Shopping RivalriesMany Japanese department stores are owned by train companies (e.g. Tokyu and Seibu). Train companies own prime land surrounding train stations. These locations are essential to success as a department store.
Four companies (JR East, Tobu, Seibu and Tokyo Metro) operate trains in Ikebukuro station. Of these, Seibu and the Tobu own a great deal of land in the area (massive train terminals). These companies operate large department stores in Ikebukuro that are extremely competitive with one another.
Other shops in the area are also engaged in retail combat. For example, there's a intense rivalry between electronics shops such as Bic Camera and LABI.
Bookstores, drug stores and shoe stores have similar rivalries in the area. The end result is good for shoppers — low prices and unbelievable selection. It's this intense competition that makes Tokyo a great city for shopping.
Female Otaku ParadiseIkebukuro is also known for it's otaku related shops such as anime, manga and butler cafes. Unlike, Akihabara (another otaku shopping district) these shops primarily target female otaku.
Sunshine 60Ikebukuro is also home to Sunshine 60 — for many years the tallest building in Asia. It's located at the former site of Sugamo Prison (once Japan's most infamous prison). It's rumored to be haunted with the souls of those who lost their lives at the prison (including a notorious former Japanese Prime Minister).
Other Claims to FameThere are hundreds of hotels in the Ikebukuro area. It's a major Tokyo tourist hub.
The Fukuro Matsuri (one of Tokyo's biggest festivals) is held in Ikebukuro the last weekend of September and first weekend of October. The festival attracts around 200,000 spectators each year. It features traditional music and dances such as the Ikebukuro Yassa Odori (dance).
Ikebukuro also has something of a reputation as a youth-oriented neighborhood. You may spot some interesting street fashions in the area.
Ikebukuro was once a village (not considered part of Tokyo). It's a measure of Tokyo's growth that Ikebukuro is now considered part of downtown Tokyo. Sandwiched somewhere between the youth subculture and modern department stores there's still a charming old neighborhood.
Ikebukuro is also one of Tokyo's largest entertainment and nightlife districts. There are countless restaurants, bars, izakaya and karaoke in the area. There are also one or two clubs in Ikebukuro.
Ikebukuro is ranked #7 of 12 best Tokyo neighborhoods for hotels