Right next to it, there is a smoking area, and another newer smoking area closer to the koban outside the station exit.
This area is great for meeting people who are either taking a break before leaving for home, after arriving, or after missing their last train.
If you’re a guy – it won’t be as easy, but the existence of such nanpa-shi illustrate that it’s neither strange nor culturally insensitive to talk to strangers on the street – in fact, it is very much a part of Japanese culture.
During this “Magic Hour” probably the single best place to meet women is on the street near the station.
There’s only one way to find out – head to your local Tsutaya, GEO, or DVD rental shop and check out the foreign movies section.
If someone strikes your fancy, make some casual conversation and you might end up in bed with a sexy new partner.
If you end up talking to one for a while, you want to determine what her/his plans are for the night.
If they are waiting for a friend you could either try to get their contact information for another day, or alternatively, try to befriend the friend when they arrive and join the party for a drink!
In Ikebukuro the West and East exit are both good, although the East exit is more younger “normal” crowds, and the West exit tends to be more salarymen and red light crowds (including workers heading to and from their shifts, if that’s your thing).
Okay, so it might be a little more than an hour but the idea is the same.
The cities (especially Shibuya, Shinjuku, Ikebukuro, Roppongi, and other major stations) are bright and loud with the sound of laughter and lively conversation as people are emptying into the streets from finished nomikais (drinking parties), dinner dates, social obligations, and some unlucky overtime shifts.
Most establishments are open until 5am, and places like Izakaya and Karaoke often have a flat fee for all-you-can-drink / sing / party until 5am.
While I don’t recommend going to an izakaya for the sole purpose of hooking up with someone (unless you’re bringing that someone there), if you are already there with friends you might just find a table of friendly people (or a cute girl/guy on the way to the bathroom) who you can meet and share laughs with.