The main train hub for the area is Ikebukuro, covered in a separate article.
The Toden Arakawa line, the last streetcar line in Tokyo, putters through Toshima starting from Waseda University (just across the district line in Shinjuku), through Zoshigaya, Ikebukuro, and all the way to Minowa at the northern edge of Taito.
There is, quite frankly, very little in the way of attractions for tourists in Toshima.
- Zōshigaya Cemetery (雑司が谷霊園 Zōshigaya-reien), Minami-Ikebukuro 4-chome (near Higashi-Ikebukuro station). The final resting place of Lafcadio Hearn is about the most exciting attraction in this neck of the woods.
- Kōgan-ji Temple (高岩寺), 3-35-2 Sugamo. This small temple in Sugamo is known for two statues: Togenuki Jizō, who heals sick children, and the boddhisattva Kannon, who will cure your pains if you wash themagical appropriate part of the statue. More morbidly, you can also pray to Kannon for a swift and painless death, so you will not be a burden to your relatives in your old age. Visitors pray Enmei Jizōson for their health too. The way to pray is unusual. People drink a small Japanese paper. A small picture of a stone statue of Enmei Jizōson is drawn on it.
- Myōkō-ji Temple (妙行寺) (15 min from JR Sugamo station). According to legend, the grave of Lady Oiwa (Oiwa-san) in Yotsuya Kaidan, Japan's best-known ghost story and a direct inspiration for the Ring horror movies, is in this temple. In a nutshell, the beautiful Oiwa was disfigured, divorced and killed, and then comes back to haunt the people who wronged her.
- Honmyōji Temple (本妙寺), 5-35-6 Sugamo (10 min from JR Sugamo station). This temple is known for a fire called Meireki-no-Taika, an inferno 400 years ago which killed over 100,000 people. It is said that this fire broke out in Honmyōji. There are also some tombs of famous people in this temple. A Japanese swordman Chiba Shūsaku and a political office leader Tōyama Kinshirō, for example.
- Asukayama Park (飛鳥山公園), 1-1-3 Oji (1 min from JR Ōji station), ☎ 03-3908-9275. Asukayama Park is the first park in Japan. It has about 650 sakura trees, planted by the Japanese political leader Yoshimune Tokugawa (1684-1751). People drink and eat under them when the cherry blossoms bloom in spring. There are also some museums in the park. The paper museum shows the history of paper and has a library. The Shibusawa museum is about the famous Japanese industrialist Eiich Shibusawa (1840-1931), who played an important role in the development of Japan.
- Hōmyōji (法明寺) (3-18-18 Minamiikebukuro), ☎ 03-3971-4383. Famous Japanese temple built in 810. Features the statue of Kishimojin (鬼子母神像) who is a Japanese God of fertility. Visitors go to Hōmyōji to pray for their children's birth, growth and security. The Kishimojin figure typically take the form of the devil, but this statue holds a baby, and the figure is beautiful. In this temple the Oeshiki-Taisai festival (御会式大祭) is held from October 16 to October 18 every year.
- Ikebukuro is home to two of the largest department stores in the world, Seibu and Tobu.
- Sugamo (巣鴨) (On the JR Yamanote and Toei Mita lines). Popularly known as "Grandma's Harajuku" (obaachan no Harajuku), and indeed most shops in the area do seem targeted towards an older clientèle. For the (rare) tourist, however, this means a plentiful supply of tea, pottery, kitchen implements and clothes in styles that went out of fashion 50 years ago. The area is at its liveliest on the 4th, 14th and 24th of each month when a street market is held.
- Maruji (丸治), Sugamo 4-21-11 and three other outlets nearby. Probably the most famous and successful shop in Sugamo, Maruji specializes in one thing: red underwear (赤パンツ aka-pantsu). By energizing a pressure point below your navel, Maruji's crimson panties, boxers and long-johns will keep you warm and fill you with vigor — or so they say. ¥800 and up.
- Konaya (古奈屋), Sugamo 3-37-1. Open for lunch only daily except Monday. The original shop of restaurant chain renowned for its curry udon noodles. The noodles are cut by hand, the special curry stock is brewed for two days, and ¥1050 will get you some mighty fine tasting udon.
- Akebono Sushi, 1-9-23 Minami-Ikebukuru, ☎ .
- Fight Gyoza (ファイト餃子), 3-7-3 Nisisugamo, ☎ . Japanese gyoza is boiled ordinally. But the fight Gyozas are hoisted after boiled. It is a very famous restaurant for gyoza. So many people stand in a line in front of the restaurant.
- Souten (蒼天), Otsuka 3-39-13 (JR Otsuka South Exit, cross the tram line, walk past the shrine, left then right. If you get to the junior high school, you've gone too far), ☎ . High-end yakitori. Five stick set from around ¥1,600. Do try the chicken sashimi--outside the comfort zone for many visitors, but you may be pleasantly surprised. Extensive selection of nihonshu featuring Kozaemon. From ¥5,000.
Ikebukuro has an extensive assortment of places to drink and get drunk, detailed in that article. For sampling sake, JR Otsuka station has a number of good choices:
- Edoya (Towards south exit).
- Konakara (Towards north exit).
- Omamori (near Shin-Otsuka metro station).
- Crowne Plaza Metropolitan Hotel Tokyo, 1-6-1 Nishi-Ikebukuro, ☎ . This 4-star hotel has elegant rooms, complimented by many in-house restaurants including offering Sichuanese, Cantonese, Japanese and Italian cuisine.
- APA Hotel Tokyo Itabashi, 4-47-1 Kami-Ikebukuro, ☎ . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. This three star hotel offers a convenient location near the Itabshi Station, 3 min to Ikebukuro and 8min to Shinjuku.