Saturday, 3 December 2011


Ikebukuro.  At the centre of this vast entertainment and commercial district stands Ikebukuro Station, the second busiest railway station surpassed only by Shinjuku Station.  We got the Narita Express train and arrived at the station.  The station handles over a million passengers per day and for those uninitiated, it’s pretty overwhelming and feels like a giant ant hive. 

Loaded with our cases and back packs, and tired from the long journey, we began our trek to Sunshine City Palace Hotel, which was an experience in itself.  As we trekked through the streets to our hotel, manoeuvring our cases past the surge of people, retailers announced their products via microphones.  Girls dressed as maids handed out all manner of items including fans and tissues.  It was a good introduction to modern Japan.

We arrived at Sunshine City Palace Hotel, and the staff greeted us with some cold hand towels, which were most welcome after our walk in the afternoon heat.  The hotel is part of a large shopping and entertainment complex.  We really enjoyed our stay there.  We had an awesome view from our room, there was a Family Mart on the ground floor and a Starbucks within close proximity.  Japan Starbucks are better than the ones we have in the West, offering sausage pie for breakfast and a better selection of cakes.  My wifey was particularly fond of baumkuchen pastries which are round cakes with a hole in the middle, made up of many layers.

View from our room.

I have fond memories of Ikebukuro.  The awesome sushi bar that put a miniature Union Jack flag on our sushi.  The old chain smoking chestnut seller working late into the night.  The cool arcades Iand the Super Potato retro game store tucked away down one of the side streets.  Yes Ikebukuro was pretty awesome. 

 Some pics of an interesting looking love hotel.

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