described as the centre of feminine otaku culture, and while yes there are some products aimed at the female audience, there are also heaps of stores for anyone to enjoy! Ikebukuro also houses Namja Town (an indoor theme park), J-World (specialising in ‘boy’ comics) and the biggest Pokemon Centre in Japan! I arrived in Ikebukuro at around 12pm, and left by 6pm with arms filled with shopping bags. Lets get started on my day!
First Stop – Pokemon Centre!
The Pokemon Mega Centre is located on the 2nd floor of the Sunshine City Mall. I actually got super lost on my way there, so can’t really tell you how long it takes from the station. But I’d guess maybe a 15 minute walk (if you don’t get distracted by all the arcades and shops along the way). Now, I’m not trying to be a downer, but this store isn’t as big as it seems. I was kind of expecting a ‘Mega’ store, as in a massive area but the store is maybe about 3 rooms. What it lacks in size it more than makes up for in merchandise. Currently there is a special Eeveelution event going on, so you get to walk around the store with a special headband and get lots of your fave eeveelution merchandise.
Before going on this trip, I watched a few haul videos of people spending anywhere between $100-$800 at the store! I always thought to myself – how on earth could they do that!? And going in there I can see why! It’s so easy just to put things in your basket and they very quickly add up. I definitely didn’t spend $100, but give me another hour in there and I could have!
I actually stumbled across this completely by accident. I’ve been a fan of the Saiyuki:Journey to the West series since way back in 2007. Since the new series is coming out (first episode released last week!), there’s a bunch of Saiyuki promotion events. This themed cafe was at the top of one of the gaming centres, there were two other themed events happening in Ikebukuro – Osomatsu San one at the Sega arcade and another new anime at the Animate Cafe. To get into the Saiyuki cafe I had to select a time to attend, I chose 3:30pm and headed off shopping.
Once I came back, I was asked to go to the upper level and invited to sit down. Soon after a staff member spent about 5 minutes going through a list of rules…in Japanese. So I didn’t really know what the rules were, and kinda hoped as long as I was polite and used my common sense I wouldn’t get into any trouble! After the rules, we could order, I ordered a cup of hot chocolate and a mandarin parfait. To be honest the mandarin parfait was the only item on the menu that I could see any link to the characters. One big part of Goku & Sanzo’s relationship revolves around mandarins! Overall the cafe was an interesting experience, on the pricey side and hard to navigate if your Japanese isn’t the best (like mine), but definitely lots of fun!
Definitely cannot talk about Ikebukuro without talking about the anime stores. The main one is definitely the animate shop with about 8 floors of anime goodness. The bottom floor, 5 and 6 are the main character goods sections. They have something for everybody – Yuri on Ice, Haikyuu, KHR and lots of otome merchandise. I managed to pick up a few mystery boxes and posters, but wanted to hold back. I’m planning to visit Akihabara at the end of the week and want to make sure I still have money. I also check out a shop called ‘Stellaworth’ which is known for their otome (romance games) merchandise. It was a really interesting shop but everything was so expensive!!!
Finally, you can’t go anywhere in Tokyo without picking up a few Gacha! I managed to pick up four today – two Pokemon ones, a Madoka Magica one and a Yuri on Ice one. I am thinking of doing one big post with all my Gacha at the end of my trip, or would you prefer me to take pictures as I go? Let me know down in the comments :)!
Hit that follow button to continue following me on my Japan adventure!