Tokyo is well and truly a music lover’s paradise. You can easily fill your trip with visits to record stores, listening bars, instrument stores, and of course, karaoke parlors. There is a real commitment to audio fidelity in venues across Japan, which is not surprising considering how much beloved audio equipment is manufactured here. With that in mind, it is well worth taking the time to visit one of Tokyo’s unique live music venues during your time in the city.
Small, intimate venues
Every night of the week, the options for live music in Tokyo are almost endless. If you’re looking to dive straight into the local music scene, look no further than Ruby Room. This intimate 150-capacity venue in Shibuya is packed with charm. Ruby Room hosts a free open mic night every Tuesday, and every Thursday a free event called Berlin takes place, featuring both live acts and DJs from Tokyo’s thriving indie scene.
Another strong contender in the small venue category is Moon Romantic in Aoyama. This 200-capacity live house really lives up to its name. It features a giant, glowing moon on the stage which creates a wonderful atmosphere in the venue. Moon Romantic has a great sound system, and it attracts both local acts and international touring bands.
Tokyo is also home to many intimate Jazz venues such as the long-established Blue Note. This gorgeous venue first opened its doors in 1988, and ever since, it has been offering up delicious cocktails and French-inspired dishes alongside its tasteful line-up of Jazz performers.
See your favorite bands
There are many mid-sized venues in Tokyo which cater to bands on the international touring circuit. In Shibuya, there is a cluster of venues run by the streaming company Spotify: O-East, O-West, O-Nest, and O-Crest. With four to choose from, you’re bound to find a name you recognize among their listings.
In Ebisu, you can find two more great options in Liquidroom and Garden Hall, both of which feature impressive sound quality and are graced by many popular Western bands.
If you’re in the mood for something bigger, check out Tokyo Dome. This 55,000-capacity stadium usually hosts sporting events, but it also features performances from some of the biggest names in music. Singing along with a crowd of 55,000 fans at the Dome can make for a truly life-changing experience, so it’s always worth keeping an eye on the event schedule there.
Another fantastic option for bigger concerts is Yoyogi National Stadium. This iconic building is instantly recognizable due to its unique architecture. The stadium can hold 14,000 people and it is right next to many iconic Tokyo attractions such as Yoyogi Park, Meiji Jingu shrine, and the trendy Harajuku district. If you’re still hungry for more after the show, take a walk down to Shibuya where you can easily find a nightclub and dance the night away.
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