Thursday, November 10, 2016

One Drink Minimum: Live House and Event Space Listing for Shibuya


If the topic of being into Japanese idols ever comes up in conversation, most people seem to assume that you are really knowledgeable about Akihabara (at least that has been my experience). Sure, there are venues like Dear Stage, the AKB48 Theater, Akiba Cultures Theater, Akihabara Backstage Pass, Akiba Drug, and Akihabara Twin Box just to name a few but, the reality is that there are not as many places to see and meet idols as one would think. One of the largest concentrations of live houses is actually Shibuya with dozens within minutes of the station! Even though many of you out there who have not yet been to Japan may have seen your favorite groups on the stage of venues like Tokyo Dome, Yokohama Arena, Nippon Budokan, or Yoyogi National Gymnasium, this is not the norm. Here is a short list of places where you can go see idols right in the middle of Shibuya without having to plan a day trip or break the bank. Also attached are links to articles about events/lives that were held at those venues.

This small basement live house which can hold 300 people (standing) is located in the basement of the Udagawa Tousen Building that is home to other music venues: Shibuya THE GAME (2F), Shibuya Milkyway (3F), aube Shibuya (5F), RLounge (6F), and hamburger steak restaurant Gold Rush (4F). What the Chelsea Hotel lacks in space, it makes up for in value with free lives (1 drink minimum 500 yen) being held every Wednesday. As the name implies, the decor looks a lot like an old hotel from a bygone era. Don’t be fooled by the mirrors on the walls because you might just end up stuck in a corner. In case you get lost, remember that it is located across the street from Tokyu Hands in Shibuya.
Chelsea Hotel Address: 4-7 Udagawacho B1, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Chelsea Hotel Official site: http://www.chelseahotel.jp/
Chelsea Hotel Official Twitter: https://twitter.com/shibuya_chelsea

TSUTAYA O-EAST
The largest venue in the Shibuya O group of music venues, this 2nd floor live house can hold 1,300 people (standing). Also located in the same building are duo Music Exchange(1F), Burrow (B1), and O-Crest (5F). The smaller TSUTAYA O-WEST, O-NEST, and 7th Floor are located across the street in the same building as the Lawson convenience store. While it is fairly common for there to be small-scale festival style events held that use TSUTAYA O-EAST in conjunction with the other venues, it is often a venue reserved for one-man lives of groups or soloists on the verge of breaking through to performing in mid-sized music halls (capacity: 1,500 – 5,000). Avoid the crowd at the scramble intersection and go there by going out the Dogenzaka side exit of Shibuya Mark City and crossing the street at the 7-Eleven.
TSUTAYA O-EAST Address: 2F 2-14-8 Dogenzaka, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Shibuya O-group Official site: http://shibuya-o.com/
Shibuya O-group and duo Official Twitter: https://twitter.com/o_group_and_duo

Shibuya WWW
Located right across from the backside of Shibuya Parco and next to the Bathing Ape store, WWW is a basement live house with a terraced floor space which makes it easier to see the stage even if you end up being in the back of the room. There is a small lounge with a bar where DJs may be performing depending on the event for the day. Although the capacity for WWW is listed at 500, that might be a stretch.
Shibuya WWW Address: B1F Rise Building, 13-17 Udagawacho, Shibuya-ku
Shibuya WWW Official site: http://www-shibuya.jp/
Shibuya WWW Official Twitter: https://twitter.com/www_shibuya


Shibuya Glad
Right down the street from the Shibuya O-Group in Dogenzaka, Shibuya Glad is part of a cluster of music venues including Shibuya club asia and Vuenos. Similar to Shibuya www (or maybe it’s the other way around?), Shibuya Glad features a terraced floor plan which allows for earier viewing of the stage. As it hosts a variety of events, there are two Twitter accounts for those who want to either club event or live shows.
Shibuya Glad Address: 2F 2-21-7 Dogenzaka, Shibuya-ku
Shibuya Glad Official site: http://glad.iflyer.jp/venue/home
Shibuya Glad live time Twitter: https://twitter.com/Glad__DAY
Shibuya Glad club time Twitter: https://twitter.com/Glad_shibuya


Garret Udagawa/Shibuya Cyclone
Basically 2 venues with different entrances that can be connected or separated by a single door, Garret Udagawa and Shibuya Cyclone are 2 basement live houses hidden away in an alley between Parco and Center-gai (Basketball Street). Either one holds about 300 people each and when combined, make for a cozy place to have a small band or idol fest. Be careful which entrance you choose because you might up at a completely different event without realizing it.
Garret Udagawa Address: B1F Kokusai Building B, 13-16 Udagawacho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Shibuya Cyclone Address: B2F Kokusai Building A, 13-16 Udagawacho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Garret Udagawa Official site: http://www.cyclone1997.com/garret/garret_home.html
Shibuya Cyclone Official site: http://www.cyclone1997.com
Garret Udagawa Official Twitter: https://twitter.com/GARRET_udagawa
Shibuya Cyclone Official Twitter: https://twitter.com/shibuya_cyclone

Shibuya eggman
Those in the US might remember Fox News inaccurately reporting that Shibuya eggman was one of the nuclear reactors after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster following the March 11, 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami. While there is nothing further than the truth, this small basement venue has been home to many high-powered live performances over the more than 30 years that it has been open. Regardless of history, Shibuya eggman is not without flaws. It is located right between Meijijingumae and Shibuya stations and there are pillars which can obstruct your view if you are not near the front of the stage.
Shibuya eggman Address: 1-6-8 Jinnan, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Shibuya eggman Official site: http://eggman.jp/
Shibuya eggman Official Twitter: https://twitter.com/shibuya_eggman

Tower Records Shibuya
Every day there are several events being held at the largest music store in Japan. With the exception of CUTUP STUDIO, a small live house-sized space located in the basement, mini-lives (10-30 minutes) and talk events are generally free to watch. Even if you buy a CD or DVD (or several) to participate in the “tokuten-kai”, which can include handshakes, chekis, or autographs, the cost-performance ratio is quite good. During the summer, the roof area is opened up and you can watch performances while sitting in the shade and sipping cool drinks (if you show up early enough to claim your spot of course). Other spaces in the store where events are held include the 1st and 3rd floor as well, right next to the racks of CDs and registers.
Tower Records Shibuya Address: 1−22−14 Jinnan, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Tower Records Official site: http://tower.jp/
Tower Records Shibuya event page: http://tower.jp/store/kanto/Shibuya/event
Tower Records Shibuya Twitter: https://twitter.com/tower_shibuya

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to music venues where one can see idols as well as bands and DJs in Tokyo but, hopefully this can open up the possibilities of things to do and see in Tokyo. Every day hundreds, if not thousands of events are happening all over Tokyo and with so many venues being located underground, you might end up walking right past them without realizing it. Many places will not allow re-entry so if you are planning to attend an event that spans several hours, be sure to eat before you go in and bring enough money to keep yourself hydrated. Huge concerts in arenas are exciting but, they definitely take a lot of planning. A lot of the places mentioned above are easily accessible and will usually have tickets you can buy at the door. We’re not saying that you should give up hope of seeing a big name idol or artist at a huge arena but, why not take advantage of all the great things that Tokyo has to offer?

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