Photo by Jason Tsay
Sixty stories tall, Sunshine City is a mall, a science center, a museum, a theme park – in short, an amazing indoor world.
When you enter the building on the B1 level, you traverse a long hall with a “people mover” escalator to the main entrance. There is an information desk with computers where you can get directions printed for places in the complex. Or, you can just wander through and follow the color-coded lines on the floors. The red lines lead to the World Import Mart, the aquarium and planetarium. The blue lines lead to the Ancient Orient Museum and Sunshine Theater. The orange lines lead you to Shopping Center Alpa.
You can make a circle tour of the Bl level as there are two main corridors the length of this level. When you are facing the information desk, if you take the entrance to the left, you will come to a beautiful fountain which has a show of dancing water accompanied by organ music at 1pm, 2:30 and 4pm. The first three levels are mostly department stores. In taking the escalators up, you will find some interesting shops and restaurants on the other floors. 3-1, Higashi-Ikebukuro, Toshima-ku, Tokyo
The big features:
•Sunshine 60 Observatory: Eyes over Tokyo from the 60th floor. It’s a fantastic view on a nice day. 10am-9:30pm. Tel: 03-3989-3457
Adults (high school) ¥ 620
Children (junior high school students) ¥ 460
Child (over age 4) ¥ 310
•Aquarium: Tenth floor, on top of the World Import Mart. There is a seal show, and exhibits of seals, flamingos, penguins, etc. There are many fish not seen in the States as they are only found in this part of the world. Allow at least one hour for the aquarium. 10am-6pm (-8pm in summer.) Tel: 03-3989-3466
Adults (high school) ¥1,800
Children (junior high school students) ¥900
Child (over age 4) ¥600
Interested in aquariums? Also see Shinagawa Aquarium.
•Konica Minolta Planetarium: 10am-6pm with shows on the hour, http://www.konicaminolta.jp/manten/ Tel::03-3989-3546
Adults (high school) ¥1,000
Children (junior high school students) ¥500
Child (over age 4) ¥400
•Namco Namjatown: An indoor theme park by Namco, a Japanese company that produces video games. Themed dining, carnival-style games, a creepy haunted house and character mascots in the form of giant kittens. There’s an entire gyoza village and a “dessert republic.” 10am-10pm. http://www.namja.jp/img/pdf/guidemap.pdf/
Adults ¥300 (More for games and activities)
•Tokyu Hands: This store, at the Bl entrance to the Sunshine Building, will delight crafty-minded shoppers. There is something different on every floor and the breadth is astounding, from toys to stationary and leathercraft to hardware. Bonus: There’s a “cat cafe” on the top floor. It’s one of those “only in Japan” things.
DIRECTIONS: Take the Ome line to Tachikawa, and change to the Chuo Line. At Shinjuku, transfer to the green Yamanote Line in the direction of Shin-Okubo and get off at the fourth stop, Ikebukuro. Head for the east exit towards Seibu Department Store. You will see signs for Tokyu Hands also.
Coming out of the station, look for the tallest building (sometimes the top is hidden in the mist) and walk towards it. This will be Sunshine City. It will be in front of you as you come out of the station. You will have to go right a little bit to pick up the tree-lined street to the building.
Our Story: My family and I took the train to Sunshine City during winter break 2011. Ikebukuru Station is pretty large and we ended up asking someone to help us find the correct exit for Sunshine City. The mall is down a store lined street which was closed to traffic the day we went. With small kids we didn’t do much shopping, but headed straight to the 3rd floor devoted to restaurants. We found a nice Japanese place to eat, but also noticed Mexican, Chinese, Italian, and French restaurants. We also went to the Aquarium on floor 10. It was larger than expected. It was pretty crowded, but I think that was because of the holiday season. The kids enjoyed all the giant aquariums. Sarah Straus, 2011