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Tokyo: Toshima-ku, Ikebukuro Area

Japan With Kids - Forums: Playgroups and Pals: Tokyo: Toshima-ku, Ikebukuro Area
By Kat on Friday, May 21, 1999 - 5:17 pm:

We are a group of 8 families currently meeting once a month in parks in Nerima ward, and vicinity. We come from the US, N. Ireland, Singapore, and Japan. Our children are 8 mos to 11 yrs. old. We extend an invitation to anyone interested in joining for once or come regularly. Our children communicate in English with each other. Contact Katherine (Kat) or Tel/fax 3993-4276.

By Kat on Thursday, June 24, 1999 - 2:37 pm:

An update to the above. Our group consists of several families living around the Ikebukuro area, but from as far as Shinjuku and Saitama. The parent's goal is for the children to use English with each other since they get so much Japanese everywhere else, but they use both. Our schedule now is to meet the second Thurs. and third Sunday each month, locations vary. Currently the leader is looking for someone else to take over the responsibilty of organizing the date and location of our playdates. So if you volunteer to be the leader you can meet when and where you like best!
kat <>

By Georgina Grell on Sunday, July 2, 2000 - 5:00 pm:

Hi there,
I hope you haven't been swamped by requests to meet and might find the time / interest to give me a call.
My name is Georgina Grell, I am british and have just arrived in Tokyo with my daughter, Maya who is nearly three months old.
We live near Higashi Ikebukuro, very close to Zoshigaya.
My telephone number is:
3986 3526
Our furniture has not arrived yet, so I won't be able to communicate via e-mail (I'm writing this from my husband's office -don't they have internet cafes in Tokyo??)
Looking forward to hearing from you,
kind regards,

By Lisa Sullivan on Tuesday, September 19, 2000 - 12:11 am:

Hi, we are looking for three-year-olds and their English-speaking parents to join our Polar Bear Club, which meets every Tuesday for songs, crafts, activities, dancing and free play in the Higashi Ikebukuro Jidokan (Children's Hall), near Mitsukoshi on the west side of Ikebukuro station.

Lisa Sullivan

By Sherri Leibert on Monday, August 20, 2001 - 4:08 pm:

Hi, I have noticed that some of these posts are over a year old. Are any of these playgroups still going on?

I am an American (partner is Japanese), I have a daughter who is now 3 months old (born May 2001). I live in Nishi Ikebukuro (in between Ikebukuro and Mejiro). I am new to motherhood and would like to meet anyone in the area who would like to get together.

By Mie Cook on Tuesday, March 12, 2002 - 7:19 pm:

I am seeking friends for a play group with any nationality , any language. But sorry Japanese and English are the only language I can manage.

I live near JR Itabashi, which is the first stop from Ikebukuro, with my husband (British) and 11 month old daughter.

I have a few friends and am wishing to start a play group with hopefully a bit more people from April 2002. email: cmsf[at]

By Kay Oda on Saturday, June 28, 2003 - 6:10 pm:

I am moving to Tokyo (Oizumigakuen on Seibu Ikebukuro Line) early next year. I have two kids (5 & 2) who are bilingual in English and Japanese. I am looking for a fun, active, friendly playgroup for my kids. Please help me out!

Also, does anyone know anything about CAJ? If you do, please share your info. with me.
Thank You!


By Shakiba Khan on Thursday, October 16, 2003 - 6:52 pm:

I am looking for a play group for my 11 month old daughter near Nerima or Ikebukuro Area. Or on Oedo line (which is more stroller friendly). I am from Pakistan so english will be the only language I can use to communicate.
Please contact me at Shakiba1776[at]

By Lisa E. Sullivan on Friday, December 26, 2003 - 4:03 pm:

Hello Kay,
I'm not sure if you are still looking for a playgroup, but we are looking for members for Polar Bear Club. We meet at the Nishi-ikebukuro jidokan in Ikebukuro (near the fire station) on Tuesday mornings.
Lisa Sullivan

By henrietta on Wednesday, June 2, 2004 - 6:14 am:

We may be moving to Japan in August with our two children, Arthur (nearly 7) and Iphigénie (5). We are considering sending them to the New International School. Do you know it and do you know whether it is good or not? Also, what is Ikebukuro area like to live in?
Arthur is a very active boy. What can we hope for in the way of play grounds? Are there open parks for children? Do appartments have common play areas?

Thanks for any ideas you can give us.

By Bethan Hutton on Wednesday, June 2, 2004 - 10:10 pm:

Hi Henrietta,

My son (aged 5) goes to the NIS so I can probably help. As you probably know, the school is only three years old, and my son has only been there a year, but as far as I can see they seem to have got everything running very well. My son loves it there, and has learnt a huge amount without seeming at all pressurised. It follows a multi-age, bilingual system, so in my son's class there are about 30 children aged from about 5 to 7, with three home-room teachers, two of whom speak English all the time, and one of whom speaks Japanese. The children do most activities in small groups, and are free to choose their own activities for at least some parts of the day. It may sound like a complicated system, but it seems to work pretty well. There are also specialist teachers for art, music, PE, Taekwondo, Chinese (optional) and English as a second language.

The majority of the children are either Japanese or have one Japanese parent, but there are also children from all sorts of other countries - US, UK, Australia, France, Korea, China, India, Finland and probably lots more that I don't know about.

If you are seriously considering the school, you should contact them and try and look round as soon as you can - probably difficult though if you are not going to be over before you actually move here.

As for Ikebukuro, I wouldn't recommend Ikebukuro itself as a residential area - it's more shopping/offices/entertainment, but there are plenty of nice residential areas within easy reach of the school, eg Mejiro, Edogawabashi, Kohinata, Myogadani, Koishikawa, Otsuka, Ichigaya, Zoshigaya, and plenty more further out but on train lines which go straight to Ikebukuro.

Have you been to Tokyo before? If so, you will know that there are not many large, open green spaces, but quite a lot of small parks/playgrounds tucked around in residential areas. Not many apartment blocks have private play areas, except for some of the huge public housing estates, or very upmarket expat blocks.

Really it is hard to decide on what area suits your needs until you arrive and have a chance to look around, but if you would like a few more detailed suggestions in the meantime, please feel free to email me directly at

By Sherri Leibert on Thursday, June 3, 2004 - 12:02 am:

Hi Henrietta,

I've lived in and around
Ikebukuro for over 10 years.
Before I had kids I lived very
happily within walking
distance of the metropolitan
exit of Ikebukuro (and about 10
minutes from Mejiro). It was a
great place to live, lots of
things to do, restaurants etc.
But once I had kids we moved
2 stops away because I didn't
find the area very kid-friendly.

I agree with Bethan. It is an
urban area with few parks or
open spaces. The few parks
that you may find are full of
homeless men. If you possibly
can, try to live within a short
commute instead of right in
Ikebukuro. Now we are only a
10-15 bike ride away but it is
much better. We live in a
house with a small yard and
there is a nice park right
across the street from us.

My kids are too young for
school now, if we were staying
here, I would probably send
them to New International--but
we are leaving this July. I met
some of the teachers while my
daughter played in a park that
is used by the school and got
a good impression of the
school from them.

I wish you the best in your
search for a place to live.

By Lisa on Sunday, October 16, 2005 - 9:50 am:

Hello everyone, we are looking for children aged 0 to 5 and their English-speaking parents to join Panda Bear Club, which will meet Mondays starting October 24th for songs, crafts, books and free play in the Higashi Ikebukuro Jidokan (Children's Hall), near Mitsukoshi on the west side of Ikebukuro station.

Lisa Sullivan

By Sarah Yasuhara on Tuesday, May 23, 2006 - 4:43 pm:

Hello everyone

We are looking for new members for Polar
Bear club. Polar Bear Club is a cooperative
playgroup aimed at pre-kindergarten age
children. Polar Bear is an English speaking
playgroup . We meet on Tuesday mornings
at Nishi-ikebukuro Jidokan. If you are
interested in joining please call me.


By Harue on Tuesday, April 15, 2008 - 3:19 pm:

Hello everyone.
We are looking for children aged 0 to 3 and their English-speaking parents to join our group, the Panda Bear Club. This is an English speaking cooperative playgroup which meets on Monday mornings three times a month at the Nishi Ikebukuro Kumin Hiroba.
If Mondays don't work, please join the Polar Bear Club which meets on Tuesday mornings, with children ages 0-5.

Please join us for a fun time with songs, story time, and crafts.

If you are interested please contact Yuka at 090-1439-0562.
Thank you.

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