Tower Records in Shibuya, Tokyo: A Heaven for Every J-Pop fan
One of the places that J-Pop fans must go to is Tower Records, Shibuya! This is a whole building that contains so many J-Pop Blurays, CDs, DVDs, books and magazines. Aside from J-Pop, they also sell Japanese films, series and of course, international titles as well. This nine storey building in Shibuya is only a tree minute walk away from Shibuya station.
Tower Records, originally an American owned company, landed in Japanese shores in 1979. They opened their first store in Sapporo, Hokkaido in 1980. The Shibuya branch was opened fifteen years later and is now considered as the flagship store. In 2002, the Japanese branches separated from the international branches to save themselves from bankruptcy. They have now 83 stores across Japan.
The Shibuya branch is considered the largest Tower Records branch in Japan and in the whole world with having nine storeys all in all. As you enter the building, you will find the party area where new releases are displayed and readily available for you to listen. Next, you will find the Tower Records Cafe in the 2nd floor, wherein you could relax after you spend time in the whole building looking for your favourite artists’ merchandise. The third floor is a must visit for every J-Pop fan too since you will find so many J-Pop and J-Indies at this level! K-Pop fans are also welcome at this store since some K-Pop CDs that were released in Japan are also available here. What’s more, located in their basement is a place for artists and fans to hold events.
Purchasing Blurays, CDs and DVDs is still very evident in Japan amidst the change to digital media. You could still see them charting in Oricon Charts. So, it’s no wonder that stores like Tower Records still exist in Japan.
When I was chosen as a delegate for JENESYS 2.0, an immersion for Japanese culture, I took my chance to savour every moment I have in the Land of the Rising Sun. I visited Tower Records Shibuya during my free time. It was only a short time but it was still worth it.
I remember it was the release of Perfume’s LEVEL 3 album. Perfume’s Magic of Love costumes were displayed at the very entrance of Tower Records Shibuya. Their merchandise were displayed everywhere. It was a sight to see for a Perfume fan like me. I bought so many CDs of ONE OK ROCK and Perfume and I never regretted it.
I promise to come back to this wonderful place. One hour to roam the entire place is definitely not enough. I need a whole day to explore this amazing place.
Aside from Tower Records, what record stores can also be found in Japan?
Aside from Tower Records, you could also find HMV Japan and Tsutaya Records across Japan. They also sell a huge collection of Japanese music. However, the very huge one can be found in Shibuya which is Tower Records.
Is it still worth it to purchase a physical copy of your favourite music and do I personally recommend it?
Yes, of course, it is still very worth it! I also recommend it. Some fans may argue that they are no longer worth your money since digital media is readily available. However, if you really are a fan of the artist and want to collect their every merchandise, then purchasing their physical CDs and DVDs can be wonderful. Although J-Pop CDs are only packed in crystal cases compared to K-Pop, they still have their own perks and bonuses like free handshake or fanmeet tickets and DVDs that contain music videos and making of's. If you also buy them, you could help your favourite artists too since they are included in the charts!
Visiting Tower Records Shibuya was a very memorable moment for me. I was able to take a glimpse at Perfume's "Magic of Love" single costumes since they were on display at that time. I was very lucky indeed since I am a huge Perfume fan. It was truly unforgettable! I hope every J-Pop fan like me will be able to visit this awesome place!