Are you planning to go to Japan? Very well, cause you will have the best time of your life! And since you’re going to the country of our beloved girls, you may want to buy many Perfume releases and items as possible that you can’t get from your country cause of the excessive overseas prices, right?
Perfect, cause this guide has been just created for you!
The Music Paradise
Japan is one of the most beautiful and particular countries in the world, if not THE most particular: In the majority of cases, if you love japanese music you love Japan, since the musical market itself is a mirror of their society and modern culture.
The concept of downloading illegally is not really diffused as it is in the western countries of Europe and America, and the fans regularly buy their favorite artists’ releases such as albums, DVDs and singles, literally supporting them in any way they can: They are loyal to the artists they love until the end, and this is very admirable. As consequence, of course, the reperibility of every release and item is way more diffused compared to the western part of the planet. To make it brief, this means that if we overseas fans go to Japan for a vacation, what we will find is simply a paradise.
You can find your favorite artist easily, in Japan: in the giant and shiny music stores, in the malls, in a private shop in some lost district far from the centre of Tokyo, on the skyscrapers, in the stations, on the trains, on the trucks passing by the streets with the speakers blasting the music all around… In Japan, music is everywhere.
But once you reach this Wonderland, where do you have to go to buy what you need? Japanese cities, especially Tokyo, are seriously huge and getting lost in malls or buying something at a good price just to find out that a shop just near sells the same product at a cheaper price is easy.
So what I’m going to analyze are the most famous and, according to my experiences, best places where to buy Perfume CDs and items of every genre, shops that I’ve found during my two weeks trip in Tokyo on November 2011, during the promotion of the Spice single.
The one and the only, the most famous music chain in all Japan and not only: Tower Records.
Despite its american origins, Tower Records has its biggest and most furnished stores in Japan, where the music market is the most alive in the world. There are around 83 stores in all Japan, but the most famous one, also considered as the main Tower Records shop in all the world, is the huge Tower Records Shibuya.
With 8 (EIGHT) giant floors of shelves full of all genres of music, this shop is the main place where to buy all the Perfume releases you want: singles, albums, DVDs, recent magazines and all you need to satisfy your musical hunger. If you want to start supporting Perfume in Japan, this is the absolute place where to begin.
Above: Me and my friend buying the Spice single at Tower Records Shibuya
During the release periods, outside the store you can see huge posters (walls) with promotional pics and videos of the upcoming Perfume release, which is definitely a very nice sight. You can also find the famous handwritten notebooks: always during the release period of a new single, there is a table just near the entrance on the right where you can find many books where to write your own personal handwritten message to Perfume! This year they even set up an entire wall to write the messages for the Spending all my Time release… so you can imagine how amazing and exciting it can be!
Above: Me leaving a message to Perfume in Tower Records Shibuya during the Spice promotion.
The Tower Records store in Shinjuku is seriously huge too, but less eye-catching: It’s just inside a building near the South exit of the Shinjuku station. Not easy to explain by words, but you’ll find the Tower Records logo for sure, and it’s still 7 heavenly floors of music, so it’s definitely worth visiting.
Do you already have all the common Perfume releases you need? It doesn’t matter. Go there, it’s a duty to visit these shops if you came all the way from your home to Tokyo.
The most famous retail chain of all Japan, and the most known alternative to Tower Records (even if it’s a completely different type of chain). The main shop is in the famous and giant Shibuya crossing, just in front of the JR Station and two steps away from the Hachiko statue.
Tsutaya is the absolute leader of the rental market in Japan, taking care of CDs, movies, videogames and books. Their concept is different from the Tower Records philosophy: Instead of having giant stores in the main districts, they have small ones but pretty much everywhere: Infact, there are more than 1.000 Tsutaya retailers in all Japan.
Here you can find new but mostly used Perfume CDs in very good conditions, many of them almost new (we’re in Japan after all), and prices are pretty good. Though, in the stores I’ve visited (the Roppongi and Meguro ones) I couldn’t find many Perfume CDs: As usual with rental shops though, this merely depends on the period and on your luck: In some days, you may find some very good deals.
In the end, this is without a doubt one of the best stores where to go, but as this chain is mainly about used items, I feel like suggesting it only to those searching for old singles or releases not easy to find in brand new conditions in other stores. Plus, Tsutaya stores are usually inside malls or small complexes which makes them easier to reach and comfortable to visit, due to their small dimensions and the presence of cafes where you can have a nice break.
I gave Tsutaya the precedence due to its importance and dimensions, but I can tell you guys that my favorite used and rental chain in Japan is definitely Book Off. With almost 900 stores in all Japan, this chain is well known for its great success and order of their stores, and in my opinion it’s better than the more famous Tsutaya I’ve talked about a few moments ago… Here’s why.
I didn’t know anything about Book Off until I reached Japan, but once I found about it, I couldn’t make less of visiting every store that I met during my long walks around the Japanese capital. It’s the number one rental chain for books, but it also has videogames, music, dvds, blu ray discs, manga and so on.
So why do I love it? First of all, the stores are really well organized, brightened by many white lights and making every research extremely easy, perfect to find everything you need in just a few minutes. While the other stores sometimes have a confused order of musical genres, here everything is well organized with an alphabetical order that makes everything really fast
Other main reasons are surely the prices and the availability of items you can find: An example? I had the chance to find the very rare GAME album Limited Edition at the incredible price of less than 6.000 Yen, which absolutely blows away all the prices you can find on the web and in other stores (if you can find it).
Other examples are the limited editions of Fushizen na Girl, Dream Fighter and One Room Disco, not very rare but also not easy to find, at a very good price too. Many other old releases were available other than the new ones, which definitely makes Book Off the best chain where to find old and used releases in good conditions at reasonable prices. Same philosophy as Tsutaya and any other rental chain… but in a better way.
If you happen to find a Book Off on your way, which is easy, you should definitely enter to give a look at what they have: You will surely find something for you.
Most of the people that want to make Otaku purchases and buy tons of stuff about their passions such as music, anime, manga and so on, take the first train to Akihabara and wander all day in what is definitely japan lover’s heaven, and that’s perfectly fine: I personally love to do it too. But some of them ignore the fact that there are many other places outside that wonderful district that can offer a lot in terms of purchases, and one of these is definitely Nakano Broadway.
I’ve found this pretty big mall randomly to be honest: I was in the train with a japanese friend of mine, and we were heading to Ginza (which I suggest to visit if you are with a girl, if you know what I mean). But when we reached Nakano’s station, we’ve seen this big mall entrance from the train and said “Ok, we gotta go there absolutely”, and left the Ginza visit to another day.
What I have found is a big (but not dispersive) mall full of every type of things, from restaurants, traditional shops and many other things, including a second and third floor FULL of Otaku shops like videogames, animes, actions figures and a shop of the famous Mandarake chain: this is literally what I call The Little Akihabara.
A video montage I’ve made about Nakano Broadway, for a better look at this mall.
So where do you exactly find Perfume stuff in this beautiful mall? Just take the escalator that will lead you to the third floor, and exactly on your right you will find a shop with ALL the things you can find about japanese artists, including Perfume.
Posters, Magazines, Merchandise, Trading cards: Basically everything you need to frame your Perfume CD collection with beautiful and very typical items. This is also the best place (for now) where to find pretty rare stuff: I’ve seen many rare posters, such as the rigid cardboard posters which are absolutely beautiful and huge, so huge that it’s basically impossible to bring them outside of Japan cause they’re bigger than your suitcase. Also, many old magazines with various prices depending on the year and on the rarity.
If you’re searching something in particular, I’d suggest to ask the employee without feeling ashamed: everything they have is not there on the shelves, so no matter if you don’t speak japanese, just tell them “Perfume!” and they’ll understand that they have to bring out everything they have about the girls. A reader of this blog, leobiwan, found the extremely rare Perfume Fan Service: Sweet box for only 5.000 yen or so. Just to make you understand that in these shops, not only you have to dig to find what you need, but you also have to ask.
The pretty big Mandarake shop I’ve talked about before is in the same floor too, and you should definitely check out the glass showcases they have outside to find something interesting, like old P.T.A. exclusive items and live only merchandise, which are definitely nice and worth a purchase. There is also another shop on the same floor of which I can’t honestly remember the name, that sells some pretty rare stuff too: For example, I’ve found the Capsule album Killer Wave, commercialized as World of Fantasy, which is not really easy to find cause of the change of name it had. I couldn’t find anything about Perfume, but just to tell you guys that this shop is definitely worth a check once you’re there: If you’re lucky, you could find some cool Perfume release you miss.
In conclusion, if in your trip in Tokyo you’re going to visit Nakano, which I highly suggest cause it’s a lovely place (and they make some killer Okonomiyaki), you should really visit this extremely nice mall cause it’s worth more than a walk.
It’s just in front of the Nakano station, so you can’t possibly miss it!
Is there really any need of presentations? Any Japan lover knows what is Akihabara, and without a doubt is one of the main destinations in a vacation in Tokyo. Akihabara is all you need when it comes to Idols, Music, Videogames, Anime, Manga and cute girls better known as maids.
I’ll be completely honest: besides some probably fanmade trading cards and pictures, I haven’t found many things about Perfume here, but this is probably because I haven’t searched in any single shop of the district. Why? Because it’s impossible. Or rather, it’s possible, but you should take a couple of days off if not more to search in every shop of this huge place, which is something I couldn’t possibly do in a two weeks vacation.
So, my suggestion is to take your day off from your schedule if you have a lot of time and start searching in any single shop and hole of the district, leaving behind AKB48 ads, theatres, shops, sexy shops and so on, and search everywhere you can: This district is huge, and you will surely find something you need. If you happen to find (or if you already know) some cool shop where to find Perfume stuff, feel free to send me a message and I’ll be glad to insert it in this list.
Oh, all of this just after a break in the amazing Gundam Café, of course.
Search! Search as much as you can if you have the time, in the giant shops, in the malls, in the giant musical chains, in the little shops in some lost district outside the Yamanote line, in other cities… in Japan you can find some very good shops and surprises everywhere, even where you can’t imagine.
If you’re planning to make a two weeks vacation in the Tokyo area (which includes Yokohama and all the bay area), you will surely have long walks that will make you feel free as you’ve never been in your life. So between a little break in a café or in a Family Mart, if you find a curious shop that might have what you’re interested in, just stop there instead of passing by: surprises are in every corner in a city full of surprises like Tokyo.
Explore everything with passion, you won’t regret it!
That’s it guys, this was my guide to the most famous and better places where to buy all you need about Perfume. Searching stuff around shops is really funny, and I think you should definitely dedicate some time to this activity!
For now I will upload this guide as a normal post, but soon it will be included in the new section I’m working on about Perfume and Japan, so stay tuned for more articles and guides in the next days!
Feel free to leave a comment and feedback to this guide, and if you have any other shop to suggest, leave a comment or send me a message on Twitter or Facebook!
Hope you enjoyed this guide, and stay tuned on Perfume Disco for everything about our girls!