DAY 4: Fun in Ikebukuro
DAY 4 Fun in Ikebukuro
October 17th, 2019
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Sunshine City Sky Circus
On the agenda today was the Sunshine 60 complex including the Pokemon Megacentre. Dee is a big Pokemon fan so I had to brace myself for the black hole of merchandise displays. I apologise for the lack of photos here, I took many but most are of my daughter.
Breakfast was DIY, I’d brought some porridge sachets from home and used the bag of dried fruit from the flight plus the Kikkoman soy milk. And a red bean daifuku to round it out!
We started our day slowly, with a good sleep in before catching the Yamanote line (where you can also use your JR Pass) to Ikebukuro station. From there we followed travel guide advice to ‘follow the signs to Sunshine City’ which of course meant we went the wrong way. The wrong way included yet another UFO claw machine arcade and Dee finally, FINALLY won a large Pikachu plushie.
We eventually made it to Sunshine City with a stop at Family Mart on the way because I was still so enamoured with their pickled plum onigiri. We need these in Australia!
When we got to Sunshine 60 we bought tickets for the observatory downstairs. I had to show my passport to buy the child ticket and they told me I got a 30% discount. I’m not sure why but no complaints here.
We then had to queue for a lift, operated by an attendant. When we got to the top, we started in a room with the observation deck windows. This was our first observatory kind of view and wow, Tokyo really is massive.
This was a Thursday around 11am and there was hardly anyone there, I’d say eight other people.
We saw some great interactive digital art displays at Sky Circus. My favourite was an umbrella where you held the handle and watched a screen with some animations of things falling on the umbrella, but you feel the sensations through the handle.
There was another awesome mirrored room with changing light displays, a little like Teamlab Borderless. Dee liked this room best.
Up on the observatory level you can purchase tickets for VR experiences. We chose not to but it was intriguing to see people lying face down in cylinders with their VR headsets and hand controls. We could hear some yelps and screams so I was glad we skipped it!
Once we finished at Sky Circus it was time for the Pokemon Megacentre. Being a fan, Dee was buzzing around and we took the obligatory photos with the big Pokemon displays. The merchandise included plushies of (for all I know) most of the Pokemon, and Dee bought quite a few things. It was busy in the store with a lot of fellow tourists, as this place is popular with Pokemon fans and Pokemon Go players.
Eventually we made our way down to Namja Town, as I’d read lots of reviews. But when we looked at the guide map and read through the information, we both agreed to give it a miss. By this time we were both feeling tired and my knee had weirdly started hurting a fair bit so I wanted to sit down somewhere. Ain Soph Soar was ending their lunch service in forty minutes so we had to forfeit that idea and go back to the bottom of the building for a late lunch at Coco Ichibanya Curry House. This wasn’t a problem because I really wanted to go here too.
I had a nice eggplant and veggie curry from the plant based separate vegetarian menu. You can read my review on the Coco Ichibanya Curry House outlets here, as they’re all over the country:
From here we started to unravel a bit thanks to Google Maps being crappy again. We had taken a wrong turn going back to Ikebukuro station and it had started to rain so we ducked in to a Family Mart for an umbrella (along with three other people needing umbrellas). Google Maps kept steering us in one direction, then the whole thing would change and make us see we were walking the wrong way. So frustrating, so I had to use landmarks as guides instead of following the navigation routes.
Our wrong turn took us to a side street and while I was raging at Google Maps, Dee pointed out the sign right behind me saying vegan and vegetarian options. Lo and behold this was the Saffron restaurant which I’d put on my to do list. So I was then able to work out which way to go. Unfortunately we didn’t get to eat here on this trip.
We passed a supermarket and had our first Japanese supermarket visit. I’m one of those nerds who doesn’t care so much about tourist attractions, for me it’s all about the supermarkets and stuff like post offices and emergency vehicles. From the supermarket I got some vegetables for dinner later and with the help of a local, we made it back to Ikebukuro station for the hot stuffy ride back to Ueno station.
Back at the hotel, we did some laundry and I used the hotel microwave to prepare some of the veg. I’d bought a microwave safe container from home (which later came in handy for storing souvenirs) as I’d planned to prepare some veggies for us and not solely rely on buying meals. With our leftover pizza from Pizzakaya, we had a nice dinner in our room.