With our hotels located in Ikebukuro on our first two trips to Japan, Ikebukuro station was where we learned to use the Japanese rail system. After a lot of practice on our second trip to Japan, the Tokyo train and subway system really became second nature for us.
Looking back on it though, Ikebukuro station being the second busiest station in Japan (Shinjuku is currently #1) may not have been the best place to learn how to use the rail system. But on the other hand, after learning to navigate Ikebukuro station successfully, we felt a lot more confident going to any of the other stations around Tokyo. I guess I’m glad we jumped right in to this busy station, there are lots of signs in English so it’s really not that bad.
Here’s a link to the JR Ikebukuro Station Map if you are interested in a closer look.
Ikebukuro Station – Area Map
View Ikebukuro in a larger map