Ikebukuro (池袋) is one of the major hubs of Tokyo located in Toshima Ward about 4km north of Shinjuku. For high-school and university students living in the neighbouring prefecture of Saitama, it is also the first major commercial center before Shinjuku and Shibuya—and therefore a convenient place to meet friends. Because of this chain restaurants and cheap eateries are aplenty.
It is also a good area for shopping and discount-hunting, and many of the major department chains (Seibu, Tobu, Marui) have a store near the station. While it may not be able to compete with its bigger siblings Shinjuku and Shibuya for neon lights and cachet, it does nevertheless offer visitors several attractions, including one of the best observation decks in the capital.
There is also Mikuni-koji—a short sidestreet of izakaya and eateries that preserves the atmosphere of the Showa era better than just about any other yokocho in the capital. That it does so while remaining just a stone’s throw away from the second busiest station in the capital, is something of a mystery.