We’re heading to the Land of the Rising Sun for the best record stores in Tokyo, Japan. We asked some of our favorite writers and artists like Go Kurosawa from Kikagaku Moyo, Makato Shimizu, and Ryotaro Aoki of The Japan Times and more to chime in on The Best Record Stores In Tokyo.
The Best Record Stores In Tokyo
Big Love Records
(3FA Houei Bldg. 2-31-3 Jingumae, Shibuya, Tokyo 1500001)
At Big Love Records there are abundant new vinyl of the latest Indie Rock which can not be obtained at other shops. The web shop fulfills orders while real stores are mentioned. The commentary on the product page is so distinctive and I like it.
– Hirolo Aizaqa (Record People Magazine)
An old friend of mine runs this shop and my son works there too. They have old collections of cassettes and records only and new indie music from around the world. Can probably say that this is the only record shop in Tokyo that you can get the latest indie music.
Disk Union Shinjuku
(Yamada Building 3-31-4 Shinjuku Shinjuku-ku Tokyo 160-0022)
In moments of weakness, I’ve been known to spend a whole afternoon cruising the various outlets of the Disk Union empire in Shinjuku. The eight-storey main branch, where each floor caters to a different genre (Japanese indie, Latin/Brazilian, prog rock, etc.), is the place to start, but my favorite is the prosaically titled “Shinjuku Used Store” , where everything is squeezed into a single, sprawling floor.
It’s perfect grazing for musical omnivores: you can move straight from jazz to J-pop, classical to club music. I’ve made many happy discoveries there, and the prices tend to be a fraction cheaper than at Disk Union’s specialist shops.
– James Hadfield (Japan Times)
Coconuts Disks Ekoda
(1 Chome-9-10 Toyotamakami, Nerima, Tokyo 176-0011)
With all the record shops that exist in Tokyo, it’s really hard to pick just one. The shops that are still around have stood the test of time, mainly because they clearly have their own personalities and specialise in something. Anyway, my pick would have to be Coconuts Disks main store in Ekoda (they have a total of four shops in Tokyo). The Ekoda store’s interior is stylish, but the selection displayed on the shelves is distinct (to put it mildly).
If you’re looking for an easy-to-dance-to track or rare, in-demand rock/pop, this might not be the place for you. Instead, they offer a different angle with experimental stuff, New Age, progressive, jazz and much more. All the records here may seem insignificant or a bit dated at first, but that also means you’ll be able to discover lots of stuff you’ve never even heard of. It’s one of those rare places where those of us who know and love music can feel surprise and excitement. Although the selection is eclectic it’s still organised into detailed categories, and there are staff reviews attached to the covers to help you out. Even if you just want to listen without buying, it’s completely fine, and the atmosphere is really laid-back.
Ekoda isn’t the easiest place to get to from central Tokyo, but Coconuts Disk makes the trek worth it.
– Kunihiro Miki (TimeOut)
(7 Chome-7-33 Nishishinjuku, Shinjuku, Tokyo 160-0023)
Good small record store in Shinjuku. They have good selections of metal, punk and psychedelic rock. Their review for each title is really amazing.
– Go Kurosawa (Kikagaku Moyo)
Jet Set Records
(2-33-12-201 Kitazawa, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo 155-0031)
The Shimokitazawa neighborhood of Tokyo boasts no shortage of record shops, but few stock as many contemporary Japanese releases as Jet Set Records. Open since 2003, the small second-floor shop carries a wide variety of genres and formats, but the focus falls on vinyl. Alongside a great selection of current U.S. and U.K. rock and pop offerings, Jet Set offers a good amount of recent domestic releases touching on rock to dance music. If you want to get a taste of what’s happening musically in the capital, Jet Set is the spot for you.
Enban Record Store
(Gorinkan Building 2F, 3-59-11 Koenji, Suginami, Tokyo)
Located alongside the tracks of the Chuo Line, one of the main train lines that goes horizontally across Tokyo, Koenji’s Enban is home to obscure and strange releases. With a good majority of releases being handmade by the artists themselves, the space also regularly hosts small live events and other artistic activities (one time I walked into a throat singing lecture.) An early home to the likes of Afrirampo and Nissennenmondai, the store is a haven for music lovers who are into the very fringes of indie music.
– Ryotaro Aoki (Japan Times)
HMV Record Shop Shibuya
(〒150-0042 36-2 Udagawa-cho, Shibuya-ku, Noah Shibuya 1F / 2F)
This store is pretty new, it has been there for only few years. But rare groove selections are on point for me and not only LPs, I love the 7inch section where there used to be a vault. They have lovely selection.
It’s a used shop, but have a great selection of music… for example European experimental music, and a lot of soul & funk 7 Inches, with a large variety of music and the shop is also big.
Visit the best record stores in Tokyo, and do even more digging at Discogs Presents Mystic Crates on November 2nd! See you there!!!