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Smooth sounds Next and last stop...
Crank it up, bring the noise!
Ever look at one of those posters from Tower Records that seem to be everywhere? The one that says "No music, no life"? Well, you have to admit, it is true for the majority of the population right? Who doesn't listen to music? You can go into a store and buy CD's by your favorite artist by the cartload but there's nothing like seeing an artist perform live. Smoke, sweat, bodies flying everywhere, doesn't that sound fun? No? Okay, well, perhaps your musical tastes differ from mine. Still, most major artists find their way to Japan most of the time and if not, there are numerous other shows every day around town. Grab a copy of "Pia" magazine ( or Tokyo Classified ( or a similar magazine and check out the listings to see who's playing where.

Better yet, forget about searching for an ideal act, why not just drop by a venue, or "livehouse" as it's called in Japan, and take in that day's show? Most venues open their doors around 6pm. Whatever your musical taste, there is almost certainly a venue that caters to it. Be prepared to pay a little extra if you want to buy tickets on the same day as the show, plus most venues charge an additional 500 yen for a "drink ticket".

Don't know where to go? Let us give you a little guided tour of various venues in town. Be warned however, apart from the major venues, most places are relatively small in size and depending on the show, you might be able to just catch the performer's head if you're lucky!

Almost forgot, where do you buy your ticket you say? You can go straight to the venue and buy at the door on the day or in advance, or you can go to any Ticket Pia or Ticket Saison to get your ticket. If there isn't an office nearby, most convenience stores sell concert tickets as well, so you can buy one along with your carton of milk. (see also: Buying Tickets)

Main attractions
All aboard folks! Our first route takes us by the major venues that most foreign artists choose to play at. Relatively large in size, and easily accessible, these are the venues of choice for those of you who may want to relax and take in a show and for those who like to get into the music and do a little "dancing" as well. However, tickets to see shows by major artists may be a bit on the expensive side, so be prepared and don't get caught short of cash!

Akasaka Blitz - (03-3224-0567) - The newest of all the major venues, is located right above exit 3a of Akasaka station (Subway Chiyoda line). It is also one of the largest, with a second floor with seating for those who want to watch a show in peace.

Kawasaki Club Citta' - (044-246-8888) - Located in Kawasaki in Kanagawa prefecture, it is approximately a 5 minute walk from Kawasaki station. Again, relatively large in size, with a capacity of over 1000 people.

Nippon Budokan
(03-3216-5100) - About a 5-7 minute walk from Kudanshita station. Probably the most famous of all concert venues in Japan. You know you've hit the big one when you get to play here!

On Air East / West
(03-3476-8686 and 03-5458-4646 respectively) - Located across from each other at about a 10 minute walk from Shibuya station. Another big name favorite although not all that large in size.

That concludes our tour of "where to play when you hit it big". For the majority of us, we know we'll never be able to play in any of those places (if you do though, it's worth it, trust me!). So, we continue our tour of the city's music venues with the smaller places that are popular with not just some of the major Western and Japanese artists but with almost all artists in Japan. These are the venues whose names have become popular and almost synonymous with some level of success in Japan.

Shimokitazawa Shelter
(03-3466-7430) - Pretty small in size with a capacity of around 200 to 300 people, located about a 10 minute walk from Shimokitazawa station. A famous spot among independent artists in Japan.

Shibuya Club Quattro
( - (03-3477-8750)- 5 minute walk from Shibuya's "Hachi-ko" exit (you know? That funny looking dog statue?) . It is located on the 5th floor of the "Parco" building located along "Center Street". If you go see a show here, make sure to go a tad bit early. Since the stage isn't elevated that much, you might not be able to see that well in the back.

Shinjuku Liquid Room
(03-3200-6831) - Located in "Kabukicho" about 5 minutes from the West exit of Shinjuku (the one with Alta). Another popular venue among Western and both major label and independent Japanese artists as well. Although it holds around 700 people, it can get kind of scary since the floor "bounces" up and down as the crowd jumps up and down.

Shinjuku Loft
(03-3365-2664) - Moved from its previous location to Kabukicho. Shinjuku Loft has become synonymous with independent music, especially heavier music.

Ebisu Milk
(03-5458-2826)- A short walk from Ebisu station. You can enjoy not only live rock and pop performances but also dance, hip-hop, and other genres of music pumped out by a DJ.

There are countless other famous venues in the Tokyo area like
Takadanobaba Area, Shibuya Cyclone, Ikebukuro Cyber and so on and so on. These however are mainly for rock, pop, hip-hop genres of music. If that isn't your scene, perhaps you'd prefer some jazz or blues? Okay then, as a special treat for you folks, we'll make some special stops on our little tour of the city.

Attack of the killer bass

Some clubs for all of you who love to dance.

Lexington Queen 3401-1661 Roppongi*
ORGAN BAR 5489-5460 Shibuya
club asia 5458-5963 Shibuya
HARLEM 3461-8806 Shibuya
The Cave 3780-0715 Shibuya*
Shinkukan 3478-4946 Shibuya
Fai 3486-4910 Minami-Aoyama
Blue 3797-1591 Minami-Aoyama
Milk 5458-2826 Ebisu
YELLOW 3479-0690 Nishi-Azabu
Liquid Room 3200-6831 Shinjuku
Gothic 3209-4102 Shinjuku
CODE 3209-0702 Shinjuku
web 3422-1405 Setagaya-ku

Smoooooooth sounds
Not everyone likes that alternative or rock or hip hop or trance or whatever the "younger generation" listens to these days, although you shouldn't judge a book by it's cover, there are folks out there (not necessarily old though) who prefer lighter, relaxing music. So, hop on the last leg of our little tour to experience some smooth sounds.

Blue Note Tokyo
( - (03-5485-0088) - 8 minute walk from Omotesando station. You all know the name, no explanations required here.

Someday ( - (03-3364-2518) - Jazz club a short walk from Ookubo station.

Sonoka (03-3446-8680) - Another jazz club, this one located right near Meguro station.

Keynote Harajuku ( - (03-3470-6101) - A popular jazz club in Harajuku located right near the "Takeshita" exit. Popular with both Japanese and Western musicians.

And for you classical lovers out there.

Suntory Hall 3505-1001 Akasaka
3584-9999 (Ticket Reservations)
Tokyo Bunka Kaikan 3828-2111 Ueno (Ueno Park)
Casals Hall 3294-1229 Ochanomizu
3291-2525 (Ticket Reservations)
Orchard Hall 3477-9111 Shibuya (Bunkamura)
Tokyo Opera City 5353-0788

Next and last stop
Well folks, that concludes our little tour of concert venues around town. Of course, these are just the tip of the ice-burg. There are literally hundreds of little "livehouses" around the city. Chances are, there's probably one right in your town. So, next time you're in the mood for some music, whatever your taste may be, turn off your stereo, put away that CD and go outside and look for your own little live music niche.

Copyright by IMA Co., 1999