Federica: From Naples, Italy, studied Japanese literature and language for 3 years at university in Naples. Favorite author is Yukio Mishima and attended voice actors’ academy in Rome on weekend as well as university. Visited Japan in 2015. Works as a CATV reporter and an Italian teacher.
Mecca of pop culture, just ten-minute walk from the station
Hi, I’m Federica from Italy. In the world, there are so many female fans of Japanese animations and cartoons and such girls are longing to visit “Otome Road” in Ikebukuro, Tokyo. Ilaria and I had also been wanting to visit here since childhood.
As a subcenter of Tokyo, Ikebukuro is a particularly busy town with department stores, mass-market retailers and restaurants near the station. Ultimate transport network allows for direct access by bus and train from Narita International Airport, and JR access to Tokyo, Shinjuku and Shibuya without transfer. With 7 transportation lines including JR, private railways and subways, Ikebukuro serves as a hub of travelling Tokyo.
Just 10-minute walk from Ikebukuro Station, Otome Road appears once you get in proximity to Sunshine 60, the landmark of Ikebukuro towering over. At the entrance, vending machines decorated with animation characters and posters on the walls spontaneously turn you on. Open air, bright street also presents highly immaculate atmosphere.
The world’s leading town centered around speciality shops for women
Japanese animations and cartoons are also available in Europe and people can purchase popular titles. However, Otome Road offers a great number of specialty shops dealing with a variety of products in every genre. About 0.12-mile street and its back street are lined with shops selling animation/cartoon items, character goods, fanzines (privately published magazines) and Otome games (dating simulation games). I guess the number of shops for women and its density is world’s best.
As well as specialty shops dealing with animations, cartoons and character goods, there are shops offering pop culture in general. You can stick to your favorite genre or just browse any kind of shops as you like.
Wide selection of character goods for popular titles are available. Cute and reasonable items and sweets including chocolate and cookies are perfect for souvenirs.
Mecca for “Cosplay”
Otome Road is also a mecca of costume play which is another Japan-originated pop culture. At Sunshine City near the entrance of the street, Costume players’ event “acosta!” takes place almost every month. Many costume players gather round.Though I have never join the event yet, people often parade down Ikebukuro dressed in costume.
Visit specialty shops selling costume and wigs at Otome Road. From hot-selling products to Japanese traditional items, you can find anything you want. Must-have for costume play such as colored contact lenses and wigs. they are high quality and its amazing color variation satisfies style-conscious costume players.
Soak up the atmosphere of the storyline at concept cafés
Otome Road also offers a variety of cafés where you can enjoy tea and lunch time as if you were a character of a story or in specific animation/cartoon settings. This time, we have enjoyed afternoon tea at “Swallowtail Butlers Cafe” as if we were British lady living in a mansion.
I felt very nervous when the butler welcomed me home. But I gradually relaxed thanks to his hospitality and high quality service. Finally, I enjoyed my afternoon tea with seasonal tea and sweets.
“CHARACRO feat. Gintama”, the concept of Japanese style bar run by a main character of popular cartoon “Gintama”, and “Animate Café” collaborated with hot-selling animation “Osomatsu-san” are also can’t-miss. The concept cafés in Otome Road are full of seasonal topics and entertain even non-animation/cartoon fans.
If you are a Japanese pop culture fan, you should definitely visit Otome Road and enjoy the latest culture scene in Japan.
Explore more about Ikebukuro!
Ikebukuro is a multi-faced town showing different landscapes in different areas and you can find brand-new features everywhere. After exploring Otome Road, visit “Zoshigaya” to feel historical and cultural atmosphere in shrines, temples and alleys, or “Sugamo, grandmas’ Harajuku” full of heart-warming contact with people.