Getting lost in Ikebukuro Station

Since my last post about getting lost in Shinjuku Station was pretty well received, I thought it would be interesting to address the other worst offender of complicated train systems: Ikebukuro Station.

Ikebukuro suffers from a lot of the same problems as Shinjuku — multiple train operators squished into a small space, identical looking corridors, and millions of people with places to be rushing past you.

And then there’s the unhelpful exit names — every time I see this sign, I want to pull my hair out.

I mean, seriously?!?

With Ikebukuro Station, the trick is to be aware of the shape of the station, and to usually ignore the dumb names (how does naming a corridor in an underground railway station after a fruit — “Apple Road”, “Orange Road” etc — useful to someone trying to find their way?!?). Fortunately, according to the Toshima City Office, they will be completely revamping the signage in Ikebukuro Station so that it’s easier to understand — including renaming all the exits.
JR East Exit -> East Exit (North)
Seibu East Exit -> East Exit (Central)
Seibu Exit -> East Exit (South)
North Exit -> West Exit (North)
West Exit -> West Exit (Central)
Prism Garden -> West Exit (South)
There are 3 main corridors that go from the East to the West sides of the station.

Being aware of where each of these exits are, in relation to the line you need to take, will help you avoid feeling lost in the labyrinth of passageways.

The good news is that they are trying to improve their wayfinding for the Olympics, so maybe sometime soon, we’ll see if it gets any easier. Until then, just ignore the dumb names, and you’ll be better off.

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