Nishi Ikebukuro, Ikebukuro, Ikebukuro HonchoThere were many ponds long ago around what is now the west exit of Ikebukuro station. It was a well-known location for moon-viewing in autumn, and fireflies flitted about in the summer. Yamanote Line service began in 1903. The Toshima Normal School opened. The Tobu Tojo and Seibu Ikebukuro Lines began operating, and a school town grew up as schools such as Rikkyo Gakuin and Jiyu Gakuen Girls' School opened one after another. This is the cradle of modern Japanese children's literature—the children's magazine Akai Tori (Red Bird) began here.
Today the lively, energetic west exit area is lined with retailers such as Tobu Department Store, Lumine Ikebukuro, Tobu Hope Center, Echika, and Esola. Just a short distance from the shopping district is the spacious Rikkyo Gakuin campus and the former residences of cultural figures such as detective novelist Edogawa Ranpo. The atmosphere of Taisho to Showa era culture still lingers here.
Tokyo Metropolitan Art Space is a mecca for concerts and stage productions. Among the various events held here are the Tokyo Hula Festival, held in Ikebukuro Nishiguchi Park in the summer, and the traditional fall Fukuro Matsuri (Owl Festival). Out of the station's north exit is Ikebukuro Theater, a traditional rakugo storytelling hall.
Tokyo Metropolitan Art Space and Ikebukuro Nishiguchi Park
The large concert hall is a fully equipped classical music venue with a huge pipe organ at rear center stage. The medium-sized proscenium stage theater is a venue for various stage productions, while the two mini theaters and the gallery are places for Tokyoites' cultural activities. Relaxing Ikebukuro Nishiguchi Park, across from TMAS, has a number of sculptures, is a well-known event venue, and serves as the main site for the fall Tokyo Yosakoi Festival, which attracts nationwide interest.
The graves of Yamada Asaemon, known as "Asaemon the Executioner," and Ishinomori Shotaro, an influential figure in the world of post-war Japanese comics, are located on the temple grounds.
The temple has a wood carving of Matsuo Basho in old age and his spirit tablet.
The temple was founded in 1613, the 18th year of the Keicho period, and is also known as Hato (pigeon) Temple.
Yabatagawa green promenade
The Yabata River served as an irrigation channel that supplied water to this area but was converted in its entirety into an underground culvert in 1963. This area now provides the local community with a place to relax, known as Yabatagawa "green promenade."
- Starting from Ikebukuro 3-chome
Mitake Shrine is the patron shrine for the area around Ikebukuro Station's west exit. Erected during the Tensho years, it is said to offer protection against disasters, ill fortune, and fire. In recent years, the shrine has also been said to bring good fortune.
The Jurin Temple is said to have been built in 1650, the third year of the Keian period. Its main hall, which escaped the ravages of the war, and its seven-faced goddess of mercy stupa are among the elements that provide a sense of its history. The gingko on its grounds was the first tree selected for preservation in Toshima-ku. The garden is lovely throughout the seasons.
Ikebukuro Forest Park
This park was formerly botanist Shimada Ginzo's residential garden. It is full of unusual trees and plants that he planted for research purposes. It is also a place where you can enjoy bird and insect watching.
- 1-7-10 Ikebukuro
This is one of Tokyo's few remaining rakugo storytelling theaters. Remodeled in 1993 to have chairs installed, but keeping its past appearance, it provides matinee and evening entertainment that is fun for young and old alike.
Japan Traditional Craft Center
The Association for the Promotion of Traditional Craft Industries established this exhibition and retail facility to widely promote knowledge about the value of traditional crafts through displays and to encourage the use of crafts in daily living.
Site of original Ikebukuro pond
A commemorative stone tablet marks this as the spot where the pond that gave Ikebukuro its name was located. There is also a stone marker to commemorate this as the location where Seikei Gakuin (now Seikei University) was founded. Fukuro no Ki (Owl Tree), an owl-themed sculpture installed here, marks this as the starting point for 21 "owl of happiness" images located in east and west Ikebukuro. Why not take a stroll and see if you can find them?
Ikebukuro Life Safety Learning Center
Along with experiencing what the shaking of an earthquake feels like in the earthquake simulation room, visitors can learn about disaster preparedness while having fun with fire extinguisher demonstrations and a smoky room simulation.
Toshima Historical Museum
The museum collects and exhibits items related to Toshima's history and folk lore, with materials about and replicas of Kishimojin, Somei horticulture, the black market, and the artists' colony.
Jiyu Gakuen Girls' School and Myonichi complex
Husband and wife Hani Yoshikazu and Motoko founded Jiyu Gakuen in 1921, putting liberal education for girls into practice based on Christian beliefs. Frank Lloyd Wright designed the Myonichi (House of Tomorrow) complex, which has been designated an important national cultural asset. It was opened to the public for social gatherings such as weddings and concerts following the completion of renovations in 2001.
This library houses 30,000 materials and books related to education, collected by pedagogical scholar Ishikawa Ken. Important materials such as Shobai Orai and Teikin Orai can be viewed here.
Yanagiwara Byakuren residence
This was the home of Yanagiwara Byakuren, an accomplished Taisho era poet. Her husband was social activist Miyazaki Ryusuke, whose father Toten actively assisted Sun Yat-sen's revolution in China.
- 2-15-16 Nishi Ikebukuro
- Not open to the public
Performing Arts College
Nojiri Toru established this institution, but died suddenly. In keeping with his dying wish, his father Yoshiaki opened the school, and it is now Japan's only actors' training academy. Graduates include such prominent personalities as Yakusho Koji, Watanabe Eriko, and Yazaki Shigeru.
Rikkyo University and plane tree lane
A Christian university founded in 1874, Rikkyo was relocated from Tsukiji to its current Ikebukuro location in 1918. The lane lined with plane trees on the school grounds served as the model for Haida Katsuhiko's Suzukake no Michi (Plane Tree Lane).