Area: Shinjuku

1 Holy Milk

Shinjuku 新宿 (new home)

Here's quoted text from Tokyo Damage: "This is one of the best places to people-watch, because of the diversity of the crowd: Usually there are street musicians, ridiculous fashions, religious cultists, guys trying to pick up women, karaoke touts, a million shoppers, homeless, petty hustlers, hookers, businessmen, hayseeds, confused foreigners, glam rock people, nerds, convicted felons, students all going at once."

View from Shinjuku Tokyo Metro Government tower, it's totally free to go up.

Shinjuku station is the biggest, busiest, most crowded train station of all Japan. Also I find it's interesting, the first time I saw Japanese homeless and hobos, is in Shinjuku. Combined with cool street musician (you bought their demo CDs instead of throwing coins) also some nasty rude smokers. The smoking area is kind of dirty. I don't find it's normal to found a dirty blotch in Japan, I mean, it's sure a smoking area, but they throw the cigar's butt on the paving. But in Jakarta you find that everywhere :)) But guess that's what make Shinjuku feels like a place with human not machine. Love!

Studio ALTA, famous Shinjuku icon and featured on lots of Japanese manga/anime/series.

If you're after the street musician, try start from Shinjuku station south exit, walk along Lumine, then facing bldng with big Odakyu sign. There will be many street musician along the path. Keep

After passing JUMBO pachinko & see the Kaleido dept. store, make U turn to the right (below train track flyover) then keep walking you'll end up at the East exit with studio ALTA across the street. This east exit square that facing studio ALTA also great spot for watching street musician. 

If you want to continue, turn right at Bic camera intersection, you'll see big Lumine EST sign. Keep walking along the Lumine building, across you will see Topman/Topshop, keep straight along Lumine est, you will passing NOWA, and soon end up in south-east exit. At this square many great street musician also plays. The Flags building (GAP logo on entrance) has 4 floors dedicated for Tower Records.

Shinjuku sta. south-east exit, at evening many musicians will play at this square. Flags is on the left, Green peas on center, Book-off on the right)

If you want to see the red light district Kabukicho, start from Studio ALTA. Go to the alley on your left hand facing ALTA you'll pass Mcdonald's, ABC Mart & Matsumoto Kiyoshi, keep walking straight until you see intersection with Don quijote in your front and red Kabukicho sign across the street. If you start from JUMBO pachinko, walk facing Kaleido dept. store intersection, turn right, walk below train track flyover, keep walking straight and red K-cho sign will be at your left across the street. If you never heard of Kabukicho before, Toko Damage could explain you what crazy wild place it is.

Map of some record shops of Shinjuku (click to enlarge)

Divided to 4 parts, record shop part, office building part, you could find Tokyo Government Observation Deck (free) next to Keio building. The Las Vegas part, the Kabukicho district. And the wild clubs part, even stranger than kabukicho, most gay bar and fetish show bar stood here. Blue location is budget eat to fill up your tummy while exploring.

Nishi-Shinjuku (west Shinjuku) is filled with many independent, specialty record shop. Most of them are the size of your kitchen, but flooded with rare treasury. You could literally drown to their Japanese or classic international music, mostly in Japan press edition. Here's some that I visited:

NAT Records & Warehouse Records (2F) (storefront via gmap)
Punk, post-punk, hardcore, garage, heavy.
Warehouse got wider range music genre. CD & Vinyl, new & used. Both shared same shop.

Shinjuku Records (storefront via gmap)
Open since 1970, prog, some folk, some punk, and basically hardcore. Vinyl & CD.

Pure Sound
Visual kei CD, goods, boxes, memorabilia, got some old rarity in high price. Also have used items & some punk clothing.

Pure Sound storefront

Malice Mizer 1st demo CD sold for 18,000 JPY, MUCC 1st demo casette sold for 20,000 JPY,
and some pricey rarities!

Strangelove Records
All rock through 60s to the newest

 Strangelove strorefront

Club Indies / Jishuban Club
Visual kei and some alternative indie rock new CDs. Often held signing/fan club event.

Jishuban storefront (locals also call this Misuzu-biru)

Like an Edison
Visual kei new CDs and memorabilia.

Like an Edison storefront

Blind Faith
Just a step from Edison. Used & new classic rock. Heavy on Beatles, Clapton, the Stones.. Also limited vinyl.

306 Shinjuku Daikan-Plaza B Building (storefront via gmap)
This building hold many record shops, try explore each floor.
HAL's (3F)
Jazz, free-jazz, blues, avant, bebop, post-bob. Vinyl.
The Perfect Circle (5F)
ALL beatles release & some UK stuffs. Vinyl, 7", and CDs
Hard Stuff (?F)
an all vinyl shop I planned to visit is already gone! D: They still accepting order online here.

Closet Child
Second handed chain store. Also have shops in Ikebukuro, Harajuku, Yokohama, etc. Closet child dedicated to all Visual kei music and clothing, all secondhanded. Shinjuku have 2 shops of them.
#1 Closet Child for clothings
4F. Vivienne Westwood
5F. Lolita dresses, bags, accessories
6F. Punk clothings, bags, accessories
#2 Closet Child Men
Men clothing, also sells CD and memorabilia, everything 2nd handed in good condition. The only store branch that combined CD and clothing.

Closet Child #1 as seen from Kaleido bld.'s side

Closet Child Men storefront

Disk Union
Probably the largest chain (side by side to Recofan, but I can't find any Recofan, not sure are they closing stores, or was it just me) for record shop in Japan, wide selection of music, focusing on secondhanded item. Shinjuku 3-chome holds 6 Disk Union stores, all store placed only one two blocks apart and each have its own specialty. Here's the detail (please refer to the map above):
#1 Main store
7F. 60~70's used rock vinyl
6F. Indie, alternative rock, new-wave, avant-garde
5F. 60~70's used rock CD
4F. Latin, brazil
3F. Movie DVD, soundtrack
2F. CD & vinyl accessories
1F. 60-70's used & new rock DVD
B1. Japanese rock, pop, indies
#2 Jazz store
#3 Prog-rock store (BF)
#4 Groove store

3F. Hiphop, techno, house, reggae
Bf. Soul, funk. blues, rare groove, dance classic
#5 Punk market
6F. Punk, hardcore, hard rock
#6 Used store
8F. Classical & audio union (audio equipment)
3F. USED STORE ALL GENRE (largest of all) & book union (bibliophilic)

Disk Union entrance, go up or down to the basement, each genres have their own floor.

Tower Records
Big music company in Japan (we also used to have HMV, but they closed down in Japan?) Everything on the rack is new, you could find old releases on discount. Most popular Tower Record sure is the one at Shibuya, here in Shinjuku Tower Records has whole 4 floors offers you vast collection of music, from Japan and International.

Found Dorlis - Swingin' Street CD (2010). (still on normal price, haha)

In Japanese music store, please check the whole array. A band started with "The" may not listed at the "T" rack, might be in "Z", since in Japanese language you write "The" as "Za", and sometimes it will be written in katakana, etc, just keep looking.

Dir en Grey, lol

If an artist/band walk into a music store, it's customary for them to take a picture and sign it to be plastered on the store's wall. If you go to Tower Records, don't miss their merchandise too, good for souvenirs. They got headphones starting from 900 JPY, pen, pencils, towel, etc..

CDs from Tower Record are all new and cost you more money than the one from second-handed shops above. If you really love the band, maybe it's best for you to buy the new one. Choose wisely & have fun record-shopping!

Bonus: Kyoto Record Shop in pdf
I didn't spent much time in Kyoto, but I found a guide book at a random record shop (forgot the name). I did a scan and you could download it at the link above. All text in Japanese only.

Remember, most indoor place especially stores in Japan prohibit you to take pictures, please watch for signs and don't get caught.

Find more about record shops in Shinjuku on: Vinyl Record Collector and CD and LP blog

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1 comment :

  1. Hi Friday, nice blog.

    Just want to point out that HMV is alive and well in Japan so is RecoFan. They are both located in Shibuya. Perhaps at the time you wrote this HMV was under reconstruction orso.

    Recofan: 〒150-0042 Tokyo, Shibuya, Udagawacho, 31−2, 渋谷BEAM

    HMV: 36-2 Udagawacho, Shibuya, Tokyo 150-0042


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