TOPTokyo LifeWhat's NewWhat’s New In Ikebukuro This Month: July 2021

What’s New In Ikebukuro This Month: July 2021

Vietnamese food, Taiwanese craft beer, a sea of clouds and heat taking hold in Ikebukuro

By James Krick

Ikebukuro and its surrounding neighborhoods are often overlooked for some of Tokyo’s more popular hubs — yes, I’m looking at you Shibuya and Shinjuku. In spite of this, Ikebukuro is home to some of the city’s most vibrant and exciting places. From the center point of Ikebukuro itself to Toshima and Bunkyo wards, these neighborhoods have been quietly growing in popularity. Just recently there have been new openings of bars, restaurants, art exhibitions and public spaces. Even the pandemic does not seem to have put too much of a delay on the area’s development. So here are some of the things not to be missed in the Ikebukuro area this month.

Food and Drink

Everyone’s keeping their fingers firmly crossed for a gradual return to normal and the city’s metropolitan government is seemingly following this with a recent relaxing of rules for drinking and dining. Here is a roundup of some great new options that have just opened that reflect the multicultural reputation of Ikebukuro.

A Taste of Vietnam — Xin Chao Vietnam Dinner Buffet at Cross Dine, Hotel Metropolitan Ikebukuro

Vietnamese food in Ikebukuro

Vietnamese food is the perfect complement to the hot and humid summer weather. With the fresh and spicy flavors, the cuisine is an excellent antidote to the sweltering heat outside. At the All Day Dining Cross Dine restaurant in Ikebukuro’s Hotel Metropolitan they have gone one step further. The sumptuous Xin Chao Vietnam Dinner Buffet offers even the hungriest of diners a chance to sample an excellent range of dishes and delicacies. Expect plenty of Bahn Mi and pho and even Vietnamese iced coffee for a perfect finish.

Check them out on Instagram

Where: 1-6-1 Nishi Ikebukuro, Toshima-ku
When: Until Aug 31 | Early bird prices on weekdays until Jul 21

A Taste of Okinawa — Pork Tamago Onigiri Cafe

okinawa onigiri ikebukuro

The famed Okinawan onigiri has found a Tokyo home in Ikebukuro. Pork Tamago Onigiri Cafe offers the chance to pick up a tasty snack on the go. The specialty of this cafe is, as the name suggests, an onigiri with egg and pork with the pork, in this case, being spam. The popular spam onigiri is a hint at the US influence to be found around Okinawa. However, there are also a wide variety of other toppings available. From classic Japanese flavors such as miso, shiso or wasabi, to kimchi and Ceasar salad onigiri.

Perfect for those who want a light snack or want to reignite their memories from an Okinawan vacation.

Where: 2-2-4 Ikebukuro, Toshima-ku
When: 8am—Midnight

A Taste of Korea — Macapresso Café

 

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A post shared by マカプレッソ (@macapresso)

K-pop and all things Korean have found their homeland in Tokyo in the neighborhood of Okubo. While technically Shinjuku Ward, this area neighbors Toshima Ward and is closely linked to Ikebukuro. Macapresso is one of the newest additions and one more place where Tokyoites can experience Korean café culture. The café specializes in unique macarons which come in a dizzying array of colors and varieties, jam-packed with seasonal flavors.

In June they even had a pop-up shop in Tobu Department Store in Ikebukuro. However, for the real deal experience just hop on the train to Macapresso, which is one stop away from Ikebukuro Station.

Check them out on Instagram

Where: 2-3-21 Hyakunincho, Shinjuku-ku
When: 9:30am—11pm (Last order at 10:30pm)

A Taste of Taiwan — Also Craft Beer

 

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A post shared by also オルソー (@____also___)

The government has recently announced that, as a measure of gradually reducing Covid-19 restrictions, establishments are once again permitted to serve alcohol and patrons can visit bars. That’s great timing for Also, a Taiwanese craft beer bar that has recently entered the Tokyo craft beer scene. With a number of Taiwanese craft beers on tap and some fantastic Taiwanese food to match the beer selection, it’s a great place to quench our summer thirst.

Check them out on Instagram

Where: 5-32-13 Hakusan, Bunkyo
When: Closed on Mon and Tue (check for working hours, as they are changing often during the pandemic)

Exhibitions & Experiences

Hotel Chinzanso Creates a “Sea of Clouds”

Hotel Chinzanzo clouds

The Hotel Chinzanso in Waseda has hit upon a truly breathtaking way to bring the cool mist of the Japanese mountains right to the heart of the city. From June 28, the hotel has created its very own “sea of clouds” with a mist effect that covers the hotel grounds and gives a truly breathtaking view with several shows per day. It is especially atmospheric at night when the garden is illuminated with over 1,000 LED lights to create a truly magical effect.

*Note that viewers are limited to hotel guests or diners at one of the hotel’s restaurants.

Check them out on Instagram

Where: 2-10-8 Sekiguchi, Bunkyo-ku
When: Until late September


 

Read more about The Changing Face of Ikebukuro and Otsuka, the other cultural melting pot in Tosima-ku.