Barn homes records, Shinjuku

Barn Homes Records is a neat little shop on the second floor of a building on a rather busy street in Shinjuku and it has a very interesting characteristic for us : it is NOT mentioned in the Record Map (unusual enough to be noted…)

Coconuts disk, Ikebukuro

The Coconuts disk store in Ikebukuro is one of the 4 shops of the company “Coconuts Disk” (the 3 others are located in Ekoda, Kichijoji and Yoyogi).
We had a good chat with Satomura-san who explained the various activity of this very active company : not only do they sell used records, but they have nice textile products, some dvds and books (most of them related to music).

Hashodo koshoten, Ikebukuro

RECORDS SHOP, Ikebukuro, HASHODO KOSHOTENWhat a strange name for a record store, you think… And you are right ! Hashodo Koshoten literally means “Hasshodo's second hand book” . This is probably one of the oldest books and records store in Japan : it was opened in 1960 !

Shinjuku Record, Shinjuku

After 2 posts from Australia, we are back in Japan for some more presentations of record stores in Tokyo. 
As the name of the store states rightfully, this interesting record shop is located  in Shinjuku. It was open by the Fujiwara family in 1970. They still run the place and, when you visit, there is a big chance that you will see behind the counter Yoichiro-san (the son). They might not have the typical hard rock look but do not get the wrong impression : if you have any question about hardrock, ask him. There is a big chance that he has the answer…

DJ Sheep (Brisbane, Australia) - 3 x Australian State DMC DJ Champion / Terntable Jediz / Dirty Diggaz

This post is a break to the visits of record stores. I met Bevan aka DJ Sheep during my stay in Brisbane in June 2011. We met at a weird gear session and we quickly hit it off. He then offered me to make a record collector, DJ and digger portrait at his place as follows ... 

The Vintage Record, Sydney

Second stop in Sydney. An iconic record store here, called The Vintage Record.
It is owned and run by Phil Thomson and Jimi Polar. You'll see Jimi on the pictures. The store is located on Parramatta Road in the music instruments dealers district and not too far from Pigeon Ground record store (only 10 minutes walk). You'll see in the future posts that record stores I've visited are very closed to each other.

The Record Store, Sydney

Another stop in Sydney Australia. I visited "The record store" in May 2011 and met Stephan one of the owners. This store is located in the nightlife area of Crown Street.

Pigeon Ground Records and Clothing, Sydney

After visiting not all (which is quite impossible) but a significant number of Tokyo record stores, I've decided to extend the posts to other cities over the travel I (or friends) could do. I visited Pigeon Ground during my stay in Sydney in May 2011.

Dub Store Records, Shinjuku

Opened in 1993, Dub Store Records is as professional as can be when it comes to dealing with reggae music. The name of the place is actually a bit misleading : this is not so much a store than a whole company dedicated to providing all sorts of things about reggae.

Hal's Record, Shinjuku

Hal’s is a very nice record store specialized in jazz at walking distance from the west exit of Shinjuku station. The place is run by the Ikeda, father and son.

Darumaya, Higashi-Ikebukuro

The Darumaya record store is definitely a must go if you come to Japan. Open in 1995 by Hagiwara-san, this fairly big shop is a fantastic treasure field for happy diggers. Located close to Ikebukuro Station, in the Northern part of Tokyo, it is probably the biggest stock of LP’s physically available in one place in the country.

Coco Isle Music Market, Shibuya

Located between Shibuya and Harajuku (close to big Shibuya fire station, on the street going towards Yoyogi Park), Coco Isle Music Market is one of those exquisite super hyper specialized records stores. You are into Jamaican and Hawaiian reggae ? This is your place.

Big Love – Escalator Records, Harajuku

Big Love is the new name (from 2011) of what used to be Escalator Records, in Harajuku.
Masashi Naka opened this very unique place in 2002, specializing in electro music. Little by little, Naka-san started to distribute various indie labels from the US and the UK (vinyls and cassette tapes, new only).

Face Records, Shibuya

Face Records is the record selling entity of the company Face to Face Ltd.
Shinichi Takei, the CEO and founder of the company, started selling records in 1993 as a mail order service first and he opened the Shibuya store in 1996.

Lighthouse Records, Shibuya

To all of you, DJs around the globe : Lighthouse Records is THE stop you cannot miss when you come over to Tokyo.

Next Records, Shibuya

Next Records was founded in 2000 by Koji Imamoto.
Located in Shibuya, this store sells only original pressing 12 inch singles. And they really do that…
You will find in this very bright shop references of all types of urban and black music : hip-hop, disco, funk, R&B, etc. 

RnR Music Garden, Shibuya

To all the rockabilly fans out there : look no more, we found the place for you in Shibuya : Nobuo Matsuzaki opened RnR Music Garden in 1997 and he specializes in Rockabilly, country music and… Elvis ! (and also psychobilly and cowpunk ! Not sure what that is, but it sounds great…).

Jaro, Shibuya

Let’s continue our visit of Shibuya and of the many marvels this fantastic place has to offer : Among the most amazing places (shops) that I have ever seen, Jaro is definitely in the top 3 : the total surface of the store is about 10m2 (and no, this is not a printing mistake… 10m2 REALLY is the total size of this space, toilet included !) and it is in a basement. So good luck for finding it, although it is really close to Hachiko square in front of Shibuya station and about 30m from the department store 109.
But keep looking because, if you are a jazz fan, you will be rewarded a 100 times.

Sonota (Manual of Errors), Shibuya

For those of you who followed our previous post and managed to get to this rather old building right opposite from Tokyu Hands, just know that the treasure hunt is not over… Try to get to the 11th floor (depending on the entrance you used, it is not as easy as it sounds) and go to the 1103 apartment. There, you will find the shop Sonota, from the little label Manual of Errors.

The Perfect Circle, Shibuya

Shibuya is without any doubt the “must stop” for any music lover visiting Tokyo. Once you get there, the challenge will be for you to find The Perfect Circle.

This little record shop full of rare treasures is located in the building right opposite of Tokyu Hands (even if you do not understand now, this is the best way to get there as Tokyu Hands is definitely known by everybody…).

Yellow Pop, Shimokitazawa

Several shops are named “Yellow Pop” in Japan (in different parts of Tokyo) but they are not necessarily related.
The one in Shimo-Kitazawa (at the crossing of the Inokashira and Odakyu lines) was opened in 1980 and is run by Masanori Sato.

Record Fair in Ikebukuro Tokyo

On January 9, 10 and 11, we visited the Ikebukuro Record Convention : Ikebukuro is a neigborhood in the North of Tokyo, around a very important train station. This convention takes place 2 or 3 times per year, in the “kumin center” of the city hall (a space reserved for social and cultural event), located at walking distance from the station. It is organized by Takahisa Hagiwara, the owner of the record shop DARUMAYA located in the same part of Tokyo (but that we will introduce to you in more details in another post).

Jet Set Records, Shimokitazawa

Jet Set Records was created in 2003 and it can be considered now as an important player in the Japanese indie music world : based in the Kansai Region (West of Japan), Jet Set not only has 2 stores (1 in Kyoto, 1 in Tokyo) but it has as well a website with an English version (rare enough to be mentioned), with a mail order section AND… it produces its own records ! (about 50 per year).

Omuraisu, Toys and Records in Shimokitazawa

Omuraisu, Toys and Record Shop in Tokyo Shimokitaza
If you happened to be in Shimo-Kitazawa, do not miss this shop !
The reason is not so much the choice of second hand records (there is some) but the AMAZING collection of old vintage toys (mainly from Japan, but not only).
Shuichi Suma opened this store in 1988, he chose the name of a usual traditional dish (“omelette with rice” = omuraisu) and he piled up a lot (but a LOT) of in toys from the 50’s 60’s 70’s, figurines of a large variety of Japanese heroes, and many more very rare goodies.
Records are about 5000, all from Japan.
There is no website or possibilities to buy from far away (you really have to go…).
But, Mr. Suma explains that he sees quite a lot of clients from abroad because the uniqueness of his offer.
Why I am not surprised…

Nice Bldg 1F, 5-29-9 Kitazawa, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo 155-0032
Tel : 03-3411-5262

Otonomad, Shimokitazawa

Otonomad, Record Shop in Tokyo ShimokitazawaMr. Takahashi opened this lovely little records shop, warm and well decorated, in 2008, while pursuing a career as a musician (he plays bass with the American artist Doug Scharin in the band “Him”).

“Oto” means “sound” in Japanese. And “nomad” is pretty clear in any language… Nice name for records collectors going all the way to Japan to find some good “sound”…
At Otonomad, you will be able to dig in about 3000 records (2000 vinyls and about 1000 CDs), all second hand, almost all the production being between 1960 and 1990 (no club music).
The website is user friendly, but only in Japanese.

For those who want to order, it is possible (but need to be done in Japanese).
You will find as well some interestingly designed T-shirts and a few books.

1F, 3-26-4 Kitazawa, Setagaya-ku Tokyo 155
Tel : 03-3485-3946

Vinyl Story, Shimokitazawa

Vinyl Story, Record Shop in Tokyo ShimokitazawaThis is a small shop quite hard to find in a back alley (check the map carefully…), but it is worth the try. They have very high quality records, particularly on British folk from the 70’s, good old US rock and psychedelic music.

Mr. Shinji (the shop owner) opened this store in 1990. His business is based on what he calls “trade collector”, which means he does not travel abroad to buy records.
The available catalog is about 5000.
One thing to notice : Vinyl Story has a very strong interest about Vashti Bunyan !
Shinji-san plays bass in a band and Tetsuto Koyama, who watches over the shop as well, plays the banjo.
If you hear the sound of a banjo playing in the street of Shimo-Kitazawa, that means that you are very close to the shop…

Vinyl Story
#202, 2-21-12 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-0001
Tél : 03-3408-9077

City Country City, Shimokitazawa

City Country City, Record Shop in Tokyo ShimokitazawaLocated in the heart of Shimokitazawa, one very trendy and very friendly neighborhood of Tokyo, this lovely restaurant/record shop is a bit difficult to find (as all good things are…) because it is on the 4th floor of its building and you have to be careful not to miss the sign on the street.
The shop opened in 2006, it sells only used records and CDs (but 90% vinyls) and has a catalog of about 2000 references. They have a website for the shop and one for on-line sales (, but the site is only in Japanese.

Mr. Hirata, the shop manager, travels himself 3 to 4 times a year to the US (mainly to the Chicago area) to buy some records. He is not really specialized but he handles a lot of disco, cosmic and world music production.

Quite many DJs come to City Country City, as proven by the wall next to the small DJ booth, covered with various signatures. They have on a regular basis live sessions in the store.

City Country City
Hosozawa 4F, 2-12-13 Shimo-kitazawa, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo 155-0031
Tel : 03-3410-6080

Flash Disc Ranch, Shimokitazawa

In Shimo-Kitazawa, make sure you stop by FLASH DISC RANCH, a really good records shop in Tokyo. The master of place is Masao Tsubaki opened up in December 1982 (waouh !) and is still the one behind the counter counseling youngsters about what to buy and DJing some good R&B, soul, jazz, etc. tracks.

As he announces himself, his specialty is “cheapies”. And rightly so, the price of the products sold in his shop are very affordable for any budgets, even very limited ones.

Masao likes to describe his work as an “incubator for young people”, which is why he tries to keep prices down. The result is that Flash Ranch is seen by many as a “family” or people who started digging and collecting records here (some of them years ago) and they keep on coming back.

Masao speaks very good English (rare enough to be mentioned) and this is a valuable point to dig in his 15 000 records catalog (mainly vinyls). If you can, try to visit on Saturdays and Sundays, for the “special new stuff”.

One more thing (well, two actually…) :
1- the cleaning lotion ! Home made, efficient, very soft on vinyls, Masao sells it all over the world !
2- the cd soft case !!! A perfect tool to store your CDs and gain space. That too Masao sells all over.
Check-out the website. It’s very welldone (great design).

Flash Disc Ranch
Misuzu Bldg 2F, 2-12-16 Shimo-Kitazawa, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo 155-0031
Tél : 03-3414-0421

Record Map, the Japanese Record Stores guide

Record Map - Japan Record Stores

For our first post of this new blog, aimed at presenting in English some of the best record shops of Japan, we could not do anything else than starting by introducing the people whose work made it all possible : the creators of the famous RECORD MAP.

For all of you planning to come to Japan and willing to discover even a small sample of what this country has to offer in terms of records (vinyl + CD), Record Map is your bible. In this little book, you will find a list (with addresses, contact numbers and maps on how to get there) of ALL the record shops, from Sapporo in the North all the way to Nara in Okinawa (along with a presentation of major on-line sales’websites + some interviews).
Only one little itch : it is all in Japanese (hence, this blog !).