Located roughly 30 minutes north-west of Tokyo on the Tobu Tojo line, Kawagoe city is a trip into Japan's past. A must for those wishing to explore traditional Japan, this historic place was once a bustling castle town but still retains its charm through the surviving streets and wooden buildings. Part of this traditional atmosphere is kept alive by the famous "Bell of Time" that hangs in the town's clock tower. This huge bell rings four times daily, as it has done for 350 years!
Kawagoe is also home to a popular sweetshop street where you can indulge in a selection of traditionally made Japanese sweets and even sample a local beer brewed from sweet potatoes!
Ikebukuro stn. → Tobu Tojo Line (31 min.) → Kawagoe stn.(Kagawa City)
The twin theme parks: Disneyland and the more recent DisneySea make up Tokyo Disney resort, located roughly one hour from Ikebukuro station. The first Disney resort to be opened outside of the United States, Tokyo Disneyland is popular nationwide due to its fun seasonal shows and attractions. Tokyo DisneySea (opened in 2001) is an independant water themed variation of the main park with an extensive recreation of Venetian canals that leads into the different "ports of call". These themed areas house the park's rides and attractions. Popular attractions include Journey to the Center of the Earth ride and the "Tower of terror".
Ikebukuro stn. → Subway Yurakucho line (31 min.) → Shinkiba stn. → JR Keiyo line (6 min.) → Maihama stn.(Tokyo Disny Resort)
From Shibuya's 109 building to Omotesando Hills to Harajuku's Takeshita doori, this extensive area is without doubt the centre for Tokyo's fashion and pop-culture. Home to the famous road crossing seen in movies such as Lost in Translation, Shibuya is the perfect place to shop and a popular place to meet before a night on the town.
The glitzy Aoyama and Omotesando districts are packed with brand-name goods and high-class restaurants and the Oriental Bazaar is a great spot for souvenirs to remind you of your time in Tokyo.
If you are looking for something a bit more alternative however, Harajuku is unbeatable. Popular with Tokyo's fashion-conscious youth and home to Sakura Group's Design festa gallery, Harajuku is a melting pot of pop-culture. On Sundays you can take a break from shopping to see amateur bands and dancers in nearby Yoyogi park.
Ikebukuro stn. → JR Yamanote Line (13 min.) → Harajuku stn.
Famous for its high number of low-price electronics and computer stores, Akihabara is also home to a huge number of shops specializing in manga, anime and figurines. Whether you are looking for the latest high-tech PCs and mobile phones or memorabilia from your favourite anime, you will most likely find it here.
If Shibuya is the centre for fashion, then Akihabara is the centre for electronics and Otaku culture. Several shops in Akihabara also feature special reduced prices for foreign tourists.
Ikebukuro stn. → JR Yamanote Line (19 min.) → Akihabara stn.
Home to the busiest station in the world, Shinjuku is one of Tokyo’s must-visit night spots. Dinner, bars or karaoke, whatever you are after, you will be truly spoilt for choice in Shinjuku. By day however, Shinjuku is a great place for a spot of shopping with its fair share of brand-name goods and electronics stores.
The Takashimaya times-square department store is a great place to buy presents and the top floor of the Kinokuniya book store sells foreign language books should you need to stock up before your journey home.
If you have the time, a trip to the top of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government building is also highly recommended as the panoramic views of the city are nothing short of spectacular. You can even see Mount Fuji on a clear day!
Ikebukuro stn. → JR Yamanote Line (9 min.) → Shinjuku stn.
"Ameyoko" is a very busy market street located under the Yamanote Line tracks between Okachimachi and Ueno stations. This market street used to be one of the most well-known black markets in Tokyo after World War Two.
"Ameyoko" means "Ameya Yokocho" (candy store alley), as candies were traditionally sold there. Besides, "Ame" can also relate to "America" because a lot of American goods were very popular on the black market.
Nowadays, various products such as clothes, bags, cosmetics, fresh fish, dried foods and spices are available there. Especially towards the end of a year, people will flood to Ameyoko to buy festive foods and products to celebrate the New Year.
"Ameyoko" is a really fun and interesting spot to check out. Opening hours and closing days depend on different stores, but they usually open at around 10:00 and close at around 19:00. Moreover, since many stores will be closed on Wednesdays, so it may be a good idea to go there on the rest of the week.
Ikebukuro stn. → JR Yamanote Line (16 min.) → Ueno stn.
Built around the Tokyo Dome (the world's largest covered baseball stadium), Tokyo Dome City is a popular entertainment district. In this area you can find many souvenir shops and restaurants and nearby is a large spa and shopping mall complex, LaQua. LaQua also features ride attractions such as the Big-O centre-less ferris wheel and "Thunder dolphin" rollercoaster. Tokyo dome itself is home to baseball games and from time to time is also used as a concert and exhibition venue.
Ikebukuro stn. → Subway Marunouchi Line (7min.) → Korakuen stn.