Tales from Japan – Ikebukuro’s Pokémon Center, J-World, and More!

The Dream Trip!

My wife and I had the opportunity to visit Japan. As big fans of video games and anime, it was no doubt a goal to see Japan together one day. I had studied abroad in Tokyo years back, but this was my wife’s first time. In fact, after returning from my first trip and before we had even started dating, she asked me to take her along next time. As it so happens, we got married, and so this really was the promised dream trip of a lifetime!

Note: Click on images to enlarge or see captions.

That was just a sample (and teaser) of photos from our entire trip. I have thousands of pictures that I could share. I couldn’t possibly post them all, so I will pick the biggest highlights and talk about them. Also, it’d be difficult to share them all in one post, so I plan to devote multiple posts to our Japan trip. I’ll post them in-between reviews so I sincerely hope you enjoy my pictures and tales!


We traveled around the Tokyo area, the populated capital and southeastern city of the main island Honshu, for most of our trip. On our first day, we visited the urban district of Ikebukuro. Ikebukuro has numerous attractions, mostly associated with shopping. We saw big department and electronic stores such as Seibu and Bic Camera immediately after exiting the bustling station. Sunshine City, a large building complex with stores and attractions within, is at the heart. Many people know Akihabara as the big district for geeky things, but Ikebukuro is quickly becoming a den for anime and game fans. As such, we definitely had to see what Ikebukuro had to offer for our fandoms. Our favorite places to visit were the Pokémon Center, J-World, and the Animate flagship store. We ate a simple meal of beef bowls at Yoshinoya, a Japanese fast food chain that has gained some international acclaim. Eating in Japan is just as a fun an experience as sightseeing, so I’ll be sure to post more about food whenever appropriate.

Pokémon Center Megatokyo

The Pokémon series is very important to me and is one of the biggest reasons I got into anime and Japanese culture in the first place. It’s no surprise that Japan has multiple stores entirely dedicated to Pokémon. Ikebukuro’s Sunshine City is home to the largest of them, Pokémon Center Megatokyo. Pokémon Sun and Moon had just come out, so there was a large focus on the brand new Alolan creatures, both in statue and plush form. There were lots of other merchandise that we shamelessly bought, from dozens of cosplaying Pikachu (including Luigi Pikachu!), adorable plushies, and Pokémon themed apparel and accessories. We enjoyed taking many photos with the life-size Pokémon statues and decorations!

J-World Amusement Park

Shonen Jump is a huge manga magazine that has serialized many of the most well-known series, including Dragon Ball Z, Naruto, One Piece, Bleach, Yu-Gi-Oh!, Death Note, and Rurouni Kenshin, just to name a few. J-World is an indoor theme park devoted to the magazine and its series. We love theme parks, and an anime-focused one was a must-see for us! One of our favorite attractions was this room where we could shoot Goku’s signature Kamehameha waves through the magic of 3D technology. We also enjoyed playing minigames to obtain the seven Dragon Balls and summon the dragon Shenron. Other fun attractions were a ninja mission to fight the Akatsuki from Naruto and a boat ride through the pirate world of One Piece. We even got to go in a fun flavor-of-the-season room with decorations based on Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable. We capped our time off eating at the J-World restaurant complete with Ichiraku Ramen and Vegeta’s chicken karaage, because the prince of all Saiyans should be associated with fried chicken.

Animate Store

We did more traditional sightseeing at other areas in Tokyo (and I’ll get to those in future posts), but Ikebukuro was clearly one of our huge shopping days if you couldn’t tell. One of our shopping stops was the new Animate flagship store, which houses seven floors of anime goods. We got lots of things from our favorite series including a Phoenix Wright towel, the Japan-only Monster Hunter Stories amiibo, Pokémon and Yo-kai Watch 3DS cases, and calendars from Boruto and Dragon Ball Super. Here are pictures of the store and some of our new merchandise.

Next Time… Akihabara!

Thanks for indulging me in my pictures and tales from Ikebukuro. I plan to talk about each major area we visited and have lots to share about each one. Please let me know if you have any questions or comments! For next time, I’ll share more about the area most relevant to this site, the anime and video game geek heaven, Akihabara!

Tales from Japan

Akihabara – Land of Video Games, Anime Shops, and Final Fantasy Cafés

33 thoughts on “Tales from Japan – Ikebukuro’s Pokémon Center, J-World, and More!

  1. Thanks for this post and for organizing all the photos from the trip! It was certainly a dream trip come true! It’s great to see how anime is on the rise in Ikebukuro. J-World is a gem, bringing together my favorite series all in one place. I love how the central room there has a giant interactive touch screen that brings so many iconic characters to life. As a huge Naruto fan, I was so excited to eat actual Ichiraku ramen in the dining area. The Pokemon center is also very impressive. Who can resist all those amazing plushies? I wish they had Animate stores in America! Clearly, Japan is all around awesome! Can’t wait for the next set from the best anime geek heaven!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! It took a while to organize the thousands of photos! I’m glad to at least have Ikebukuro done. J-World is so awesome! I think the DBZ stuff was the most fun, but the Naruto stuff was pretty nice too, of course! I’m so glad we went to the big Pokemon Center! I wish there were more around here. The only one is the one in New York that is now the Nintendo NY store. I’ll be sure to pick out some good photos from the collection for Akihabara!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Looks like it was an awesome trip – wish I could go to Japan one day! All that Dragon Ball stuff in particular looks amazing.

    By the way, if you saw that weird post earlier about Milo quitting or whatever on our site, it was nonsense and written by somebody else when Milo accidentally left wordpress open on his computer. I guess we swiftly deleted it but some people saw it while it was still on there, apologies if you did. Those idiots who did it could have done worse I guess, do we’ll count ourselves lucky…

    Glad you had a great time in Japan though, trips like these are full of moments to cherish!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you very much! The Dragon Ball stuff was very fun! There were obviously more Dragon Ball-related things, but J-World was definitely a big area for Dragon Ball-related decorations and attractions! I agree that trips like these are full of moments to cherish! Well-said!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! It was indeed amazing, and that was just the first day of our trip! The Pokemon Center is truly a sight to see. That’s not even the only Pokemon Center we went to, but it’s the biggest one. I’m glad we went at such a pivotal time right after a big game release. I’m also glad that all of the Sun and Moon Pokemon are so marketable! Thanks for checking my pictures out and letting me know what you think!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This looks like an incredible trip and I really enjoyed reading about your experiences. It is well-deserved and I hope you enjoyed your trip there. Japan truly is a figure buyers paradise! I think I need to do an investigative trip on behalf of my site… 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks you very much! I’m glad you enjoyed reading this! I saw tons of figures in Akihabara, which was the next stop of our trip. And of course I got the Monster Hunter Stories amiibo and Legend of Zelda amiibo while I was there! I bet you would love visiting there someday! You would see tons of figures, and I’m sure you’d find a lot of great ones to talk about! Japan is a haven for all of this fun merchandise!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I do hope to go sometime to Japan if I can convince my significant other to go (it isn’t as high on her list as it is on mine). Those Monster Hunter Amiibo look really awesome and some of the stores I’ve seen people visit just have figures and awesome video game merchandise everywhere! Being in the “home” of Figma and Nendoroid would just be awesome too. While I may not be an anime fan, I would love to get Kill La Kill figures or something like that while in Japan because they’re all but impossible to find here for anything less than scalper prices.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. There were lots of stores devoted to figures. I tried to capture what I could on camera, but there were some places that didn’t allow photos. There were intricate displays to showcase different series. I saw some Kill La Kill figures too. They were quite expensive, but probably nowhere close to whatever the scalper prices are.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow! It looks like you had a very fun trip. Thanks for sharing your pictures and stories. I’ve never been to Japan and this is the next best thing to going. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aw thank you very much! I’m really glad you enjoyed it and can get so much from my pictures! 🙂 Japan is an awesome place, and I hope you can make it sometime, if that’s somewhere you want to go, of course!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m glad you had such an amazing trip to Japan! I am looking forward to reading your other entries about it!! I told my husband that I want to travel to Japan (and be fluent in Japanese) by the time I hit 40… so I have about 9 1/2 years to save up, lol! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! It means a lot that you look forward to future entries on Japan! It’s such a wonderful country that has given birth to some of our biggest game franchises and other interests. I sincerely hope you and your husband can make it someday! It’s worth the trip if you can find a good time and have some funds saved up!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m pretty sure it would be illegal to put so much awesome in one post, and spacing it out gives us something to look forward to! You two look like you had an amazingly awesome time. I love all the pictures. It sounds like the vacation of a lifetime 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aww thank you so much! I can’t believe how much we fun we had in such a short time! With a limited timeframe, we had to carefully plan out where we went each day. Our schedule usually went out the window as soon as we entered a store though, haha. Thanks for checking out our pictures, and I hope you enjoy the rest of them! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Ahhhhh how did I miss your post for so long?! Your photos are amazing, and you both truly looked like you had a wonderful experience together. All your photos have so much to look at and take in that I’m going to need to spend some more time looking through everything. I’m glad that you’ve finally had an opportunity to realize your dream trip with your wife and that it was everything you had hoped it would be (and maybe more!) There’s so much Pokemon that I feel like dropping the games I’m playing and picking up those games instead!

    I’m looking forward to future posts with more food pictures! Thank you so much for sharing this experience.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for checking them out! It was an amazing experience. I have so many more pictures which is why I’m spreading them out over several posts. I have at least 500 or so photos just from Ikebukuro (the subject of this post), but I tried to find the best pictures to summarize the trip. Plus, I wouldn’t want to just post photos of the insides of stores, haha. There is so much Pokemon! We came at such a good time while Sun and Moon were brand new. There was a lot of excitement for FFXV too and I hope to convey that in future posts. I hope you look forward to all of them! The trip was certainly everything and more to us, and we appreciate that you enjoyed them!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. This is awesome! I’ve never been to Japan myself, but I’ve always wanted to visit at least once. A year. It just feels like there’s a lot to explore, even in Tokyo alone. My sister recently went and bought me a Persona 5 Morgana pin. Apparently it was hard to find because Pokemon was all over the place and the Persona hype has died. Can’t wait to see how your trip to Akihabara was. That’s the mecca of anime and gaming as far as I’m concerned. Haha.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Japan is worth a visit especially for gaming and anime fans interested in the culture. Akihabara definitely is the mecca for fans, but there are plenty of places outside of Akihabara that are awesome too like Ikebukuro. Hope you get the chance to make the pilgrimage there one day!

      Liked by 1 person

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