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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 (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.
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.