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Jet Set Records| © chinnian / Flickr
Jet Set Records| © chinnian / Flickr
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The Best Record Stores You Can Find in Japan

Picture of Lucy Dayman
Updated: 17 August 2017
Record collecting is essentially a national sport here in Japan. Given the country’s ability to turn appreciation into fully consuming obsession, and the fact that physical releases still make up the majority of music sales in Japan, the country is ripe for record-picking. From mega-outlets to super niche indie shops, Japan has it all. Here are some stores you have to check out when you’re in Japan.
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Tower Records, Tokyo

In 2012, as most major record sellers across the world were hosting stock clearance sales and packing up their shelves, Tower Records in Shibuya was defying the odds. The Tokyo outlet made the bold decision to renovate and grow its already massive shop. The overhaul saw the monolithic store expand to include a bookstore, café, more listening booths, and a super sleek space for live performances. Given that the Tower Records chain filed for liquidation 2006, this 5000-square-meter block remains one of the last places you can soak in the Tower Records glory.

1 Chome-22-14 Jinnan, Shibuya Tokyo, Japan , +81 3 3496 3661

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Manhattan Records, Tokyo

The unofficial home of Tokyo’s hip hop scene, Manhattan Records has been supplying the streets of Shibuya with the best in rap, funk and RnB for over 30 years now. Not too sure what to buy? The crew at Manhattan Records curate their own compilation titled “The Hits,” which is the perfect way to discover something new. As soon as you set foot in Manhattan Records, you’ll figure out that these guys take their love of music very seriously. Massive speakers pump out the best RnB on the market, while the store’s DJ booth takes up prime real estate towering over the overflowing shelves. Tucked into the musical heart of Shibuya, the folks behind the counter are pretty much music professors, so you’re in safe hands.

10-1 Udagawacho, Shibuya-ku Tokyo, Japan, +81 3 3477 7166

Manhattan records 20170528 #35mm #lomography #canoneos #35mmfilm #back2thebase

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Compufunk Records, Osaka

Record store, party space, bar, and the soul of Osaka’s music scene, Compufunk Records is a must-not-miss stop on your record collecting tour. In terms of genre, it’s electro, house, techno, and variations on those sounds that dominate the shelves. If running a store and bar wasn’t enough, the team behind Compufunk Records also run an independent label. Headed by DJ Compufunk, the label is consistently pumping out some of Osaka and wider Japan’s best sounds artists to the masses.

Kitahama bld 2F, 1-29 Kitahama Higashi, Chuou-ku, Osaka, Japan, +81 6 6314 6541

『MOT』夜へ向けてユルーく進行中~。

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Jet Set Records, Tokyo

In recent years Shimokitazawa has arguably taken the title as Tokyo’s home of indie music, so it only makes sense that the suburb is home to one of the country’s best indie stores. The expert staff handpicks each LP that makes it into the store, meaning that their selection is carefully curated and incredibly diverse. From rock, to funk, house, disco and everything in between, there’s no specific genre focus in terms of what the store stocks. For the more budget conscious collector, the shop also sells a stack of high quality secondhand records, with prices sitting around the 2200 yen (US$20) mark, pretty good by Japan standards.

12 Chome−33−12,Setagaya, Kitazawa, 55-0031 Tokyo, Japan, +81 3 5433 3883

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Coconuts Disk, Tokyo

Though technically a chain store, Coconuts Disk is a cozy, intimate store with locations in Ekoda, Ikebukuro, Yoyogi, and Kichijoji. The shops sell new and second-hand vinyl, cassette tapes, and CDs all at very competitive prices, and regularly host live in-store events. What the Coconuts team do best is Japanese classics from the 1950s and ‘60s. Given their various locations, what you’ll find probably depends on where you go, but for the most central of locations head to Yoyogi in Shibuya.

1 Chome-9-10 Toyotamakami, Nerima, Tokyo, Japan, +81 3 3948 2388