When someone decides they want to learn an instrument, they usually have at least a few instruments in mind. Leading those choices, most of the time, is the ever popular guitar. Jimi Hendrix, Slash and Japan’s very own late hide of X Japan are just some of the names aspiring guitarists look up to. So you want to learn how to play the guitar? Pick up your first one at Tokyo’s famed guitar street – Meidai Dori in Ochanomizu.
Literally translated as ‘tea water’, Ochanomizu is a seemingly quiet area covering the Kanda-Surugadai and Soto-Kanda districts. Main campuses of Meiji University, Juntendo University and Tokyo Medical and Dental University are also housed in this neighborhood. However, what mainly attracts people to Ochanomizu is Meidai Dori – a street lined with various music shops, dominated by guitars, on both sides.
First-time guitar hunters might be overwhelmed with the guitars displayed outside the stores, or with the colorful banners all loudly displaying the prices. If a bargain is what you are looking for, a bargain is what you will have. Aside from being a guitar fan’s dream destination, Ochanomizu is also famous for their great deals. In Meidai Dori, you can find all the brands you can think of. Gibson, Fender, and PRS electric guitars? Check. Is the electric guitar not your cup of tea? Famous brand acoustic guitars like Takamine, Martin and Taylor are also in abundance. Not only do they sell brand new instruments, but used ones as well. All in prices you can’t find elsewhere in Japan, or as some visitors have commented – literally anywhere!
Some of the must-visit stores in the area are Ishibashi Music, Shimokura and Guitar Planet, to name a few. Every store on the street will have friendly and knowledgeable staff available to assist you. Most of them are also English-speaking, for those who might have a language concern. When you walk in Meidai Dori with a mission to hunt your dream guitar, you will most likely walk out with it.