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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. gothictrade

    gothictrade Well-Known Member

    Maybe this is the best place to ask this . . .
    I like to study languages and for the past two years I've studied Japanese but I haven't really listened to any Japanese music. . .
    If I give some of my english music interests to someone would they be able to suggest me some albums or songs?

    Some of my favourite artists at the moment. . .
    Tears for Fears
    Cocteau Twins
    Mazzy Star
    Lana Del Rey

    Beach House
  2. mfidelity

    mfidelity Forum Resident

    SF Bay Area
  3. gothictrade

    gothictrade Well-Known Member

  4. MightyVinyl

    MightyVinyl Forum Resident

    Jeez, Wouldn’t you know it that this year’s annual pilgrimage happened to begin one day before the biggest weather event in Tokyo in decades...

    Time is too precious here to lose a single day, but I’m just happy that there wasn’t more loss of life and damage, although it looks like things are really bad out in the hinterlands.

    I’m on the 34th floor (of 35) at the Southern Century Tower in Shinjuku, and around 9 PM the winds were so strong that the floor was actually swaying. Freaked me out, so I went downstairs and took some really cool video just outside on the ground level.

    On Friday I spent the day at the DU Shimo Kitazawa, the best item I found was actually in a nearby antique shop. They had a stack of records and I found a NM Japanese pressing of Mike Oldfield’s 2LP compilation (one with the beautiful cover photo of a hummingbird or something like that against a green background) with Obi. It was marked ¥600, but for some reason the guy at the counter said ¥300, probably the only deal to be had the entire day. That’s not to say I didn’t buy other stuff, I am a vinyl junkie after all, but as previously noted, the days of Japan being a vinyl bargain hunters Mecca are long in the rearview mirror.

    It’s actually work now to find anything approaching a “bargain”, the same as sorting through the bargain bins at Amoeba or similar.

    I am off to DU Ochanomizu, then Jinbocho. Wish me luck.
    candyflip69 likes this.
  5. candyflip69

    candyflip69 What's good?!

    Good luck sir.

    Sad to hear, but the truth hurts (us). :(

    We had a great run.

    ja ne? :wave:
  6. Harvey Rickenbacker

    Harvey Rickenbacker Forum Resident

    Frightening stuff. I'm amazed that the trains are back running again already. And the record stores are open.
  7. Chee

    Chee Forum Resident

    You hardly see Japanese pressings at U.S. record conventions anymore. Too many Japanese turned into eBay and Discogs dealers, the stuff is picked clean these days.
    LordThanos1969 likes this.
  8. Johnny Ryall

    Johnny Ryall Forum Resident

  9. MightyVinyl

    MightyVinyl Forum Resident

    Having previously slagged off the micro chain called “Rare”, I think it only fair that I report some positive news.

    After more or less striking out at the Nakano branch of Disk Union, I was heading back to the station to make the trek home when I noticed that Rare is actually open until midnight. Since it was too late to hit any other stores anyway, I thought why not drop in and check it out. It took a bit of digging, but in the stuff tucked away in the shelves up above the racks there was a very small section labeled heavy metal, and amongst the records I found a NM promo with obi & insert of Racer X - Second Heat - on FEMS (FAR EAST METAL SYNDICATE #SP25-5320) at ¥1600. Also found a decent Killing Joke with obi & insert (Fire Dances 28MM-0301) at ¥1200.
  10. Sprague Dawley

    Sprague Dawley Forum Resident

    Sapporo, Japan
  11. Sprague Dawley

    Sprague Dawley Forum Resident

    Sapporo, Japan
    yeah I've given up on Tokyo. Used to be you could spend 3 days and find 100 bargains. These days you'll find 10 bargains in the 3 days and the rest are roughly the same price you'd pay on discogs. May as well just save myself all the time and effort and put the airfare/accom $$ towards covering postage and get em off discogs
    candyflip69 likes this.
  12. Johnny Ryall

    Johnny Ryall Forum Resident

    "Tower Records Japan's first vinyl only shop! Carrying vinyl record for both record maniacs and beginners. Stocking 40,000 used records and 30,000 new records."
    Tower Vinyl Shinjuku at Vinylhub
  13. hockman

    hockman Forum Resident

    Has any one been to the Tower and can comment on the used vinyl offerings? A real late comer to the game but this being Japan, they may yet do it very well.
  14. Harvey Rickenbacker

    Harvey Rickenbacker Forum Resident

    I was in Tokyo last week and checked out the new Tower vinyl store. Took a bit of finding actually but when I did it's in a convenient spot right by the South gate of Shinjuku Station. Grab an elevator up to the 12th floor and voila, you step out into a huge vinyl store. or in my case you step straight into a bunch of people watching a Japanese band doing an in-store. And they weren't too bad actually. A band called Oopth. Kinda indie-folk but lyrics all Japanese so no idea what they were singing about.

    I have only visited the Shibuya Tower store previously and that only briefly. I don't go to Japan to buy new records. I was impressed with this new vinyl only floor though. It's a really big space. Probably on a par with recofan in area but lay out in a much more logical manner with plenty of room between the racks. Even though people were standing around watching the band I could still get at the records. The split is about 50/50 new too used. I noticed their range of new stuff is indeed very extensive. But it's the used stuff we are interested in right? I thought the range was pretty good and the prices looked to be on par with Disk Union if not a little better. But even though the range was good I didn't find anything I was after so left empty handed. I already had pretty heavy bags at this point of the trip so was starting to get very conservative in my buying. Also I tend to buy Japanese pressings predominantly being in japan and all and they seemed to have mainly US and UK pressings. The Japanese stuff was a bit sparse. This may change though. I imagine they've done a big buy in from overseas to get their initial stock and will take a while to source the local stock.

    I'll throw in a few pictures although I'm not exactly a whiz on the camera or on the uploading of photos so hopefully it'll work.

    Will do a report soon on the rest of my trip which took in Okayama, Matsuyama, Osaka, Kyoto before hitting Tokyo.





    Sprague Dawley likes this.
  15. Old Zorki II

    Old Zorki II Storm Watcher

    near Tampa, FL
    Going to Japan in 3 month, already put side aside several grands to get some records)). Do not mind paying Discogs prices, as long as I can see what I am buying.
    Wonder if there are good shops in Osaka selling Japanese presses of 60s and 70s rock, especially progressive, kraut and southern. Tokyo looks like covered already. But some extra advise will also help.

    Btw, do those shops also sell packing materials like boxes, etc?
  16. Harvey Rickenbacker

    Harvey Rickenbacker Forum Resident

    I had 3 days in Osaka on my recent trip and buy a lot of 60’s and 70’s rock. Shops I’d recommend are Maru Ka Batsu, Redbone, and Hanky Panky in Shinsaibashi. And Forever and Disk JJ in Namba. Forever had a really big Kraut section. There are plenty of shops to check out in Osaka but those are the ones I like the best. You can cover them all on foot as it’s only about a 10 minute walk from Shinsaibashi to Namba. The Disk Union Osaka store is also good and up in Umeda. All the above should come up in google maps.

    One of the Disk Union Shinjuku stores in Tokyo has packing material but not sure about elsewhere.

    if you have time it’s worth going to Kyoto as well as it punches above its weight when it comes to record stores. It’s only 30 minutes by train from Osaka. Workshop is my favourite store there. Other good ones are Joe’s Garage, Bootsy, Toradra and Happy Jack. Right next to Workshop is a shop called Hot Line that was one of those shops that had records piled on top of records. A bit of a mess and difficult to get to the racks but low prices. I picked up a bunch of Beatles Japanese picture sleeve 7” for 400- 600 yen and saw some of them in Tokyo later in the trip for 4 times that price.
    Sprague Dawley and Old Zorki II like this.
  17. Old Zorki II

    Old Zorki II Storm Watcher

    near Tampa, FL
    Wow, thanks! Greta deal of information. We gonna stay in Kyoto for 2 days as well, so will look there...
    Harvey Rickenbacker likes this.
  18. Old Zorki II

    Old Zorki II Storm Watcher

    near Tampa, FL
    Interesting, I looked at pictures in stores and can hardly see any records with OBI (there are some exceptions)... Are they rare or some stores simply stock mostly western stuff?
  19. Harvey Rickenbacker

    Harvey Rickenbacker Forum Resident

    From my experience OBI’s are getting tougher to find. They seemed much more plentiful when I first visited Japan in 2016 than now. I think there are more non Japanese people collecting Japanese pressings now and that takes them out of the Japanese market permanently so supply is slowly drying up. And prices have gone up too. Having said that you will find plenty but depending on what artists you collect it might be tough. I always have a list of things I want with OBI to round out collections. Beatles, Stones, Neil Young, David Bowie & Bob Dylan are easy to find. Less successful bands like Badfinger and the Byrds I’ve had some albums on my list for 4 years now and just can’t find. At least not at prices I’m prepared to pay. I was really happy to find 3 early Van Morrison with OBI on my latest trip because his stuff has been hard to track down. In perfect condition too! That’s the main reason I favour Japanese pressings as they’ve generally been well looked after.

    there are stacks of non Japanese pressings in the Japanese stores as well though. Only guessing but my perception is the mix would be something like 1/3 Japanese (and only 20% of them with OBI), 1/3 US, 1/3 UK/Europe and elsewhere.
    Sprague Dawley and candyflip69 like this.
  20. Harvey Rickenbacker

    Harvey Rickenbacker Forum Resident

    Osaka Record Store Guide. It's pretty comprehensive although I did find a few stores that aren't on it.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
  21. Harvey Rickenbacker

    Harvey Rickenbacker Forum Resident

    One of the most exciting things on my last Japan trip was to be in Tokyo on the day a new Disk Union store opened. November 22 they opened a shop branded as a UNION store (same as the Shinjuku store that opened 12-18 months back). This new one is in Shibuya on the basement floor of the Parco shopping centre.

    I show up around opening time thinking I'll get to the new store bargains before the masses. Alas, what I didn't realise was this was the actual opening day for the whole (revamped) shopping complex and it also included Japans first official Nintendo store. The queue went down the street and around several blocks. And to make matters worse after almost 2 weeks of exceptional weather on this trip it was raining. So I went down the road to HMV instead. Went back around 4pm. It was still raining but the queue was short and moving so got in.

    It's a tiny store by Disk Union standards. About the same size as one level of the other Shibuya DU shop. It's down in the basement and most of the other shops on that level are food outlets. The store was still pretty busy 5 hours after opening and judging by the big piles of records some of the Japanese customers were grabbing the range and/or prices were good. I assume they hold back some interesting stock and keep the prices down when they launch a new store. I ended up with around 10 LP's which was my biggest haul in one shop on this trip. They definitely had good stuff at good prices. Really young staff but friendly and knew how it all worked so I assume they move some of the star performers over from other stores.

    Will add some photos and links to photos (so I don't take up too much room).







  22. Old Zorki II

    Old Zorki II Storm Watcher

    near Tampa, FL
    Are prices in Osaka and Tokyo stores are pretty much the same ?
  23. Harvey Rickenbacker

    Harvey Rickenbacker Forum Resident

    That’s a tough one as prices can vary a lot from shop to shop within the same cities. I certainly got the impression Osaka prices were on par with Tokyo. Maybe a bit less. So if you are in Osaka first don’t hold back thinking you’ll get it cheaper in Tokyo. There’ll always be some things you see for less elsewhere after you purchase them but it cuts both ways.
    Old Zorki II and Jimmy Agates like this.
  24. Jimmy Agates

    Jimmy Agates Senior Member

    I've found prices to be generally a little cheaper in Osaka but as the above post said it varies a lot from shop to shop and depending on condition, pressing, obi's etc. Prices even vary within the same chain of shops (ie Disk Union)
  25. Old Zorki II

    Old Zorki II Storm Watcher

    near Tampa, FL
    You guys been so helpful, thanks a bunch! I am going with my wife and we have 2 piece of luggage allocated each... So I do not know what will be limiting factor - weight, size of my wad of cash or poor selection.... )))

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