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Tokyo record stores

Note: The following article is from the "Deep Freeze" archives of, and is no longer maintained.

An opinionated personal guide to import and specialty record stores in Tokyo. There's also a reader recommendation section at the bottom of this page, so please use the form to add your own favorite stores. Reader-recommended stores are marked RR. * * *


Major chains

Shibuya, Harajuku, Shinjuku x 2, Ikebukuro, Ginza x 2, Ueno.
Overall this seems to be the best Tokyo chain, and it's also the fastest growing. They generally have the best selection for singles, dance music, British releases, jazz, and international stuff. It's also easy to locate new releases and to navigate the different genres.

Virgin Megastore
Shinjuku, Ikebukuro.
This also has fairly good selection, but prices tend to be on the high side. The in-store music is usually okay, and it's relatively easy to locate new releases.

Shibuya, Shinjuku, Ikebukuro, Kichijoji, Hachioji, suburbs.
Since it's based in America, Tower is usually cheaper than the two British chains above, but the selection is much weaker. They're good for imported magazines, which are much cheaper here than in bookstores (I think they must use them as filler for half-full CD cartons). Some of the branches are open until 10pm, which is later than the other chains (but not as late as Tower in the US). And there are lots of listening posts for checking out new stuff.

Shibuya, Ikebukuro, Akasaka, suburbs.
This was an early pioneer, but they've really gone downhill. They still have an extensive selection, but the layout and organization are confusing, while the staff are usually surly and uninformed. Another problem - Wave tends to stock domestic releases of foreign material rather than imports, which makes it much more expensive for back catalog. However, they do have some interesting finds if you have the time to hunt through the shelves.

Akihabara, Shibuya x 3, Shinjuku, Takadanobaba, Ikebukuro, Shimokitazawa x 2, Sangenjaya, Kichijoji x 2.
The cheapest of the chains, Recofan used to specialize in used records and CDs. Now it's an odd mix of used product, imports and domestic releases, with very good prices. For some reason they have huge gaps in their stock, especially for new releases, so it can be frustrating if you're looking for something specific. It's great for bargain-hunting, though.

Disk Union
Ochanomizu x 5, Jimbocho, Shibuya x 3, Shinjuku, Shimokitazawa, Kichijoji.
Disk Union specializes in used CDs and is relatively well stocked, although a bit more expensive than some other used stores. (Maybe the two factors go together.) They also have their own very good jazz label, DIW.


Stores by location -- inside the loop

* * HMV -- imports -- 10:00-21:00 closed 3rd Wednesday
3983-5501 -- Metropolitan Plaza 6FL (west side of station, south end)
Very good selection, well-stocked singles and dance music sections.

* * Virgin -- imports -- 11:00-20:00 closed Wednesdays
5952-5600 -- Marui B1FL (west side of station)
Good selection. A bookstore and a cafe/bar are here, too.

Onstage Yamano -- miscellany -- 10:00-20:30 no holidays
3981-4763 -- Parco 7FL
I'm not sure what the point of this place is, but it's worth having a look. It's filled with stuff that might be left over if you were stocking a normal store but you ran out of space and couldn't fit it all in. There's a "greatest hits" section that includes only greatest hits albums.

Wave -- imports -- 10:00-20:00 closed 2nd and 3rd Tuesdays
5992-0600 -- Seibu Ikebukuro 12FL
Much more comfortable than their old quarters, with a decent jazz department.

Tower Records -- imports -- 11:00-21:00 no holidays
3983-2010 -- P' Parco 5-6FL (just north of regular Parco)

Recofan -- imports, domestic, used CDs -- 11:00-20:30 no holidays
5454-0161 (all branches) -- Minami-Ikebukuro 3-13-17 Mashita 5 Bldg. 2FL

Brand-X -- metal -- 11:30-20:30 every day
3980-6780 -- Ikebukuro Sunshine Plaza #202, Higashi-Ikebukuro 3-2-5
Domestic and imported heavy metal, including Russian metal. Friendly service and lots of collector's items. RR

World Disque -- Progressive, folk, electronic, world music -- 13:00-20:00 closed Tuesdays
3954-4896 -- Shimo-Ochiai 3-1-17, Maison Mejiro #102
Unusual music from Japan and the world. They also publish Marquee magazine and the Belle Antique CD label. RR

Groovaholiks -- Hip hop, R&B -- 12:00-23:00 no holidays
3986-3347 -- Takada 3-13-6, Grace Takadanobaba #104

Virgin Megastore -- imports -- 10:00-23:00
3353-0056 -- Shinjuku 3-1-13
Good soul and funk sections. This new (2001) branch has better prices than the former location in Marui. The basement and first floors can be very noisy, with lots of competing music sources playing simultaneously.

Disk Union -- used and imports -- 11:00-20:00 (Sundays till 19:00) no holidays
3352-2691 -- Shinjuku 3-31-4
7 stories of new and used CDs, divided up by genre. Not the cheapest used store, but the selection is good.

Tower -- imports -- 11:00-23:00
5360-7811 -- Flags 7-10FL (next to Shinjuku station south exit)
An uneven selection and a confusing layout make this newest branch rather disappointing. On the plus side, they're open to 11pm, and they carry lots of English-language magazines.

* * * Cisco -- imports and vinyl -- 11:00-20:00 closed randomly
3341-7495 -- Studio Alta 6FL
So serious it's almost scary. Vinyl for DJs is the focus here, but they also have lots of CD singles, and plenty of stuff you won't see anywhere else in town. There's an indie rock department, but most of the action is over in the dance area.

* HMV -- imports -- 10:00-21:00 no holidays
5269-2571 -- My City 6FL
A decent selection of dance-oriented CD singles, but not as good as the nearby branch in Takashimaya.

* * HMV -- imports -- 10:00-21:00 no holidays
5361-3060 -- Takashimaya Times Square 12F
A huge mega-store with plenty of everything in stock.

Nishi-Shinjuku specialty shops -- assorted specialties -- Nishi-Shinjuku 7-chome
There are over 50 tiny specialty shops scattered through 7-chome, on side streets and in apartment and office buildings. Some of them carry bootlegs, and a lot of them specialize in one genre, like R&B or reggae. Here are a few to start with:

Vinyl Japan #1 -- imports and used -- 12:00-21:00 no holidays
3365-0910 -- Nishi-Shinjuku 7-4-9, 2FL

Rough Trade -- imports -- 12:00-21:00, no holidays
5330-3171 -- Nishi-Shinjuku 7-2-4, Shinjuku MS Building 2F
Recommended by a reader: "it stocks the hippest stuff around England, because its mother shop is England based".

Iko Iko -- imports and bootlegs -- 11:00-20:00 no holidays
3227-0015 -- Nishi-Shinjuku 7-15-18
"Jam bands" from the Grateful Dead to Medeski, Martin and Wood.

Ebony Records -- imports and used -- 13:00-20:00 Closed Mondays
5686-2614 -- Nishi-Shinjuku 7-1-7-A608
Soul, dance, rap, hip-hop, European soul; vinyl only. RR

Gold -- bootlegs -- 11:30-20:00, no holidays
5389-7160 -- Nishi-Shinjuku 7-10-10, 1F
On the expensive side. Online at

HMV -- imports -- 11:00-20:00 no holidays
3423-4891 -- Laforet B1FL
This branch is cramped and understocked, which defeats the purpose of a megastore. They should have made this a specialty shop instead.

Bongo P -- club music -- 11:00-22:00 no holidays
5413-4526 -- Jingumae 3-31-18, Gaien Coop #103
A former mail-order shop specializing in club music: rare groove, spiritual jazz, soul jazz, soul, afro, Latin, Brazilian, club rock, etc.

Note that Shibuya also has scads of smaller stores not listed here.

* * Hot Wax -- breakbeats vinyl -- 12:00-21:00 no holidays
3496-1481 -- Udagawacho 10-2, Shin-Tokyo Bldg., 2/4FL
A large, deep selection of breakbeats, drum'n'bass, and abstract.

* * Cisco Techno shop -- techno CDs and vinyl -- 11:00-21:00 no holidays
3496-7028 -- Udagawacho 10-2, Shin-Tokyo Bldg., 1FL
A well-stocked shop for serious techno fans and djs.

* Cisco House shop -- house vinyl -- 11:00-21:00 no holidays
3462-0456 -- Udagawacho 11-1, 1FL
Mostly oriented towards DJs, they also stock "disco classics."

* Cisco records -- vinyl -- 11:00-21:00 no holidays
3462-0366-- Udagawacho 11-1, 2FL
Dance singles and more.

* * * Technique -- techno -- 12:00-22:00 no holidays
5458-4143 -- Udagawacho 33-14, Kubo Bldg. 2FL
Lots of CDs and tons of vinyl for serious DJs.

* * NYC Records -- soul, disco, jazz, funk -- 13:00-21:00, closed Tuesdays
3476-5775 -- Udagawacho 33-13, Kusuhara Bldg. 2FL
Old soul and funk records, and a big assortment of "disco classic" 12-inchers, all at refreshingly cheap prices.

* * DeMode Records -- breakbeats, techno -- 12:00-21:00 no holidays
3463-1153 -- Udagawacho 33-13, Kusuhara Bldg. 4FL
Mostly vinyl, but with some CDs - you can try out up to 5 records or CDs at the listening booth.

Iko Iko -- rock -- 11:00-20:00, no holidays
3780-1515 -- Udagawacho 36-4, 2FL
The small but diverse selection of CDs focuses on "jam bands" -- everyone from Phish to Sun Ra. They also have tie-dye kits and T-shirts. RR

Ultra 3 -- 60s and 70s soul, rock; CDs and vinyl -- 11:00-21:00, no holidays
3461-5845 -- Udagawacho 36-4
A small specialty shop with an interesting selection. Also in Shibuya: Ultra (3461-6805; Udagawacho 10-1) and Ultra 4 (3461-3365; Jinnan 1-9-4). I don't know what happened to Ultra 2. All shops open 11am to 9pm, every day.

Mr. Bongo -- hip hop, jungle, jazz/funk, etc. -- 13:00-22:00, no holidays
3462-1964 -- Udagawacho 13-9, Fuji Building 24, 4F
A branch of Mr. Bongo UK. Vinyl only. Mostly hip hop, including a big "old school" section. Some drum'n'bass, latin. RR

* * * Recofan -- used and imports -- 11:30-21:00, no holidays
5454-0161 (all branches) -- Udagawacho 31-2, Beam 4FL
Possibly the best of the Recofan chain -- very spacious, with lots of bargains. Definitely worth a visit if you have time to browse. (There are two other Recofan branches in the neighborhood, but this is the one to check out first.)

* Disk Union #1 -- techno -- 11:00-20:00, no holidays
3476-2627 -- Udagawacho 30-7, Antenna 21 4F
Mostly vinyl, some used, with a good selection of CDs as well.

* Disk Union #2 and #3 -- used and imports -- 11:00-20:00, no holidays
3461-1121, 3461-1161 -- Udagawacho 30-7, Antenna 21 B1, 2, 3F
World music, indies rock, etc., with a good selection of jazz in the basement.

* Beat Collector's -- 12" dance singles -- 12:00-21:00, no holidays
3770-1283 -- Udagawacho 12-7, 7FL
Vinyl 12" singles only. Soul, funk, house, groundbeat, rap, hip-hop, Eurobeat, etc. New and used. There's also a branch at Nishi-Shinjuku 7-10-17-303 (5330-1848).
* * HMV Shibuya -- imports -- 10:00-22:00 no holidays
3477-6880 -- Udagawacho 24-1, 1-5F
A huge improvement over their old Shibuya quarters, this is a major music-buying destination, with five well-organized floors of merchandise. The dance music area is especially good, covering all genres and carrying quite a bit of vinyl. There's also a real stage for in-store events (and a second, smaller stage with piano in the classical department). And when you're done with music-shopping for the day you can go upstairs to the new branch of T-Zone Computers, up on the sixth and seventh floors.

Shibuya Wave (Loft) -- imports, vinyl -- 11:00-20:00, closed second and 3rd Wednesdays
3462-3118 -- Loft 6F
A lackluster selection -- most shoppers seem to prefer HMV across the street.

* Tower -- imports and imported books -- 10:00-22:00, random holidays
3496-3661 -- Jinnan 1-22-14 (along the Yamanote tracks past Marui, towards Harajuku)
The world's largest CD store, although the selection seems to have some gaps. It's definitely worth a trip for the book floor, though -- lots of interesting titles you won't find at Tokyo's English-language bookstores. They also deserve a few points for their new-media departments (CD-ROMs, etc.).

Sumiya -- soundtracks -- 11:00-19:30, closed 3rd Wednesday
3409-6091 -- Shibuya 2-15-1, Toho Seimei Bldg. 2FL (east side of station)

* HMV Ginza -- imports -- 10:30-20:00, no holidays
5250-2451 -- Ginza-Nishi 2-2, Ginza INZ 2, 1FL
Good selection, but get ready to "do the bump" in their amazingly narrow aisles.

* HMV Sukiyabashi -- imports -- 10:30-20:00, closed some Tuesdays
3289-1211 -- Ginza 5-2-1, Hankyu Dept. Store 4F
Good selection.

Yamano Gakki Music -- all genres
5250-1057 -- Ginza 4-5-6
"The most beautiful and classy shop in Tokyo. 7 floors of the finest music recordings, instruments, and equipment from around the world." RR

* Disk Union #1-#5 -- used and imports -- 11:00-20:00 (Sundays till 19:00) no holidays
3294-2648 (#1) -- scattered around the west exit of Ochanomizu Station
These are the best of the used stores here, but it's worth checking the others, too, if you're in the neighborhood. Just wander around the station and you'll find them.

* Diskmap -- used and imports -- 11:00-20:00, no holidays
Frequent bargain sales with Y1,000 CDs. RR

* Ishimaru Denki Soft One -- new vinyl LPs, CDs, imports -- 10:00-19:30 (weekends till 20:00) no holidays
3251-5555 -- Soto Kanda 3-1-16
Ishimaru reshuffled their stores, and this is where their big selection of vinyl LPs ended up. They also claim to stock 1.3 million CDs and LDs, but I still have trouble finding imports I'm looking for. RR

Diskmap -- used and imports, rock, metal, collectors' items -- 11:00-20:00 (Sundays till 19:00) no holidays
3253-6464 -- Soto Kanda 3-15-6
Big selection, lots of variety. RR


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Stores by location -- outside the loop

Godzilla-ya -- Animation soundtracks -- 14:00-21:00 closed Tuesdays
3336-3178 -- Koenji Minami 3-67-1

Manual of Errors (plus Paris-Peking Records) -- Used Mondo, Avant-pop, soundtracks -- 15:00-22:00, no holidays
3317-4845 -- Koenji-Minami 4-6-11, 3F
Mostly vinyl, plus posters, videos, used instruments, comic books, etc. Plus, the very first Tokyo record store with their own home page, at RR

Shinseido -- J-pop, imports, reggae -- 10:00-20:30, closed third Wednesday
0422-22-1804 -- Kichijoji Minami-machi 1-1-24, 2F
They also have branches in Ogikubo and Musashisakai. RR

Tower -- J-pop, imports -- 10:00-22:00, no holidays
0426-48-1031 -- Hachioji Higashi-machi 11-3, Sigma Batman Building 5F

Shimo-kitazawa also has a lot of other good used stores, scattered through the back streets.
Flash Disc Ranch -- used and vinyl -- 13:00-22:00 closed Thursdays, open holidays
3414-0421 -- Kitazawa 2-12-16, 2FL
They have 60,000 used records here.

Ned's -- imports -- 14:00-21:00, closed Sundays
3325-8641 -- Ohara 2-14-3, 1FL
Noise, electronic, experimental, German new wave, techno, avant garde. RR

ZERO -- techno, drum'n'bass, Bristol sound -- 11:00-21:00, no holidays
3974-0533 -- Kotake-cho 1-54-6
Check out their homepage at RR

Modern Music -- rock and psychedelic -- 11:00-20:00 no holidays
3322-4461 -- Matsubara 2-45-11, Terada Bldg. 2FL
Punk, psychedlia, glitter, and other rock genres. A Tokyo landmark. RR

* * bonjour records -- dance, lounge, ethnic -- 10:00-20:00 no holidays
5458-6020 -- Sarugakucho 24-1
The latest club and lounge music downstairs (vinyl and CD), and assorted ethnic music and art books on the second floor.

Tahara -- all genres -- 10:00-20:30, no holidays
Large shop, with 10% rebate on domestic CDs. RR

Tower -- imports -- 11:00-21:00, closed some Wednesdays
Not very large. RR


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Specialty shops

Experimental, avant-garde
* Store Days -- Roppongi Wave 4FL -- 3408-0111
see Roppongi above

Manual of Errors (plus Paris-Peking Records) -- Koenji-Minami 4-6-11, 3F -- 3317-4845
see Koenji above, and check out their home page at

Heavy Metal
Brand-X -- metal -- 11:30-20:30 every day
3980-6780 -- Ikebukuro Sunshine Plaza #202, Higashi-Ikebukuro 3-2-5
Domestic and imported heavy metal, including Russian metal. Friendly service and lots of collector's items. RR

Godzilla-ya -- (Koenji) -- 14:00-21:00 closed Tuesdays
3336-3178 -- Koenji Minami 3-67-1
I haven't been there -- I just liked the name.


What the little symbols mean

The little * symbols are part of a somewhat arbitrary rating system, so you can think of them as being merely decorative if you wish. I tried to give points for offering a wide selection, getting new releases quickly, stocking otherwise hard-to-find or unique releases, charging low prices, and providing a pleasant shopping experience. Stores might also get extra points for being close to where I live. If a store doesn't have a rating, it might just mean that I haven't spent enough time there to rate it.

Updated 2002/08/02. Copyright notice. Thanks for everyone who contributed listings and comments.

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