Hidden Vintage Guitar Shop in Tokyo

I miss my guitar. It’s the only thing I would’ve liked to bring but couldn’t.

Fortunately, these universal symbols of awesomeness are sold everywhere, so now and then I get to duck into a music store and play a little.

The sign for the shop across the street from our current place reads, “Premium guitars. Vintage, used, and brand new,” which usually means they have a full supply of cheapos and a couple decent Martins.

Woodman Instruments - Shibuya, Tokyo

It’s a reasonable assumption. When I sold one of my guitars on a Martin forum, every single person who inquired was international. The cost of importing American guitars is astronomical — the Irish buyer would have paid twice as much for a new one!

But this little store, tucked away in a residential area of Shibuya, turned out to have a selection that would be impressive anywhere.

Little Martin parlor guitars from the ’30s. Big Gibson J-45s from the ’60s. A 1956 Stratocaster that would set you back $68,000.00!


I’ve always stuck to Martins, but the wall of Gibson dreadnoughts seemed much cooler. A dark-stained J-45 with a white pickguard was the James Dean of the group, but after trying a few I settled on a golden 1964 J-45CS.

Martins sound much better to me, but there’s something that made playing the Gibsons more fun. They look like they have more character… maybe that translates into a feeling?

Playing a 1964 J-45CS

They probably had 30-40 vintage Gibson acoustics and archtops, 30 or so Martins from 0-18s to an 000-45 custom, a handful of Guilds, and some vintage Fenders.

Their inventory is online here.

If you’re around Tokyo and looking for lots of awesome acoustics and some special electrics, pay a visit to Katsuyuki Sakai at Woodman Instruments, just behind the Cerulean Hotel in Shibuya.

And don’t forget me if you get a free J-45CS with your purchase. 🙂

Woodman Instruments

8 thoughts on “Hidden Vintage Guitar Shop in Tokyo”

  1. Okay, you are really hot [body-wise], but you really need to do something about that hair/mustache/eyebrows/fashion sense.

  2. As far as new guitars go I am definitely sold on Taylors, but when you go into vintage I don’t think I’ve ever played a 60’s Gibson Hummingbird I didn’t like.

  3. Haha.. Melisa, I appreciate the input, really I do. Especially negative feedback! It’s way more valuable than positive feedback.

    But I could say the same for you. 🙂


  4. Melisa, if your ever in the south Atlantic look me up in the Falklands. Just ask around for the daft Penguin rancher and they’ll point you to my place straight away.


  5. Sweet this blog really helps I’m going over to Tokyo, Japan for a week and wanted to check out some of their music shops. So thanks

  6. selaminko heeyyy harika kız… ya çok yakındasın ya da çok uzaklarda her nerede olursan ol el salla yeterli…

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