Right in the middle of one of Japan’s trendiest neighborhoods is a celebration of old-school media.

If you want to spot the latest trends in Japan, Tokyo’s Shibuya neighborhood is the place to go. Spend a couple minutes on the street with your eyes and ears open, and you’ll see the fashions and hear the slang that’re being developed by Tokyo’s coolest teens and 20-somethings, which then emanate out to the rest of the country.

But oddly enough, right in the middle of this youth culture mecca not only will you still find not only a video rental store, but one with a massive selection of VHS cassettes.

When walking across Shibuya’s famous Scramble Crossing, most people’s eyes are drawn to the multiple massive video monitors, or maybe to the prominent Starbucks Coffee sign. But housed in the same building as Starbucks is the Shibuya branch of video rental chain Tsutaya.

▼ You can see the Tsutaya sign here

At most Tsutayas, the rental catalogue is entirely on disc, and the Shibuya branch does offer DVDs and Blu-rays. What makes this location unique, though, is that not only does it still offer VHS cassettes, but that it has a gigantic library of roughly 6,000 tapes.

This isn’t a result of lazy management not wanting to go through the hassle of clearing out its old stock, either. The Shibuya Tsutaya recently went through a remodeling that included giving its VHS collection a place of honor on fifth floor, in a section it calls the “Shibuya Film Collection,” and the company even sent out a press release trumpeting its treasure trove of two-generations-back physical media.

Tsutaya isn’t only trying to appeal to retro-tech nostalgia, either. A number of the VHS films available at the Shibuya branch have never been commercially released on disc or for digital streaming, making this the only way to see them.


Of course, a VHS tape won’t do you much good without a VCR to watch it on, and that’s not exactly a piece of hardware most people own anymore. Tsutaya has you covered on this front too, as the Shibuya branch also rents out VCRs for the price of 910 yen (US$8.60) a week.

While Tsutaya hasn’t explicitly said so, the expanded VHS selection at Shibuya is probably a side effect of the chain itself downsizing, as online streaming services (including one Tsutaya itself runs) are leading to the closure of a number of physical rental shops. When Tutaya closes a branch, it usually offers the location’s stock for sale at discounted prices during the branch’s last few days, and it’s likely the company has consolidated much of its unsold VHS videos at the Shibuya branch.

If that’s the case, Tsutaya Shibuya could be VHS’s last great hurrah in Japan, but for the time being at least, there’s a way to experience this chapter in home theater history. Just don’t forget to rewind your tapes before you return them.

Shop information
Shibuya Tsutaya / 渋谷ツタヤ
Address: Tokyo-to,Shibuya-ku, Udagawacho 21-6, Q-Front
東京都渋谷区宇田川町21-6 Q-FRONT
Open 10 a.m.-11 p.m.

Sources: PR Times, Hachima Kiko
Top image: PR Times
Insert image: Wikipedia/Benzoyl (edited by SoraNews24)
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Follow Casey on Twitter, where he needs a VCR so he can rewatch his Martian Successor Nadesico tapes.