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!




 i do have a phono stage that can handle lower compliance 

Compliance of the cartridge is related to how it interacts with your tonearm, not the phono stage. If you have a mismatch between cartridge compliance and the effective mass of the arm you can end up with a resonant frequency that is either too high or too low. This link covers it very well.

From what I can find your arm has an effective mass of 10.2 grams 


Have fun in Japan. Fascinating country to visit.


I did a little internet searching on the question of where most cartridges are manufactured.  Ortofon is listed as the largest producer of cartridges, and so far as I can find out, all their cartridges are made in Denmark. I had previously assumed that at least some of their top of the line cartridges are made in Japan, based on the fact that you can buy them in Japan for bargain prices.  Since also Rega are listed as a top 3 or top 5 maker of cartridges, and since they are made in the UK, I have to say that my generalization was probably incorrect.  Suffice to say you can buy Ortofon, and even Grado cartridges, in Tokyo at good prices.  Also, all sources say that Ogura and Namiki are the nearly sole sources of styli and possibly cantilevers.  Therefore, if you look at it that way, at least parts of most cartridges come from Japan.  Then there is Hana, Koetsu, Lyra and other cartridges made for various brands by Scantech, Audio Technica, Etsuro, MSL, Nagaoka, Miyajima, and many others made in Japan. 

Hi all!

Reporting back. 

I returned from Japan with a Nagaoka Mp-500, a replacement stylus, a suitcase of records and some chef knives :) 

The cartridge and stylus ended up being $700 USD, so quite a good buy over there versus in the US.

I've been incredibly happy with it so far and would like to thank everyone for their recommendations!


How did you get knives past airport security? Presumably in checked baggage I guess. Decades ago, when I bought a Zerostat in the UK, security at the airport gave me a hard time until I convinced them it was not a gun.