Local musical instrument store that has been loved by everyone.
Text : Keiko Nakamura / Photo : Naoki Matsuda
‘Americaya Gakkiten’ (a musical instrument store), which was established 71 years ago, is located close to Kitaoji subway station and they sell many kinds of instruments and mostly focusing on stringed and keyboard instrument. Our guide at this time, Mr.Tetsuya Nagaoka who is a piano tuner works at this store for more than 30 years. You will see keyboard instruments such as piano on the first floor and stringed instrument such as violin on the second floor. He says, “The most important thing when you try to choose your instrument, you need to play it and find what suits you the best. So, I tell every customer to try it out as many times as they want. I don’t want you to buy it again if it’s not suitable for you, because this is something that you need to take care in your life time”. If you are looking for a violin, they have one for beginner starting from 30,000 yen including a bow and you also can reach to the Italian old violin made 100 years ago with tens of millions of yen on its cost. They also have a great service for cleaning, repairing and tuning as well.
He adds, “Actually, we can make the second floor as a mini concert place. We put chairs around here and we all play over there”. He changes a light and starts playing the piano for us. His fluent music performance and a movement of his fingers are something we would like to listen and see it again. “I actually hold this mini concert once in two months. It’s good to go to a concert hall and listen a great music there, but you can come here casually with your little child together”, says Mr.Nagaoka. Most of the times, he plays the piano with the others.
It was his 6 years old when he visited here from his neighborhood for the first time. He says, “I didn’t like to visit here, but my mom forced me to since she wanted me to play the piano. Even after my parents bought a piano for me, I didn’t even play so that we came here to return, but still I didn’t want to step inside the shop at all. However, I met a great piano teacher then it kept me going forever after that”. Time passed through and he was preparing for the university entrance exam, but a previous president, Mr.Joji Kato stopped me to think about my future again. “I wanted to work at somewhere related to music, but my way was decided to straight forward a university. However, Mr.Kato recommended me to go to the way of becoming a piano tuner”. Since then, he decided to go to a piano tuner training school in Shizuoka prefecture and after that found employment at a big musical instrument store then, returned home to work at Americaya by fate.
Not only they sell and repair instruments, but also they have a music class and rental space for practice. You can learn 8 kinds of instruments such as piano and violin, about 200 students, who are from 3 years old to more than 90 years old, are learning here. In these days, our hobbies are becoming more diverse, but a number of students here have never changed. He says, “A girl who was in a kindergarten now became a mother with a child and her child started learning here. People talk to me that their music life became much happier because of a piano that I tuned several time for them. What makes me happy is that they keep playing music for a long time”. We totally understand why everyone loves this place because of his and other staffs’ kind attitude and thoughtfulness.
ADDRESS : 14-16 Koyama Kamifusa-cho, Kita-ku, Kyoto City (MAP)
PHONE : +81(0)75-441-2341
HOURS : 10:00 a.m. ~ 7:30 p.m.
CLOSED : Bon holidays and New Year’s holiday
WEBSITE : www.americaya.jp