Guide to Cool Tokyo Record Stores
Jaunted editor Davie Kaufmann is currently touring Japan. All this week, we'll be running stories from her Jaunted Field Trip to the Land of the Rising Sun. Have something you absolutely need to know about Japan? Just ask.
There are so many record stores in Tokyo, it's no use trying to list them all. If you're pressed for time and want maximum impact with minimum effort, Daikan Plaza Tower B is your place--a few steps in any direction will take you to a new, cool store. The building itself is pretty ugly, a brown box with zig-zagging terraces. Good thing I forgot to take a picture! The interior, however, is a different story, at least if you like music. This pretty nondescript building in West Shinjuku is home to five awesome record stores, and though not officially so, it's basically a rock 'n' roll mini-mall. Here's your guide to the inside:
Beat Collectors (3rd Floor): Only place I did not really spend much time in. Small and seemed to be centered more around DJ stuff.
Hal's (3rd Floor): Pretty good jazz store with a selection of vinyl, CDs, and books about jazz. This is a great place to come if you just want to flip through some LPs and listen to music; the guy behind the counter is always going through good stuff on the turntable. Super bonus points for this text on their shopping bags: "OUR POLICY: We grew up, listening to pop and listening to jazz. The pop music made our hearts flutter, and the jazz made our souls ache. We grew up, yes, but our feelings didn't change...Hal's: where the young and middle-aged baddies hang out!"
The Perfect Circle
(5th Floor): An all-Beatles shop. That means old records and some memorabilia. When I walked in, the very nice guy behind the counter reminded me "this shop is all Beatles, ok?" Thanks sir, that won't be a problem. Come here for original pressings of Japanese 7"s, rare U.K. stuff, fan zines, Apple Records stuff and much more. If the owner knows what you're looking for, he'll try and help you find it.Billy
(6th Floor): A sleek bootleg store with lots of classic rock, and the obligatory huge Jeff Beck collection, which seems to be standard in Japan. Some good prices, some bad. One I wanted but had to pass on, due to price: Bread live in D.C. 1972.Hardstuff
(6th Floor): Heaven. On. Earth. My second-favorite in Tokyo, trumped only by Vinyl Japan. Before I even walked in here, I knew it would rule, because they have a big poster from The Who Sell Out on the door. Run by a mod who is obsessed with the Kinks and the Yardbirds. Mostly Japanese and U.K. pressings. When I got bummed that two records I picked out weren't on sale (others next to them were), the owner gave me both for the sticker price of one. He travels to record fairs in the U.K. and brings back interesting stuff, though not always to the advantage of an American's wallet. If you start talking, he'll educate you. Especially about the Kinks, I bet. Give this dude your money, in person or online
As with a lot of retail clusters in Tokyo, none of these stores have windows, and most are cramped. When you re-emerge into the outside world, you may need some sunglasses. To reach Daikan Plaza Tower B, take the Oedo line to Shinjuku-nishiguchi and exit D5. Turn right---the building will be on your left, on the opposite side of the street, next to a 7-11.Related Stories:
· Jaunted in Japan: Yes, I Like Iron Maiden
· Hardstuff Records