Digging in Tokyo: City Country City
Shopping for records while drinking might be a combo you occasionally enjoy when online shopping (wait, I placed how many orders last night?!?), but rarely a combination you get to indulge in when away from the internet… However, if you are visiting Tokyo you’ll have the chance to visit some amazing record store cafes that perfectly combine your love of vinyl with a caffeine or alcohol fix. City Country City, also known as CCC, is a combination vintage record shop, coffee shop, bar, and pasta cafe, all in one.
You can come in just to browse records, or just to order a drink and a meal, but most visitors come to enjoy a little of both. Serving beer, wine, and cocktails, as well as coffee, tea, and non-alcoholic drinks, CCC has a little something for everyone. They had some delicious cheese cake that I sampled when I visited, but they are known for their pasta (apparently developed by the guitarist from the Sokabe Keiichi Band). According to CCC, their pasta is “like ten dozen different types of awesome.”
City Country City: VinylHub / city-country-city.com
Social Media: Twitter
Focus: Dance, Soul, R&B, Funk, Brazilian, Japanese
Address: 155-0031 Hosozawa Bld. 4F 2-12-13 Kitazawa, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo, Japan
City Country City is perched on a bright and open 4th floor in Shimokitazawa, a commercial and entertainment district in Tokyo, Japan. Like many smaller record shops in Tokyo, it’s easy to miss since the shop isn’t at street level, so keep an eye out for sidewalk signs.
When digging at City Country City, if you are interested in listening to one of the records, you can just ask staff or ask the DJ playing. When we visited, a customer had a stack of records he wanted to listen to before buying. The DJ simply incorporated a few of the requested songs into his mix as the customer listened while enjoying lunch.
There is a DJ booth in the corner of the cafe, where a local or guest DJ spins. Many DJs visit City Country City, as proven by the wall next to the small DJ booth, covered with various signatures.
The shop has a dance music focus, but you will also find some good vintage soul, R&B, funk, and rock on their shelves.
And of course if you are feeling frugal, you can flip through the 100 Yen bin (the Japanese equivalent to the dollar bin).
City Country City is owned by Keiichi Sokabe (曽我部恵), from the 90s indie rock band Sunny Day Service. Since Sunny Day Service broke up in 2000, Keiichi has had a good solo career, heads the label Rose Records, and opened City Country City.
When visiting, we chatted with Tatsuro Hirata (平田立朗), CCC’s manager. Tatsuro has been DJing and working in the music industry for years; he previously worked for Disk Union. Tatsuro and Keiichi started “City Country City” together in 2006.
If you are visiting Tokyo, I highly recommend visiting this shop for a drink or snack or vinyl browsing… or a little of all three!