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Goin’ Japanesque!

5 Tokyo Record Shops Visited by Global Musicians: Find Rare Items!


Location: Shinjuku, Map / Closing Day: Open All Year / Opening Hours: 11 AM – 9 PM (11  AM – 8 PM on Sundays and Public Holidays)

Disk Union Shinjuku is a record shop that can be said to be a mecca for all music fans in Japan. Especially if you are up for used records and CDs, rare items and out-of-prints, this is a must visit. From the 1st basement floor all the way up to the 7th floor, each floor is dedicated to its own specific genre and you can easily spend a whole day here just marveling at the enormous selection. Any of the clerks found on each floor is a pro among pro of the specific music genre, so you can just hand them a memo of the item you are looking for to have them find it out right away for you.

Among other floors of this shop, the 4th floor, which is dedicated to Latin and Brazilian Music, is particularly geared toward true maniacs. While it is officially named “Latin and Brazilian Music Floor,” you can actually find a great selection of other genres of world music here. Boasting enormous numbers of rare CDs and records, not to mention of Latin and Brazilian, but as well as African, Caribbean and various other world music genres, this particular floor is known to be even visited by many musicians and DJs from outside Japan.



Location: Shibuya, Map / Closing Day: Open All Year / Opening Hours: 11 AM – 9 PM (11  AM – 8 PM on Sundays and Public Holidays)

This is even more of a must-visit place than Disk Union Shinjuku if you are looking for rare used records. This shop boasts an enormous collection of carefully selected used records and the number of such items here on sale is probably the largest in all of Japan. This record shop widely caters to many of the famous DJs in Japan.

The shop is also a great place to trade-in your used items at good prices and often holds clearance sales of old records. You can find items that are priced as low a few hundred Yen at the sales here, so you can come and enjoy record and CD hunting even on a low budget. Among what you can find at the sales here is some unopened, super rare items that are priced a few tens of thousands Yen and will leave you wondering how and where they managed to get such things. True music maniacs among you will feel lucky even just by getting a glimpse at such super rare items.



Location: Shinjuku, Map / Closing Day: Open All Year / Opening Hours: 11 AM – 9 PM (11  AM – 8 PM on Sundays and Public Holidays)

This shop opened in 2013 as one of Japan’s very few record shops focusing on the Japanese “Showa Kayo” music genres. The record covers are beautifully arranged for display like a museum, the sight of which will make many tourists from outside Japan feel as if they have wandered into another world. This can well be a nice tourist spot where you can enjoy an exotic world of the Japanese Enka Music from the Showa Period (1926-1989). If any of the record covers here grabs your attention, why not purchase it as your good memorabilia from your tour to Japan?



Location: Shibuya, Map / Closing Day: Wednesdays / Opening Hours: 2 PM – 9 PM (Varies by the Owner’s Mood)

If you want to find a record shop which is extremely unique and particular about its selection, you should definitely come by here. This shop is dedicated to the genre of world music, especially for those music buffs favoring rather unexplored music, with all the items selected according to the taste of the shop owner himself. The super-rarity of the items on shelves here is such that even most avid music fans would not be able to recognize many of them.

What’s great about this shop is that it allows you to casually give a test-listening to many of its CDs and records. At late in the evening or later, you may find some regular customers enjoying test-listening while chatting with the owner over a sip or two of some alcoholic drink they have brought. There is such a great community feel here that you can only find at this type of completely privately owned shop. This little-known record shop can be the place where any world music fan might well come across a special and unforgettable experience.


MEZURASHIYA, Kokubunji Kitaguchi Branch / Minamiguchi Branch

Location: Kokubunji, North: Map, South: Map / Closing Day: Open All Year / Opening Hours: 12 PM – 9 PM

If you want to fully indulge yourself in rare record and CD hunting away from the hustle and bustle of the downtown, Mezurashiya is the place for you. There are two branches of Mezurashiya, respectively at the Kitaguchi (north) exit and Minamiguchi (south) exit of JR Chuo Line’s Kokubunji Station. You can visit either of them and casually give a test-listening in a laid-back atmosphere.

As the shop name “Mezurashiya,” implies, which means “the shop with rare items,” it particularly specializes in rare items but also has a selection of major label records and CDs. When you ask for a test-listening, the shop clerk might pick up some of his or her recommendations and friendly ask you “How about this one?” As many musicians residing in the area along JR Chuo Line are among the regular customers here, you might even bump into a musician or two at this shop.

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About the author

I am necoja, a Japanese living in Thai. I return to Japan about twice a year to check out shops and culture from an outsider perspective.

View all articles by Necoja