Toshima-ku, a central Tokyo ward and the home of Ikebukuro, has a nice webpage explaining the history and cultures of 6 sections of the ward. They are:
Area A: Area to the east of Ikebukuro Station; mostly large buildings and shopping area.
Area B: Area to the west of Ikebukuro Station; includes Tokyo Metropolitan Theater 東京芸術劇場
Area C: Further to the east of Ikebukuro (past “Area A”) is Sunshine City サンシャインシティ, a 60-floor complex including shopping, dining, hotels, museums, etc.
Area D: far from the orbit of Ikebukuro station are Otsuka Station 大塚駅, Sugamo Station 巣鴨駅 (known for its concentration of old people), and Komagome Station 駒込駅. The old Nakasendo route 旧中山道 used to pass through this area of Toshima-ku.
Area E: Centered around Mejiro Station 目白駅, the following maps lists 16 points of interest. English descriptions of these sites can be found here: Mejiro, Takada, and Zoshigaya (Toshima Tourism Association)
Points of interest on the map of Area E are:
- (1) Akai Tori and Suzuki Miekichi 赤い鳥と鈴木三重吉: Suzuki Miekichi 鈴木三重吉, who founded the children’s magazine Akai Tori 赤い鳥 (Red Bird) in 1918, lived in this neighborhood. Today, only a small sign marks this spot.
- (2) Mejiro Garden 目白庭園 (Mejiro Teien)
- (3) Tokugawa Reimeikai Foundation 徳川黎明会; picture:
- (4) Mejiro Woods 目白の森 (Mejiro no mori)
- (5) Mejiro and Ochiai artists’ colony 目白・落合文化村 (Mejiro – Ochiai Cultural Village): according to the Toshima Tourism site, “Shinjuku’s exclusive Ochiai residential area is across the road that runs between Mejiro, Toshima, and Shimo Ochiai 2- and 3-chome in Shinjuku. In the past, the countless writers and artists who lived here formed an artists’ colony, and some of those famous people’s residences still remain today.”
- One of the best places to visit in this general area is the Tsune Nakamura Atelier Museum 中村彝アトリエ, which was the home and studio of Nakamura Tsune 中村彝 (1887-1924), and is now a museum.
- A similar atelier (now museum), is located off the map further to the west, the Yuzo Saeki Atelier Memorial Hall 佐伯祐三アトリエ記念館
- (6) Gakushuin University 学習院
- (7) Philatelic Museum 切手の博物館 (Stamp Museum)
- To the left of item #7, at the southern end of the map, is the breathtaking Hitachi Mejiro Club 日立目白クラブ, which was built circa 1928-29.
- (8) Konjoin Temple 金乗院
- (9) Nanzoin temple 南蔵院
- (10) Omokage Bridge and Kanda River 面影橋と神田川: cherry blossom viewing spot
- (11) Konshoin Temple 根生院
- (12) Yadozaka 宿坂 (“dark hill”)
- (13) Chitose Bridge 千登世橋
- (14) Zōshigaya Kishimojin-do 雑司が谷鬼子母神 (temple built in 1629)
- (15) Homyo Temple 法明寺 (Homyoji)
- (16) Mejiro 2-chome 目白二丁目: quiet, maze-like residential area
All of the above points are included in the following Google Map:
Area F: This area, southwest of Ikebukuro Station, is a quiet residential area that has a history steeped in art and culture, including:
- “Sakuragaoka Parthenon” 「さくらが丘パルテノン」: former artists’ colony / アトリエ村 “atelier village”
- Former site of “Tokiwa-so” 「トキワ荘」, a boarding house where manga artists like Tezuka Osamu lived; they earned the name 「トキワ荘のヒーローたち」 “Heroes of Tokiwa-so”; this structure is scheduled to be rebuilt as a museum by 2020; ‘Starting point of manga’ apartment to be rebuilt
- Ikebukuro’s yami-ichi (post-war black market), in miniature
- Ochiai Walking Map Among the Three Museums 落合記念館散策マップ