The 60-story gray skyscraper rises in juxtaposition to its name, Sunshine City. But while the building may look like a villain’s lair from a comic book, it’s a shopping and entertainment center that can keep visitors busy all day.
Sunshine City, also known as Sunshine 60, is a mixed-use building located in Ikebukuro, Tokyo. It’s perfect for visiting on a rainy day, which is exactly what the city experienced on a recent Friday.
Popular destinations inside Sunshine City are the Pokémon Center, which recently reopened after a hiatus during Tokyo’s state of emergency; and Sky Circus, a top-floor observation deck that features virtual reality exhibits, such as a virtual ride on a coaster swinging over Ikebukuro. Sunshine City is also home to an aquarium and planetarium.
Admission is 1,200 yen, or about $ 11. Each VR experience costs 500 yen, or $ 4.
Another popular destination inside the center is the new Bandai Namco Gashapon department store. Added to the shopping complex in February, the store has the largest collection of capsule game machines in the world, over 3,000.
The Gashapon store was validated as the world’s largest by Guinness World Records in March, and at over 13,000 square feet, it’s a huge neon wonderland.
Gashapon is a traditional Japanese vending machine arcade game in which players are given a surprise toy inside a plastic egg. The blind nature of the game is a big part of the fun for many collectors; they insert coins in the hope of getting a certain item, but the exact toy they receive is randomly distributed.
Bandai Namco Gashapon Department Store offers machines from Japanese classics like Pokémon, Sailor Moon, and Super Mario, as well as familiar Japanese treasures like lifelike Gundam replicas and food. Each machine will cost players 300-800 yen per game.
Sunshine City also has popular clothing, toy and beauty stores like Axes Femme, 3 Coins, Thank You Mart, Etude House, Sanrio, the Disney Store, and a Studio Ghibli store.
Restaurants include popular chains like Italian Tomato, Curry House Coco Ichiban, Café Miami Garden, and Godiva. Pikachu Sweets, a cafe attached to the Pokémon Center, is still temporarily closed, but when it reopens, visitors will be able to find treats in the shape of beloved characters.
Sunshine City might be a fun place with a brilliant nickname, but dark lore follows it. The skyscraper is built on the former grounds of Sugamo Prison, which once held around 2,000 war crimes suspects during WWII, according to the National WWII Museum in New Orleans.
Several people were executed by hanging in Sugamo, including Prime Minister Hideko Tojo. The prison closed in 1962 and was demolished in 1971.
Sunshine City is often on the lists of Tokyo’s most haunted places due to its past, making it a popular destination for paranormal enthusiasts.
Whether or not you see the ghost of a guard or prisoner as some visitors claim, the austere building has a sense of strangeness due to its architecture, despite its name and the fun offerings inside.
ON THE QT
instructions: About a 12-minute walk from Ikebukuro station. Google Plus code: PPH9 + HR Toshima City, Tokyo
Times: Most Sunshine City stores are open every day from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Costs: Entrance to the building is free. Entrance to the Pokémon Shop and Training Center is also free. The Sky Circus Observatory costs 1,200 yen. The aquarium costs 2,400 yen for adults and 1,200 yen for most children.
Food: More than ten restaurants on site.
Information: Online: sunshinecity.jp/en/