Jazz clubs and jazz kissaten
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Jazz kissaten, or coffee shops, have a long tradition in Japan. Customers go there to hear jazz on vinyl records or CDs, rather than live performances, while they drink coffee in the afternoon or sip cocktails in the evening.

Years ago, many jazz kissaten prohibited talking, and the customers were extremely serious fans who resembled monks seeking enlightenment. A few jazz kissaten are still like this, but most have gotten much more relaxed. Some of them serve restaurant-quality food, or at least good sandwiches and coffee, and they now attract a more diverse crowd of customers (i.e. not solely men).

But the biggest charm of the jazz kissa is still the music, played through a state-of-the-art sound system and presided over by staff with encyclopedic knowledge of jazz. So put away your personal-stereo earphones and check out one of Tokyo's jazz kissas!

Hikaru Okabe
Jazz kissaten, or coffee shops, have a long tradition in Japan. Customers go there to hear jazz on vinyl records or CDs, rather than live performances, while they drink coffee in the afternoon or sip cocktails in the evening.

Years ago, many jazz kissaten prohibited talking, and the customers were extremely serious fans who resembled monks seeking enlightenment. A few jazz kissaten are still like this, but most have gotten much more relaxed. Some of them serve restaurant-quality food, or at least good sandwiches and coffee, and they now attract a more diverse crowd of customers (i.e. not solely men).

But the biggest charm of the jazz kissa is still the music, played through a state-of-the-art sound system and presided over by staff with encyclopedic knowledge of jazz. So put away your personal-stereo earphones and check out one of Tokyo's jazz kissas!

Hikaru Okabe

Jazz kissaten

Milestone - Bar: Takadanobaba
Open 1pm-midnight daily.
A neighborhood hangout with jazz on the sound system, dim sum, Chimay beer and cocktails.
Open 1pm-midnight daily.
Intro - Jazz kissaten: Takadanobaba
Open noon-midnight daily.
An old-fashioned "jazz kissa" where you can nurse your drink and nod your head to the music for hours on end.
Open noon-midnight daily.
Samurai - Jazz kissaten: Shinjuku
Open 6pm-midnight (Sat. 3pm-mid) daily.
Thousands of maneki neko (good-luck cat statues) fill the interior of this spacious cafe-bar. There's a counter and several tables, making this a good venue for a small party. Service is friendly...
Open 6pm-midnight (Sat. 3pm-mid) daily.
Narcis - Jazz kissaten: Shinjuku Kabukicho
Open 5-11pm. Closed Sundays.
The bustling Kabukicho neighborhood may seem like a strange place for a jazz kissa, but Narcis is a great spot for listening to quiet jazz, and their stylish interior design is reminiscent of old...
Open 5-11pm. Closed Sundays.
JBS Shibuya - Bar: Shibuya
Open 2-11pm daily.
The initials stand for Jazz Blues Soul, but the huge, 11,000-disk vinyl collection here also includes an impressive selection of old-school hiphop from the seventies through the nineties. Customers...
Open 2-11pm daily.
Mary Jane - Jazz kissaten: Shibuya
Open noon-11pm (Fri -midnight) daily.
You'll hear all sorts of jazz here, with an emphasis on the lastest CDs from American and European musicians. Besides the great music you can also enjoy good food - they serve delicious soups and...
Open noon-11pm (Fri -midnight) daily.
Kissa Sakaiki - Jazz kissaten: Yotsuya 3-chome
Open 3-11:30pm daily.
By day it's a laid-back jazz coffeeshop, but in the evening it turns into a mini-jazz club, with a small performance and stage area that seats around fifteen people. The musical direction tends...
Open 3-11:30pm daily.
Eagle - Jazz kissaten: Yotsuya
Open 11:30am-midnight. Closed Sundays and holidays.
Boasting a big collection of vinyl, an impressive sound system and humongous JBL speakers, Eagle has a certain old-school jazz-kissaten charm, as long as you don't mind the cigarette smoke. In the...
Open 11:30am-midnight. Closed Sundays and holidays.
Big Boy - Jazz kissaten: Jimbocho
Open 11am-5, 7-11pm. Closed Sun, 1st, 3rd Sat.
With its bright yellow door and sunny, brasserie-like interior, Big Boy has an atmosphere that's the complete opposite of old-fashioned jazz kissas. The management plays jazz both new and old, and...
Open 11am-5, 7-11pm. Closed Sun, 1st, 3rd Sat.
Eigakan - Jazz kissaten: Hakusan
Open 3-11:30pm. Closed Sundays.
This cozy cafe bar is furnished with European and Japanese antiques and heavy-duty lights used for shooting movies; the ambience seems almost like that of a private detective's office in a Raymond...
Open 3-11:30pm. Closed Sundays.

Jazz clubs

Someday - Jazz club: Shinjuku Gyoen-mae
Open 6:45-11:45pm. Closed some Mondays.
Located in a Shinjuku basement space, Someday is a smallish live jazz club that features local talent.
Open 6:45-11:45pm. Closed some Mondays.
Pit Inn - Jazz club: Shinjuku
Open 2:30-5, 7:30-10:30pm daily.
It may be smoky and cramped, but you can hear some of the most interesting local and international jazz in town here.
Open 2:30-5, 7:30-10:30pm daily.
Artica - Bar: Yoyogi
Open 11am-2:30, 6pm-2am. Closed Sundays.
Artica is not just a water bar - it's a jazz water bar! There's live music most evenings, with a music charge of Y1000-2000, and a water list featuring more than forty choices. If you want...
Open 11am-2:30, 6pm-2am. Closed Sundays.
Blue Note - Jazz club: Omotesando
Open 5:30pm-1am daily.
The venue of choice for top jazz and R&B acts from overseas.
Open 5:30pm-1am daily.
Praca Onze - Brazilian: Omotesando
Open 7pm-1am. Closed Sundays, Mondays.
Live music, dancing, and a good deal of drinking. Open Mon-Tue 6:30-midnight (no music); Wed-Thu 6:30-1am; Fri-Sat 6:30-2am.
Open 7pm-1am. Closed Sundays, Mondays.
JZ Brat - Jazz club: Shibuya
Open 5:30-11pm. Closed Sundays.
A popular venue for jazz and R&B acts from home and abroad.
Open 5:30-11pm. Closed Sundays.
SuperDeluxe - Club: Nishi-Azabu
Open 8pm-2am daily.
SuperDeluxe have established themselves as a center for experimental music, performance and art, with interesting events scheduled for nearly every night of the week. The bar serves a couple of very...
Open 8pm-2am daily.
Blues Alley Japan - Jazz club: Meguro
Open 11:30am-11pm Tuesday-Friday. Closed Mondays.
A supper club with live blues and jazz (mostly from local groups) and French and Italian food. At dinnertime main courses start at around Y2,000, but lunchtime is more competitive, with a Y1,200...
Open 11:30am-11pm Tuesday-Friday. Closed Mondays.
Tribeca - Jazz club: Shinagawa
Open 11am-11pm (LO) daily.
A popular jazz bar with live music every night.
Open 11am-11pm (LO) daily.
Billboard Live - Jazz club: Roppongi
A live venue for international soul, r&b and jazz acts.
Cotton Club - Jazz club: Marunouchi
Live soul, r&b and jazz.
Sometime - Jazz club: Kichijoji
Open 7pm- daily.
Jazz nightly from 7pm, from Y1500. Check their schedule for live events.
Open 7pm- daily.
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Updated 2017-01-15