Location: Sunshine City and Namco Namja Town

It's been a while since my last post, but I've been busy! I'm pretty tired today, as Monday night (Tuesday morning, 4:30 AM to be exact) my neighbors decided to have a bit of a loud conversation. It was two guys and two girls, and I'm sure alcohol was involved at some point that night. Eventually things settled down and I went back to sleep, but I didn't sleep too well last night either. I'm headed to bed soon, but first I want to get a post up on the blog!

My work days are kind of intense. I still haven't quite adjusted back into working mode, so I have only a little time in the morning to handle minor business (cleaning, laundry, etc), and my nights are mostly spent relaxing. But come the weekend, I hit the town! I ended up in Ikebukuro a few weeks ago and decided to swing by the Sunshine City tower and mall.
 As you can see, it's quite a tall building. There's an observation deck, museum, aquarium, planetarium, hotel, convention center, theater, and today's destination, Namja Town.
The entrance sits on the second floor of the mall. Admission isn't too expensive (300 yen), and includes access to the entire theme park area and most of the "attractions" found inside.
 The theming is done very well. Most "displays" have buttons or doors to open and interact with. There are a few games which interact with gadgets you can "rent" - like ghost-hunting wands in the haunted house, and idol gadget devices you can put inside the exhibits to play even more.
 While I have no photos (it's very dark), be sure to walk through the haunted house area. In fact, I recommend spending a lot of time searching through every inch of the amusement areas, with doors to open, buttons to push, and knobs to turn. Put your hands in holes, and try to open every door. There are secrets to be found!

 There are two "restaurant" areas in the theme park. One is "Gyoza (pot sticker) Stadium", which as the name implies, is a large area filled with many small gyoza restaurants. It's not a stadium, in the traditional sense, but an area themed to look like small back streets of a Tokyo neighborhood, as seen above.
 Some parts of the stadium are additional little "stores" which are just additional areas to explore or serve as a place for diners to sit and eat. Again, on the back streets, be sure to open doors and look for buttons to push.
 The majority of the complex is on two levels; the gyoza stadium and haunted house on one level, and Ice Cream City and Dessert Republic on the second. The stairs lead between the levels, or take the escalators like everybody else.
The "Dessert Republic" area has even more interesting interactive elements, and even rooms that look like small chapels.

There are "pay" attractions, a few of which are good for those who don't speak Japanese. These include the merry-go-round on the upper floor, a laser shooting game, a haunted inn attraction, and a laser shooting ride. The "ghost hunting" wand game is in Japanese, and it looks like fun (if you can understand the language), but I wasn't able to give it a chance. The same goes for the interactive idols - it might be fun if you have someone to help translate for you.

I recommend Namja Town for foreign tourists while exploring Sunshine City as a place to try some gyoza and let your kids have a bit of fun. Buy the 300 yen admission pass and consider your next couple hours to be filled (if you're young at heart or have children). Note that the gyoza and desserts cost a good bit extra (400-500 yen per plate of gyoza and 400-600 yen per ice cream/dessert item - more than you'd pay at most restaurants). But, a group can split up and buy all nine different types of gyoza (to the tune of about 4000 yen) and receive a certificate.

Don't forget to put your hand in the holes in the haunted house, and be sure to find the toilet sound booth attraction!

English information on Namja Town can be found here (PDF link). It's easy to find Sunshine City from the east exit of Ikebukuro Station, but you should check a map to see the exact directions. Namja Town is in the "World Import Mart" building. Enter via 1F, and you might want to see this site for directions (though some parts of Namja Town have changed, including the prices).

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