Sunshine City was opened in 1978 in the Ikebukuro district, and standing at a height of 240 meters, it was Japan’s tallest building for more than a decade. What is in a name? Does it bring hope to those looking up to the skies to a ray of sunshine? if Sunshine city can reach the skies, so can we.
Namja Town was opened in 1996 in Sunshine City. Its cat mascot reminds me of the maneki-neko in Japanese (literally “beckoning cat”). It is the brainchild of Namco, the video game company that also created Pac Man.
The theme of the park is Town of Memories, Odoroki (Surprise), and Tokimeki (flutter). The 1950s is a time of nostalgic longing for the Japanese people, one that may surprise some, but giving a flutter of rediscovery for others.
What is nostalgia?
Many visitors to Japan may be surprised that older Japanese are not nostalgic about Samurai, but about the 1950s and 60s. That was the time when the current generation of grandparents was born and raised.
It was a time of high growth after World War II and Tokyo’s first Olympic Games in 1964, a time when Japan was full of vitality, and anything seemed possible. It was also around this time that the Tokyo Tower was built, so tall that it forced people to look to the skies in hope for the future.
While I was too young to be there in 1964, the many movies and novels that throw back to this time create a closeness even for today’s generation. This is not about remaking history but rethinking our perceptions. Perceptions of how easy or hard our adolescence was. Were we really such a scaredy cat when I was young? Did I really scream that loudly when I was in the haunted house? It is not until I take my own children here, do I have a trigger to revisit what my memories of, and perhaps, remake those memories. These are thoughts that entered into my mind as I went through the haunted house at Namja Town.
What is inside?
Today Sunshine city invites the curious and adventurous to immerse themselves in creating new and remembering old memories while also introducing the city centre's historic Fukubukuro Markets through art and culture. Anime Performances, concerts, and street food promise to create a vibrant atmosphere whether you are here for the first or the second time, you can explore with a spring in your step.
Namja Town consists of one floor and four city blocks. There are a number of theme park like areas, as well as shops.
Nyanja Town, a cat petting park, is a space where we humans can visit a "cat town" where about 30 cats with rich personalities live and experience their society.
Visitors can leisurely watch the cats, interact with them, find their favorite cat, and have their picture taken.
The "gummy tree" is the symbol of this storybook town. Visitors can enjoy walking around the town and fortune-telling attractions.
③Fukubukuro 7-chome Shopping Street
A nostalgic town of the 1950s with are many ride attractions.
You can also enjoy food such as gyoza (dumplings) and desserts, simple street food that you or your parents may have grown up with.
Feel the eyes on you from the darkness, as the town has been taken over by Mononoke! Mononoke means a kind of spirit of the dead that haunts people and possesses them.
Who is this for
This theme park is suitable for couples or families of various ages, as it is easily assessable and with an all weather indoor setting. It is also located inside a shopping centre, allowing families to split up with some going to the theme park while others head to eat or shop.
Visitors are free to come and go throughout the day if they purchase a ticket, so it is possible to have a meal at the shopping center in between.
This attraction is of course fun for small children, but some of the horror attractions are more suited to those that are 13 years of age or older. To ride each attraction, you need purchase Nanja coins worth 600 to 800 yen or a purchase an one day passport pass.
Strollers can be used to get around the museum, but each attraction is an indoor amusement park and they can be narrow and not barrier-free.
One could easily lose all sense of time here, for both adults and kids.
In summary, there is something for everyone here, which is important if you are travelling as a family or group with diverse interests.
①One Day Passport(This ticket includes admission to Namja Town and unlimited play at the attractions.)
Adult( Over 13years old) 3,700Yen, Children(4 to 13years old) 2,900Yen
②Entry Ticket(This is an admission ticket to Namja Town.)
Admission is free for children under 3 years old.