Tokyo shop-Ukulele Mania

RPAtech

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I have some time off from work due to a Japanese holiday. I figured this was a great time to fly down to Tokyo and check out some of the ukulele shops.

First up was a shop I've been wanting to visit called Ukulele Mania.
They have a variety of new and used ukuleles, which gave me an opportunity to try out a bunch of different models and decide on what I wanted.
I've been wanting to buy my first solid koa ukulele, so now is the perfect opportunity.

After trying many different brands, models, and sizes I settled on a Kiwaya KPT-1K/E (Tenor, solid wood Koa). The neck, tone, volume, and feel won out for me.

I took pictures to show what they had in stock. It's a small shop, but they really maximize their shop space. Another positive aspect was the experience of being in the shop. A fresh pot of Hawaiian coffee and being able to try out as many ukuleles as I wanted made the trip down to Tokyo well worth it.

Here's a link to the shop:
 

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RPAtech

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Since it's also NUD time here are some pictures of my new Kiwaya.
It had a one-piece front and back which seemed cool to me. I always figured ukuleles these days were made from two-pieces, especially tenors.

I've seen for sale posts for older ukuleles that had one-piece fronts and backs, but no newer ones.

:)
 

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badhabits

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nice... a shop in Tokyo that I became aware of this weekend is Ukulele Bird; did you happen to check that one out?
 

SebastianF

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Nice! There seem to be known and lesser known (to me!) ukes on their walls. I would love to go there and play some, but then again I'm on the other side of the world so that makes it quite difficult...

Congratulations though, your new Kiwaya looks stunning! :)
As someone who has thrown an eye on the KPT-1K & KPT-1M, did you play both? How would you compare their sound?
 

uketorik

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Congrats on your new Kiwaya! It looks amazing and I’m sure it sounds incredible too. Thanks for sharing, I hope to have the opportunity to visit Japan soon.
 

RPAtech

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Nice! There seem to be known and lesser known (to me!) ukes on their walls. I would love to go there and play some, but then again I'm on the other side of the world so that makes it quite difficult...

Congratulations though, your new Kiwaya looks stunning! :)
As someone who has thrown an eye on the KPT-1K & KPT-1M, did you play both? How would you compare their sound?
I played the KPT-1K (koa-tenor) and the KPC-1M (mahogany-tenor). I added the details for those that might not be familar with the model numbers.

I was originally leaning towards buying a concert ukulele before my trip.

But after playing a bunch of them today, I kept returning to the Kiwaya koa-tenor.

Comparing the two models mentioned above, the KPT-1K had a smoother, more mellow sound. Bug to be honest, its difficult to accurately compare sincd its a tenor vs concert. The differences seemed as much to do with the size as it was the wood.

When it came down to it, the one that spoke to me more was the KPT-K.
 
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merlin666

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Congrats on your new uke that was a good find. I was not familiar with that model I found that this store is also on Reverb and had one on sale there at some time
 

Patty

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I have some time off from work due to a Japanese holiday. I figured this was a great time to fly down to Tokyo and check out some of the ukulele shops.

First up was a shop I've been wanting to visit called Ukulele Mania.
They have a variety of new and used ukuleles, which gave me an opportunity to try out a bunch of different models and decide on what I wanted.
I've been wanting to buy my first solid koa ukulele, so now is the perfect opportunity.

After trying many different brands, models, and sizes I settled on a Kiwaya KPT-1K/E (Tenor, solid wood Koa). The neck, tone, volume, and feel won out for me.

I took pictures to show what they had in stock. It's a small shop, but they really maximize their shop space. Another positive aspect was the experience of being in the shop. A fresh pot of Hawaiian coffee and being able to try out as many ukuleles as I wanted made the trip down to Tokyo well worth it.

Here's a link to the shop:
OMG, heaven on earth! How did you ever pry yourself out of that place?
 

Patty

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Congrats on your new uke that was a good find. I was not familiar with that model I found that this store is also on Reverb and had one on sale there at some time
Free shipping!
 

man0a

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Ukulele Mania is a good shop for English-speaking visitors. The store manager speaks fluent English (I believe he was born in the USA and moved to Japan as an adult). He is very knowledgeable and honest about which instruments are really well made vs made to look pretty hanging on your wall. The store has a nice selection of Japanese-made ukuleles that are much cheaper than or not easily available in the US. Most importantly, the store is easy to reach from the tourist hotel districts, as opposed to the Kiwaya showroom which is way out in the suburbs.
 
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Kenn2018

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Congratulations on the new Kiwaya. Beautiful koa. Glad to hear the construction is up to Kiwaya's reputation.

I have seen Ukulele Mania's listings on Reverb for several years. They have often had some pretty wonderful instruments to sell. And the videos showing the instruments with playing demos are always very good. It's great that you could spend some time there.

But even with free shipping, most of the time it would cost more to buy here than finding one like it in the US.

Some were very rare or one-of-a-kind. So, it might be worth it to a collector or someone who has been searching for a long time for a specific instrument.

I have no idea about import or customs fees from Japan.
 

Veritas99

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Congrats on the new uke! I can see from your photos some of the Maui Music ukes I’ve drooled over on Reverb. Hope the rest of your trip goes well!