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Vinyl Shops in Tokyo, Japan and Japan in General

Discussion in 'Music, Movie and Hardware Store Guide' started by mikemoon, Jan 17, 2014.

  1. hockman

    hockman Forum Resident

    Ironically, the store that was most hostile was called "Smiles" in Osaka. Go figure.
  2. yookmook

    yookmook Forum Resident

    i find old footage of shinjuku in 80's
    studio alta was at the same place,
    i wonder about disk union in shinjuku / was there since 1980.?

    To be young in Tokyo in the 80s-90s was glorious

    Orthogonian Blues likes this.
  3. hockman

    hockman Forum Resident

    You are right, it would have been a great time to be in Japan during those years. The 80s-early 90s were boom time years in Japan. There was a sense of being a great nation and the Japanese were buying up stuff and 'conquering' the world with its products, money and culture.

    Since the bust, Japan has been in low level doldrums with deflation and a rapidly aging society. It continues til today with Abe desperately trying to 'reflate' the Japanese economy to get it to grow again.

    Aside from Disk Union, my recent conversations with some store owners seem to indicate that things have become tougher since the financial crisis of 2008. But there still appears to be many record stores around so they must be at least surviving. We need to support them!
  4. Stump

    Stump Forum Resident

    Adelaide Australia
    Tokyo is the Vinyl mecca in Japan.I have 3 days at the start and end of my trip in Tokyo which I know most of the Shops..Apart from a week hiking in Shikoku Island ,I just bought a 7 Day JR Pass for my last week.Starting in Hiroshima ending in Tokyo I might do a Vinyl Shop run between Nagasaki -Osaka .Using the Vinyl Hub map I can Record Shop Hop .
    Anyone who can recommend shops on the list???
    Im after Japan Pressings from 70s-80s British rock ,pop ,electronic Funk Disco .I generally limit myself to 90 LPs 30Kg

    Record Stores in Japan
    Clanceman likes this.
  5. yookmook

    yookmook Forum Resident

    tokyo is calling me again.
    Johnny Ryall likes this.
  6. Johnny Ryall

    Johnny Ryall Forum Resident

    Last summer I was given this (大阪レコードマップ Osaka Record Map 2016 ) flyer which lists with most of the shops in town.
    Long story short, the best ones for me were King Kong in Shinsaibashi and Disk Union in Umeda.
    Wish I had more time to properly check a couple of the shops in Namba which looked promising but closed when I tried.
  7. Stump

    Stump Forum Resident

    Adelaide Australia
    I met a regular record shop buyer who sends back with DHL to Australia.He goes to Japan 3-4 times a year.He opened a account with DHL in Japan which cut his freight cost down 50%.He sends enough at a time to avoid customs duty.Using a container is the cheapest method.I have just contacted a Japanese shop in my city to see if they will take some records (for a fee) and add to there container.Fingers Crossed....
    lightbulb likes this.
  8. MightyVinyl

    MightyVinyl Forum Resident

    Does anyone know what these "merchandise inserts" are that I find in some 7" singles? I seem to find them mostly in WEA, Warner Bros., and Atlantic releases. They are 4 page gatefold-style black & white inserts with an order form in the middle, and photos of the artist and releases on the outside. I cannot imagine what all the items are that are listed on the inside. If anyone can give a better explanation I'd appreciate it.

    Here is one from a Howard Jones single P-1976 "Look Mama"
  9. MightyVinyl

    MightyVinyl Forum Resident

  10. Harvey Rickenbacker

    Harvey Rickenbacker Forum Resident

    Thanks for posting the Osaka Record Store map Johnny. I'm going to be in Osaka in a couple of weeks time and this will be useful. Although I have had a few trips to Japan and covered the Tokyo shops pretty well I've only had a half day in Osaka previously. Nowhere near enough time with so many stores.
  11. Jimmy Agates

    Jimmy Agates Senior Member

    If anyone's into rock/metal this is a great shop in Osaka....

  12. Johnny Ryall

    Johnny Ryall Forum Resident

    Please report back with your findings.
    I saw a bunch of cool spots in Namba but I always was out of their opening hours.
    I'll try to post some pictures later today.
  13. Johnny Ryall

    Johnny Ryall Forum Resident

    Ok, here's a gallery with a few pictures from Namba, Osaka: Namba, Osaka, Record Shops
    It's been a few months so take my comments with a grain of salt.
    There were so many stores crammed in a few blocks that my recollections are a bit blurred.
  14. hockman

    hockman Forum Resident

    Thanks for this. Namba seems to be packed with stores. Unfortunately I had left it until the last day to visit Namba...
  15. Harvey Rickenbacker

    Harvey Rickenbacker Forum Resident

    Just back in Oz from my latest Japanese trip. Most of the time was spent in Tokyo but, following on from the above conversation, here's a report on shops I visited in Osaka. I arrived in Osaka after 4 days in Tokyo and alas, despite good intentions, I was already up to about 60% capacity re what I could carry home so had to be pretty selective on what I purchased in Osaka. This was my 4th trip to Japan and I've worked out now I can get home around 120 albums (plus some singles) in my check in luggage. I mostly buy 60's/70's rock pop and soul and that'll be a big influence on my impression of each shop

    There were 3 areas I visited in Osaka and I also visited a couple of shops in nearby Kyoto.

    Namba - Lots of gaming shops in this area but also a good number of record shops.

    Disk JJ - Big shop over a few levels. Vinyl was mostly on the 3rd floor. Had a lot of records in most genres but nothing for me.

    Mint Records - They have 2 shops in the area, one just down from Disk JJ and another near Namba Station. Good range again. A fair bit of 80's/90's indie/alternative.

    Forever Records - This was my favourite shop in the area and I picked up some good things at reasonable prices. It was up about 5 flights of stairs so use the lift. Great range. Plenty of psych, garage, prog, krautrock etc. also a fair bit of 80's/90's UK indie. There seems to be a lot of this around in Japan at the moment. It would have interested me back in the day but I've moved on!

    Shinsaibashi - This was my favourite area. Heaps of shops. A lot of them sharing the same building as other shops. I had the best part of a day here. It was a Sunday so a few shops closed.

    Afro Juice - Couldn't find it so either closed or gone.

    Wonderful Noise - Was after the new Lord Echo album for a friend on the Wonderful Noise label so sort out the shop of the same name. Found the shop. But it was closed :(

    Flake Records - Not far from the above 2 shops and found this one and it was open. It was a shop that only sold new stuff and mostly electronic. Thought I might find some RSD stuff from the day before but no joy. But, I did find the Lord Echo album so good to see they were supporting their neighbours.

    Revenge - Around the corner from Flake and didn't go in but looks like a Punk/Metal specialist.

    Groovenut - Lots of soul, jazz and disco. In fact heaps of disco and that looked like it's speciality.

    Vox Music - Lots of soul and jazz. Looked like a good shop. Think I bought a few things here on an earlier trip but nothing this time.

    Perfect Pitch - Same building and on the same floor as Vox and more of the same. Soul, Jazz, Hip-Hop.

    King Kong - Massive shop. I visited this one last time too and found it a bit disorganised. I'm sure I'd find plenty here if I put in the time.

    Time Bomb - Right around the corner. This is a landmark shop in Osaka and has heaps of first pressing UK and US stuff. Pricey though. I tend too buy Japanese pressings so nothing here I was prepared to shell out the asking price for but if you are after original US/UK pressings and are cashed up it may well be the best place in the world to find what you are after.

    Vinyl Chamber - This building has 7 different record shops. Vinyl Chamber was the only one I bought from. A couple of soul albums from my want list. Has a good selection. Other shops in the building are Rare Groove, Ebbtide, Morpho, Night Beat, Plantation and Old Hat Gear. Night Beat looked like it would have had my kinda stuff (60's/70's rock) but it was closed.

    Hanky Panky - A bit further east from all the other shops behind the Daimaru. My kinda shop. Plenty of rock. But I was getting a bit shopped out by now!!

    Redbone Records - Loved this shop. It was a little north of Hanky Panky. Very friendly owner. Lots of rock with a bit of a specialty in country rock, folk rock and swamp rock. Will probably make Redbone & Hanky Panky my first port of call on future visits.

    Umeda - There are a few shops up in this area including a second King Kong shop that I intended to go to but didn't make it.

    Disk Union Osaka - In the end good old Disk Union was the only shop I made it to in this area. I have visited this on both trips to Osaka. It's a bit of a nightmare to find from Umeda Station. Well not so much find, it's just a nightmare to work out what direction to take when you leave the station. Both times I've ended up at a road you can't cross and had to back track. Once you get onto Miyakojima Dori though it's fine. On future trips I'll get off the train at Nakazakicho Station as it looks easier from there even if a little further. Once you find it though it's a good shop and it's hard to go into any Disk Union without finding some must have releases!

    Kyoto - 1/2 an hour from Osaka (or about 15 minutes if you take the Shinkansen). I actually stayed here for 4 nights but didn't get to many of the shops this time.

    Bootsys - Missed this shop on my first visit to Kyoto last year and it's a good one. No signage on the street so you need to find it on google maps then look up to see where it is. Plenty of rock & soul.

    Workshop - This was one of my favourite shops from a previous trip so was keen to get back. Got a bit of a shock when it wasn't where it was supposed to be! Went up several flights of stairs to where it was but no joy. Gone. Frantically typed it into google maps and it was showing up at a new address about 10 minutes away. In the same building (the Morris Building) as another shop called 100,000t. Found it and it's a bigger brighter shop so can understand why he moved. Really good selection and friendly helpful owner.

    That's all I covered in Kyoto this time but there are a lot of shops there and other ones i remember being worth a visit from my previous trip were Happy Jacks (English 60's specialist), Toradra and Jetset. The Kyoto Jetset has second hand as well as new and a much better range than the Tokyo Jetset.

    Will try and do a report on Tokyo shops in a few days.

    Japan is still paradise for vinyl buyers but I do wish the Yen would weaken.
    lightbulb, Stump and Johnny Ryall like this.
  16. mfidelity

    mfidelity Senior Member

    SF Bay Area
    Did I by chance run into you at Disc Union Yokohama. Made small talk with someone with an Oz accent who was buying a lot of vinyl. Would have been Monday or Tuesday.
  17. Harvey Rickenbacker

    Harvey Rickenbacker Forum Resident

    No, not I. I didn't make it to Yokohama on this trip. The DU's I did made it to were Shimokitazawa, Shibuya,
    Shinjuku, Ochanomizu, Jinbocho, Takadanobaba and as mentioned Osaka.
  18. Stump

    Stump Forum Resident

    Adelaide Australia
    Hey Harvey
    Sounds like you collect the similar style records as myself.I managed just over 100 LPs last trip.I had to send 50 LPs back to Australia by post at a cost of $250Au.
  19. Harvey Rickenbacker

    Harvey Rickenbacker Forum Resident

    To avoid posting them back take a wife with you would be my recommendation Stump :)

    I usually buy around 100-130 LP's. We travel light on the way over and then can bring back that amount between us. I think our baggage allowance was 72 kg on this trip and we checked in a couple of kilos under. Damn, could have bought a few more. The biggest issue is getting the bags to the airport on crowded trains but we managed somehow.
    lightbulb likes this.
  20. Stump

    Stump Forum Resident

    Adelaide Australia
    On a previous trip I had 70 LP with a lot of winter hiking cloths .With a morning flight and peak hour trains I forward my luggage to the Airport from my Hotel 2 days before.Cost was $30Au.You have to love the Japanese system.
    lightbulb likes this.
  21. Johnny Ryall

    Johnny Ryall Forum Resident

    If anyone was looking for a cheap way to get from Tokyo to Osaka or Kyoto, today I found this offer that also includes an hotel for the night(s): Shinkansen (Japan Bullet Train) Tokyo to Osaka - JAPANiCAN.com
    This is worth if you're looking for just a quick geteaway as a full JR rail pass is a little more expensive and will cover you for a week on most means of ground transportation.
  22. Harvey Rickenbacker

    Harvey Rickenbacker Forum Resident

    Thanks Johnny. Good tip. The JR pass is great value for a week but this definitely looks like a good alternative if there's only time for a quick trip out of Tokyo.
  23. Johnny Ryall

    Johnny Ryall Forum Resident

    So the stars are finally lining up and I'm about to start booking things for my next Japan trip. It will probably be in late September/early October.
    Anyone in the know regarding record shopping in Okinawa? We'd like to spend a few days in there and why not throw some wax digging in the mix?

    BTW, I found this map that lists stores all over Japan and a bunch I've never been to. Don't know if it's really up to date as it does not lists the new Disk Union in Osaka for instance.

    Oh, and the Euro today is at a year's maximum over the yen :)
    lightbulb likes this.
  24. Harvey Rickenbacker

    Harvey Rickenbacker Forum Resident

    Good for you Johnny. I can't help re Okinawa. Haven't been further south than Hiroshima.

    I had a look at that Recodata site when I was last in Japan. It seems to be pretty out of date based on areas I know. I'm sure some of the stores will still exist though so it could be useful in those far flung places (like Okinawa).
  25. Johnny Ryall

    Johnny Ryall Forum Resident

    So, plans for Okinawa fell through.
    We'll be staying in Kanto with a day trip to Kamakura. So more time for wax digging :)

    Just found this FB page that lists record fairs around Japan. Anyone got more?

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