A shop that makes you feel romantic forever.
Text & Photo by Kenta Baba
Kyoto is a romantic city. Buildings lined up on a street ages way more than human’s life span and the ‘voices and wills’ of those who used to live there in the past still remain everywhere.
You might wonder why I start talking about it all of a sudden. To tell you the truth, I would like to introduce you a store which is a full of romance in this romantic city, Kyoto.
It's located in right between Higashiyama-nijo (Kamogawa) and Heianjingu-shrine. It looks like an regular apartment and doesn’t seem you can find a store from outside, but once you go upstairs, there you go.
It’s called Roman Shop !!!
They sell standard-play records, vinyl records, used books, and used CDs mainly, but It is supposed to be a ‘second-hand shop’ in a word.
However, It looks like there are too many records at first glance to recognize as a second-hand shop, but I cannot even say that it is a record shop since there are used books, guitars, and also foreign x-rated books. It seems there are no appropriate name for this shop at all.
What do they sell?
I do believe that they sell ’romance’ as the store name appears.
This is, so to speak, a store which sells ‘romance’ through records, CDs, and papers. A price range is very cheap and I assure myself that it is impossible to put the price on to romance itself.
The owner, Mr. Bito. He was born in Osaka, and came to Kyoto for a university.
He has dedicated his life to several record shops after he graduated the university and opened his own, Roman Shop, naturally.
When I asked him to take a photo of him, he also asked me if he was able to carry the guitar or not because of his shyness.
By the way, he can’t play the guitar but somehow he carries it. He reminded me that there was a time that I wanted to play ‘Change the world’ and wished that I could play the guitar someday.
I think we can divide 2 kinds of men in this world. One is actually able to play the guitar or the other cannot when they started thinking of playing it. (I am the latter one)
I asked his recommendation and he showed me this ‘Mystic mood screen theme delux’.
It says that ‘this is the longest and the most interesting record jacket in the world.’
It is surely really long. It is, however, not just only a long record jacket,
but also it is a collaboration cover design by Shotaro Ishinomori, Takashi Yanase, and Shigeru Mizuki. Too rich to call for these 3 artists again. It’s like a dream team collaboration.
However, the music inside is not even related to all these 3 legendary artists at all. It is an omnibus volume. I wonder why the director called for these amazing artists for what reason. The more I wonder, the more I think that there must have been something called ‘romance’ between them I guess.
He is not a type of man who talks something passionately but just relaxing, so I freely go around and looked for what makes me stop.
I am not familiar with music and records so much, so I really appreciate this note on top explaining what is about. It makes me feel that I like to listen even though you don’t know about it.
It makes me happy to find out some of the bands I know.
You can try everything you want to listen and watch there.
100 yen for Mr.Yujiro. So many records at 100 yen corner. It is also reasonable to think that all the records are under 1,000 yen.
It was a around holiday season, so I was able to see a lot of christmas songs there.
This is something interesting to hear. A ‘ZEN’ music record.
The sutras live is recorded.
Moreover, since he has a variety of foreign customers, he also sells these traditional Japanese records such as traditional Japanese folk songs.
I also looked around for some interesting books and they are all 30% off now!
The owner started collecting books about music mainly before, but it has been changed completely. However, can you feel something from all these different books?
What a romantic vibe all these books have!
These STUDIO VOICE back numbers can be something for magazine lovers.
When you think about ‘magazine, back spine cover and romance’, it goes directly to a back spine cover of ‘relax magazine’.
Once you turn around, 50 yen used books corner. I could even believe myself to see the price, but they all look interesting.
What a priceless treasure thing!
In any period, we would like to see the world widely enough. I bought 100 yen Carpenters music album and 50 yen essay of Ken Sekiguchi. I think nobody can put any price on all these music and books here since they are all precious.
Roman Shop is located within a walking distance from downtown and also from Heianjingu-Shrine, but it is a good place not many people know about and very romantic place. Everything is a reasonable price and very cheap, but they do sales event all of a sudden. So you might want to check it out regularly.
By the way, there is a record map in Kyoto which allows you to travel all the records shops in Kyoto. There is an English version as well, so you stop by at Roman Shop and asked for the map then your journey will start off with music.
If you are interested in some of the items I listed above in pictures, there would no copies of them, so please contact the shop first and asked him if they still have it or not.
ADDRESS : 2F Grandtac Higashiyama Nijo, 280-2 Ishiwara-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto city.
PHONE : +81 (0)75-751-0236
HOURS : 1:00 p.m. ~ 9:00 p.m.
CLOSED : irregular holidays
WEB SHOP : http://romanmarkets.cart.fc2.com/
TWITTER : http://twitter.com/roman_markets