TRAVELING TO JAPAN! Recommendations for shops for cartridges?

Hi all,


I'll be traveling somewhat unexpectedly to Japan this week. I will be spending a couple days in both Kyoto and Tokyo. 


I'm wondering if anyone has any recommendations for shops I should stop into? Record Stores? 

Specifically i'm seeking a new cartridge under $1500 along with records and cds.

I'm good with both new and vintage cartridges that would pair with with a VPI Prime Scout. 

As for what kind of sound I'm looking for from my cart, I've only ever run the Ortofon 2m Bronze and Black on the VPI, both of which I've liked. Between them I prefer the detail, space and speed from the black over the warmer rounded edges of the bronze...but it could be fun to get two carts with different sound signatures. I'm all ears!

Thank in advance!




For CD’s look for a second hand store called ‘hard off’. Unfortunately I can’t recall which one but they are all over the place and some of them have a very large selection of pre owned cd’s, and since the Japanese tend to take care of their belongings, most are in like-new condition. Some hard off’s even carry vintage hifi gear so keep an eye open. -In fact, I bought a Marantz model 8 tube amp from a hard off.

... the vast majority of all cartridges are made in Japan or elsewhere in Asia. In fact, Grado is the only exception I can think of, even assuming Grado cartridges are made in USA ...

Grados are made in the USA. Soundsmith, too. VAS Audio carts are made in NJ.

Thank you so much everyone! So excited with these great recs. 

Will report back when I return! 

BIC Camera is strictly for kids who want cheap, digital, and portable, based on my tour of the store in May. But maybe I missed something. Anyway, as a serious audiophile, I wouldn’t waste my time there.

rushfan et al, Lyra cartridges are not sold up front in any store I’ve ever been in over the course of 15 years since our son took up residence in Tokyo. Maybe if you know the right person (and can speak Japanese) you might purchase Lyra there.

@lewm I think it depends on the store, since they have several, but the one I visited had a strong game with HiFi and prices were 50% lower than US, obviously mostly Japanese brands for example Luxman, which I don’t think its for kids since prices can go up to 20K here. 

@sammyshaps there are a couple of stores on Akihabara neighborhood that also have a strong game on HiFi, Dynamic Audio is one of them, watch out because they have 7 floors if they do not have what you are looking for they can guide you 


That was my experience in Japan in July 20023, I was able to buy some of the best cables at 50% less price than USA but you have to look for things