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Dinner and music at Blue Note. Photo: Gaute Gjøl Dahle & Ewen Corbelon
Dinner and music at Blue Note. Photo: Gaute Gjøl Dahle & Ewen Corbelon


Tune in to Tokyo’s live music scene

There is live music for every taste in Tokyo, and many places in which to indulge those tastes. Here are a handful of the better known live music venues.

Shelter, Shimokitazawa

Located in bohemian Shimokitazawa, a center for indie music in Tokyo, Shelter is often used for album launch events and stays open late. Capacity is between 200 and 250 standing and the focus is rock music.

Senda Building, B1 2-6-10, Shimokitazawa

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Photo: Gaute Gjøl Dahle & Ewen Corbelon

The Ruby Room, Shibuya

The Ruby Room has been a feature of the Tokyo music scene for nearly 15 years, and offers live music and DJ sets (depending on the night) in the very accessible Shibuya shopping district. It is usually free on weekdays and a weekend entry usually costs €8.15 including one drink.

2-25-17 Dogenzaka | 4F Kasumi Bldg, Shibuya 150-0043, Tokyo Prefecture

Loft, Kabukicho

Loft is a basement club (capacity around 500, with two stages) in Shinjuku’s Kabukicho district. It opened 40 years ago and hosts a number of international groups, as well as many prominent local musicians.

1-12-9 Kabukicho | B2 Tatehana Bldg, Shinjuku 160-0021, Tokyo Prefecture

Photo: Gaute Gjøl Dahle & Ewen Corbelon

Blue Note, Aoyama

At Blue Note Tokyo you can eat dinner with your music, though prices are at the high end of the live music experience in Tokyo. Expect to pay more than you would in Europe or North America to see your favorite ­musicians – it costs money to bring them to Japan! But it’s hard to argue with the quality.

6-3-16 Minami-Aoyama, Minato 107-0062, Tokyo Prefecture

Pit Inn, Shinjuku

Shinjuku’s Pit Inn is a legendary Tokyo jazz venue that ­features mainly Japanese ­musicians, but also visiting acts. The focus at Pit Inn, which celebrated its 50th anniversary a couple of years ago, is on the music, with all the seats facing the stage. There’s a minimal food menu and the ­cover charge is €20 including one drink.

2-12-4 Shinjuku | B1F Accord Shinjuku Bldg., Shinjuku 160-0022, Tokyo Prefecture

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