Ikebukuro (Otome Road)
The following is a quick tour of Otome Road in Ikebukuro. Don’t blink, you’ll miss it. Yes, the famous Otome Road is not that big. It’s really about a block long with a couple nearby satellite doujinshi shops. However, that does not diminish its wonders. But compared to Akihabara’s Otaku mecca, Otome Road is tiny.
There are other shops in Ikebukuro, such as Toranoana and some wonderful little manga/porn shops next to love hotels (Ikebukuro has plenty of those), but you can find those by exploring or reviewing CuSO4’s Tokyo Anime/Manga Shopping Guide.
Map of Ikebukuro & Brief Intro
This is a map of Ikebukuro from the Tokyo City Atlas — no one should visit or live in Tokyo without this bible. It’s all you need to get around. Really. As you can see I’ve marked the most important things (in brief — see below pictures for more details):
Map of Ikebukuro
Faint Yellow Line: The faint yellow line from Ikebukuro Station to Sunshine City is the path I walk daily. It’s not THAT far really. You want Exit 35 from Ikebukuro Station. You’ll walk down a main street which is fun with all sorts of shops.
Sunshine City Prince Hotel: While not the cheapest accommodation, it is the most convenient if you plan on extensive shopping in Ikebukuro and the Western side of Tokyo (Shinjuku, Shibuya, Harajuku etc.). Cheap and great food too! All the conveniences are here. Great big hotel, wonderful service, convenient!
Animate Etc.: This is often considered the main drag of Otome Road, and while it doesn’t look like much, bargains can be found at Lashinbang and K-Books.
Mandarake: A Mandarake filled with BL doujinshi and manga. But not the only one.
K-Books: Do not forget to go a little further and visit BOTH K-Books up the road here. One is for doujinshi and has two floors and the other is manga (mixed, but still lots of BL).
Post Office: My love for this post office knows no limits. Bought too much? Is it 4 a.m. and you can’t sleep? Pack some books and ship them off because this post office is open nearly 24/7. In fact, I only went once during normal office hours. After hours entry is through the doors and to the left. You may have to ring for service.
All right, let’s get cracking with the photos to help you get oriented.
From this angle, your back is to the Sunshine City Hotel. To the left is the region where the Red Arrow in the Map points to Animate Etc., and to the right is the region where the Red Arrow in the Map points to Mandarake. Oriented? Good. Let’s go left.
Here’s a wide view of Animate Etc. The one block long Otome Road. Cross the road and veer left.
K-Books Premium. This is for collector cards etc. Unless you are a collector card junkie, not much will interest you here. Keep moving towards Animate.
K-Books here has a bit of everything. Costumes, Character Goods. Bin diving here was a favourite pastime and always something to find.
Lashinbang was great fun too. Lots more Character Goods to be found and manga at decent prices.
Animate. It’s Animate. What can I say? Many floors of Otaku and Fujoshi heaven to explore. Find the latest and greatest here. All new, all full prices. Time to back track to the corner between K-Books Premium and Mandarake.
So here is Mandarake. Cross the road and prepare to descend to the depths.
Down the stairs you go. So… Mandarake Ikebukuro. I thought Shibuya’s Mandarake was better for BL, but this place was convenient. I loved going through the doujinshi and even their smaller selection of manga. But mostly doujinshi and nothing to really sneer at. Time to climb back up those stairs, and head in the opposite direction of Animate Etc. and towards K-Books.
A block away you will find this. To the left and up the stairs you’ll find two floors of blissful doujinshi. You too can spend days here and not emerge until the shop closes late at night. But don’t forget the other K-Books shop, past the Family Mart…
That’s right… past the Family Mart, keep going…
There it is! A small yet stuffed manga shop with a decent selection of BL manga at decent prices.
Shipping your goods home in Ikebukuro. Use the large sized boxes depicted here for shipping books home. They fit perfectly. Using your handy wheeled cart, depart the hotel to the post office.
Your right hand side is to the Sunshine City Hotel, your back is to Mandarake and you are facing the direction of the Post Office (just ahead and to the left).