Jazz Bar Impro

IMG_2402.JPG
Higashi-Ooimachi 5-6-10 1F. Shinagawa-Ku
Hiromachi 2 Chome 1 Shinagawa-ku Tōkyō-to 140-0005 JP

Jazz Bar Impro is small, even by the incredibly small standards of most Japanese jazz joints. It’s on the first floor of a rickety old building down the Heiwa Kouji Yokocho alleyway next to JR Ooimachi station in Shinagawa Ward. This is the kind of alleyway that used to be found all over Tokyo, full of small drinking dens and izakaya run by the locals, sadly all too few these days. Impro has only been open for eight years but fits right in to the old school vibe of the neighborhood.

The entrance into Impro is a very low door you have to duck into, which immediately puts you next to the bar. There’s room for maybe 4 to stand and drink, with a tiny table at the back corner for a tight 3 to fit. The master Tsukahara-san is a friendly guy and will make you feel welcome even if you’re alone, though I wouldn’t recommend the place if you’re even slightly claustrophobic.

Tsukahara-san plays a mix of older and more modern jazz on both vinyl and CD, everything was solid the last time I visited, some old Django Reinhardt followed by Lee Morgan.  He’s got some small snacks on the menu though nothing too elaborate; you wouldn’t come to a place like Impro for the food anyways. Impro won’t be for everyone (did I mention it’s very very tiny and cramped?) but I love the joint. It’s a time warp to Showa-era Japan, where every station area had dozens of standing bars like this. Open from 8pm – midnight most nights.

See photos of Impro here at Tokyo Jazz Joints.com.

 

Size
no more than 8
Food
Snacks
Directions

Come out the east exit at JR Ooimachi Station and turn left. Walk down five minutes (past LAOX dept store) then turn left into the small alleys packed with places to eat. You’ll see Impro on a white sign with other very tiny bars in the same building. The alleyway has a sign that says 平和小路.

Date published
Dec 2015
Maze Soul Extension outside.jpg
4-Chome 6-2 Koenji Minami 3.9 km
03-3312-768403-3312-7684
Maze is a very hip soul music bar located right in the middle of the Koenji Pal Arcade ‘s...
Fat Mama.jpg
5-16-17, Meguro Honcho, Meguro-Ku 4.61 km
Fat Mama is named after the great Herbie Hancock track from his album “Fat Albert Rotunda&#...
Hotel Wing International Meguro B1, 1-3-14, Meguro 4.61 km
Blues Alley Japan. is a sophisticated club with great food and an eclectic live schedule. It...
IMG_0020.JPG
Tokyo-to, Meguro-Ku, Yutenji 1-22-6 4.74 km
Ohio is great, an intimate, friendly bar with a huge collection of soul music. Owner Kin-chan has...
Pithecanthropus Erectus.JPG
3F, 7-61-8 Nishi-Kamata, Ota-Ku 5.3 km
This is as old school a jazz bar as you will find in the Tokyo metro area. 直立猿人 (Chokuritsu E...
6-13-9 Minami Aoyama, Minato-Ku 5.77 km
Body & Soul is a large club with really good food, though the music can be a bit mainstream f...
wahwah.jpg
Daihachi-Toto Bld. B1 15-19 Sakuragaoka-cho, Shibuyaku Tokyo, Japan 150-0031 5.82 km
The Room is one of Tokyo’s best clubs, if not THE best for fans of funky/groovy music. It&#...
IMG_0284(1).JPG
Azeria Bldg 1F, 1-3-6 Nishi-Azabu, Minato-Ku, Tokyo 5.83 km
Vanilla Mood is a cool little jazz bar/club just across from Roppongi Hills. It has been open for...
IMG_0276.JPG
東京都 港区 六本木 7-18-16 川久保ビル 1F・4F 5.84 km
03-3401-626203-3401-6262
Bar Spice is a classic little Soul music bar overlooking Roppongi-Dori, right across from the Rop...
IMG_5335.jpeg
東京都渋谷区桜丘町 17-10 5.86 km
Music Bar 45 is a small 2nd floor joint located just a few minutes walk from the south exit of Sh...
Seabird inside.JPG
〒150-0002 東京都渋谷区渋谷2丁目3−4 5.93 km
03-3499-189003-3499-1890
Seabird is a lovely old cafe next to Aoyama Gakuin University, between Shibuya and Omotesando sta...
Annex Bldg. 4F, Ropoongi 4-11-5, Minato-Ku 5.94 km
Very supper-club type place, most nights featuring vocal-led bands. The food is good, the service...
IMG_0291.JPG
Chiyo Bldg, B1, 5-9-22 Dai 2, Roppongi 6.1 km
Electrik Jinja opened in April 2012 and quickly became the hippest  spot in Roppongi. It’s ...
Hama Roppongi Bldg. 5F, 6-2-35 Roppongi, Minato-Ku 6.1 km
Always top quality live jazz at Alfie, mostly local acts. Really nice interior but be ready to p...
JBS (Jazz,Blues,Soul).jpg
1-17-10 Dogenzaka, Shibuya-Ku 6.11 km
There’s a beautiful simplicity about JBS (Jazz,Blues,Soul). Owner Kobayashi-san has more th...
B1 26-6, Utagawa-cho, Shibuya-Ku 6.36 km
Modern jazz specialty shop, more than 8000 records on sale from the 50s & 60s. Been open sinc...
Pres Jazz Bar.jpg
Utagawacho 30-4, Shibuya-Ku 6.43 km
03-3463-284803-3463-2848
Pres Jazz Bar is located up near the end of “Center Gai” street in Shibuya, not the...
koendori.png
Shibuya-ku, Udagawacho 19-5 6.46 km
Koen-Dori Classics is a small performance space located underneath a church in the heart of Shibu...
bar bossa.jpg
41-23 Udagawa-Cho, Shibuya-Ku 150-0044 6.69 km
Bar Bossa in Shibuya is a quiet gem of a place, perfect for bossa nova fans and/or couples lookin...
Mary Jane outside.jpg
Fuji Shoji Bldg. 2F, Sakuragaoka 2-3, Shibuya-Ku 6.74 km
Many years back I found  Mary Jane by accident, as I had been  looking for the wonderfully named ...
Himawari Bldg. 2F, Dogenzaka 2-26-5, Shibuya-Ku 6.74 km
Very small place that is really just a bar with live music every night of the week. I’ve go...
Jingumae, 3 Chome−5−2 6.83 km
Gekko Sabou (月光茶房 “moon-light-tea-chamber”, a wonderful name) is not a jazz cafe/...
Swing-6.jpg
16-4 Kamiyamacho, Shibuya, Tokyo 6.84 km
Despite its old-world cafe atmosphere, Swing only opened in 2014 and is one of the newer jazz spo...
ct_image.jpg
5-1-2 Akasaka Engel Bldg 2F, Minato-Ku, Tokyo 7.25 km
Volontaire moved to its current location in Akasaka a few years ago after more than three decades...
3-7-15 Akasaka, Minato-Ku 7.35 km
Hashi no Shita (橋 の下 means “Under The Bridge” in Japanese) is a place I found in...
B-Flat.jpg
6-6-4, Sakae Bldg B1, Akasaka, Minato-ku 7.41 km
The B Flat in Akasaka is a great straight-ahead jazz club in an area without many other options f...
IMG_0114.JPG
東京都千代田区有楽町2-3-6 マスヤビルB1F 7.66 km
Kiri is a wonderful little basement spot in between Hibiya, Ginza and Yurakucho stations. It̵...
IMG_2704.JPG
5-6-14 Daizawa, Setagaya-Ku 7.69 km
Jazz Haus Posy was opened in 1973 by jazz fanatic Misa. She’s a serious enough fan to hav...
IMG_1046.JPG
155-0032 東京都世田谷区代沢5-31-14 7.83 km
Lady Jane has a very cinematic feel to it, the kind of joint that a lot of people outside Japan w...
Cygnus.JPG
B2F 8-6-18 Ginza, Chuo 7.89 km
Cygnus is the sister club to Aries in Ueno but a bit more upscale. Live shows three times a night...
IMG_2694.JPG
Minami Karasuyama 5-17-13 3F, Setagaya-Ku 8.1 km
Ragtime is the ideal jazz cafe in many ways. It’s a small place up on the 3rd floor of a ru...
Casa Rosa 2F Seijo 6-16-5, Setagaya-ku 8.1 km
I’ve known Yoshioka-san, owner and sole staff at Cafe Beulmans for several years now, since...
Masako inside.jpg
2-20-2 Kitazawa, Setagaya-Ku 8.12 km
NOTE: Masako closed in FEB 2010…I’m leaving it here anyways, so people will remember....
Haikara-Tei inside.jpg
Toyo Bldg. B1, 2-20-19 Yoyogi, Shibuya-Ku 8.37 km
03-3370-180103-3370-1801
Haikara-Tei is another Shinjuku jazz bar that somehow never popped up on my jazz radar after all ...
1−28−9, Shibuya, Yoyogi 8.48 km
Music Bar is part of the new development Yoyogi Village (read more about it here. It’s no...
1-8 Yotsuya, Shinjuku-Ku 8.6 km
Eagle is really the prototypical jazz cafe. It opened in 1967 in Yotsuya, right down the street...
1-36-12 Yoyogi Shibuya 8.72 km
Sister-branch of Naru in Ochanomizu
Shin-Yuri Green Plaza B1, Hakusan 4-1-3 Aso-Ku, Kawasaki-Shi 9.05 km
Coming out the station go to Bus Stop #3, take the bus bound for Shin-Yuri Green Town. Get off at...
Gi inside.JPG
Gi
416 Imai Minami-Cho, Nakahara-Ku, Kawasaki-Shi 9.05 km
Gi is a tiny dining bar located just about 10 minutes walk from Musashi Kosugi station in Kawasak...
Pearl Bar outside.JPG
Higashi Shin Bldg , 4F, 3-21-7, Shinjuku, Shunjuku-Ku 9.11 km
Pearl Bar is a real sleek “grown up” jazz bar in the center of Shinjuku. Lots of cock...
IMG_1849.JPG
〒210 - 0006 川崎市川崎区砂子 2-11-21 深沢ビル3F 9.2 km
Sugar Shack Soul Brothers Bar in Kawasaki is the real deal, a place where soul music fans can sit...
index.jpg
Shinjuku 2-12-4, Shinjuku-Ku, Tokyo, 160-0022 9.28 km
The Pit Inn remains near, or at the top, of any list of live jazz venues in the Tokyo area. 2015 ...
Chome 34-8, Shinjuku-ku, Shinjuku 9.29 km
Someday moved from Shinbashi to Shinjuku last fall. I haven’t been to the new location yet,...
Samurai inside.JPG
Mori Bldg. 5F, 3-35-5, Shinjuku-Ku 9.3 km
Samurai is located in the building that used to house the Shinjuku Pit-Inn before they moved to t...
curtisinside.jpg
Shinjuku-Ku, 3-chome 8-5 9.32 km
Curtis is one of my favorite bars in Tokyo. As the name gives away, this is a soul music bar with...
IMG_2862.JPG
B1, 3-35-12 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-Ku 9.34 km
Jazz Pepe is as old school as it gets. Opened in 1969 by the now 77 year old Okuma-san, Pepe is a...
Jazz Tweeter outside.JPG
1-19-11 B1F Shinjuku, Shinjuku-Ku 9.35 km
Jazz Tweeter was opened a couple of years ago by long-time hotel restaurant chef Ishizuka-san. He...
Old+Cat_-2.jpg
3-26-2 Shinjuku Shinjuku Tokyo 9.48 km
03-3354-935403-3354-9354
The Old Blind Cat in Shinjuku has a long and fascinating history, as much as any jazz bar in town...
Ribbon outside.jpg
Watanabe Bldg B2 Ginza 8-6-19 9.58 km
The Ribbon is what most people would think of when hearing the words “Ginza Jazz”. It...
Ikebukuro Roudou Kijun Kyoukai Bldg B2, Ikebukuro 1-8-8 9.58 km
Jazz, Funk & Soul are on tap at Miles’ Cafe. The Ikebukuro area is not known for having...
Scratch inside.JPG
Marco Polo Bldg 2F, 1-8-14 Hon-Chi, Kichijoji 9.58 km
Scratch is a quiet cafe/bar that’s been in heart of Kichijoji since 1974. They open durin...
Stardust inside.JPG
Minami Bldg B1 Asagaya-Kita 2-13-5 9.58 km
03-3337-132503-3337-1325
Masuda-san sadly passed away in 2012. Stardust is an old bar, first opened in Asagaya in 1971 ...
Small Hours Cafe & Bar outside.jpg
Wako Bldg 1F 1-62-4 Kanda Jimbocho Chiyoda-Ku 9.58 km
03-5283-711703-5283-7117
Closed 2015 Small Hours is a new cafe/bar located in the back streets between Ochanomizu, Jimbo...
Jazz Spot Dolphy.JPG
2F Dai Ichi Nishimura Bldg. 2F, 2-17-4 Miyagawa-cho, Naka-Ku 9.58 km
Jazz Spot Dolphy opened in 1980 but moved to its current location in 1990 and has kept up a ste...
Cafe Ellington outside.jpg
Asagaya 3-37 9.58 km
Note: Closed in early 2015. I guess he couldn’t get many customers after all… Cafe El...
Tom inside.JPG
Inaba Bldg , 2F Asagaya-Minami 3-28-31 9.58 km
03-3220-127503-3220-1275
吐夢 (Pronounced “To-mu” or just “Tom”) is unique in a couple of ways. ...
FS Bldg 4F, 3-20-6 Shinjuku 9.62 km
This is a quiet piano bar with live music nightly though more BGM style, not really a live club. ...
photo(33).JPG
2-24 Jimbocho Kanda, Chiyoda-Ku 9.66 km
Kissa Ko is one of the older cafes in town but had a facelift in 2012 so now has an all new decor...
Big Boy inside.JPG
1-11 Kanda-Jimbocho, Chiyoda 9.66 km
Big Boy is a tiny cafe/bar on a side street off the main road through Jinbocho, the old book shop...
2F 1-52-1 Jimbocho, Kanda, Chiyoda-Ku 9.66 km
03-3294-362103-3294-3621
All used records (and a few CDs) here with vocals & swing jazz being the specialty. Lots of o...
Fujimi Yoshida Bldg. B1, Fujimi 2-2-11, Chiyoda 9.66 km
Cafe Ragtime has live music every Thursday and Friday nights, usually piano and sax or vocalist d...
Shiramuren.jpg
1 Chome−1−10, Kabukicho, Shinjuku 9.68 km
How can I describe this place? It’s small, dark and old; owner Otsuka-san was surly and u...
Jazz Room Stick inside.jpg
3 Chome−22, Shinjuku-ku, Shinjuku 9.7 km
Jazz Room Stick is a great old jazz joint in the heart of Shinjuku, located almost directly beh...
Kissa Sakaiki inside.JPG
2-4, Dai Kyo Machi, Shinjuku-Ku 9.71 km
Kissa Sakaiki gives me hope that the spirit of the Japanese jazz-kissaten will survive. Owner F...
Royal Mansion B1, Shinjuku 5-1-1, Shinjuku-Ku 9.71 km
Old basement club, lots of vocalists on the schedule. Mellow vibe and not too expensive.
photo(14).JPG
Ebisu Kaikan Bldg, 4F Kabukicho 1-10-5. Shinjuku, Tokyo 9.71 km
In 2013 Black Sun moved from it’s long time home in Nishi-Shinjuku to the heart of Kabukich...
Maruha Bldg. B1, 1-1-7 Kabukicho, Shinjuku 9.72 km
03-3204-202803-3204-2028
200 types of Bourbon, cool jazz playing on the system. That about sums it up. Small place, go alo...
matchgreen.jpg
Nishi-shinjuku 1-4-20, Shinjuku-Ku 9.74 km
The Vagabond is a classic joint right next to the West Exit of Shinjuku station. I think the revi...
Narushisu inside.jpg
2F, 1 Chome−13−6, Kabukicho, Shinjuku 9.82 km
I found this tiny gem of a jazz cafe amidst the chaos that is Kabukicho in Shinjuku. It is a smal...
Jazz Olympus inside.jpg
Ogawamachi 3-24, Kanda, Chiyoda-Ku 9.85 km
03-3259-005503-3259-0055
Jazz Olympus was opened by the very friendly Komatsu-san in 2009. It’s a sleek cafe/bar t...
IMG_1033.JPG
Matsubara 1-37-14, Setagaya-Ku 9.86 km
03-3321-943103-3321-9431
Miles is a treasure. It opened in 1960 and is one of the few remaining neighborhood jazz bars fro...
Hals Jazz outside.jpg
Daikan Plaza B-306, 7-10-17 Nishi-Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku 9.92 km
It’s all about vinyl at Hal’s Jazz. Owner Ikeda-san keeps a few racks of cds in the c...
2F 3-20-13 2F, Ogawamachi, Kanda, Chiyoda-Ku 9.92 km
Grauers is a new cafe/bar opened August, 2011. Owner Furusho Shinjiro is a long time jazz journal...
Jazz Bar Gugan outside.JPG
2 Chome-17 Kanda Tsukasamachi Chiyoda-ku 9.96 km
Jazz Bar Gugan is a small bar in the east side of Tokyo, near both the Ochanomizu and Jimbocho ...
Root Down outside.jpg
2-8-12 Kajicho, Chiyoda-Ku 10.02 km
Root Down moved down the street just 30 meters from it’s original spot, it’s now Tō...
Kashiwagi Mura2 7-20-12, Nishi-Shinjuku 10.05 km
Swanky live club, heavy on the vocalists. Enjoyable but a bit soft for my tastes. It’s the ...
adiron05.jpg
Japan, 〒101-0051 Tōkyō-to, Chiyoda-ku, Kanda Jinbōchō, 1 Chome−2−9 ウェルスビル 10.07 km
The Adirondack Cafe is a unique jazz cafe and bar just off the main road through the Jinbocho are...
Corner Pocket inside.jpg
1-14 Kagurazaka, Shinjuku 10.26 km
03-3267-842303-3267-8423
I was walking through the back alleys of Kagurazaka, the “little Kyoto” area of Tokyo...
2 Chome−1−10, Kanda Surugadai, Chiyoda-ku 10.43 km
Naru is a small, dinner-club place with serious jazz every night. Owned by sax-player Ishizaki Sh...
Genius.jpg
スズノビル1F, 3 Chome-2-10 Honchō, Nakano-ku 10.55 km
03-3372-347103-3372-3471
Genius was one of Shibuya’s more famous jazz cafes for more than 20 years before increasing...
Houdenasu.JPG
New Gold Bldg, 2F, 3-6-10 Shinjuku-Ku 10.71 km
Houdenasu (ほうでなす) is a small 2nd floor bar located right in the heart of Shinjuku 3-Chome,...
Jazz Nutty inside.JPG
1-17-4 Nishi-Waseda, Shinjuku-Ku 11.15 km
03-3200-373003-3200-3730
Jazz Nutty opened in 2009 next to the campus of Waseda University. The wonderful Mr.& Mrs. ...
4 Chome−3−1, Higashinakano, Nakano 11.56 km
Neighborhood cafe/bar/small live club. This is the kind of place you really only find in Japan; i...
Sasaki Bldg, B1, 2-8-3 Takadanobaba, Shinjuku-Ku 11.61 km
Gate One is a small bar run by the husband and wife guitar-vocal duo Hashimoto-san and Kajiwara-s...
Intro outside.jpg
2-14-8 Takadanobaba, Shinjuku-Ku 11.73 km
Jazz SPOT Intro in Takadanobaba is a tiny basement bar about 2 minutes walk from the station. I...
Aries outside.JPG
Makita Bldg B1, 2-4-8 Ueno, Taito-Ku 11.78 km
Aries is a very local jazz live-house in the back streets of Ueno. By “local” I mea...
Every Swing outside.JPG
Tsuji Bldg B1, 3-14-12 Ueno, Taito-Ku 11.78 km
Every Swing is a small friendly club in the barren back streets east of Ueno Station. This is n...
B1, 3-23-5 Takadanobaba, Shinjuku-Ku 11.83 km
Hot House is the world’s smallest jazz club! Maybe 8 or 10 customers max in this place. Mak...
Milestone inside.JPG
Igari Bldg., 1-23-9 Takadanobaba, Shinjuku-Ku 11.83 km
Milestone sadly closed its doors at the end of July, 2019 after 45 years in business. As the nam...
New Dug.jpg
Dug
3-15-12 Shinjuku 12.37 km
The ‘New Dug’ in Shinjuku is a cafe/bar with a complex back story. It was the annex...
Jikan Ryokou outside.jpg
5-56-15 Nakano, Nakano-Ku 12.44 km
03-3389-798003-3389-7980
Jikan Ryokou (the sign is in Japanese 時間旅行, it means “Time Travel”) is simply won...
Nakano Pignose  inside.jpg
B-113 Lions Mansion Nakano Dai-5 B-113, Arai 1-14-16, Nakano-Ku 12.45 km
I found this small-even-by-Tokyo-standards “piano bar” while lost in Nakano one nig...
IMG_0832.JPG
Bunkyo-Ku, Hakusan 5-33-19 12.7 km
The Eigakan (映画館 “Movie Theater) is a jazz cafe for both jazz lovers and cinephiles. Own...
Jazz Pub Michaux inside.jpg
3-11-12 2F, Shinjuku 12.72 km
CLOSED Fall 2013. Music fans know that Japan is a country filled with dedicated, serious, almost ...
b.JPG
102 Dai-Ichi Mitomi Bldg 102, 1-30-6 Arai, Nakano-Ku 12.8 km
Rompercicci is a fairly new jazz cafe/bar just a short ten-minute walk from Nakano Station. It...
IMG_6009.JPG
3-1-12 Koenji-Kita, Suginami-Ku, Tokyo 12.99 km
S.U.B. Store (Small Unique Bookstore) is a very hip new hybrid cafe/bar/gallery/bookstore/records...
kissaseikatsu.jpg
1-6-12 Minami-Koenji, Suginami-Ku 13.14 km
Kissa Seikatsu (喫茶生活 “Cafe Lifestyle”) is a gem of a place a few mins walk from...
Tams Bar outside.JPG
Suginami 13.14 km
Tam’s Bar is a tiny basement bar that seats no more than ten people at a time. As the sign ...
Inoue Bldg (井上ビル) B1, 5-16-15, Ogikubo, Suginami-Ku 13.14 km
Rooster is a great little live-house that features jazz, blues, funk, New Orleans..basically all ...
Misty outside.JPG
1-35-21 Minami-Asagaya, Suginami-Ku 13.14 km
Misty is a small cafe located in the heart of Asagaya’s old style “shotengai” (...
Showing 1 - 100 of 138 results