Located in Ikebukuro is the Ikebukuro West Gate Park.
While most people tend to head to the station or the massive shopping mall at Metropolitan Plaza, which is 22 floors and 4 stories down in the underground (the plaza is connected to the LUMINE department store and the Tobu department store). Go past the Taito Station and you will see Ikebukuro West Gate Park.
I think for some people, they are afraid to visit the park because of the Japanese TV drama “Ikebukuro West Gate Park” (Ikebukuro Nishiguchi Park) which is based on the novel by Ira Ishida and also was adapted into a manga series.
The drama featured juvenile delinquents, gangs, drug abuse, prostitution, yakuza everywhere and murder.
In fact, when people do research of Ikebukuro, they tend to pull up information of this drama which by no means is representative of Ikebukuro West Side. This is fiction, not reality.
Yes, Ikebukuro North and West has its reputation, I’m not going to deny that.
You will see a clear distinction and vibe between beyond Ikebukuro East Gate and Ikebukuro West Gate.
Primarily in the west, one will see many Japanese men standing around trying to get women into their host clubs and many women dressed up to entice guys to go into their host club. It may look scary at first as they are seen smoking, standing around wearing suits and it looks like something out of the video game “Yakuza” (Ryu ga Gotoku). But really, don’t worry at all. They ignore foreign travelers and are mostly after Japanese women to go into their establishment. As with the host club girls trying to get Japanese men and make them repeat customers.
But the West Side is safe for walking (you will see people out late or hanging out) and it’s where a lot of inexpensive hotels are located as well. What many people consider seedy and scary in the United States, Ikebukuro West Gate Park or the West Side is nothing like the U.S. seedy areas in metropolitan location.
But there is one thing you will see primarily on the west side, especially at Ikebukuro West Gate Park and parts of the station and that’s the homeless.
It reminds me of San Francisco but unlike SF, these homeless don’t come asking you for money. And you will see a lot of them sleeping inside the station or near bushy areas near monuments or statues like these.
If anything, the Ikebukuro City Officials are trying to clean up this area as it is the home of Tokyo Metropolitan Art Space.
You will see the Tokyo Metropolitan Theater, which opened back in 2012, where many classical music, ballet and plays are held.
You will see many statues at Ikebukuro West Gate Park, such as the Peace Statue with a woman with a bird.
The following is inscribed:
Permanent peace of the world is a wish of human commonness. But a nuclear military expansion race is following an only way of intensity. We should play the aggressive role about a total ban of a nuclear weapon and promotion of disarmament along spirit of a peace constitution as human only nation that was the victim of atomic bombs people.
The right is declared.
July 2nd in 1982
You will see the Clement Meadmore monument titled “Cresend” which was made in 1990.
A plethora of owl statues which is part of Ikebukuro’s mystique.
But if you have the chance, check out Ikebukuro West Gate Park. Don’t be scared to visit because of what you read about online of the fictional TV drama.
It’s art boom and it’s shopping district and eateries are making the area lively and an area in Ikebukuro’s west side worth visiting.