With Japan being the second largest music market in the world, it’s no surprise that there are many superb live houses dotted around the country. The capital in particular has some amazing places to watch gigs. Here’s a list of our favorite live music venues in Tokyo.
Aoyama Moon Romantic
Located in Minami Aoyama, Aoyama Moon Romantic is like a secret dreamy hideaway within walking distance from Omotesando. A wireframe gate leads visitors down a flight of stairs to the entrance of the music venue. As the name suggests, when you enter, the light illuminates a gorgeous moon backdrop on the stage and changes color during different sets. Aoyama Moon Romantic frequently hosts More Than Music live shows. Korean American singer-songwriter Sarah Kang also performed there.
Formerly known as Shibuya O-East, this venue changed its name to Spotify O-East two years ago after the famous music-streaming service struck a deal with the complex. Spotify O-East (stylized as Spotify O-EAST) is dedicated to delivering the best live entertainment. It became more high-tech after its big renovation and interior redesign last September. The venue also added a huge LED screen at the back of the stage, adding more pizzazz to the live performances.
Top Beat Club
Stationed in Ogikubo, Top Beat Club is a live music space, café and record shop all in one. As an underground live venue, it’s kind of reminiscent of the Cavern Club in Liverpool, England, due to its arched brick walls. Visitors can experience an authentic vintage sound. It not only utilizes standard equipment, but also rare vintage amps, drums, microphones and more to bring the best quality of live instrument sounds. Top Beat Club is the perfect place for retro music lovers and regularly hosts mainly rock and roll and rockabilly artists such as Johnny Pandora and The Neatbeats. The café is on the first floor with the record store on the second.
Only a few minutes away from Shimokitazawa station, Spread seems unassuming from the outside apart from its black and white neon sign on the gray walls. Created under the concept of an “experiment lab of music,” it’s an alternative space, bringing together artists from different generations and music genres. The interior of Spread is very dystopian with bold neon lights. It’s a great spot for discovering new Japanese underground bands and artists.