Want to live in central Tokyo that’s a more authentic place that isn’t infested with tourist spots and high end shopping malls? Welcome to Ikebukuro on the yamanote line. The rents here are sligthly lower than Shinjuku and shibuya but still offer excellent nightlife and restaurants. The typical resident here is middle class rather than upper middle class. Ikebukuro also had somewhat of a bad reputation in the past, apparently many criminals operated in this part of the inner city. There was even a j-drama depicting yakuzas in ikebukuro. Now, I don’t know the details or crime rate statistics for Ikebukuro in present day but all I can say is that’s pretty damn safe as most places in Tokyo. Violent crime rates in Japan is extremely low in general and anecdotally you can walk alone at night in ikebukuro just fine.
Ikebukuro was the one of the first places I ever sat foot in when I visited Japan for the first time and I remember thinking this place isn’t crowded with tourists in the same way shibuya, harajuku and shinjuku is. Ikebukuro is in the north part of the inner city and generally speaking north tokyo is cheaper than south Tokyo. Also, a long of language schools are concetrated in the north of tokyo, probably because the living costs are sligthly lower,
Though one downside with ikebukuro, if you’re looking for night clubs to dance you will have a hard time, it definitely isn’t packed with night clubs like shibuya is. So if you’re 20s something bachelor looking to party 3 times a week ikebukuro shouldn’t be your first choice. However, if you enjoy a more calmer night out going to bars and restaurants, ikebukuro shouldn’t be dismissed.