Tokyo Nightlife Guide For Foreigners - Things to Do For Fun and Exiting Experiences in Japan 

Tokyo Nightlife: Japanese Culture in Nightlife Spots

New york bar, early hours, great clubs

Heading out for your first Tokyo nightlife adventure? As soon as the sun sets, the neon lights come to life, and Tokyo transforms into a different city, shedding its daytime hustle and bustle for a more relaxed and carefree atmosphere. The night is the perfect time to unwind and enjoy yourself. From the vibrant lights and bustling streets of downtown Shibuya to the sleek skyscrapers and glamour of the Marunouchi and Ginza areas, late-night art exhibitions, lively izakayas, exquisite cuisine, and outdoor events, Tokyo's nightlife scene offers more than just bars and clubs, though a fantastic bar-hopping tour can also be a lot of fun!

Before we dive into the list of recommendations, here are a few tips that can enhance your experience:

  • With fewer congested streets, taxis are the fastest and most convenient way to get around at night. 
  • Trains cease operation around midnight and resume around 5 or 6 a.m. 
  • Head to Shibuya, Shinjuku, or Roppongi for late-night pubbing and clubbing. 
  • Explore bars and izakayas tucked under the train tracks in areas like Nakameguro, Ueno, and Yurakucho to mingle with locals. 
  • Popular attractions often have extended evening hours with fewer visitors.

Now, you might be wondering why Tokyo is often referred to as the city that never sleeps. This city is teeming with immensely popular tourist attractions and captivating nighttime activities illuminated by dazzling neon lights.

You can visit historic temples beautifully lit up at night or savor breathtaking nighttime views from skyscrapers and high-rise buildings. Many people also relish shopping and dining in lively districts brimming with vibrant shops, restaurants, and various izakayas. Whether you live in Tokyo or are planning a vacation, exploring the metropolis after sunset is almost always worthwhile.

Japan bar, party, drinks, shin kiba

Spectacular Night Views for Night Owls

As the sun sets, Tokyo transforms into a city of radiant lights. Numerous observation decks in towers, such as the renowned Tokyo Tower and other tall structures, remain open until around 10 o'clock in the evening, offering fantastic vantage points for picturesque night vistas. Some recommended observation decks include those at Tokyo Skytree, Tokyo Tower, Roppongi Hills, and Shibuya Sky.

Additionally, several high-rise restaurants offer stunning city views from their top floors, allowing diners to savor both excellent food and breathtaking cityscapes. While these venues are typically on the upscale side, they offer a particularly delightful option for viewing the city at night after other observation decks have closed. Some notable locations for high-rise restaurants include Marunouchi, Shiodome, and Shinjuku.

Another unique way to enjoy the cityscape at night is by taking a boat cruise and reveling in the waterfront panorama. Several operators offer two- to three-hour cruises along Tokyo Bay, with prices starting from 8,000 yen (with dinner) or 4,000 to 5,000 yen (without).

Fun Nights with Japanese Cuisine

Why not elevate your Tokyo nightlife experience with classy fine dining? Dining out is perhaps the most cherished nighttime activity in the city. Tokyo boasts diverse dining establishments, ranging from modest shakudo to a wide variety of izakayas and luxurious three-star Michelin restaurants.

For recommendations, Asakusa offers numerous traditional izakayas with an authentic, rustic Japanese ambiance. Shinjuku, Shiodome, and the Tokyo Station area house high-rise restaurants that provide an excellent setting for a meal while enjoying the nighttime cityscape. Yurakucho also boasts a vibrant dining area situated beneath the arched train tracks of the JR Yamanote Line.

To embark on a unique and memorable culinary journey, consider visiting one of Tokyo's numerous themed restaurants. These include a prison-themed eatery in Shibuya, a ninja-themed establishment in Akasaka, a vampire-themed café in Ginza, and maid cafes in Akihabara.

Special Mention: The Robot Restaurant has been a renowned Tokyo attraction for years. Located in Kabukicho, Shinjuku's largest red-light district, this establishment combines robots, neon lights, and beautiful hostesses for a party experience like no other.

Museums and Theme Parks Beyond Business Hours

Museums typically close around 5 p.m., making them unsuitable for nighttime outings. However, some museums extend their hours on selected evenings, typically on Fridays and Saturdays, to accommodate more visitors. This allows you to enjoy Tokyo's nightlife while exploring these cultural institutions. Additionally, a few museums and aquariums stay open later into the evening, such as the Mori Museum, Sumida Aquarium, Maxell Aqua Park Shinagawa, and Sunshine Aquarium.

If you're a fan of Disneyland and DisneySea, you'll be pleased to know that they stay open until around 10 p.m. on most nights, offering discounted tickets for entry in the late afternoon. Tokyo Dome City also provides a reduced-price night pass for its attractions after 5 p.m., with the rides operating until 9 p.m. Another option is Tokyo Joypolis at Odaiba, an indoor amusement park that remains open until around 8 p.m. daily.

In summary, many of Tokyo's museums, art galleries, and other notable attractions remain open into the night. Notable examples include the Mori Art Museum, Sumida Aquarium, and Tokyo Tower. More centrally located than the Skytree, Tokyo Tower allows you to easily combine a nighttime visit with a Tokyo Bay dinner cruise or drinks at nearby nightspots like Ebisu. The observatory at the tower's summit remains open until around 10 p.m.

Mega Clubs in Nightlife Districts

Of course, what would Tokyo nightlife be without its vibrant nightlife districts? Whether you prefer upscale bars, tiny cozy bars, chic lounges, sports bars, or star-studded clubs, Tokyo at night comes alive thanks to its top-notch nightclubs and the enthusiasm of Japanese clubgoers.

Have you heard of the Golden Gai? Bars are typically concentrated in central areas. While you can find bars and clubs scattered throughout the city, the most vibrant nightlife scenes are in Shinjuku, Shibuya, and Roppongi. Roppongi, in particular, attracts a large international crowd and hosts most of Tokyo's clubs. Shibuya offers a slightly hipper and less mainstream nightlife vibe. Meanwhile, Shinjuku caters to everyone, with the small bars of Golden Gai, the diverse establishments in Kabukicho, and the LGBT options in Shinjuku Nichome.

Northeast of Shinjuku Station lies Kabukicho, Japan's largest red-light district, replete with hostess clubs, restaurants, bars, dance clubs, and massage parlors. Gigantic billboards and neon signs brightly illuminate the streets. While the district is generally safe, it does feature adult shops and advertisements featuring scantily clad women. Most establishments in Kabukicho target a Japanese clientele, and some charge steep cover fees. Tucked away in one corner of Kabukicho is Golden Gai, a quaint area of narrow alleys housing numerous small bars.

Shibuya attracts a younger crowd, frequently visiting its myriad clubs, bars, dance floors, and restaurants. Shibuya is also home to Love Hotel Hill, which boasts a high concentration of love hotels. Compared to Kabukicho, Shibuya is somewhat less intimidating and more accessible to foreign tourists without Japanese language proficiency.

On the other hand, Ginza is an upscale neighborhood, featuring high-end restaurants, chic bars, nightclubs, and upscale host and hostess bars. However, it's worth noting that some Ginza establishments can be exclusive and not easily accessible to non-Japanese visitors without Japanese language skills.

Finally, Roppongi is the most tourist-friendly nightlife district. It's home to many foreigner-friendly dance clubs, bars, and restaurants. While Roppongi is generally safe, reports of scams and shady practices have been increasing, such as exorbitant hidden fees at bars and clubs, aggressive marketing, spiked drinks, and altercations.

Special Mention: If you're a fan of clubbing, consider hopping into some of Tokyo's outstanding clubs and dancing to amazing music. Apart from the Golden Gai, Tokyo boasts several renowned clubs such as Womb, Atom Tokyo, Camelot, 1OAK Tokyo, Warp, and Raise Tokyo.

Furthermore, Tokyo offers many live performances and music events, including traditional Japanese theater, comedy shows at local bars, and unique themed performances. Here are some recommended nighttime shows available in Tokyo:

Roppongi Kingyo: Website Link 
Tantra: Website Link 
Tokyo Comedy Bar: Website Link

Night Strolls in Tokyo

A nighttime stroll through Tokyo's streets can be a wonderful way to experience the city after dark. The temple precincts of Sensoji in Asakusa exude charm at night with their softly lit lanterns. While the main hall closes at 5 p.m., the temple grounds remain open and are popular among tourists at night.

Seeking a peaceful moment in Tokyo? Consider the waterfront area of Odaiba, which offers a pleasant walk along the seaside, with views of the illuminated Rainbow Bridge. Those looking for excitement in the evening but not interested in clubs or bars can still wander the streets of Shinjuku, Ginza, or Shibuya and revel in the myriad neon lights.

Special Mention: If you wish to have an authentic food experience in Tokyo, consider joining one of the food walking tours. You can savor delicious Japanese dishes and learn about the local culinary culture and discover hidden eateries that may not be in guidebooks. One of the most popular food tours takes place in Shinjuku.

Japan, party, drinks, bar, countless number

Additional Tokyo Nightlife Activities

To provide you with more options, here is a list of additional activities to consider:

Izakaya Hopping (Pub Crawl): Explore various local izakaya bars in Tokyo, immersing yourself in Japan's drinking culture. Sample sake and enjoy Japanese pub fare for an authentic nightlife experience.

Baseball Games: Baseball is immensely popular in Japan, and Tokyo hosts regular games during the season. Tokyo Dome, home to the Yomiuri Giants, and Jingu Stadium, near Harajuku and Shibuya, are great venues to catch thrilling baseball matches.

Karaoke: Karaoke is a unique and beloved cultural activity in Japan. Whether you enjoy singing or not, karaoke is a fantastic way to bond with friends and immerse yourself in Japanese culture.

Light-up Spots or Events: Japanese people adore illuminated events, especially during winter. Tokyo hosts several illumination events with enchanting and romantic lighting displays. Winter is the best time to witness these dazzling light displays.

Asakusa Sensoji: Asakusa Sensoji is one of Tokyo's most famous attractions, known for its historic Buddhist temple. While the shops along Nakamise-dori Road are still open during the day, the temple itself is beautifully illuminated at night.

Shopping at Donki: Donki, short for Don Quijote, is a popular discount retail chain with numerous locations across Japan. It offers a wide range of products, from groceries and cosmetics to clothing and pet supplies. Many Donki stores are open until late or even 24 hours, making late-night shopping an enjoyable experience.

In summary, Tokyo's nightlife is as diverse as the city itself, offering an array of activities to suit various interests and preferences. Whether you're exploring its iconic landmarks, savoring Japanese cuisine, dancing the night away, or simply taking a leisurely stroll through its vibrant streets, Tokyo's nightlife promises unforgettable experiences for all.

Best 10 Jazz Clubs in Tokyo, Japan - Coolest Jazz Clubs For Jazz Lovers 

Jazz clubs tokyo

All About Jazz Clubs: Tokyo's Jazz Scene

A jazz club is an entertainment venue filled with lively live jazz music, specifically dedicated to showcasing and promoting jazz music. Jazz clubs are typically a type of dance club or bar that holds licenses to sell cocktails, wine, and other alcoholic beverages. The American jazz musical art form originated in New Orleans around the turn of the twentieth century. Jazz blends elements from various traditions, including African and African American, religious, brass band, and blues styles. Since the 1920s Jazz Age, it has been recognized as a significant form of musical expression in the classical music realm. Swing and blue notes, intricate harmonies, call-and-response vocals, polyrhythms, and improvisation are defining characteristics of jazz. Jazz has deep roots in African rhythmic traditions.

Historically, the Jazz Age reached its zenith during the 1920s when jazz was gaining popularity. Many of the most renowned jazz musicians during that era were African Americans, such as Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington. Concurrently, jazz music also gained popularity in Japan during the 1920s, following visits by groups from both America and the Philippines, where the occupying forces introduced American popular music. The Hatano Jazz Band, although primarily a dance band, is sometimes described as the first Japanese jazz band. Ultimately, jazz has found a special place in Japan's music scene.

Japanese jazz has often been criticized as derivative or a poor imitation of U.S. jazz by American and Japanese critics. In response to the negative reception from their audience, Japanese jazz artists began infusing a "local flavor" into their work in the 1960s. Nevertheless, jazz music gained popularity due to its upbeat tempo and its ability to transition audiences from toe-tapping to learning new dance patterns.

In modern-day Japan, jazz has become more of an alternative genre. It is no longer as popular but still boasts the largest proportion of jazz fans worldwide. Nevertheless, dedicated venues for jazz music still exist in Tokyo. So, if you're interested in experiencing some jazz clubs in the city, you're in for a treat with the following recommendations:

Jazz club, music lovers, live jam sessions


Are you looking for more than just an average jazz club? Well, look no further – Apollo has it all covered for you! This jazz club, run by two Australian restaurateurs, offers the best authentic Greek cuisine in the city. It's a cozy basement bar that hosts live performances by local jazz musicians a few nights a week and plays a wide selection of jazz CDs and recordings the rest of the time. Consider it a comfortable, contemporary, and luxurious jazz setting where you can savor delicious Greek food, enjoy drinks, and listen to soulful music. You can also immerse yourself in incredible live jazz performances by local and international artists. Whether you drop by for lunch or dinner, the overall atmosphere is equally fantastic!

It's worth noting that when you arrive at the venue, you must pay a cover charge of JPY800 and order a drink. The rest is up to you. And don't forget to show your appreciation to the artists by leaving a tip of JPY1,000 or more in the large jar on the counter when you leave.

Address: 2-9 Kitazawa, Setagaya City, Tokyo 155-0031, Japan

Opening hours: 8 pm-3 am daily

Salt and Peanuts

Jazz Bar Salt Peanuts is a renowned jazz bar located in the Nerima neighborhood of central Tokyo, Japan. Its cozy and intimate ambiance is enhanced by soft lighting, open seating, and a relaxed vibe that appeals to locals and visitors alike. With its unique decor, friendly staff, and live jazz performances, Jazz Bar Salt Peanuts offers an authentic and unforgettable jazz experience right in the heart of Tokyo.

One of the highlights of Jazz Bar Salt Peanuts is its live music performances. The bar features a variety of talented jazz musicians, including local artists and international performers, who play everything from classic jazz standards to contemporary improvisations. Needless to say, it's a great place to chill, with the bar's setup allowing guests to get up close to the performers, creating a truly immersive and extraordinary experience.

Another standout feature of Jazz Bar Salt Peanuts is its extensive selection of beverages and delectable food offerings. The bar serves a range of cocktails, wines, and beers, along with a variety of Japanese and Western-style snacks to complement the music and ambiance. Whether you're in the mood for a classic martini or Japanese sake, Jazz Bar Salt Peanuts has something to satisfy every palate. While Salt and Peanuts may be a bit of a trek from central Tokyo, it's definitely worth the journey. Established in 1981, the venue started as a traditional bar but gradually embraced jazz. Despite being quite spacious for a jazz bar, you may be surprised to learn that it's a one-person operation – quite impressive.

Notably, the owner, Hisashi Nakano, though not a musician himself, is a passionate jazz enthusiast and collector who recognized the high cost of enjoying great jazz in Tokyo, prompting him to enter this business. The music cover charge here is ¥1,500, which is considerably less than most venues featuring a grand piano and drum set. There's also a ¥500 table charge, which includes all-you-can-eat nuts and dried fruits that you can select from the large mason jars lining the bar. This is the place to be if you're seeking stylish comfort and superb music without breaking the bank.

Address: Gracie Manor B1F, 4-3 Sakaecho, Nerima-ku, Tokyo

Opening hours: 6 pm-2 am, Sat 6 pm-12 midnight, Sun 5:30 pm-2 am


Welcome to Sometime, the one and only jazz establishment in the jazz-filled neighborhood of Kichijoji, Tokyo. The stage at this venue is situated at the center of the club, ensuring that you can see and hear the performers up close. Be sure not to arrive late and end up seated below the band; it's cramped, and the sound quality isn't as good. Almost every top-notch jazz player makes an appearance here, and the management has kept the admission fee reasonable for a long time.

Sometime Kichijoji (they use all covers..) opened its doors in 1975, yet to this day, it continues to attract crowds every night of the week. As the name suggests, it's located in Kichijoji, an area in Western Tokyo that has long been known as a jazz "town," although there are fewer joints now than in the golden days of the 60s and 70s.

Ultimately, it's the heart of the Kichijoji jazz community, a fantastic place to immerse yourself in the local scene. Different Japanese musicians perform here almost every night, covering various jazz genres. The official name, "Piano Lobby," refers more to the ambiance of the place than the music. The grand black piano dominates the center of the room, but it's not at all a "piano bar." Guests sit at the counter around the open space or look down on the musicians from seats in the room.

Address: 1-11-31 Kichijoji Honcho, Musashino-shi, Tokyo

Opening hours: 12 noon-11 pm (Last order 10:30 pm)

Jazz bars, grand piano, live music

Cotton Club

If you're looking to go the elegant route with your jazz experience, complete with a full-course dinner and an excellent wine list, the Cotton Club is an excellent choice. This venue is spacious, with a stunning dark wood interior illuminated by crystal chandeliers and a cuisine that rivals the decor. It's also one of the most famous clubs in Tokyo, hosting big-name acts, including many talented musicians and international performers from abroad.

However, be prepared to pay cover charges ranging from ¥5,500 to ¥9,000, depending on the show, and a bit more for their extensive food menu. For jazz enthusiasts who appreciate great music, a vibrant atmosphere, and a delicious drink menu all in one place, this popular jazz bar is a must-visit. Located on the second floor of the Tokia Tokyo building, this venue replicates the original Cotton Club, which thrived during the 1920s Prohibition era in New York. Yasumichi Morita designed the Tokyo Cotton Club and has hosted musical legends like Duke Ellington and Lena Horne in the past. You can still catch many internationally renowned artists performing here.

Address: Tokyo Bldg Tokia 2F, 2-7-3 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo

Opening hours: 5 pm-11 pm, Sat, Sun, and Holidays 4 pm-10:30 pm

Pit Inn

Shinjuku's Pit Inn is a must-visit old-school jazz bar for any Tokyo jazz enthusiasts, music lovers, or jazz aficionados. It boasts a rich history and an authentic atmosphere and consistently features top-notch performances by the best local and international jazz musicians every day. Unlike some bigger-name jazz clubs around the world, Pit Inn places a strong emphasis on the music itself, regardless of jazz genres. All seats face the stage, the menus are concise, and the respectful atmosphere isn't conducive to business discussions or idle chatter.

Additionally, Pit Inn is one of the few Tokyo jazz clubs that offers live hip-hop bands or live music from 2 p.m. almost every day, making it one of the best ways to spend a rainy day in the city. If you have only one opportunity to witness a live jazz gig in Tokyo, then Pit Inn should be your venue of choice.

Now, we don't like to play favorites, but ask any jazz lover in Tokyo where to find great jazz, and they're almost certain to mention Pit Inn. This place has it all: the finest performers from across Japan and the world, extended, delightful sets, comfortable seating, and a rich history.

Address: Accord Bldg, 2-12-4 Shinjuku, Shinjuku, Tokyo

Opening hours: 1:30 pm-4:30 pm, 7 pm-10 pm


You can't get more authentic than Manhattan for a genuine hole-in-the-wall jazz joint. It has been a fixture for over thirty years, making it one of the first jazz bars to appear in Asagaya, sparking the neighborhood's thriving jazz scene. Today, the area has become such a jazz hub that it hosts a massive annual festival, celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2019.

Manhattan is undoubtedly the smallest bar on this list. The space is so tight that the stage is set up in front of the door, meaning you can't enter after a set has already started without disrupting the entire performance. Check the sign outside the door for set times, typically two each evening. If the cramped interior seems a bit intimidating, don't worry: the owner, Yasutaka Mochizuki (it's a one-man operation), is incredibly friendly, just like all the jazz musicians he brings in. The vibes are cozy, the music is superb, and you can learn jazz history just by looking at the postcards and photos covering the bar's walls.

Address: Kiraku Bldg, 2-2-7 Asagaya-Kita, Suginami-ku, Tokyo

Opening hours: 7 pm-10 pm, closed Mon and Tue


Ochanomizu is best known for its 'guitar road,' where a long row of guitar shops can be found, extending from the JR station exit, offering every make and model imaginable, both used and new, as well as every type of accessory or equipment you could envision. But right in the middle of this street is the basement jazz bar Naru.

Like many of the venues on this list, Naru has a long history. In fact, Naru is gearing up to celebrate its 50th anniversary this year, having opened its doors for the first time in 1969. The bar's owner is a saxophonist himself, so you can rest assured that the place takes its music seriously, with either one or two 45-minute jazz sets almost every day. The music cover charge starts at ¥2,500, placing it in the mid-range in terms of cost.

In this medium-sized venue, young, talented musicians predominate. However, you'll also find seasoned, satisfying old favorites doing their thing. There's also a good selection of food and wine.

Address: Jujiya Bldg B1, 2-1 Kanda Surugadai, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo

Opening hours: 11:30 am-12 midnight daily

Body and Soul

Another excellent option among Tokyo jazz clubs is this intimate jazz bar – a basement establishment located down a dimly lit backstreet, with low ceilings and subdued lighting, yet still exuding an air of sophistication.

There are a few tables, a standing room, and a long bar, all with a view of the stage. This revered Tokyo jazz house primarily features Japanese acts, with occasional international guest performers, and is renowned for showcasing some of the finest and most innovative jazz musical talent in the world.

Body and Soul is one of Tokyo's most historically significant jazz clubs. B&S, alongside the Pit Inn and Alfie, is one of the three most prestigious live music venues around, featuring many of the top local artists and occasional performers from the US and Europe. Owner Ms. Seki Kyoko has been a prominent figure in the jazz scene for over 50 years and is personally acquainted with everyone in the jazz world, both in Japan and abroad.

Address: Japan, 〒150-0042 Tokyo, Shibuya City, Udagawacho, 2-1 B-15 渋谷ホームズ

Opening hours: 5:30 pm-12 midnight daily


This authentic Tokyo jazz club is a favorite among jazz enthusiasts and music aficionados. The space is cozy yet elegant, and the ambiance is sophisticated yet warm. Patrons enjoy cocktails while taking in the high-caliber local and international jazz acts amid a stylish interior bathed in soft golden lighting. Open every evening, admission prices range from ¥2,500 to ¥4,500, with a free jam session most nights after midnight.

Alfie showcases various styles of jazz, primarily featuring local acts with occasional appearances by visiting foreign artists. Notable trumpeter TOKU performs regularly each month, as does pianist Yoshizawa Hajime, and watch out for special weekend 'party' events.

Alfie is also one of the few jazz spots that remain open for drinks after the gig ends. So, if you're out past midnight, you can still drop by for a few drinks. It's an intimate space, and although it may seem small to visitors from outside Japan, Alfie doesn't feel cramped like many Japanese clubs can. It should definitely be on any list of the top five Tokyo jazz clubs.

Address: Japan, 〒106-0032 Tokyo, Minato City, Roppongi, 6 Chome−2−35 ハマ六本木ビル 5F

Opening hours: 6:30 pm-12 midnight daily

Blue Note

Blue Note, a modern, dark jazz club offering a refined, seasonal menu of French-inspired dishes, is one of the most iconic jazz clubs in the world. Originally established in New York City before expanding to cities throughout Asia, Blue Note is synonymous with world-class jazz. Located in Aoyama, an upscale area in the Minato district, Blue Note attracts major Japanese and international acts with its spacious venue and exceptional acoustics. The blue-lit stage against a draped backdrop and the classic jazz club decor featuring dark wood and plush velvet create a moody ambiance despite the venue's size. The perfect blend of contemporary interiors, top-tier performances, impeccable service, and fine cuisine makes Blue Note an essential jazz experience in Tokyo.

Address: 6-3-16 Minamiaoyama, Minato City, Tokyo 107-0062, Japan

Opening hours: 3:30 pm-12 midnight daily

20 Best Tokyo Record Stores You Must Not Miss in Japan 

20 Best Tokyo Record Stores You Must Not Miss in Japan

Tokyo Boasts The Best Record Stores: Extensive Selection

Club music, hip hop, jet set records, balearic house

As the name suggests, a record shop or record store is a retail outlet that sells recorded music. Record stores operate on various levels, serving as "third places" where a diverse range of individuals can gather and where the culture of music is meant to be seen, heard, and appreciated. Record stores thrive as unique community meeting places. 

Additionally, record stores serve as cultural hubs where trends are launched, and both old and new forms of music can be discussed, explored, and absorbed. Furthermore, record stores attract numerous local and nationally recognized artists who seek out musical outlets wherever they can find them.

Record stores hold a special place in the hearts of people worldwide, serving as significant and meaningful destinations where one's passion for music can be shared and validated. In the intricate ambiance of a record store, the overall creative essence can be felt, often in stark contrast to typical superstores or their online counterparts.

The city of Tokyo in Japan is renowned for being a haven for audiophiles, boasting an impressive 93 record stores within its city limits. This article will introduce the top record shops in Tokyo that you should consider visiting during your trip.

Disc Union (Shinjuku)

Located on the 6th floor, this Disc Union store has limited space, so visiting during off-peak hours is best. It specializes in indie rock, with exceptional options for used post-punk and post-rock records. They also offer an impressive selection of seven-inch records and box sets.

Visit it and enjoy more utilized vinyl than you might perhaps comprehend. What's the story? Laid out in 1967, Disc Union today is a rambling organization of vinyl shops traversing Shinjuku, beginning around 2015.

Buy Features: Comparing PP (price paid) to MMV (Median Market Value)

Mr. Bungle, Disco Volante, PP ¥1,200 | MMV ¥18,000

Absolute Body Control, Wind[Re]Wind PP ¥1,500 | MMV ¥5,500

Exact Location: 3-31-4, Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku

Tower Records (Shinjuku)

While most people are familiar with the Tower Records store in Shibuya, the Shinjuku branch is not to be missed. It features a substantial vinyl section, emphasizing both new and used records under one roof. Tower Records also offers a generous point card system, providing substantial discounts, and occasional "outlet" sales with discounts up to seventy percent (70%).

Buy Features: Devotional, EZ Listening Muzak (box set), PP ¥2,600 | MMV ¥7,000

Betty Davis, The Capital Years (2LP), PP ¥2,000 | MMV ¥4,000

Exact Location: 3-37-1 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku

Disc Union (Kita Urawa, Saitama)

It offers a vast collection of new and used records spanning various genres, conveniently organized by floor. You'll find post-punk, post-rock, and indie records, as well as hidden gems like proto-punk and proto-post-rock in the store. Be sure to explore their recently used records section.

Buy Features: Iggy Pop, Nude and Rude: The Best of Iggy Pop, PP ¥3,000 | MMV ¥11,000 Various—Disco Not Disco (Post Punk, Electro & Leftfield Disco Classics 1974-1986), PP ¥2,450 | MMV ¥9,500.

Exact Location: 10-8-5 Tokiwa, Urawa-ku, Saitama

Next Record Store

This shop specializes in 12-inch singles, focusing on hip-hop, R&B, disco, and dance classics, primarily from the US and Europe. They stock around 10,000 titles at any given time, with new arrivals every Friday. Customers can listen to the records before making a purchase.

Exact Location: 2F, 11-11 Udagawacho, Shibuya-ku Tokyo

Disc Union (Shimokitazawa)

This store is a collector's treasure trove with a wealth of rare Japanese pressings. It features sections dedicated to various genres, including 1980s Post-Punk, New Wave, Gothic, Post-Rock, and more. Navigating the store is easy, ensuring you won't get lost while browsing. Notably, there's a dedicated section for hip-hop and dance music.

Buy Features: Grateful Dead, Shakedown Street, PP ¥2,000 | MMV ¥3,000

Headhunters, Survival of the Fittest, PP ¥700 | MMV: ¥3,200

Exact Location: 1-40-6 Kitazawa, Setagaya-ku

Downtown Records

This secondhand-focused record store in Toyocho offers a wide range of music genres except classical. The spacious shop includes sofas where customers can enjoy coffee while listening to music playing from the speakers.

Exact Location: 3-27-3 Toyo, Koto-ku Tokyo

Disc Union (Ochanomizu)

Another branch of Disc Union with a unique character, this store consistently offers a wide range of music from the obscure to the mainstream. They feature discount bins with hidden gems and a diverse selection of vinyl, CDs, and shirts. Japanese music enthusiasts will find plenty to explore here.

Purchase Highlights: William Burroughs & The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy, PP ¥2,000 | MMV ¥6,500 Sisters of Mercy Psychedelic Sessions (numbered bootleg), PP ¥1,300 | MMV ¥16,000

Exact Location: 4-3 Kanda Surugadai, Chiyoda-ku

Ella Records

Formerly located in Setagaya's Kamimachi, Ella Records has since moved to Nishihara. The warm and welcoming interior houses an impressive selection of rock, soul, jazz, rare grooves, Japanese oldies, and more. DJs from Shibuya often visit to browse the racks for music to include in their sets.

Exact Location: 1-14-10 Nishihara, Shibuya Tokyo

Opening times: 1 pm-8 pm, closed on Mondays.

Disc Union (Kichijoji)

HMV Record Store in Kichijoji stands out for its extensive collection of avant-garde records and tapes. They regularly receive boxes of used items that can surprise customers with their quality.

Buy Features: The Five Sisters of Mercy bootlegs, a long-sought-after Melt-Banana album, and a rare Shintaro Sakamoto seven-inch.

Exact Location: 1-5-1 Kichijoji Honcho, Musashino

  1. Best Record Stores

HMV (Kichijoji)

HMV Record Store in Kichijoji stands out for its extensive avant-garde records and tapes collection. They regularly receive boxes of used items that can surprise customers with their quality.

Buy Features: Beak> Accounts 05/01/09 > 17/01/09, PP ¥2,500 | MMV ¥7,000

(this crate set contained a Shirt worth the ¥2,500 alone.)

Exact Location: 1-11-5 Kichijoji Honcho, Musashino

Disc Union (Kashiwa, Chiba)

This Kashiwa shop offers a diverse range of music genres and is often rewarding when it comes to discovering new records. Disc Union provides great deals on artists like Minutemen, Mark Stewart, and Stereolab. They also offer a wide selection of DVDs and CDs.

Buy Features: Chai, Punk, PP ¥3,000 | MMV ¥5,500 Tobacco, Crazy person Meat, PP ¥2,100 | MMV ¥8,300 Delight Division Singles, in addition to 1978-80 box set, PP ¥10,000 | MMV ¥25,000.

Exact Location: 1-1 Chuocho, Kashiwa, Chiba

Big Love Records (Harajuku)

Big Love Records, tucked away from the bustling streets, is known for its indie rock, classic rock, jet set records, and field recordings. It's a trusted destination for music enthusiasts and offers a unique selection of vinyl and tape tapes from independent US, UK, and European groups.

Exact Location: Houei Bldg 3F-A, 2-31-3 Jingumae, Shibuya Tokyo

Opening times: 4 pm-9 pm day to day

General Record Store

This stylish retail store features used EP/LP records spanning rock, soul, funk, and modern jazz genres, along with a selection of jet-set records and vinyl record players. The store's cozy ambiance sets it apart, and it's a great place to discover rare post-punk and avant-garde vinyl records.

Buy features: The strength of General Record Store is not the great deals but finding rare stuff. Here are some of my recent finds there: The March Violets, Section 25 (“Looking from a Hilltop”), and Cabaret Voltaire. I also got John Zorn and Ennio Morricone’s The Big Gundown.

Exact Location: Japan, 〒155-0031 Tokyo, Setagaya City, Kitazawa, 2 Chome−8−4 松田ビル 1F

Opening times: 8 am-8 pm every day

Flash Disc Union

One of the top record stores in Shimokitazawa, Flash Disc Ranch is located on the second floor of a building on the station's south side. The store is known for its vintage sound system and a wide range of music genres, from rock and jazz to house and new wave. They also offer a 'three plates for ¥2,000' box with occasional hidden treasures.

Exact Location: 2F, 2-12-16 Kitazawa, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo

Opening times: 12noon-8 pm, closed Wed

Coconuts Disk Ikebukuro

Coconuts Disk Ikebukuro provides a cozy, home-like atmosphere that appeals to local music enthusiasts. In addition to vinyl, they sell cassette tapes and CDs across various genres, excluding classical music.

Exact Location: 3 Chome-22-7 Nishiikebukuro, Toshima City, Tokyo 171-0021, Japan

Opening times: 12noon-9pm everyday

Glocal Records

Glocal Records, located in a narrow alley just off Cat Street, is managed by Genta Minowa, founder of the Rudiments label, and employs DJs Kinka, Kenta Kazamatsuri, and Jahtome. The store's secondhand-focused collection is neatly organized within its limited space, offering house, hip-hop, reggae, drum and bass, disco, jazz, and more, with a notable selection of non-Western dance and beat records.

Exact Location: Japan, 〒150-0001 Tokyo, Shibuya City, Jingumae, 5 Chome−23−5 サンキエームA 3F

Opening times: 2 pm-9 pm (Sat, Sun, and Hols 12noon-7 pm)/closed Tue


Technique is a specialized record store that offers a wide range of dance-music vinyl, from deep house to nu-jazz. The store features listening decks and knowledgeable staff, making it a top choice for local DJs. Keep an eye on their Twitter feed for the latest additions and release information.

Exact Location: Japan, 〒150-0042 Tokyo, Shibuya City, Udagawacho, 15−1 渋谷PARCO 4F

Opening times: 2 pm-10 pm (Sun until 9 pm)/ closed Mon

Face Records

Face Records is a modern-affiliate record shop that offers soul, funk, jazz, rock, world imports, and local music in both 7-inch and 12-inch vinyl formats. Founded in 1994, the store is beloved by music enthusiasts of all ages. They also stock CD and DVD combinations.

Exact Location: 10-2 Udagawacho, Shibuya City, Tokyo 150-0042, Japan

Opening times: 1 am-8 pm (Sun until 9 pm)/shut Mon

Hi-Fi Record Store

Hi-Fi Record Store is a cozy retail shop with a focus on used American and British pop, rock, and folk LPs and EPs. Located along Meiji-Dori, it offers a variety of American vinyl records, from pop to folk and jazz. Music lovers will find a selection worth browsing and serious collectors may uncover some hidden gems.

Exact Location: Japan, 〒150-0001 Tokyo, Shibuya City, Jingumae, 6 Chome−19−17 ペリエ神宮前 3F

Opening times: 12noon-9 pm day to day

Lighthouse Record shop

Lighthouse Record Shop is a friendly record store situated in the bustling streets of Shibuya, specializing in techno, nu-jazz, and Balearic houses. It's a favorite among local music fans and offers a laid-back atmosphere where customers can enjoy music from classic Klipschorn speakers. The store also provides various turntable setups for visitors to use.

Exact Location: 2-9-2 Dogenzaka, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, 150-0043 Japan

Tips and Tricks To Find Good Deals

Shibuya ku, small bar

  • Contact Your Local Shops Early: 
    Reach out to your favorite record stores ahead of time to inquire about their Record Store Day offerings and any special events or promotions they may have.
  • Know the Store Hours: 
    Familiarize yourself with the operating hours of your local record stores. This information will help you plan your visit and determine whether arriving early is necessary.
  • Inquire About In-Store Deals: 
    Don't hesitate to ask for in-store discounts or negotiate prices, especially if you're considering a purchase but find the price too high. Some stores may be willing to offer deals.
  • Check for Store-Specific Discounts: 
    Look for any special discounts or promotions that record stores may offer on Record Store Day. Some stores may have limited-time offers for customers.

By following these tips and exploring the diverse array of record stores in Tokyo, you'll have the opportunity to discover exceptional music and perhaps snag some great deals on vinyl records. Enjoy your record shopping adventure in Tokyo!