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!

Ikebukuro

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