Have you been to a Jazz Club yet? Whether you are a jazz lover or you are just starting your journey into jazz music appreciation, Tokyo offers some ideal spots to enjoy jazz music and cultivate this passion.
If you’re looking to find the best jazz cafe in Tokyo, then look no further! In this article we will introduce some of the best, most loved jazz cafes you should pay a visit to within the city that almost never sleeps.
Enjoy Music in Tokyo at a Jazz Club
Eagle / Iguro (Yotsuya)
Iguro, in Yotsuya, from opening to 6 PM is a laid-back jazz cafe where you can relax and listen to jazz. After 6 PM it becomes a lively jazz club where jazz lovers gather to talk and listen to records. The owner has published several books on jazz and is one of the best jazz connoisseurs in Japan. We recommend this cafe where you will fully immerse yourself in the charm of jazz.
Google Maps: Eagle
Opening: 11.30 AM to 11.20 PM
Jazz Kissa Masako (Shimokitazawa)
Image credit: Canva
The legendary store “Jazz Kissa Masako” opened far back in the early 50s. It was shut down during the redevelopment of Shimokitazawa area but it was luckily revived in 2020 by a staff member of the original store. Even though the furniture and the decorations have been replaced with more modern ones, the space still very much gives justice to the original Showa-era atmosphere. Inside the store, you will be able to listen to a wide range of jazz music but since the atmosphere is very free and easygoing, so you can also read books, enjoy a meal, relax, chat and have a good time even if you are not very familiar with jazz music.
Google Maps: Jazz Kissa Masako
Opening hours: 12 PM to 10 PM
“Otoki! Meg” in Kichijoji, opened in April 2018, taking over from Jazz Cafe Meg. Meg is not only a jazz cafe and club where you can listen to records while sipping coffee or having a drink, but the place also hosts many live jazz performances, making it a pillar and an important point of reference for the jazz-loving community of the neighbourhood and the city.
Google Maps: Meg
Opening hours: from 1 PM to 4 PM, 6:30 PM to 10PM
Coffee Jazz Genius (Nakano Shinbashi)
Coffee Jazz Genius is a spacious jazz cafe located in a back alley not far from the quiet station of Nakano Shimbashi, just a couple of stops west of Shinjuku on the Marunouchi line. The shop is a family business and it is still managed by the 70-year-old owner who entertains the clientele with a wide collection of vinyl he puts on himself. If the place is not too crowded you can request what you would like to listen to, and on occasion, you can also be allowed to smoke inside if not being a meiwaku for other guests.
Google Maps: Coffee Jazz Genius
Opening hours: 11 AM to 11 PM
Image credit: Instagram
Dug is a real jazz institution around Shinjuku and has been loved by hundreds of customers visiting the shop every day. The master, Hozumi Nakahira, is also a jazz photographer, and you can see the works of various photographers showcased in the store.
Dug is open from lunchtime to around 11 PM and offers a wide selection of beverages, including specialty coffees, fresh juices, wines, over 50 types of gin, whiskey, rum, brandy, and over 100 types of cocktails. It is the perfect place where the love of good spirits and good jazz meets.
The brick interior gives a sense of the store’s history, and Dug’’s uniquely relaxed atmosphere makes coffee and drinks even more delicious.
Google Maps: Dug
Opening hours: 12 PM to 11.30 PM
Located along a shopping street about a 10-minute walk from JR Nakano Station and Seibu Line Araiyakushi Station, respectively, Rompercicci is a small 20-seat shop run by a jazz-loving couple.
You can tell jazz is particularly appreciated around here: jazz music spreads around the cafe at a slightly higher volume than you would find in a regular cafe. Relax and enjoy the music while browsing through the books and records on the bookshelf.
Choose something from the rich menu of food and drinks. From rare wines to cocktails, coffee, pasta, and delicious gateau chocolates, you will spend a great time at Rompercicci no matter what time of day you visit.
You can also peak into the shop’s record selection on the website.
Google Maps: Rompercicci
Opening hours: 11 AM to 11 PM
Jazz Nutty (Waseda)
Jazz Nutty around Waseda University does not fuss around with jazz music. As a cafe fully dedicated to jazz music conversation and chit-chat here is not very welcomed. Jazz Nutty is where you go to listen and immerse yourself in the music in a quiet atmosphere, paying special attention to the sound system and the surrounding space. Jazz cafes are so fully devoted to the listening experience – rather than the cafe one – are becoming rarer and rarer.
The basic manner at Jazz Nutty is to keep quiet to maintain an environment in which you can listen attentively and concentrate on the music at any time. You can feel the excitement of the customers when a record they like comes up but everyone is very respectful of other people’s experiences at all times.
Aoki, the owner, has a small notebook where he tries to keep track of his regular customers tastes and records they listen to when they come in, to use the information as a reference for the next time the customer comes to the store. Customers can also bring in their CDs and records to be played.
Google Maps: Jazz Nutty
Opening hours: 11 AM to 10 PM
Jazz Cafe Guide
A great tool to know more about jazz cafes in Tokyo is the “Jazz Cafe Guide”, which has a database of jazz cafes, described and rated by the Jazz Cafe members from all over Japan. It seems like the page has not been updated much recently, but still, it remains a valuable website to consult before heading out to a jazz cafe even though unfortunately, as of today, it is only available in Japanese.
Are you Going to Visit One of These Jazz Clubs?
Even though jazz cafes could feel intimidating and out of reach, getting out of the comfort zone can lead to surprising discoveries. These amazing jazz cafes around Tokyo are definitely worth some discomfort for a great jazz experience – you will want to go back!
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