Vinyl Shops in Tokyo, Japan and Japan in General

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

  1. Harvey Rickenbacker

    Harvey Rickenbacker Forum Resident

    Thanks for a great report Johnny. As luck would have it I’m in Tokyo next week for the first time in 18 months. Looking forward to hitting the shops again!

    Great photos too. Which shop did you say that Sabrina record is in? I have a friend who wants to know
    Johnny Ryall likes this.
  2. Johnny Ryall

    Johnny Ryall Forum Resident

    Compared to Disk Union shops I'd say they swing between slighlty overpriced to outrageously overpriced but sometimes you can still find a record or two that are just in the ok zone.

    Honestly they are mostly the same to me. I've been visiting once, twice per year for the last 10 years and the biggest prices swings I've seen were because of the Yen/Euro exchange rate.
    I don't do much digging in the 100/200/300 yen bins so I really can't comment on that.
  3. yookmook

    yookmook Forum Resident

    just fly back from tokyo/
    nothing much and pricey (especially city pop like tatsuro yamashita,mariya takeuchi )
    happy hunting

  4. GentleSenator

    GentleSenator what if

    Aloha, OR
    how's the matthew sweet LP?
  5. yookmook

    yookmook Forum Resident

    i accidentally found matthew original press 1000 yen (vg+) at hmv shinjuku.
    not good condition.
    but ok for this price.

    happy hunting
  6. Sprague Dawley

    Sprague Dawley Forum Resident

    9 Expert Tips For Record Shopping In Tokyo
    Nice of them to mention Mighty Vinyl there!:cool:
    MightyVinyl and GentleSenator like this.
  7. Harvey Rickenbacker

    Harvey Rickenbacker Forum Resident

    I arrived home recently from a week in Tokyo. My first trip there in a year and half. I was missing the place!

    I got about 100 LP's and a few 7". A few less than usual but got a few pricey things with obi's that I'd had on the list for a while.

    I didn't make it out of Tokyo but covered the main areas there pretty thoroughly. Shibuya, Shinjuku, Nakano, Shimokitazawa, Kichijoji, Ochanomizu etc. Probably did 15-20 Disk Unions, the 3 HMV's and a bunch of smaller stores.

    I did check out a few new shops for me. One called Mecano at Nakano that specialised in synth stuff. Good place to go if you need some Kraftwerk etc. Lots of German stuff and early 80's stuff.

    Another new one for me called Record Sha not far from the Jimbocho DU. Had a lot of oldies stuff. Was playing Christmas carols while I was in the shop. But he had a good 7" single section and I got a couple of Nancy Sinatra singles and found a few reasonably priced 60's/70's things with Obis in his rock section. Nice friendly man too.

    Shinjuku Records in Shimokitazawa (had moved from Shinjuku) was also quite good. I was looking for the Beach Boys Surfs Up with an obi and he went out the back and came back with about 15 Beach Boys albums with obis. None of them were Surfs Up but makes me wonder what some of these places might have hiding away. I didn't find anything at General Record Store in Shimokita this time although it had been good for me on the last trip.

    The other new places were a waste of time. Darumaya in Ikebukuro was rammed with stuff and looked promising but everything was overpriced. Same goes for a place called Be-In in Koenji. That would be a goldmine if you were looking for original US or UK pressings and had some serious coin. Original UK Kinks albums for Y120,000-Y150,000. Be nice to be able to afford that stuff.

    Probably best store for me on this trip was the new HMV in Kichijoji. It hit the sweet spot for me and was probably first time on the trip where I found a bunch of things on my Obi list!

    The new DU in Shinjuku was pretty good too and I found some nice things there. It's only about 100 metres away from the big 7 floor one. I went in about 3 times and it was super busy.

    It's funny how each trip throws up something different. I bought nothing in Recofan (which is a first). Maybe I was just shopped out the day I went there. You need to be in the right mindset for that place. The DU Ochanamizu and Shimokitazawa stores have been gold mines for me in the past but were disappointing this time.

    I overheard some dealers bemoaning the fact the DU stores had all been 'done over'. Who'd done them over I'm not sure. Other dealers I suspect! There did seem to be a shortage of Obi's in the 60/70's stuff. I was in my favourite DU (the 4th and 5th floor rock store in Shinjuku) and could hardly find an obi's in the A to Z. But there was some in the new arrivals. I think more things are selling before they make it to the main racks.

    Red Ring in Shinjuku is always with a visit for 70's and 80's rock. Reasonable prices and a good range. Found some obi's there so maybe that area isn't getting hit up by the dealers.

    There did seem to be more Westerners in the shops than usual on this trip. especially in the central DU stores. There had also been a big sale day on Nov 3 for a public holiday. So that might have cleaned out a lot stuff. There definitely seemed to be a shortage of stuff with obis compared to previous trips. I didn't detect any great change in pricing from previous trips. The racks were still pretty rammed with stuff in all price ranges.

    Looking forward to the next trip and hopefully having time to get back to Osaka and Kyoto again.
  8. Sprague Dawley

    Sprague Dawley Forum Resident

    what genre stuff were you after?
    wow, that's a surprise. What price range were you up for?
  9. Harvey Rickenbacker

    Harvey Rickenbacker Forum Resident

    Hi SD. I mainly look for 60’s and 70’s releases. Most of what I buy in Japan is in the Y1000 - Y3000 range. I’ve been collecting Japanese pressings with obi’s by my Favorite artists from that period for 3 or 4 years now. I have fairly complete collections of Kinks, Beatles, Stones, Dylan, Young, Mott etc. but always on the lookout for earlier pressings rather than reissues by these artists. To that end I picked up a couple of pricey items st the Kichijoji HMV. An early pressing of the Kinks ‘Face To Face’ with an obi was Y16000. But I didn’t expect to see it again. likewise Flying Burrito Bros ‘Gilded Palace Of Sin’ with obi was Y12000 but I didn’t even know that one existed. It’s not on discogs. They were the most expensive things on the trip. I also picked up a couple of Bee Gees 60’s Albums with obis and some Francoise Hardy albums for under Y2000. A Badfinger and early Fleetwood Mac album with obi for around Y5000. An early US pressing of the first Zombies album for Y3000. It was an expensive day out but all stuff that’s been high on my wants list for some time that I didn’t see elsewhere. And it was my birthday so my wife was giving me some leeway! They also had a sale going with all their Y800 and below stuff at half price. But I didn’t have time to go through that.

    I’ve always found good things in the HMV stores and on this trip the Kichijoji one didn’t seem to be attracting the traffic of the other stores.Their pricing can be a bit all over the shop I know but this shop seemed to have more stuff in the sweet spot for me than others. I got to fill up their points card too and use it for discounts at the Shinjuku store later in the trip.

    The other good thing about The Kichijoji HMV is it opens at 10. I’m usually champing at the bit waiting for 11 o’clock to come around when most stores open.

    the Kichijoji Disc Union didn’t have much for me on this trip. I also looked in Rare Records but nothing to be had there.
  10. Stump

    Stump Forum Resident

    Adelaide Australia
    Did you carry the 100 LPs back or use some shipping?
  11. Sprague Dawley

    Sprague Dawley Forum Resident

    wow Harvey, you're after the heavyweights. More of a punk/indies bottom-feeding bin scabber myself.

    Surprising about HMV, Shibuya (?) branch was a total bust for me. After about 10 minutes going thru the 500 yen lp bins it dawned on me this is all generic stuff you can get anywhere in Japan for 100 or 200 yen. lOl at their cassette tape section too, 2,000 yen for bog standard releases that are $3 on discogs...

    Will say it is a GREAT time to be in Japan for Toto fans. You can probably buy their entire discography, on LP, with OBI's, for the same price as a pint of Guinness.
    Johnny Ryall and candyflip69 like this.
  12. Harvey Rickenbacker

    Harvey Rickenbacker Forum Resident

    Carried them back Stump. I asked the hotel re getting them to the airport for us but in the end the two of us managed. 2 suitcases with LP boxes inside (about 20/25 each). One heavy duty UDG DJ bag that holds about 50. Then a carry on bag with the expensive ones. Got a taxi down to Shinjuku Station and then the Narita express out so there was virtually no lifting involved. JAL allow 46 kilos per person check in so we ended up being way under the weight on this trip. Luckily my wife only tends to buy clothing and lighter things that come in handy for filling out the cases and stopping the boxes moving around ;)

    The other thing that always amazes me re Japan is pretty much every album plays perfectly and was graded conservatively by the stores. The Zombies record mentioned above actually looked a bit rough but still plays with very little surface noise.

    Was going to add some photos but looks like I need photo bucket or something so will look into that over the weekend.
    pudgym and Stump like this.
  13. Harvey Rickenbacker

    Harvey Rickenbacker Forum Resident

    Ha, yes Toto are on their way to Australia too. Saw the poster this morning that just said "Toto - I bless the waves down in Africa". I had a chuckle too myself that they needed to put the lyrics of the song up to get the message across re what band it was!

    I buy a bit of 70's punk and new wave stuff too SD. That was actually my first love and what got me into music as a teenager. I probably have most things I want now from that era but will get a Japanese copy from time to time to replace my worn out copy. Was keeping an eye out for Japanese copies of Magazine and Undertones albums on this trip but didn't have any joy. I got a Pop Group album though and an album by the Outcasts on the Irish Good Vibrations label. Have only heard a single before. It was on the wall at DU Jimbocho and set me back around Y4000 from memory. Haven't listened to it yet so can't comment re whether its any good or not but anything with an Undertones connection is worth a punt I reckon. The Outcasts - Self Conscious Over You
    Sprague Dawley likes this.
  14. Johnny Ryall

    Johnny Ryall Forum Resident

    Great report, Harvey!
    You can use Imgur to up photos.
  15. Harvey Rickenbacker

    Harvey Rickenbacker Forum Resident

    Thanks for the tip Re Imgur Johnny. I’ll give it a go.
  16. Sprague Dawley

    Sprague Dawley Forum Resident

    back from 4 days bin scabbing Tokyo Disk Unions, dragging my 2 tonne suitcase through the grey driving rain, up the stairs, down the stairs, back up them again. Tokyo might be a high tech hub of innovation but how hard would it be to build some damn escalators at the subway stations? Anyway, the shopping wasnt so great, DU are just too good these days, too organised, not many cheapies slip through their cracks. I wouldve been better off taking my 22,000 yen airfare and putting it towards postage to getting the same stuff and wayy more off discogs. The used bins just have the pretty much the same stuff in each branch, over and over. Now that I think about it, none of my fave bands were spotted over the 4 days and I went through about 12 branches with manaical precision. The Fall, flying nun stuff, Country Teasers, doom metal, 80's amrep, none of that stuff.

    anyway, my haul, yet to be sorted into flippers and keepers:

    AGAINST ME searching CD 200 yen
    AL GREEN tired of being alone 7" 100
    ALAN PARSONS PROJECT don't answer 7" 300 yen
    APARTMENT 213/BENUMB 7" 100 yen
    ARCWELDER pull LP 800 yen. been looking for an LP by these guys foreever
    AVAIL 4 am friday CD 200 yen
    AVAIL dixie CD 100 yen
    AVERAGE WHITE BAND pick up pieces 7 300 YEN
    BABY alone lp 100 yen
    BAD MANNERS live and loud LP 500
    BARBARELLA ost LP 400
    BASTARDS who cares 7" 100 yen
    BASTARDS scenes 7" 100 yen
    BATTLES atlas 12" 500
    BEACH BOYS sloop 7" 600 yen
    BEACH BOYS sloop 7" 500 yen
    BEACH BOYS all summer LP 400 yen
    BEACH BOYS sunshine lp 100 yen
    BEATLES youre going 7" 300 yen
    BEATLES yellow sub 7" 500 yen
    BEATLES white album lp 500 yen
    BEATLES no reply 7" 300 yen
    BEATLES matchbox 7" 400 yen
    BEATLES OB LAD DI 7" 300 yen
    BEATLES hard day 7" 400 yen
    BEATLES yellow sub 7" 200 yen
    BEGUILED black gloves 7" 500 yen
    BOB DYLAN billy the kid LP 700
    BOB DYLAN the night 7" 300 yen
    BONNIE BILLY marquis LP 300
    BRAID niagara 7"
    BRAID please drive 7" 100 yen
    BRIDGE AT REMAGEN ost 7" 100 yen
    BURNING AIRLINES identikit CD 100 yen
    BRUCE LEE my way 300 yen
    CAPTAIN CONDOMS 7" 100 yen
    CAREER SUICIDE attempted LP 500 yen
    CATHOLIC BOYS psychic LP 200 yen
    CHROME new age 7" 1200 yen
    CHROME CRANKS kim 2X7" 100 yen
    CHUCK BERRY super deluxe LP 500
    COLIN NEWMAN it seems LP 400
    COMET GAIN Magnetic LP 200 yen
    COMMODORES movin on LP 300 yen
    CONVERGE i can tell 7" 800 yen
    CORRUPTED sa hace LP 1400 yen. wow the prices have really come down on these represses. this used to be a $80 record
    CULVER cherru 7" 100 yen
    DEACON BLUE cd 200
    DEVO duty LP 500
    DOORS riders on the storm 7" 300 yen
    DOT/FLESHPRESS 7" 300 yen
    DR ZHIVAGO soundtrack LP 100
    EARTH OPERA lp 100 yen
    ENNIO MORRICONE spiel LP 400 Yen
    ENNIO MORRICONE good bad 7" 100 yen
    EUGENIUS ceaser 12" 100 YEN
    FISHBONE give a monkey LP 1700 yen
    FISHBONE comp LP 500
    FISHBONE party at ground zero 12" 500
    FISTULA/COME TO GRIEF 7" 600 yen
    FLEETWOOD MAC sara 7" 400 yen
    FLEETWOOD MAC rhiannon 7" 400 yen
    FLEETWOOD MAC you make loving 400 yen
    FLOOR heather 7" 500 yen
    FUDGE TUNNEL in a word 7" 100 yen
    GARY NUMAN telekon LP 400
    GASTUNK mr 7" 100 yen
    GASTUNK mr 7" 100 yen
    GASTUNK sm 7" 100 yen
    GASTUNK s/t 7" 300 yen
    GASTUNK geronimo 7" 300 yen
    GOBLIN suspiria 7" 500 yen
    GORDON SOLIE MOTHER****ERS power bomb 10" 400 yen. YESSS! I have it back. Another regretted sale from back in the day
    GREENMACHINE 10" 1000
    GREENMACHINE/THUG 7" 300 yen woaahhhh this was a fun score
    HANOI ROCKS bangkok shocks LP 300 yen
    HARD ONS worst of LP 700
    HARMAGEDON LP 100 yen
    HELMET unsung 12"
    HERBIE HANCOCK maiden voyage lp 500 yen
    HIS HERO IS GONE monuments LP 1000
    HOODOO GURUS magnum CASS 100 yen
    HOSPITALS rich people LP 200 yen
    ISAAC HAYES shaft 7" 300 yen
    JAMES BOND goldfinger 7"
    JOHN FOXX 2x7" 100 yen
    JOHN FOXX burning car 12
    JOHN FOXX garden LP
    JOHN FOXX 2x7" 100 yen
    JOHNNY CASH hello LP 500
    JOIURNEY who's 7" 100 yen
    KATE BUSH dreaming 600
    KATE BUSH hounds LP
    KING KHAN AND THE SHRINES what is CD 100 yen
    KISS dr love 7" 600 yen
    KURT WEILL la opera LP 100 yen
    LAZY COWGIRLS frustration 7" 400 YEN
    LAZY COWGIRLS frustration 7" 400 YEN
    LAZY COWGIRLS jungle song 7" 400 YEN
    LED ZEPPELIN ii LP 500
    LED ZEPPELIN immigrant 7" 300 yen
    LES THUGS chess 7" 500 yen
    LIE s/t LP 100
    LOU REED rockn roll LP
    MADONNA bonita 7" 400 yen
    MAGNIFICENT SEVEN 7" 100 yen
    MAN OF LA MANCHU 7" 100 yen
    MARINO hard and rough LP 100
    MARY JANE GIRLS 7" 400 yen
    MERCURY REV everlasting arm 12" 100 yen
    MIKE OLDFIELD qe2 lp 300 yen
    MIKE OLDFIELD tubular bells LP 700 YEN
    MONOMEN/APEMEN 7" 100 yen
    MOTO pack your troubles LP 800 yen
    MR BUNGLE cd 200 yen
    NEIL YOUNG zuma LP 600. still kicking myself for selling my j-pressing. This'll do me. PLENTY of Neil lp's at DU's. Pricing generally through the goddamn roof though.
    NEW BOMB TURKS big combo LP
    NOFX **** the kids 7" 100 yen
    OHIO PLAYERS smoke 7
    OHIO PLAYERS fire 7" 300 yen
    OLIVIA TREMOR CONTROL opera 7" 100 yen
    OMD joan 12 400
    PAGANS her name was jane 7" 200 yen
    PAPILLON 7" 100 yen
    PATTI SMITH brian jones 7" 400 yen
    PEE CHEES games LP 100 YEN
    PENNYWISE a word 7" 100 yen
    PETER GABRIEL s/t LP 100
    PRAM space 12
    PRETENDERS 7" 300 yen
    PRINCE around the world LP 500 ye
    PRIVILEGE soundtrack LP 100
    PROPAGANDHI/FYP 7" 100 yen
    RED SUN 7" 300 yen
    RED LORRY YELLOW LORRY paint LP 100 yen
    ROCKET FROM THE CRYPT dancing birds 7" 300 yen
    ROLLING STONES goats head LP 100
    RUTS west 7" 300 yen
    RYE COALITION zz topless 7"
    SCRATCH BONGOWAX human 7" 100 yen
    SEBADOH beauty 10" 300 YEN
    SINISTER SIX pain 7" 100 yen
    SLAVE just 7" 500 yen
    SLY AND ROBBIE taxi LP 600
    SNUFF numb nuts LP 300
    SPARKS history lp 500 yen
    STRANGLERS raven LP 700
    SUPERCHARGER goes way out lp
    TEMPTATIONS masterpiece 7" 100 yen
    TORINO NERA 7" 100 yen
    TOUCHE AMORE/PIANOS 7" 100 yen
    URINALS another ep 7" 400 yen. yesssss!
    VAZ demonstrations 600 yen. total eureka moment, been looking for some vinyl by these ex-hammerhead amrep guys for yonks
    VIC GODARD trouble LP
    VIRGIN ROCKS shut 7" 100 yen
    WAR live LP 500 yen
    WEEN voodoo 7" 300 yen
    WEIRDOS who LP 700 yen
    THE WHO summertime blues 7" 400 yen
    THE WHO vol 22 lp 300 yen
    THE WHO my generation 12" 300 yen
    WIRE live 800 LP
    YARDBIRDS singles 10" 400 yen
    YBO2 7" 300 yen
    ZEKE/DISFEAR 7" 100 yen
    V/A TUATARA LP 300 yen srsly my jaw dropped when I found this Flying Nun comp. had always thought this was a $100 unicorn. turns out it was reissued a couple of times and is quite afordable on discogs
    V/A burning LP 400
    V/A no tORONTO LP 100 yen
    V/A COSMIC PSYCHOS 7" 100 yen
    pudgym and Mr. LP Collector like this.
  17. Sprague Dawley

    Sprague Dawley Forum Resident

    reminds me now, the weirdest thing happened in the Shinjuku "Rock" DU on 4f. It was seriously intimidating and belittling. There's broke old bottom-feeder me, scabbing throught the 100 yen bin in this EXORBITANTLY priced store and some j-dude in a POP GROUP t-shirt and one of those foppy scarves rakishly knotted at the throat walks in, stands at bin across from me with the insane priced stuff, starting at 6,000 yen and going up and up, and he starts casually pulling records out, giving them a cursury glance and adding them to his pile. 10,000 yen, 20,000 yen, and he's barely even looking at the mothers. No way he's goign to buy all those. There's me poring over whether to pull the trigger on 500 yen lp's and this guy has been in the shop for 5 minutes and has a 6 inch high pile that could be half a million yens worth. He didnt seem to be a staff member. Then he saunters up to the shop counter, has a laugh with the clerk, flashes his phone and he's gone. Presumably down to his idling jet-black Ferrari to suavely disappear off into the Shinjuku night.

    the wife reckons he must've been a DU head noncho who was simply transferring some lp's to another branch. Which is also what I want to believe.

    5 minutes in the shop.

  18. candyflip69

    candyflip69 What's good?!

    Tokyo is done for vinyl bargains that we've enjoyed the last few years.
    I was there at Xmas for 5 days.
    Same story - not much worth having that isn't at market prices (and fair enough for those stores).
    It's been strip-mined.

    It's over (for now at least).
  19. hockman

    hockman Forum Resident

    Haha, you still manage to land a big haul despite your complaints!

    Tokyo is too well-known nowadays as a record mecca as a result of the internet, social media and threads like this one. Back in the day, I had to scour for tips on finding the stores; today, that info and more are all over the web. It's all our own fault.

  20. Harvey Rickenbacker

    Harvey Rickenbacker Forum Resident

    Thanks for bringing the thread back to life SD! Great report and there’s some good stuff at very good prices among your haul. That Flying Nun comps a ripper. It was such a great label at that point in time.

    Maybe there aren’t the bargains to be had in Tokyo/Japan there once was but I can’t think of anywhere else where shopping for records is as much fun as it is in Japan. I’ll still be trying to get at least a trip a year in.
  21. Sprague Dawley

    Sprague Dawley Forum Resident

    ha, yeah, I suppose so. Although 180 or so buys over the 4 days, I think I bought about 350 two years ago....
  22. yookmook

    yookmook Forum Resident

    just fly back from tokyo.
    city pop vinyl is very hard to find and pricey.

    i remember last 2 years/ it's everywhere and cheap.

  23. Sprague Dawley

    Sprague Dawley Forum Resident

    bit in here from owner of the Flash Disc store.
    Such a disappointing shop. Just trashed garbage with unmitigated gall represented in the form of price stickers. Should be renamed "Grade Me Good / Fair"
  24. Audionerd

    Audionerd Forum Resident

    New England, US
    Agreed. Overpriced for sure, and the owner is a bit rude (snapped at me when I looked at some records he didn't want me looking at).
    I went once and never went back.
    Sprague Dawley likes this.
  25. moops

    moops Forum Resident

    Geebung, Australia
    I'm heading to Japan in a couple of weeks for the first time, staying in Tokyo and Kyoto. I'll be looking for CDs only and will probably only get one day or part of a day to do some shopping. I was mainly going to focus on the Disc Union stores.

    I was just after some clarification ......
    Going by the Disc Union map am I right in thinking that each Disc Union store is dedicated to a specific genre or does each store have a mixture within the one store, like a floor for rock, a floor for jazz, or metal etc. Or will I have to go to a different store for jazz then another store for metal etc ?
    Does each store have a used CD section ?

Share This Page