From music festivals to special events, there’s no shortage of amazing spectacles and sounds to admire in Tokyo - Japan’s capital city. This bustling metropolis offers events suited to a variety of musical palettes, whether you prefer indie rock bands like The Drums or Daughter, or legendary artists known for their powerful voices like Cyndi Lauper and Diana Ross. Grab your favorite pair of dancing shoes and take a journey with us as we explore some of Tokyo’s top music venues, including which bands have taken the stage in the past and which artists will be rocking these concert venues in the near future.
The Liquid Room
This Tokyo music venue underwent a major renovation that included a move to the Ebisu neighborhood and an expansion of its artistic offerings. Formerly a nightclub noted for its techno and club nights, the current-day concert venue offers live music events, a cafe lounge and gallery complex. Its intimate setting allows for an up-close and personal viewing of your favorite acts with the surrounding seating areas creating the right tone for a relaxing evening of music.
Since its reopening, this music venue in Tokyo has hosted notable musicians, including Johnny Marr of the Smiths, pop sensations Charli XCX and Sara Bareilles, as well as indie-experimental acts such as Animal Collective and Grizzly Bear. In addition to featuring musicians from all around the world, this music venue plays host to Tokyo’s hometown talent too. If you can’t catch a show, visit the Liquid Lounge art gallery during the day, and bring along your own music soundtrack with the NW-A20 series Walkman®.
AgeHa’s Studio Coast
Whether you’re interested in an evening of dancing or an electric performance from one of your favorite acts, this Tokyo music venue and nightclub is the spot to be. When AgeHa isn’t hosting a night full of dancing and fun, it offers live music in its Studio Coast venue, spotlighting both local and internationally known music artists.
A past visit to this Tokyo music venue would have included performances from metal rockers Slayer and Nine Inch Nails or an evening of electronic music from M83 and Disclosure. If one night isn’t enough for you, this music venue hosts festivals, including the Hostess Club Weekender — a full two days’ worth of up-and-coming indie rockers, with past performances from Cloud Nothings, St. Vincent and Perfume Genius. While this year’s festival has since passed, August visitors can catch a performance from Kanagawa-based rock band, the GazettE.
This Tokyo’s indoor music venue (often referred to as simply “The Budokan”) is a place rich in music and martial arts history. Located in Kitanomaru Park, many musical greats including Bob Dylan, Cheap Trick and Ozzy Osbourne performed and recorded their shows for the “Live at the Budokan” album series. Even more astounding is the fact that The Beatles were the first rock group to ever perform here. With a capacity of more than 14,000, this Tokyo music venue continues to host and record many well-known acts, including 5 Seconds of Summer, Pearl Jam and Eric Clapton.
Along with its musical history, this Tokyo music venue plays an important role in Japanese martial arts, hosting annual national championships and the upcoming judo competition in the 2020 Summer Olympics. With such a historical past and present, this arena is one to explore during your time in Tokyo. Equip yourself with a pair of h.ear on Wireless NC headphones, and let the sounds of Bob Dylan be your guide on a journey through Tokyo’s rich past. The High Resolution Audio version of Dylan’s beloved “Highway 61 Revisited” album will enliven the rugged vocals and meticulous guitar work found on the opener, “Like a Rolling Stone.” If you close your eyes, you may find your listening experience transporting you back in time to when Bob Dylan took to the Budokan stage in 1979.
Tokyo International Forum
Located in the heart of Tokyo, this music venue features a convention center, rotating art exhibits, the Mituso Aida Museum and a performing arts center that has hosted notable artists like Hall & Oates, pop stars Ariana Grande and the Backstreet Boys and rapper Pitbull. With 11 stories above ground and three below, the building is Tokyo’s first convention and art center with a design as dazzling as the musical performances you’ll hear within its walls.
A sweeping glass structure, this live music venue is located centrally in Tokyo, putting you in close proximity to sightseeing activities and public transportation. With restaurants and lounge areas on-site, you can make your musical adventure a day trip. Be sure to bring along the NW-ZX100 series High-Resolution Audio Walkman® to enjoy Ariana Grande’s “My Everything” while soaking in the sights of the city.
Blue Note Tokyo
Jazz up your evening at the Blue Note Tokyo, a member of the highly lauded international Blue Note chain. Opening its doors in 1988, this music venue in Tokyo has hosted acclaimed musicians including Rita Coolidge, Tony Bennett and Roberta Flack. Musician Toshiko Akiyoshi even released live recordings of her performances here.
Outfitted in dark woods and deep lush tones, this Tokyo music venue is the perfect place to cozy up for an evening of legendary music and culinary delights, with a full menu of food and drinks also available for your enjoyment. Seating around 300 guests, the club provides an intimate setting for music lovers to enjoy their favorite artists. August performances include bluegrass instrumental act Punch Brothers and John Cale, a founding member of The Velvet Underground.
Embrace the Next Musical Adventure in Tokyo
There’s no limit to the musical adventures you may find within Tokyo’s music venues. Whether your perfect evening includes intimate acoustics like that of The Liquid Room or hearing your favorite pop star surrounded by thousands of screaming fans, there’s a music event waiting for you. Even if you don’t have time to catch a live music show during your visit to Tokyo, don’t forget to bring along your High-Resolution Walkman® and a selection of your favorite tunes because Tokyo musical venues provide artistic offerings and vivid history even during the day.