Alive and Rocking – See Local Music at Hiroshima’s Great Live Houses

ByBert Wishart
Feb 26, 2021

Alive and Rocking – See Local Music at Hiroshima’s Great Live Houses

With just a cursory look at Japanese television, you would be forgiven for believing that Japan’s music industry was an endless parade of identikit Johnny’s boy bands or sprawling AKB-48 affiliated girl groups. Not that there is anything wrong with this homogenous J-Pop, per se, but there has to be more to it than that.

And of course, there is, but you tend not to find it on TV or on the stadium tour scene. Instead, you can find up-and coming-bands, aspiring independent artists, and veteran acts plying their trade in Japan’s rich and thriving live house scene.

In Japanese, the word ライブ [raibu, live] is a noun for what we might call a concert, show or gig – for example, one might say ‘I saw Tame Impala’s live yesterday,’ as opposed to ‘I saw Tame Impala’s live show, yesterday’ – and as such, a live house is similar to the club or gig circuit that artists might play in the US, UK or Australia.

Hiroshima has a few fantastic venues at which to watch local bands, touring national artists, and even a fair few international acts. So, what are you waiting for? Get out there and find your new favorite artist!


Over in Tokaichi, Organza is your first stop if you want to find wild, off-the-wall, and unique acts. Run by Gozo Izumi, considered by some to be “the queen of Hiroshima’s underground scene,” you are as likely to see a burlesque show as a jazz artist, a Latin band as you are a bamboo player.

Very much a one of a kind, you can also just pop by for a cozy bite to eat (fancy a fried pig’s ear?) or just hang out at the counter amongst the strange and quirky furniture… and customers.

Where: 1 Chome-4-32 Tokaichimachi, Naka Ward, Hiroshima (map)

Second Crutch

While some live bars tend to have their genre and niche, Second Crutch in Naka-Ku serves up artists of all musical tastes and persuasions. One day it could be Visual Kei, the next J-hip hop, the next an idol pairing, and the next a twee folk band; you can definitely find something that you could get into.

Much bigger than the likes of Organza, it means that it can house relatively well-known artists from the Japanese circuit whilst still keeping an authentic flavor.

Where:  Hiroshima, Naka Ward, Horikawacho, 4−20 4F (map)

Club Quattro

Coming into its 20th year, Hiroshima’s Club Quattro is part of a national chain of live houses – the others being in Tokyo, Nagoya, and Osaka – where you are most likely to catch both local and international bands and artists of high repute, but not necessarily the stadium busters.

It’s just around the corner from Second Crutch (and okonomimura, so it’s handy to grab a bite and a beer beforehand). Although you might find that the mid-level foreign bands that frequent it often charge somewhat over the odds for entry fees, Quattro is a great venue.

Where:  PARCO 10-1 Hondori, Naka Ward, Hiroshima (map)

Image via

Image: By Florence Nobuko Smith via [CC BY 2.0]

Image: via Instagram

Image: By update86 via [CC BY 2.0]

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.

Leave a Reply