Digging in Tokyo: Lighthouse Records
You’ll never forget the very first record store you visit in Japan: most shop owners take such exquisite care of their stock, the displays are artfully designed, and each record has been expertly graded and cataloged. Lighthouse Records was the first record store I checked out in Japan, soon after landing in Tokyo. I was awestruck by how beautifully organized the shop’s inventory was, the display walls and shiny wood floors made me feel like I was browsing a museum rather than a record store.
Lighthouse Records is perched several floors above street level, near Shibuya Crossing in Tokyo. After wandering the loud and hectic streets of Shibuya, Lighthouse Records seems like a calm respite from the hectic business of navigating amidst the throngs of people and vehicles flowing through the streets of Tokyo.
Yasuharu Morihiro (森広康晴) is the owner of Lighthouse Records. He has been working in the music industry for 15 years, and opened Lighthouse Records in 2008. Since 2008, Lighthouse Records has moved three times, but always within Tokyo.
Yasuharu has been collecting records since he was 18. His collection was mainly house / club music, although he used to listen to more rock and heavy metal. Although he doesn’t find much time for DJing now, Yasuharu used to DJ frequently and seeks to stock Lighthouse Records with vinyl that will appeal to DJs.
Lighthouse Records: VinylHub / lighthouserecords.jp
Social Media: Twitter / Facebook
Focus: House, Techno, Disco, Soul, Funk
Address: 2-9-2, 3F Dogenzaka, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Phone: +81 3-3461-7315
Yasuharu grades and writes a description for each record in his shop. He may include a review, or note any special details about the pressing. He brings new stock into the shop weekly, so there is always something fresh to check out.
When we stopped by he was spinning Nu Guinea – The Tony Allen Experiments.
House music is the main focus at Lighthouse Records, but they also have a good selection of disco and techno. Many DJs from around the world visit the shop to dig; Yasuharu mentioned that in recent years more DJs and tourists from outside of Japan visit his shop, especially from Australia and Europe. Lighthouse Records used to host parties in the shop featuring local and guest DJs, but since moving to a smaller location they’ve had to cut back on these events.
Lighthouse Records also carries a limited stock of new CDs, some T-shirts and other music swag for purchase, but the obvious focus of the shop is vinyl. Yasuharu sells some stock online, but only new records, so you’ll have to stop by to get your hands on any of his rare, used records.
If you ever spin house music, Lighthouse Records should be your first stop in Tokyo; you will be sure to walk away with some gems.