The best live music bars in Tokyo span many different genres, many of them with unique styles and concepts. Jazz music is popular with Japanese locals, but so too is pop and rock music – all of which you can find in Tokyo’s best live music bars.

    Many live music venues can be found in the Shibuya and Roppongi neighborhoods of central Tokyo, where much of the city’s best nightlife is located. Other neighborhoods where you’ll find live music bars include Aoyama and Shinjuku. There are innumerable places to watch bands perform in Tokyo, but here are a few of the best.

    1

    Blue Note Tokyo Jazz Bar

    Blue Note Tokyo is arguably the most famous jazz venue in the city with a history of big names from Dizzy Gillespie to Sarah Vaughan. It has a connection to the famous New York jazz institution of the same name, along with the same high standards. Today the world’s best musicians still grace the Blue Note; Tony Bennett, Natalie Cole, John Legend. The bar is compact, which gives the performances a deeper intimacy, and the name-sake blue-lit stage creates a moody ambience for jazz. The setting of low, broody lights, great food, and high-level music is sure to impress you. There's usually an entry fee starting from ¥7,000.

    Location: 6-3-16 Minamiaoyama, Minato, Tokyo, 107-0062, Japan

    Phone: +81 (0)3-5485-0088

    Map

    photo by 663highland (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified

    2

    Bauhaus Roppongi

    Where rock enthusiasts gather in Tokyo

    Bauhaus Roppongi is the place to get your fill of rock music in Tokyo. Situated in Roppongi, one of the most well-known nightlife districts in Tokyo, Bauhaus Roppongi has been serving up cold pints, cocktails, spirits, and other favorite bar fares for more than 40 years.

    Even so, this rock bar – true to its roots – has a lineup of the hottest U.S. and UK rock hits from the last decades, performed by both the house bands and performing guest stars. Bauhaus Roppongi is the one destination in Tokyo rock lovers won’t want to miss.

    Location: Japan, 〒106-0032 Tokyo, Minato City, Roppongi, Urban Building B1 7-13-2

    Open: Monday–Saturday from 6 pm to midnight (closed on Sundays)

    Phone: +81 (0)3-5544-8253

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    3

    Akasaka Blitz

    This huge live music hall looks like a hangar, but Akasaka Blitz is actually a first-rate venue for top international and local bands. Many famous Japanese bands and respected indie bands play here to audiences of up to 1,900 cheering fans. The venue also has direct access to Akasaka station, which is very handy for visitors traveling by subway and makes it preferable over many other concert halls. While tickets are usually sold far in advance you might be able to secure some through your hotel concierge.

    Location: 5-3-2 Akasaka, Minato, Tokyo 107-0052, Japan

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    photo by 正和 (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified

    4

    Vagabond

    Vagabond is a legendary live music joint that's popular with Tokyo internationals and was once reviewed in the New York Times. This cool, stylish venue has a relaxing lounge on the ground floor and live jazz on the second floor. Walls are decorated with eclectic art pieces in gallery form and drinks are surprisingly affordable.

    Location: 1-4-20 Nishishinjuku, Shinjuku, Tokyo 160-0023, Japan

    Open: Daily from 5 pm to 11.30 pm

    Phone: +81 (0)3-3348-9109

    Map

    photo by shuets udono (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified

    5

    Body and Soul Jazz Club

    Established by Kyoko Seki, one of the first people to open a jazz bar in Tokyo, Body and Soul is a small intimate jazz club with a rich history of finding and featuring the best upcoming and established jazz musical talent in the world. Take a close up front-row seat and feel first hand the true power of a live jazz performance. Many top musicians end up at Body and Soul after playing other venues in the city. The club has an extensive menu of drinks and food. There's an entry fee of around ¥3,500.

    Location: 6-13-9 Minami Aoyama, Minato, Tokyo, Japan

    Open: Monday–Saturday, live sets at 8.30 pm and 10.20 pm (closed on Sundays)

    Map

    photo by Gene Jackson (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified

    6

    Ruby Room Tokyo

    For extra animated beats and crowds

    Ruby Room Tokyo completely changed the nightlife scene in Dogenzaka, Shibuya, since it first opened its doors over a decade ago. We’re talking about talented DJs to keep the crowds moving, refreshing tipples, and many events that keep the people coming back for more. Music ranges from house and techno DJs to indie rock bands. 

    One particularly fun thing they regularly do at Ruby Room Tokyo is the weekly open mic, held every Tuesday. Nobody knows who’ll get onto the stage, but everyone seems to know that good times await each open mic night. It’s where you can simply jump into the crowd and let yourself loose to the rhythm of Tokyo’s thrilling nightlife.

    Location: 2 Chome-25-17 Dogenzaka, Shibuya City, Tokyo 150-0043, Japan

    Open: Tuesday–Thursday and Sunday from 7 pm to 2 am, Friday and Saturday from 7 pm to 5 am (closed on Mondays)

    Phone: +81 (0)3-3780-3022

    Map
    7

    Shinjuku Pit Inn

    The Pit Inn is a live music joint where you can catch some hot jazz by some of the city’s best up-and-coming musicians, as well as some seasoned international professionals. This is one of Japan’s oldest jazz houses and is serious about providing a quality music venue.

    Live music starts every evening at 8pm and there are daytime performances on Saturdays and Sundays from 2pm. Entry costs from ¥3,000 including 1 drink. The Pit Inn is walking distance from Shinjuku-sanchome station.

    Location: B1F Accord Shinjuku Bldg., 2-12-4 Shinjuku, Tokyo 160-0022, Japan

    Phone: +81 (0)3-3354-2024

    Map

    photo by Ville Hyvönen (CC BY 2.0) modified

    8

    Bunkamura

    Bunkamura is a popular live music venue in Shibuya. This cultural village presents a number of live concerts from hot local and international musicians in addition to housing a movie theater where you can watch popular Japanese films with English subtitles.

    Location: 24-1, Dogenzaka 2-chome Shibuya-ku

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    photo by ITA-ATU (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified

    9

    Tokyo International Forum

    This enormous entertainment complex contains seven multi-sized exhibition and concert halls centered around a magnificent glass atrium. There is always something interesting going on here. Popular events to be held here include pop concerts, Broadway musicals, touring ballet companies, and annual events like the Tokyo International Film Festival. The Forum is connected to Yurakucho Station.

    Location: 3-5-1 Marunouchi, Chiyoda, Tokyo 100-0005, Japan

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    10

    La Mama

    La Mama is a ‘standing room only’ live music venue in Shibuya that has been modeled after an old-style American live house. It features great bands playing mostly rock’n’roll but sometimes disco and techno. The long narrow venue allows good views of the stage but be prepared to stand up all night as tables are hard to come by. Considering Japan’s fascination with the reinvention, it’s amazing that La Mama is still going strong since opening back in 1982.

    Location: B1F, 1-15-3 Dogenzaka, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, 150-0043, Japan

    Phone: +81 (0)3-3464-0801

    Map

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