This weekend, I had a chance to visit the mini-theme park, Namja Town, located in Sunshine City in Ikebukero. What a pretty cool experience. Before law school, I had lived in nearby Myogadani and now regret not visiting this cool little theme park in the early 2000's. Well, what is Namja Town? Namja Town is comprised of four lands, Gyoza Stadium, Ice Cream City, Dessert Kingdom and Ghost Town. Within each of the lands are restaurants, attractions, games and shops. General admission is 300 yen, and like carnivals, the attractions and games each require an additional fee, paid in the official currency of Namja Town, the Namja. 20 Namja equals 200 yen. However, I believe that there is a day pass that'll get you into most of the attractions for 3,500 yen.
Here is a breakdown of the three lands we visited (we ran out of time and didn't get to Ghost Town):
Gyozas for dinner at a Chinese restaurant- great. A whole themed land for gyozas? Even better. Well, to start, if you don't know what a gyoza (餃子) is, let me explain. Gyoza are little meat dumplings from China. Americans know them as pot stickers.
Within Gyoza Stadium, there are 12 different gyoza shops, and the assortment seems never ending- kimchi gyoza, shouronpo gyoza, mentai mayo gyoza, cheese gyoza, fried shrimp gyoza, steamed gyoza, thin gyoza, ball gyoza, pizza gyoza and so on.
With all the choices, this time we chose the ball (丸満) gyoza. We were not disappointed. The ball gyoza had a slightly crunchy outside with an almost pizza crust feel to them. The pork filling was juicy and well-seasoned. They were pretty hot on the inside, so please carefully eat them. 4 set us back 480 yen.
Gyoza Stadium is themed like Showa Era Japan (although it lasted from the late 20's to the late 80's, the 50's is particularly known as Showa) with black and white televisions, 50's movies ads and candy stores reminiscent of the 50's. There were 4 attractions in Gyoza Stadium, 2 of which were tours, and 2 of which were shooting games. We did not go on any of them.
Ice Cream City
Above Gyoza Stadium lies Ice Cream City. As the name implies, it is a city where you can buy innumerable types of ice cream.
Gelato, Turkish ice cream, soft serve ice cream, container ice cream, Coldstone-like ice cream and Taiwanese shaved ice cream are all here.
We were tempted by the container ice cream place with over 300 varieties (eel, beef tongue and wasabi included), but ended up just going with the soft serve ice cream.
Our group chose six great flavors- ramune, Japanese grape, chestnut, vanilla, green tea and wasabi. The cones were 350 yen a piece and the 4 flavor sampler was 580 yen. They were all delicious. Next time, I'll try the Turkish ice cream.
Ice Cream City is themed like a futuristic metropolis and features a large game center and a laser tag arena.
You can get gyoza at Gyoza Stadium and ice cream at Ice Cream City. That said, it is no surprise that Dessert Kingdom features desserts, cakes, crepes and puddings of all shapes and sizes. Thoroughly sweets-full after visiting Ice Cream City, we did not enjoy any of the beautiful desserts. We did ride the wooden carousel (20 Namja each) though and enjoyed walking through the Italian-themed streets of Dessert Kingdom. Along the streets of Dessert Kingdom are numerable fortune tellers, fate games and future indicators. I have a pretty good feeling that Dessert Kingdom is good place to bring a date and ask the fortunes about your future together!
As stated earlier, we were not able to visit Ghost Town. We quickly passed through it though, after using the elevator and it seemed pretty scary. Next time.
Next time sums it up about Namja Town. Next time we will go to Ghost Town. Next time we will try the fried shrimp gyoza. Next time we will get the Turkish ice cream. I can't wait until next time...