Sitting comfortably on Ginza’s main street, the 14-story Yamaha Ginza is Japan’s largest instrument shop. Behind its sleek facade, you’ll find countless ways to experience music — from virtual live performances to a sprawling library filled with music-related books to a fine-tuned concert hall.

Head in through the front doors and past the sustainably built piano — have a tinkle, if you like — to the Notes by Yamaha (stylized as NOTES BY YAMAHA) café lounge on the second floor. Here you can enjoy one of the pride points of Yamaha Ginza’s store: Real Sound Viewing (RSV). RSV is a technology that uses vibration recordings to make instruments burst into life, playing them just as their original players did in a completely faithful reproduction of their performances.

On the stage sit a piano, a double bass and a drum kit. During each virtual set, the piano keys move just as though someone is touching them, the bass resonates with real notes, the hi-hats hiss as the snares sound. Life-size, translucent screens behind each instrument show the original, real human musicians, playing their instruments just as if they were in the room. Between sets, the instruments stand poised, ready to awaken every 30 or 60 minutes, depending on the schedule.

Yamaha Ginza Japan cafe

Infused with Music

Listen to the real sounds of the piano, drums and double bass as you enjoy brunch, lunch or dinner at the second-floor café lounge. Many of the dishes and all the cocktails take inspiration from musical legends. Highlights include a rosti pancake sandwich, made with Wagner’s favorite potato hash, and purple beet “beats” soup. Finish off with a homemade Basque cheesecake, topped with Brahms’s favorite, zingy lingonberry jam (it is delicious).

Don’t forget to sample a mocktail or cocktail. Channel Bach’s “Coffee Cantata” with the Secret Coffee Negroni, or make like Sinatra in Tokyo with a highball of the singer’s favorite Jack Daniel’s, buoyed by a hint of Earl Grey. Mocktail options include the William Tell, inspired by Rossini’s opera of the same name, which has notes of homemade apple vinegar, topped with a real apple — just like Tell’s head.

Yamaha Ginza Japan

Listen to the Music, Read the Music

Café lounge visitors can also enjoy Yamaha Ginza’s expansive library, which contains 700 music-related volumes ranging from photography books and biographies to musical theory and children’s books.

On the first floor, visitors will find a rotating, music-related exhibition, which changes approximately twice yearly; the current tactile show invites viewers to touch, hit and tap various types of wood. Afterwards, be sure to try a dorayaki from the Notes by Yamaha café stand. A small number have a musical motif stamped into the top of the snack, indiscernible until you’ve opened the packet. Grab a few for a souvenir and look out to see if you’ve been lucky!

If coffee is more your thing, the stand also offers drinks by Tokyo-based roaster Little Darling Coffee. Every milk (normal or almond) drink comes with a cute piano or Yamaha dusting.

Yamaha Ginza japan

Immersive Concerts

For a true escape from the outside world, visit Yamaha Hall on the building’s seventh floor. The 333-seat concert hall is specially designed to block out external sound, long and with a ceiling of impressively high proportions.

Head up to the concert hall from the restaurant, ascending the sound-proofed stairs compactly built to twist round and round, leaving the hustle and bustle of Ginza behind, to enter the Yamaha world where music is paramount. Luxurious seats and an extra-special sound experience await.

Note that tickets are required to attend concerts, which are not held daily. Please refer to the schedule, available online (Japanese).

More Info on Yamaha Ginza

To find out more about Yamaha Ginza, please visit the official website.

For access information, visit this page.

The English brochure is available here.