Sunshine City is a huge shopping and entertainment mecca with four towers, including a 240 metre high skyscraper with an observation deck on the top. The main tower building, is actually the second highest building in Tokyo. The Sunshine City Prince Hotel is housed in one of the smaller towers at the complex. The lower levels of Sunshine City are a monstrous maze of shops and tourist attractions, as well as a theatre and exhibition space.
The lift of the tower alone is an attraction in its self, being the fastest in the world it takes only thirty five seconds to reach the top. The highlight of the ride would have to be the illuminated dolphins and unicorns, ambient music and beautifully dressed lift operators making the trip to the top an interesting journey.
The centre opened in 1978 and is Tokyo’s oldest “City within a City”. It sits on land that was once occupied by Sugamo Prison. Sunshine City is typically open from 10 am to 10 pm seven days a week.
The Sunshine International Aquarium is a popular attraction where there are plenty of great underwater exhibits to entertain the whole family. There are the usual sharks, stingrays, tropical fish and sea life, but the most popular exhibits are the penguins, seals and sea otters which are well worth the entry fee. The aquarium sits on the 10th Floor, which gives it the title of the worlds highest aquarium. (you have got to wonder), but the 20,000 odd fish don’t seem to mind.
There are feedings at the aquarium every hour and one of the largest tanks holds over 120 tons of water. The seals do performances during the day with extra shows on weekends and holidays.
Another great family attraction is the planetarium, where you can learn about the solar system and the universe. The Cosmic Safari takes visitors on a journey to see the wonders in outer-space.
The Bunka Kaikan building is home to the Ancient Orient Museum which has an amazing collection of artefacts and is well worth a look.
The Sunshine City complex is also home to the Namco Namja Town. Namja Town is a collection of food theme parks and other interesting dining establishments. The centre has a series of kittens as mascots and there are plenty of them to choose from in the gift shop. Some of the food parks include Ice Cream City and the Tokyo Dessert Republic. Then for the Gyoza lover, there is Ikebukuro Gyoza stadium, the list goes on with dozens of tasty attractions. There is a small fee to enter the complex and then the fun begins. There are various carnival amusements at Namja town too, like a haunted house, merry-go-round and video shooting games. Make sure you go hungry as there is so much to try across the two jammed packed floors of food and adventure.
One store no visitor to Japan should miss is Tokyu Hands, a shop that can only be described as a cross between a hardware store and a hobby shop. Tokyu Hands is a great place for gift shopping, as many of the items for sale can’t be found outside Japan. Tokyu Hands has several branches across the country, but their Sunshine City store is one of their larger stores and also has a rather odd attraction known as Nekobukuro. Nekobukuro is basically a room full of cats to the side of the 8th floor pet department, the idea is when you don’t have room for your own cat (neko in Japanese) at home, you can come to Nekobukuro and pay to pat one of the cats there.
The complex is very easy to get to by rail, it’s about a 8 min walk from Ikebukuro Station or a 3 min walk from Higashi-Ikebukuro Station (Y10) on Tokyo Metro’s Yūrakuchō Line.
For more information visit the official website http://www.sunshinecity.co.jp/