Record Shopping – Kyoto, Japan Style

This was out second trip to Kyoto, Japan the first of which I documented HERE. I knew for sure I wanted to re-visit Jet Set and since we were only in town for part of a day I had to be strategic in where else I stopped. So with that in mind I settled on Bootsy’s Records, which has a good reputation and as an added benefit is only a few blocks from Jet Set.

Bootsy’s Records
三条通河原町東入中島町105 タカセビル 3F, 京都市中京区, Kyōto, 604-8004, Japón, 3F

First things first. Actually finding the record store you’re looking for in Asia is like some bizarro urban geo-caching experiment where everything is in a different language and you’re on acid. We had the address and a Google map for Bootsy’s from VinylHub but… but it showed it on the north side of the street and it’s on the south side. Plus a lot of shops don’t have any kind of sign out front or on their windows (like Bootsy’s…), so sometimes you have to walk into a building lobby and look at the directory. And maybe the name of the business you’re looking for is there in English, but then again maybe it isn’t. So needless to say it took us a good 15 minute to find Bootsy’s even when we were on the right block.

Bootsy’s is a small but well-organized shop with what appears to be a heavy emphasis on DJ-type records – stuff you can pull beats from, both electronic and soul, jazz, funk, and world. I kept my focus on Japanese artists though, eventually deciding on a new wavy comp from 1984 called Selections From Excommunicated Monument which looks pretty slick and is chock full of local artists. Definitely a worthwhile stop, though one you can probably get through fairly quickly.

Jet Set Records
〒604-8006 京都府京都市 中京区下丸屋町410番地 ユニティー河原町ビル6F

If you can only visit one shop during your trip to Kyoto, Jet Set should be that shop. Yes, most of the titles are new. But the selection is deep in the worlds of techo and electronica, broken out by subgenre, and pretty respectable for Japanese artists of various genres. I came away with a 2016 hip hop release from Monypetzjnkmn, a reggae/hip hop mix album by Line Best called Akio Beats Remix, and a totally random indie cassette that I literally can’t tell you anything about because it’s all in Japanese and our hotel room doesn’t have a tape player in it. Because why wouldn’t I buy that for $10? Plus Jet Set has the coolest record bags on the planet.

Kyoto has a lot going for it, including a decent number of record stores. I only wish we had more time this visit, but such is life. I have a feeling we’ll be back again…