You Spin Me Right Round! Exploring Tokyo’s Record Stores

ByBert Wishart
May 26, 2021

You Spin Me Right Round! Exploring Tokyo’s Record Stores

The modern music industry is well and truly established in the digital world. Most people access their favorite artists now through Spotify, YouTube, Apple Music, and Soundcloud, but there has also been an unexpected boom in analog music. According to Forbes, vinyl sales have grown 260 percent since 2009, and in 2017 the US saw sales increase for the 12th year in a row, with the most units sold since 1991. Vinyl, it seems, is no longer just for music nerds and hipsters.

In Japan, the rebirth of vinyl is evidenced by Sony firing up its pressing factory after a 30-year absence to provide for younger music lovers who uncover artists through streaming sites and want to own the physical album. If you are a vinyl fan or want to find some hidden gems in the Japanese market, there are absolutely tons of CD and record shops around Tokyo. Below is just a small selection of what the city has to offer.

Big Love

If you’ve got a big love for records, then this should be your first port of call. It’s a bit difficult to find, hidden away in Harajuku, but once you find it, you will discover that Big Love is a small, ramshackle affair specializing in indie rock from the US, Europe, and the UK.

They also have a pretty decent electronic/ambient selection, but there are better stores if that is your persuasion. Another good point is that they also serve Shiga Kogen craft beers, though the dangers of drunk buying are real, my friend!

Where: Tokyo, Shibuya City, Jingumae, 2 Chome−31−3 (map)

Next Records

If you think anything over 12 inches is a waste of vinyl, then you should definitely check out Next Records. Stocking over 10,000 original 12″ singles, Next claims to be one of the largest worldwide dealers of rare and collectibles.

With a particular leaning towards soul, jazz, funk, house, and hip hop, this Shibuya store caters towards DJs and collectors worldwide and prides itself on never accepting bootlegs. And if you can’t find what you are after? New stuff comes in every Friday.

Where: Tokyo, Shibuya City, Udagawacho, 11−11, Ryukou Building, 2nd Floor (map)

Down Town Records

Not to be confused with the New York-based record label Downtown, Down Town Records is right out in Toyocho, but do not let the mission to get there put you off. Unusual amongst record stores, Down Town is open, spacious, and even has comfy sofas on which to lounge, so there’s no awkward squeezing past people to get to records.

Stocking secondhand records from pretty much all genres, classical aside, if your taste is either eclectic or general, this could be the place for you.

Where: 3 Chome-27-3 Toyo, Koto City, Tokyo (map)


If you are a DJ with an electronic persuasion, then Technique is definitely the thing for you. From progressive house to nu-jazz, there is all the best deep and dark stuff here. Unfortunately, the staff don’t speak much English, so you can’t really ask too many questions.

However, if you want to know what’s going on with some of the more obscure stuff they stock, there are some listening stations.

Where: Tokyo, Shibuya City, Udagawacho, 15-1 Shibuya Parco B1F (map)

Image: via Mark Guthrie Own Work
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About the author

Bert Wishart editor

Novelist, copywriter and graduate from the most prestigious university in Sunderland, Bert whiles away his precious time on this Earth by writing about popular culture, travel, food and pretty much anything else that is likely to win him the Pulitzer he desperately craves.

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