Tokyo Pokemon Centre & Shibuya Crossing | Japan Solo Travel 2017

July 04, 2017

Nonetheless, I shook off the initial nerves and continued my way to Sunshine City. If you think Singapore MRT is confusing with up to 6 exits sometimes, you haven't been to Tokyo. Ikebukuro itself has almost 50 exits — one wrong turn and you're on the other side of town! The signs were sometimes misleading too, disappearing halfway through my commute. Thankfully, my Japan SIM card (click) worked fine even underground so I gave up following the signs and relied on Google maps instead.

I found it amusing that Japanese were uniformly dressed in black although their shops boast winter coats in a wide array of colours.

Sunshine City, Tokyo

Japan, 〒170-0013 Tokyo, Toshima, Higashiikebukuro, 3丁目1番

Nearest Metro Station
Ikebukuro Station
via Marunouchi Line (Red), Yurakucho Line (Gold) or Fukutoshin Line (Brown)
Exit 35

Opening Hours
10am to 8pm daily

Telephone Number
+81 3-3989-3331

If Sunshine City sounds familar, it's probably because the 60-storey skyscraper boasts popular cartoon shops like J-World (for Naruto), Disney Store and Sanrio Vivitix.

More importantly, Sunshine City is home to Japan's biggest Pokemon Centre, Pokemon Center Mega Tokyo.

You can easily spot Pokemon Center Mega Tokyo, located on the 2nd floor of Sunshine City, when you go up the escalator. Although customers streamed in and out of the store occasionally, I could still catch a clear shot of the iconic Pikachu riding on Charizard.

I've always been a great fan of the Pokemon franchise, even completing the National Pokedex for my Alpha Sapphire game, but I still found the prices at Pokemon Center Mega Tokyo a tad too steep. If you're a die hard fan of Pokemon, the Pokemon Centre will be a great place for you to spend your yen on merchandise that you won't find outside of Japan. Be prepared to spend at least SGD $10 for a small keychain.

In the end, I purchased a limited edition Pikachu keychain for my brother and a Tokyo-exclusive Pikachu plushie for memory's sake.

You could see from my face that I was completely exhausted from sleeping on overnight buses two nights in a row. However, I'm thankful that I chose to go extremely budget for my trip in Japan — I don't think my body will be able to take this ten years later. Worn out as I was, it became an interesting story to tell.

The Pokemon Center in Sunshine City had an entire "gym" for games. Unfortunately, I couldn't join the games as all the games were in Japanese.

It was almost 1pm by the time I was done with Pokemon Centre, and I was famished! I decided to go for some good ol' ramen, my comfort food. Since Google showed an abundance of good ramen stalls around Ikebukuro and I'm not picky when it comes to food, I randomly entered the first ramen stall I spotted.

Ikkakuya Ramen

1-13-12 Higashiikebukuro Toshima Tokyo

Nearest Metro Station

Opening Hours
Monday to Friday 11am to 2am
Saturday and Sunday 10am to 2am

Telephone Number
+81 80-5986-4577

Even with Ikkakuya Ramen's English menu, I wasn't familiar with Japanese terms or the names of Japanese food so I ended up going for their signature dish. Can't go wrong with the chef's recommendation right?

I spotted a sign plastered on the door that if I add Ikkakuya Ramen's official account on WeChat, I'll get to redeem a drink but I didn't expect the drink to be bigger than my face!

After savouring my bowl of piping hot ramen, I left Ikebukuro to head back to Shinjuku-Sanchome since it was nearing my check in time at Tokyo Imano Hostel (review here). Upon checking in, I hurriedly unpacked for a much-needed hot shower. Imagine my surprise when I foud out that my hostel has a bathtub! Since when do hostels and bathtubs ever go together?!

After soaking in the bathtub for an hour, I felt revitalised and ready to explore Tokyo. Except that, while packing, I realised that I couldn't find my bag of purchases from Pokemon Centre T__T Frustrated at myself for being muddle-headed and vexed about the possibility of spending more yen to repurchase my merchandise, I was on the verge of tears after freaking out for an hour.

Eventually, I picked myself up since there was no point crying over spilled milk. Fortunately, I have the habit of documenting my day via random photos to help me remember minor details when I write my blog posts so I could easily revisit the places I've been to.

In the end, I found my bag of Pokemon merchandise sitting in the bags storage area where I had ramen for lunch; I had picked up my backpack but forgotten about my shopping bag -_____- While I was immensely thankful that Japanese's integrity, I faced problems communicating to the store owner that the shopping bag left behind in the afternoon belonged to me.

Thoroughly embarrassed that my grasp of Japanese is worse than that of a five-year-old, I chose to simply turn out of the shop after grabbing my things T_T I'm so sorry for being rude and possibly causing a confusion, but I was creating a huge commotion trying to explain my situation and I didn't want to disturb the patrons any longer T___T

In the end, because I travelled back and forth, I realised I should have gotten the Tokyo unlimited Metro pass as it'd have been more worth it instead of topping up my card the entire day. Oh well, no one to blame except myself.

Can't say you've been to Tokyo if you didn't find yourself getting lost in Shibuya Scramble Crossing teeming with thousands of hectic commuters everyday. The organised chaos was mersmerising but underwhelming — or maybe I just had too high an expectation for Tokyo after dreaming about it for years. If you'd like a top view of the Shibuya Scramble Crossing, I'd suggest buying something at the Starbucks nearby and take an hour or so to people watch, which was what I did.

The Starbucks, said to bring in the most revenue of all Starbucks in the world, is always packed so you may have to wait a bit before you secure a seat that gives you a good view of the Shibuya Scamble Crossing.

Starbucks Coffee SHIBUYA TSUTAYA

21-6 Udagawa-cho, Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan; 81-(0)3-3770-2301

Nearest Metro Station
Shibuya Station
via Ginza Line (gold line), Hanzomon Line (purple line), Fukutoshin Line (brown line)
Exit 6-3

Opening Hours
6:30am to 4:30am


Expectedly, there were many tourists crowding around to get a good shot of Shibuya Scramble Crossing, and I managed to make a few friends during the few hours that I spent there. I was soooo excited to finally be talking to people who understood English and Chinese that I chatted animatedly to no end! A couple of Taiwanese girls from Taoyuan even praised me for being brave enough to travel solo.

Spotted a few go karts driven by cosplayers and I found out it's a recurring activity in Tokyo — trust the Japanese to be innovative! I wanted to have a go on it, but apparently, you need a legit driver's license to drive the Mario Go-Kart T_T I don't expect otherwise though, since you're driving on real roads and expected to follow Tokyo traffic rules.

My friend who tried the Mario Go-Kart in Tokyo told me it's difficult to get the tickets when you're in Tokyo. If you're interested in driving a Go-Kart while cosplaying your favourite Mario character, I suggest you make your booking online (link).

In the end, I made friends with an Australian fellow solo traveller who helped me take some shots at the busy Shibuya Scramble Crossing.

Wonder what's the rationality behind this slightly sexist sign

I had some troubles along the way regarding a guy following me, so I continued wandering the streets of Shibuya a bit before boarding the last train in Tokyo back to my hostel to make sure I wasn't getting followed back since the roads are eerily quiet to my hostel. In hindsight, that was dangerous and silly of me. Although Japan's a relatively safe country, it was still my first night in Tokyo and I wouldn't have known where to go or what to do if I had missed the last train and had the guy still hot on my heels T_T

Thankfully, I made it back to my hostel safely for a good night's rest before my day trip to Hakone.


Japan Solo Travel (January 2017)

Tokyo Summary and Getting Around Tokyo | Tokyo Imano Hostel Review | Tokyo Pokemon Centre & Shibuya Crossing | Tokyo Lockers and Shinjuku Gyoen Garden | Tokyo Harajuku (Shopping, Food, Daiso) | Tokyo bills Omotesando (Tokyu Plaza)

Hakone One Day Itinerary | Hakone Tozan Railway and Cable Car | Seeing Mt Fuji at Owakudani | Hakone Ropeway and Sightseeing Cruise | Trekking to see Hakone Shrine and Mt Fuji

9 Hours Narita Capsule Hotel Review | Tokyo Narita Airport

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