The Deep Groove Mono Guide to Jazz Record Shopping in Japan

After over two years of waiting, I finally had the chance to visit Japan. I met my Japanese fianc√©, Ako, through Instagram in November 2019. She visited the U.S. for extended stays twice in 2021 but due to Covid, I wasn’t allowed to enter Japan — not even as her fianc√© — until this past summer. Once we booked my flight, I immediately began researching record shops.

We spent a lot of time in Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, and Nagoya. We went record shopping in all of them. During the course of two weeks, we visited over 35 record stores country-wide. At one point, Ako and I had a conversation about my frantic pace on the streets of Tokyo, perhaps a bit too frantic for her! Ako was my faithful cameraperson the entire time, documenting our exhibition at each stop.

Generally speaking, shopping in Osaka and Nagoya was surprisingly good while Tokyo ended up being a bit underwhelming. For the details, check out the video below! Also included below is a database of the stores we visited with DGM’s own rating for each store.

Overall, my trip to Japan was full of incredible, memorable experiences; the least of which, frankly, was record shopping. I got to meet Ako’s parents for the first time, ate local Wagyu beef, rode the Shinkansen train, stayed in a fancy hotel near Tokyo Tower, and of course, spent lots of quality time with my future wife.

CITYNEIGHBORHOODSTORERATING
KyotoN/ASuper Milk*****
NagoyaN/ADisk Union*****
OsakaNorthDisk Union*****
OsakaSouthMaru Ka Batsu*****
KyotoN/APoco a Poco****
OsakaSouthMorpho Records****
TokyoShibuyaFace Records (Miyashita Park)****
TokyoShibuyaTower Records****
TokyoShimokitazawaDisk Union****
TokyoShinjukuDisk Union (Second Hand)****
TokyoShinjukuHal's****
TokyoShinjukuHMV****
NagoyaN/ABanana Record (3 Chome-22-32 Osu)***
NagoyaN/ABanana Record (3 Chome-31-45 Miu)***
OsakaNorthBanana Record***
OsakaNorthJazz Record Seeed***
TokyoOchanomizuDisk Union (Jazz Tokyo)***
TokyoShibuyaDisk Union (Jazz Rare Groove)***
TokyoShibuyaDisk Union (Parco Dept. Store)***
TokyoShibuyaHMV***
TokyoShinjukuDisk Union (Jazz Store)***
KyotoN/AJazzy Sport**
NagoyaN/AGreatest Hits**
OsakaSouthWaxpend Records**
TokyoIkebukuroDisk Union**
TokyoShibuyaFace Records (10-2 Udagawacho)**
TokyoShimokitazawaElla Records**
TokyoShinjukuDiscland Jaro**
TokyoTakadanobabaDisk Union**
NagoyaN/ABanana Record (Meieki)*
OsakaSouthEspecial Records*
OsakaSouthGroovenut*
OsakaSouthRoot Down*
TokyoShimokitazawaFace Records (General Store)*
TokyoShinjukuTower Records*