In Search of… Vinyl

I have previously written about the record shop Prototype, managed by my good friend Yoshida-kun but I’ve been thinking it’s time I added a few more Kyoto record shops to the list. I asked friend and collector Nana H. (that’s her on the left spinning discs at Joao) to give me some pointers and she recommended the following stores.


A pure, minimalist store without much decoration, this place is very neat and tidy compared to some of the other record stores in town. Genres include: Blues, Gospel, Alternative, New Wave, Progressive Rock, Reggae, Ska, World music and Jazz. Says Nana: “Most of the stuff here isn’t new, maybe up to the 80’s, or if Hip-Hop then the 90’s. This is where you come if you want to know where the new stuff comes from.” Bootsy’s is on the 3rd floor of the Takase building on the south side of Sanjo, west of the bridge, about two doors down from the Lawson’s convenience store. Here is a map.
Open 12:00 – 20:00 seven days a week. Tel: 075-231-5078

Workshop Records

Smaller and slightlier messier but packed with goodies, Workshop Records deals in used and imported records and CDs. This shop specializes in Jazz and Soul but also includes the following genres: Rock, Punk, Avant Garde, New Wave, Pychedelic, 90’s, German, French, Japanese Rock and Folk, U.K. & Irish Traditional, Reggae, Dub, and R&B… The music playing in the shop today was Ueda Masayuki and Ariyama Junji’s “Bochibochi Iko ka “ which I rather took a shine to.  To find it go north from Sanjo on Kiyamachi, before you reach Oike and just after the Empire Building you should see an alleyway on your right. Go down there and look for a “Workshop Records” sign again on your right and it’s up some stairs on the 4th floor. Here is a map. Open 13:00 pm – 21:00 pm and closed on Tuesdays.
Tel/Fax: 075-254-6131 email:


This shop has a lot of oldies records (both albums and singles) from the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s and a lot of Elvis and Beatles records. Accordingly, it does seem to attract the older customers. However, you will also find music from the 80’s and 90’s, Soul, R&B, Jazz, Classical, Latin, Blues, Funk, Reggae, Rock, Heavy Metal and of course Japanese Folk. With heaps of boxes piled up hither and thither, this is a fun if slightly chaotic place to browse in. They also sell CDs and DVDs (some of a rather dubious nature).  Unfortunately I was unable to take any pictures on the inside (there’s always one) but the music playing when I visited was Sonny Rollins’ On A Slow Boat To China. This shop is located at the north entrance to Teramachi from Oike on the west side, just across from the City Hall. You can find it on the fourth floor of the Tomitaya Building. Here is a map.
Open: 12:00 – 20:00 on Saturday/Sunday/Monday/Wednesday & 15:00 – 20:00 Tuesday/Thursday/Friday. Tel: 075-211-7463.


This music store/cafe/gallery is just a few doors down from Hot Line, again on the west side of Teramachi and down in the basement of the アシスト building. Swish and sophisticated most of the stuff here is very very new. So new in fact that the music they were playing when I visited hadn’t even been released yet. This store has a lot of Electronica, Techno, House, Disco, Downtempo, Hiphop, Nu Jazz, Crossover, Jazz, Soul and Funk. Check out their website for upcoming events. Here is a map.
Tel: 075-211-8580  Open: 12:00~22:00 everyday.

Heights (UPDATE! Heights closed in early 2011 as the owner, Nakajima-san, decided he wanted to try his hand at farming instead. Good luck to him!)

Another second hand store, this time on the north side of Takoyakushi Dori between Gokomachi and Fuyacho. Genres include Jazz, Bossa Nova, Funk, Disco, Roots, Reggae, J-Pop, Rock, J-Club Music, Hip-hop, Punk, New Wave, Oldies, 60’s, 70’s… The owner also has a good 90’s section with plenty of artists like Sonic Youth, Travis, Bjork, Radiohead, Stereolab, Beck, Blur and the Beasties. Say’s Nana: “He’s very strict about record condition, so records are cheaper if the record condition is bad.” Open 12:00 – 21:00 everday except Thursday. Here is a most convenient map. Tel/Fax: 075-251-1113

Jet Set

(UPDATE: The 5th floor of Jet Set has now sadly closed but the 6th floor still remains.)

I have saved the best till last! This place is awesome! They really do have everything. The 5th floor Jet set Onde focuses on older music: Jazz, Soul, Rock and Classics. The 6th floor has the newer stuff: Hip-hop, House, Techno, Reggae, Indies and Pop. “What I like about it,” says Nana, “is you can listen to all the records.” You can find Jet Set on the west side of Kawaramachi north of Sanjo, just after the 7-11 convenience store. It’s on the 5th and 6th floors of the Unity Building. Check out their website (in English!) for more information on these stores, for online shopping and also for a most convenient map: LINK. Open 13:00 – 21:00.
Jet Set Tel: 075-253-3530
Jet Set Onde Tel: 075-211-0909

Thanks Nana!

2 responses to “In Search of… Vinyl

  1. Thanks for this awesome post, you saved me from trying to find out how to explain “vinyl record store” in Japanese.

  2. thank you for the info, got myself like 10 vinyls from the Jet Set with sooo cheap price 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *