Tokyo is a haven for music lovers. Whether it’s jazz, classical, disco or techno, the city has countless venues catering to all kinds of tastes. Though many of the best spots are clustered in and around the bustling Shibuya district, the metropolis is teeming with hidden spots just waiting to be discovered. If there’s one thing that ties Tokyo’s best nightclubs together, it’s a passion for great sound and atmosphere, making Tokyo’s nightlife one you’re unlikely to forget.
Contact is an important new addition to Tokyo’s nightclub scene, though the people behind the venue, which you access through a multi-level parking lot, have roots that reach deep into the city’s dance music history. Equipped with slick Rey Audio speakers, Contact hosts regular parties like Fumiya Tanaka’s CHAOS and Mule Musiq’s Cats, in addition to welcoming out-of-town house and techno favourites.
Address: Shintaiso Building B2F, 2-10-12 Dogenzaka, Shibuya-ku, 150-0043
UNIT is one of the most respected nightclubs in Tokyo. Buried deep in a subterranean space in the Daikanyama district, it offers a well-curated mix of techno, dubstep, ambient and live performances. If you’re in town at the right time, head to one of DJ Nobu’s soirees. The king of Japanese techno holds two events at UNIT—the influential Future Terror parties and a new series called Gong, which focuses on artists based in Japan.
Address: 1-34-17 Ebisunishi, Shibuya, 150-0021
Unlike most Tokyo nightclubs, which are clustered around the bustling Shibuya district, Vent is located in Omotesando—the Japanese capital’s own (smaller) version of the Champs-Élysées. It has great acoustics and boasts a broad booking policy that takes in everything from globe-trotting crowd-pullers to niche favourites.
Address: 3-18-19 Minami Aoyama, Minato-ku, 107-0062
The 1000-capacity WOMB, which has been running for nearly two decades, these days specialises in big-room beats, but it also hosts events that cater to deeper shades of electronic music, whether it’s Takkyu Ishino’s techno-focused Sterne nights or drum & bass party 06S. A renovation a couple of years back has given WOMB a friendly atmosphere and a punchy soundsystem on the main dance floor.
Address: 2-16 Maruyamacho Shibuya, 150-0044
Igarina, Ryuya Amao, Stro!Robo
WWW? is a small dance space in Shibuya, tucked inside a live concert venue called WWW / WWW X. The venue has earned a reputation among locals for hosting some of electronic music’s most exciting fringe talents, from Chicago footwork champion RP Boo to politically charged experimentalist Elysia Crampton. If you have adventurous taste in dance music, this is an essential stop.
Address: 13-17 Udagawa Shibuya, 150-0042
Based a short walk from the heart of Shibuya’s club district, Circus Tokyo focuses on the newer side of electronic music with its international programming, which means it’s the place to see exciting new-generation DJs like Avalon Emerson, Phase Fatale and Aurora Halal when they pass through Tokyo.
Address: 3-26-16, Shibuya, 150-0002
Bonobo is many things: a nightclub (albeit a tiny one), a live music venue, a restaurant, and a chillout space. But most of all it’s a venue overflowing with character, tucked away on a quiet street and decked out with unusual decor, making it one of Tokyo’s most memorable music hangouts.
Address: 2-23-4, Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, 150-0001
SHeLTeR, which has been open since 1989, might just have the best soundsystem in Tokyo. Located in Hachi?ji, a short train ride from the city centre, a small staircase leads to an audiophile wonderland: a Bozak mixer, high-end amps and huge wooden JBL speakers. The atmosphere is friendly and casual—the perfect place to soak up some elegant music while sipping on Sake.
Address: NK Bldg B1F, 1-1 Yokamachi, Hachioji-shi, 192-0071
Oath is a favoured haunt for locals and international guests alike. Its stone walls and velvet curtains create a warm atmosphere, drinks are cheap by Tokyo standards and the parties often kick on well into the morning. Keep your eyes peeled, too: you might even spot a big-name touring DJ stopping by for a drink before (or after) their set.
Address: Aoyama Bldg 1F, 4-5-9 Shibuya, Shibuya-ku, 150-0002
DJ BAR BRIDGE:
DJ Bar Bridge’s home is on the tenth floor of a high-rise building overlooking the Shibuya pedestrian crossing, one of Tokyo’s most iconic sights. The view inside isn’t bad either: giant, ornate Rey Audio speakers face the bar, which serves quality drinks. Step inside and you can tell that Bridge was created with the concept of the “Third Place”—i.e. somewhere cosy for people to relax and mingle in between their time at work and home—firmly in mind.
Address: Park Side Kyoudou Bldg.10F, 1-25-6 Shibuya, Shibuya-ku, 150-0002
Where’s your favourite place to party in Tokyo? Comment below and let us know!
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