Ultimate guide to Toshima
Time Out Tokyo

New map out now: The ultimate guide to Toshima ward

Explore the nightlife that Oku-Ikebukuro, Otsuka and Sugamo have to offer

Written by
Time Out Tokyo Editors

Time Out Tokyo released its first edition guide maps on February 28, 2020 featuring the fabulous nightlife in Toshima ward that’s only improved since the efforts to revitalise the city. Toshima may be host to the largest number of foreigners living in Tokyo, but most of them spend their evenings elsewhere  at tourist hotspots such as Shinjuku, Roppongi or Shibuya. To show you why that might be about to change, we’ve focused on three main areas, Oku-Ikebukuro, Otsuka and Sugamo, and picked out 10 venues each – these hidden gems are loved by locals and visitors alike. 

Sakenoma is the place for sake snobs. This shop is always stocked with at least 30 kinds of sake, along with snacks and dishes that pair well with Japan’s national booze, including the speciality spiced curry and potato salad. The popular dishes usually sell out quickly, so we recommend ordering them immediately. 

Otsuka is home to all things retro. Many buildings have neon-lit signs reminiscent of the 1950s and ‘60s, just like the Otsuka Batting Center. While spending an evening drinking at an izakaya is fun, why not try something different and relieve some stress by taking a swing at some fastballs? 

Enjoy a moment of musical bliss at Rocket Cafe, home to audiophiles who want to listen to classical music while sipping their coffee. This café was opened by a former engineer who set up purpose-built speakers aroundthe room to get the best sound, and boasts an impressive collection of vinyl records.

Exploring a new place after dark can feel daunting, but there’s no need to worry in Toshima: the locals help make the area safe at all hours. The police and members of local associations patrol the streets frequently as part of the neighbourhood’s safety strategy, cracking down on touts, false advertising and littering. There are over 1,100 security cameras installed throughout the area, but it’s the fact that safety is a community effort that really makes us feel at ease in Toshima. 

The cover art on all three maps have been drawn by Berlin-based illustrator, Yoshimitsu Nippashi. Collect all three maps and you’ll see the drawingsconnect when you put them next to each other. 

Get a copy of this guide map now at selected outlets around Toshima ward, tourist information centers within Tokyo, Haneda airport, Narita airport, and Time Out Cafe & Diner. Make sure to check out the Global Ring Theater, located just outside Ikebukuro station, every Wednesday, where you’ll get to see free classical music concerts at Tokyo Music Evening Yube. (This event is currently cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak).

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