While Akihabara is known as a town for male otaku, Ikebukuro is recently talked about as a town for a type of female called “fujoshi.” Fujoshi is many times referred to female otaku but to be more specific, they are women who like reading “BL (Boys Love)” novels and manga, which are about love stories between men.
Unlike Akihabara, Ikebukuro also has many shopping centers with the latest fashion brands and a variety of cafes and restaurants beside anime and cosplay shops.
If you a girl interested in anime, manga, BL comics, cosplay, as well as fashion and cute stuffs, Ikebukuro is probably the best spot for you in Tokyo!
So here are the recommended shops and places to visit in Ikebukuro. Even if you’re not familiar with Japanese manga and anime culture, checking out these shops will probably be an interesting experience.
Otome means maiden and this road is the center of manga and anime shops. This is where the anime shops like Animate and K-BOOKS, a butler cafe, cosplay shops and many BL dojinshi(self published manga and novels) shops are located at.
How to get there
Otome Road is the road in front of Sunshine City. From the JR Ikebukuro staion, exit from the east exit and head to Sunshine 60 street. There’s Tokyu Hands store on the right at the end of the street and you will see an overpass in front of you. Cross the road underneath the overpass and turn right. See the Toyota Amlux building on the left side of you and take the first left. You will see the blue Animate sign and the road in front of the shop is the Otome Road.
Animate Sunshine on Otome Road is specialized in cosplay. You can buy, sell, and wear costumes and even take photos, all in one building. 1F-3F is Animate’s cosplay shop ACOS selling clothes and wigs and many other cosplay items. 4F is Rashinban, another cosplay shop buying and selling second hand costumes. 5F-6F is HACOSTADIUM cosset, a cosplay photo studio. HACOSTADIUM provides many different settings and props to make the photo shoot easy and fun for both cosplay beginners and pros. The admission includes free use of SL cameras (1 hour only), tripods, reflection boards, amenities such as make up remover and hair spray and etc. 7F-8F is Animate Cafe, which is always packed with female visitors. They offer special menu in collaboration with different manga and anime monthly.
HACOSTADIUM cosset 10:00-20:30
Animate Cafe 11:00～21:30
Animate Sunshine (Japanese only)
There are 6 branches of K-BOOKS stores in Ikebukuro, each with a different specialty. 5 of K-BOOKS shops are located along Otome Road: Anime, Kyara (characters), Comics, Dojinshi (self published manga and novels), and Cosplay. Their comic shop and dojishi shop have the biggest collection of books in BL category in Ikebukuro.
K-BOOKS (Japanese only)
Akihabara has maid cafes and Ikebukuro has butler cafes. Swallowtail is a butler cafe where the waiters take the role as the guest’s butler. The waiters will address the female guests as “ojosama” which means “my lady.” Advance booking is required, or you can wait for a cancellation at the cafe on the day. They have a page on their website in English explaining how to make a reservation and its cancellation policy.
10:30-21:20 (Please check the closed dates on their website.)
P’Parco reopened in September 2014 with new shops focusing more on otakuish female customers. Rejet shop, anime shop MYU, and B★POINT sell items from manga and anime that are popular among women. Also, the official Evangelion store has been relocated from Harajuku to the 2F on P’Parco.
1-50-35 Higashi-ikebukuro Toshimaku Tokyo
P’Parco (Japanese only)
Yuzawaya is a large chain of craft shops in Japan. Their new shop opened in a new shopping building “WACCA” in Ikebukuro in 2014. You can find fabrics, wigs, many kinds of buttons, and other materials you need to create a cosplay costume here. They also display handmade costumes.
WACCA Ikebukuro 3F, 1-8-1 Higashi-ikebukuro, Toshimaku Tokyo
While Animate Sunshine is specialized in cosplay, Animate Ikebukuro offers a variety of anime and manga items including books. You will see many girls doing gachapon (capsule vending machine) in front of the shop and some exchanging the toys with one another.
1-20-7 Higashi-ikebukuro, Toshimaku Tokyo
Animate Ikebukuro (Japanese only)
SEGA Ikebukuro GiGO
A large game arcade on Sunshine 60 street. The 6F and 7F are entirely for purikura (sticker picture booths) and they rent out many costumes for free. There are makeup rooms as well, and visitors are allowed to do cosplay and take photos with the purikura machines. Note: Men are not allowed in the purikura area alone or as a group. Male-female couples are ok.
1-21-1 Higashi-ikebukuro, Toshimaku Tokyo
SEGA Ikebukuro GiGO (Japanese only)