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Outside Tower Records Shibuya | © Max Pixel
Outside Tower Records Shibuya | © Max Pixel

A Music Lover's Guide to Tokyo

Picture of Alicia Joy
Tokyo Writer
Updated: 19 February 2017

No matter what type of music you’re after, Tokyo has something to suit your needs. From classic vinyl shops and live music venues to DJ bars and music festivals, this is the music lover’s guide to Tokyo.

Tower Records

Tower Records is a Shibuya landmark. They have everything a music lover could want, from new and old CD releases to a bookstore and even an event space. There’s also a café on the second floor and an outdoor dining space in the warmer months, so you can enjoy your purchases right away.

1-22-14 Jinnan, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, Japan

Little Soul Café

This cozy bar in Shimokitazawa doesn’t try to keep its music enthusiasm a secret. Countless records line the walls, looking more like a second-hand vinyl shop than a bar. Another little perk is that the playlist is open to requests.

2F 3-20-2 Kitazawa, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo, Japan

Coolest bar ever. This dude is playing records and serving drinks.

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Liquidroom (Liquid Room)

Liguidroom in Ebisu is the perfect place to catch a live gig in Tokyo. It’s praised for its sound quality and is frequently named one of Tokyo’s best live music venues. Check out their schedule online or pick one up at Tower Records.

3-16-6 Higashi, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, Japan

Sound Museum Vision

This nightclub in Shibuya is said to have one of the best sound systems in the city. Sound Museum Vision, or Vision for short, likes to keep the lineup fresh, playing an international hip hop star one night and all-night house the next. Check their website for upcoming events.

2−10−7 Dogenzaka, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, Japan

WATAPACHI performs at Sound Museum Vision in Tokyo | © Ravebro / WikiCommons

WATAPACHI performs at Sound Museum Vision in Tokyo | © Ravebro / WikiCommons


DJ bars are a great way to get your sound fix in Tokyo because they rarely charge entry fees. The catch is that they’re often very small, and quality varies widely from venue to venue. Koara (Koala) is one of the city’s best for local and international underground talent and an all-around good time.

1-13-15 Jinnan, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, Japan

#lastnight #dreamdjduo #DJKali & #DJKidA

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Big Love Records

Family-run business Big Love in Harajuku is known for its wide selection of underground and indie vinyls. They’ve got something of a cult following and are more than happy to ship their Big Cartel products overseas. After exploring the shop, relax with a local craft beer at the bar counter.

3F-A, 2-31-3 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 

#bigloverecords this week

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Summer Sonic

One of Japan’s biggest summer music festival is Summer Sonic, an annual August event that draws thousands of fans each year. Held simultaneously in Chiba and Osaka, the event has featured both big international stars like Kyary Pamyu Pamyu and Metallica, as well as underground up-and-comers.

Benzaiten Shrine

Benzaiten (Sarasvati) is the goddess of things that flow. This includes emotion, water, knowledge, and, of course, music. While these days, most people associate Benzaiten with romantic love, you can still try visiting her shrine on Inokashira Pond in Kichijoji for some musical inspiration, too.

1-4 Inokashira, Mitaka-shi, Tokyo, Japan

Shrine to Benzaiten in Inokashira Park | © Manishprabhune / WikiCommons

Shrine to Benzaiten in Inokashira Park | © Manishprabhune / WikiCommons

Five G Music Technology

If you’re looking to pick up an instrument rather than just listen, check out Five G Music Technology in Shibuya. They are especially popular among the new music crowd, who spend hours browsing and trying out their selection of new and vintage synthesizers.

4F 1-14-2 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, Japan