Vinyl Shops in Tokyo, Japan and Japan in General

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

  1. MightyVinyl

    MightyVinyl Well-Known Member

    My flight touched down at NRT at 4:55 PM Thursday. By 5:30 PM I was on the limousine bus to the hotel century southern tower. I forgot that it takes over two hours to get to the hotel, so After checking in I was only able to spend about 30 minutes at one of the Shinjuku DU’s. Picked up one 7 inch single for ¥500, which translates to roughly$4.40 at the current exchange rate.

    Following your suggestion, I decided that since I was awake at 6 AM Friday with nothing else to do, I would start by going to the most remote DU’s first and hit Chiba when it opened at 11 AM. I’ve never made out to this one before, and I also was very impressed. Just head out the central exit and then head towards the McDonald’s and then cross the next street to find it.

    They had everything on sale for 10% off if you give them your email address, which I didn’t realize until check-out. Combine that with the current exchange rate, and it works out to about a 21% discount. Purchased 43 LPs and 18 7” singles. After all discounts, they ranged in price from high of $22 (mint Japanese promo of Queen “A Kind Of Magic” with Obi etc.) to a low of 88 cents. Got lots of Rolling Stones & Hanoi Rocks among many many other cool items.

    Took a little over an hour each way on the train from Shinjuku, I was done at 4 PM and then went to the hotel to drop off my finds.

    Decided to hit Coconuts Disc Yoyogi around 6 PM since I still had a few more hours to burn, found a few items but had to dig through piles and piles of really cool promos that were unfortunately beat to **** and not worth anything. they had them on sale for anywhere from ¥300-¥500, but they weren’t worth a dime. Very sad. Did manage to pick up a couple of Madonna & Prince promo-only Japanese items that were in playable condition, but even at ¥400 it was hard to pull the trigger.

    I wore the Mueller brace when I went to coconuts, and I’ve been doing a lot of stretching and making sure I stand straight rather than slouching over the bins. So far it’s all good, stiff and sore but nothing that’s not too hard to manage.

    Went to bed about 1 AM and wide-awake at 7:30. It’s foggy today and supposed to rain. I’m going to again follow your lead and go to Machida this (Saturday) morning. I think this one is another DU that I’ve never been to.

    They gave me a flyer yesterday for something they call “Shimokitazawa Record Market” on November 3rd from 11 AM until 10 PM at Shimokitazawa Cage. Looks cool, I’ll make sure I hit it.
  2. Jimmy Agates

    Jimmy Agates Forum Resident

    Yeah thats pretty much the case. Plus you pay 8% sales tax (this can be avoided by showing your passport and filling out some forms in many shops - a bit of mucking around if your only buying one or two at a time) so I've found that I can actually get new releases to Oz for less by ordering them online rather than getting them when I'm there.

    Sometimes shops like Tower or HMV do have special price on a few selected new releases though.
    floyd likes this.
  3. hockman

    hockman Forum Resident

    Generally new CD/LPs are priced according to the OBI unless there's some promotion but that doesn't happen that often. There's a lot more variation in prices of imported items and 2nd hand stuff.
    floyd likes this.
  4. Johnny Ryall

    Johnny Ryall Well-Known Member

    You can definitely find mint conditions used mini lps replica cd's for half the original price.
    New ones, not so much. Maybe some discount if the store is having some kind of sale.
    floyd likes this.
  5. floyd

    floyd Forum Resident

    Spring Green, WI
    I may head to the LP sections too, but with the fact that I will be traveling back to the US I don’t want to have too much bulk. It would have to be pretty special vinyl- o’course it sounds like there is a lot of that. It seems like the kind of stuff that would get me most excited (classic rock) is going to be pricy. It’s Not like I will find a solid blue triangle label “Dark Side of the Moon” in great condition for cheap.
  6. floyd

    floyd Forum Resident

    Spring Green, WI
    Oh yes sales tax! 8% is surprisingly lower than I would have thought but it is good to know that it is added on like here in the states rather than imbedded in the price like Europe. 8% does not bring anything quite up to shipping costs but it does get you the way considering a good sized cdjapan order- and their bonus points. It will nevertheless be a thrill to walk into a store and find SHM SACDs out on the shelves that I can just pick up and buy.
    The forms you fill out for the sales tax, if you do this, do they just not charge you. or do you have to get your refund in the airport and show you are taking the items out of the country?
  7. floyd

    floyd Forum Resident

    Spring Green, WI
    I’m not really so much into the mini lp thing more into find the great mastering when both come together like some of the SHM SACD and Platinum SHM it is a nice thing. I must admit I am a bit of a sucker on the mini lps for the groups I love. I have The Beatles mini set complete also the Pink Floyd, I even picked up the Springsteen discs when they started showing up at half price books for cheap. At half the original price for mint condition used I may be persuaded. I will probably be on the look out for black triangles and good original mastering but my guess is they will not be too easy to find even in Japan.
    One thing I got to remember are the protective Mylar sleeves and soft disc inner sleeves they are cheap on cdjapan but you get hit with postage equivalent to one cd’s postage for each pack of sleeves so in the end it jacks up the price substantially.
  8. Maccaroni

    Maccaroni Forum Resident

    Bay Area, CA
    It's a little confusing from the literature available on the topic but I can testify as to the actual process having done it 3 weeks ago.

    Basically you hand over your passport at the checkout if they do the tax free thing (note that Disk Union does not).

    Tax is not charged at the point of purchase. They stick something into your passport which then gets removed at immigration upon departure - no need to show the goods at that point so you can just pack them into your checked luggage.
    Jimmy Agates likes this.
  9. MightyVinyl

    MightyVinyl Well-Known Member

    Day 2: Disk Union Machida. Thanks to your suggestion, I dropped just under $850 yesterday but came away with (67) 7” Japanese picture sleeve singles and 47 LP’s, most with obi’s. Most expensive item: Jethro Tull “Bouree / Fat Man” Reprise pic sleeve JET-1939 in VG+ for $52 net. My favorite find? (8) Beatles reissues in the series with Country Of Origin Flags on the obis, all mint, for $12-13 each, and Genesis “Foxtrot” with the original Japanese cover that combined front and back art into a single image, NM $40 (RJ-5069).

    I arrived at 11 AM and was done by about 5 PM, with the express train home I was able to get back to the hotel to drop everything off by about 6, and then headed to Shibuya to grab a bite to eat. This being a Saturday night, and with Monday being Halloween, Shibuya was nuts! There were a bajillion people in costumes, and since it was raining everybody was elbow to elbow with umbrellas which made for a real interesting time in the streets.

    I dropped into Recofan Shibuya about 730 and immediately found about 15 items that I absolutely had to have. For example, NM Japanese pressings of the Beatles anthology sets, priced at $33-$42 each! Says they were about to close and I didn’t have my passport with me, I convinced them to hold the items until opening, and promised I would be at their door at 11:25 AM waiting for them to open. It’s definitely worth bringing your Passport to this place as they will then not charge the tax. They definitely weren’t happy about my request, but since they were just about to close and had already opened all the items so that I could inspect them, they did so be grudgingly, once I reminded the manager that I have spoken to him each of the last three years now, and he did then remember me.

    So, I am off to Shibuya again this morning. I still have all of the stuff I brought over with me, approximately 600 US promotional 7 inch singles, which I want to sell to disk union but I’ve got to get by there when they open in order to have somebody count them, give me a document showing they are going to price them up for me, etc. I’ll have to try to do that tomorrow (Monday) morning.
  10. MightyVinyl

    MightyVinyl Well-Known Member

    Day 3: RecoFan Shibuya. Spent a little over $1k, got way too much stuff. Lost count at 110 items, But it was something close to or a little more than that.

    Stopped by the disk union branch afterword, found out that Shin (who I sold all my stuff to last year at the Shinjuku branch) is working at the third-floor Shibuya location now. She asked me if I would bring my stuff to him there for him to make me an offer, even said that they would pay for shipping if I wanted to ship it to him, but I told him that it’s such a huge heavy bulky amount of stuff that I really didn’t want to drag it from my hotel all the way there. I think they must get commission on stuff they buy?
    Harvey Rickenbacker likes this.
  11. MightyVinyl

    MightyVinyl Well-Known Member

    Day 4:

    I decided to go ahead and haul my crap to Shibuya to give Shin the opportunity to price it up and tell me what they will pay for it.

    First stop: DU Tachikawa, where I spent a good 4 hours & $375 and picked up (42) LPs and (9) 7” singles.
    Second stop: DU Kichijoji- $215 on (32) LPs and(17) singles. They asked me something about “ship“, Which I recall someone at another of the DUs asking me. I was finally able to clarify with her what they were asking me was whether they wanted me to have them ship these to my hotel for me. It only cost 517 yen so I eagerly agreed as my back was already killing me.

    Of the two, I would recommend Kichijoji highly as they had much more inventory and way more 100 & 300 yen bins. Both were definitely worth the trek though.

    Tomorrow it’s off to Omiya, Kitaurawa, and Kashiwa (at least, that’s the plan).
    Harvey Rickenbacker likes this.
  12. MightyVinyl

    MightyVinyl Well-Known Member

    Omiya was great.

    Kita Aruwa - not so much. Mostly overpriced junk, found a few gems but the crap-to-gold ratio was about 100-to-1.
    Sprague Dawley likes this.
  13. Sprague Dawley

    Sprague Dawley Forum Resident

    Sapporo, Japan
    the DU branches seem much of a muchness but after you bludgeon thru a dozen or so in quick succession they sort of reveal their quirks

    MV, what genre of stuff was the "overpriced junk"? one man's treasure etc.

    ps, great resource here:

    The Biggest Guide to Tokyo Record Stores on the Internet

    he's coming at it from a dance music angle though, bit at odds to my punk interpretation

    That's interesting. Hell of a trek. How long did it take to get there? Gotta be careful avoiding those local trains, goddamn, especially if yer itchign to get into the shop, the damn things seem to just slowly trundle along before wheezing to a stop at a new station every 20 metres.
    Ben Sinise likes this.
  14. hockman

    hockman Forum Resident

    Thanks for the online guide. I am familiar with most but not all of the places. Very useful for the 1st timer.

    I keep thinking, though, there must be many more interesting record stores in the Jimbocho area where there are many book stores.

    These days I keep reminding myself that one should 'buy fewer, but buy better' and for that you need to take your time and not rush thru' the stores in a feeding frenzy.
  15. MightyVinyl

    MightyVinyl Well-Known Member

    Day 6: DU Ochinamizu. Tons of stuff, not enough bargain bin stuff. Found a cool Scorpions picture sleeve single over at the metal store, but when I asked to inspect it it turned out to have a Cher vinyl inside the sleeve. What a bummer.
  16. Sprague Dawley

    Sprague Dawley Forum Resident

    Sapporo, Japan
    there is a huge old one, difficult to describe how to get there, on the street with Jimbocho branch, walk away from Ochanomizu, about 300 metres (?) then turn right down the street with a zillion book stores, dont now why I've even bothered typing this far because the store is TERRIBLE. Packed with stuff but it looks like they havent sold or stocked anything since about 1984.
  17. Johnny Ryall

    Johnny Ryall Well-Known Member

    Those are some killer hauls, MV. Good job!
  18. MightyVinyl

    MightyVinyl Well-Known Member

    God, I don’t know why I wasted the time.... just trecked to the Ikebukuro Coconuts Disc location, and just like Yoyogi, but even worse quality. Dozens of awesome 7” Japanese promos for 300-1000 yen, and all COMPLETELY TRASHED.

    Apparently they don’t think condition matters?
  19. MightyVinyl

    MightyVinyl Well-Known Member

    Hit the Yellow Pop location in Kawaguchi yesterday, don’t think I’ve seen it reported on here before. Fairly high prices (nothing under ¥500) but tons of pretty good jazz and soul pressings. Among other purchases, I Splashed out on a Bowie Japanese 7”promo of Crystal Japan / Alabama Song and a red vinyl Pink Floyd Julia Dream single both in really nice condition, $43 and $53 respectively after the exchange rate and the additional 10% discount she gave me after I asked.
  20. Gavinyl

    Gavinyl The van is at the port

    Japan is sooooo great for vinyl junkies, I gotta go again...
  21. MightyVinyl

    MightyVinyl Well-Known Member

    Although I still love shopping for vinyl in Japan, it’s very clear that the “Discogs Effect” has had a major impact on prices this year when compared to my first trip in 2015.

    On that first trip, it was nearly impossible not to find amazing values in almost all of the shops. This year, finding those same values takes some real digging and is more like “work” than I care to admit.

    We haven’t killed the golden goose yet, but it is on chemotherapy and the prognosis is not good.
  22. MightyVinyl

    MightyVinyl Well-Known Member

    found some great deals today in Yokohama. I was digging Through a ¥100 bin when the clerk handed me a stack of Madonna singles, Hanoi Rocks, B-52s, and other great Japanese 7 inch stock, all ¥100 each. Couldn’t get them into my bag fast enough!

    Also found a ton of cool promo Japanese albums - BeBop Deluxe, Miles Davis, Fleetwood Mac, etc. Most around ¥15,000

    I’m in Nakano today, about to enter Rare which is within sight distance of the DU.
  23. Johnny Ryall

    Johnny Ryall Well-Known Member

    There's another Rare Records store in Koenji, just one stop away from Nakano.
    It's right under the JR tracks, west direction from the station. Both stores are nothing to write home about.
  24. MightyVinyl

    MightyVinyl Well-Known Member

    You said it! Nakano Rare was a bust, and he no longer has the upstairs space so it’s a tiny cramped overpriced little store now.

    DU was another story though, found a bunch of great stuff there, including a Kate Bush Japanese “hammer horror“ 7PS promo for around $24.

    I decided that I would complete the full set of Tokyo DUs by going to the Jimbocho store afterward, it was the only one I had not been to yet.

    Talk about saving the best for last! The inventory, quality and pricing at the Jimbocho DU blew my freaking mind!!! I picked up over 100 albums and about 25 singles, and that was without even really getting to go through nearly half of the inventory as I ran out of time! I bought so much stuff, I had to pay them five dollars to ship one of the boxes to my hotel as I couldn’t lug it along with the rest of the other stuff I’d already gotten. I’m going to try to go back tomorrow to dig through the rest of the inventory.

    I bought a ton of “A“ grade (NM) Japanese pressings, almost all with obis, and about half of them being promo copies, for between ¥350- ¥500 each. Pointer sisters, Sister sledge, Stevie Woods, Wild Cherry, Whispers, Alan Parsons Project, Spinners, Temptations, Denise Williams, etc. etc. Also splashed out around ¥1000 each for promo copies of NM albums from Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Grin, Grateful Dead, Flying Burritos, Beach Boys, Stones, etc. Again, mostly with Obi’s. Easily one of the best hauls I can remember.
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2017
  25. MightyVinyl

    MightyVinyl Well-Known Member

    My eyes were definitely bigger than my luggage. I’ve just spent the last three hours trying to pack, and found that I am going to have to ship home six or more boxes of albums, which is probably going to end up costing somewhere in the neighborhood of $1200 just for the postage.

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