Tower Records Kyoto
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Decent record shop in the center of Kyoto
If you ask this expat, the decline of the record store is something to be lamented. It's nice to see then a Tower Records standing proud in the center of Kyoto. This particular branch is located on the 9th floor of department store Kawaramachi OPA.
We visited on a Friday afternoon and customers at Tower Records seemed to be thin on the ground. Still, the chain record store always does a good job at looking busy even when there are a lack of people - there is much to distract the eyes here.
Of course, all the usual CD sections are present and correct including good selections of Western artists of all genres. Tops of shelves are given over to small sections that focus on individual artists (Prince and David Bowie were among those given the limelight) and the end of each row has listening stands were you can drown out the background noise with the sounds of a latest release. We were especially please to see a section of the record store given over to heavy metal artists, an area which had a distinctly black feel to it. The Iron Maiden poster provided a bit of warm nostalgia.
The largest section of the Tower Records in Kyoto is given over to J-Pop artists. We also saw a set of shelving dedicated to movie soundtracks, classical music and jazz. Anime and anisong fans will appreciate an area focusing on this genre complete with a variety of trinkets, character boards, and other anime accoutrements.
If you're in the DVD market in Japan, well, good luck to you as the DVDs here are as ludicrously expensive as they are in most stores in Japan. That being said, at the time of visiting there was a 3 DVDs for 3,000 yen offer going on.
Headphones are also available to purchase here. We didn't see and English-language titles in the books / magazines section.
The Kyoto branch of Tower Records may only cover one floor but it packs a lot in and is a great place to come for a browse. Like many branches around Japan this record store is more than just CDs. Some of the little touches provide much to be appreciated - message boards, concert information, free magazines (Japanese only) among others.
Hours: 11:00 - 21:00
Nearest Station: Kawaramachi (Kawaramachi OPA and Tower Records very close to the station - take Exit 4, crossing the street towards Mizuho Bank. Head north up Kawaramachi-dori, OPA is on your left after just a few meters).