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The Record Lover’s Guide to Shimokitazawa

Shimokitazawa, once a sleepy West Tokyo neighborhood, was transformed in the 1970s and 1980s into cultural hotbed similar to the Williamsburg neighborhood in Brooklyn, Shoreditch in London, or Kreuzberg in Berlin. Like those neighborhoods, DIY culture, fashion, art and music drove the scene. Although gentrification has spruced up Shimokitazawa (as well as Williamsburg, Shoreditch and Kreuzberg), the neighborhood has held onto something of its bohemian identity, and the streets of Shimokita are still a fine place to hit a good record shop and spend a few hours digging in the crates.

  • Flash Disc Ranch

    Flash Disc Ranch is a holdout from the neighborhood’s glory days in the early 1980s but, like a classic break sampled from an obscure funk record, the shop’s appeal is timeless. The shop’s prices have not changed much in the three plus decades since owner Masao Tsubaki first opened Flash Disc Ranch.

    Flash Disc Ranch

    Flash Disc Ranch

    Flash Disc Ranch still has a 100 yen record bin, and sometimes prices records even below that. There is no particular focus to the collection, except perhaps a love of Americana. A diligent crate digger can turn up gems from any numbers of genres: punk and soul, jazz and house, gangsta rap and post rock, funk and country.

  • City Country City

    City Country City

    City Country City

    Opened in 2006 by the frontman of Japanese indie rock group Sunny Day Service, City Country City collects an outstanding range of records that could very well be the soundtrack of the neighborhood. The focus is on the fringes of dance and electronic music, including rare groove, dub, ambient, disco, house.

    City Country City

    City Country City

    The shop’s cafe is a perfect place to chill out, and it’s always humming with chill tunes. Cakes and coffee are available, as well as a daily special pasta is the perfect choice. The cafe also features a respectable beer by the bottle menu which changes with the season.

  • Jazzy Sport Shimokitazawa

    Jazzy Sport Shimokitazawa

    Jazzy Sport Shimokitazawa

    Jazzy Sport Shimokitazawa sits just south of Shimokitazawa Station and stocks an eclectic mix of recent and older releases. If one is hunting for outré hip-hop, Afrocentric spacey jazz, psychedelic neo soul or avant garde house or broken beat, Jazzy Sport is the place to be. Jazzy Sport stocks the overseas new release records and reissues one might expect Theo Parrish, Moodymann, Rammellzee and deeply obscure releases for the real heads, but they also do a great job at curating records from local acts.

  • Shimokitazawa Night Market

    Shimokitazawa Night Market

    Shimokitazawa Night Market

    The Shimokitazawa Night Market, held intermittently at Shimokitazawa Cage, a temporary outdoor space home to art exhibitions and food fairs, attracts vendors from around the neighborhood, as well as heavyweights in the vintage book and record market. The market operates 5pm to 10pm, and it’s a good idea to check online for dates. The line up of vendors changes frequently; and the space also supports a day market.

  • Disk Union

    Disk Union

    Disk Union

    Disk Union has become a destination for record lovers visiting Tokyo, and it’s not hard to see why this is a vinyl collector’s superstore: a massive selection that ranges from new releases and second hand classics to coveted reissues and supremely rare original pressings. It is also worth noting that the Shimokitazawa location of Disk Union’s Club Music Shop is the best place in the neighborhood to pick up EDM and hip-hop 12”s.

    Shimo-Kitazawa
    Address
    Tokyo Setagaya-ku Kitazawa 2-chome
    Phone
    Flash disk lunch
    Address
    Tokyo Setagaya-ku Kitazawa 2-12-16
    Phone
    0334140421
    CITY COUNTRY CITY shimokitazawa
    Address
    東京都世田谷区北沢2-12-13 細沢ビル4F
    Phone
    03-3410-6080
    Jazzy sport Shita Kitazawa
    Address
    Tokyo Setagaya-ku Kitazawa 2-19-17
    Phone
    0364532278
  • disk union shimokitazawa
    Address
    Tokyo Setagaya-ku Kitazawa 1-40-6 Kakiba 3 rd building 1F
    Phone
    0334673231
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