Acoustic Sounds
B-SELS Beatles-only record shop in Nara, Japan
By: Jonti Davies

November 8th, 2023



Magical Mystery Tour of Japan's Sole Beatles-Only Record Store

Set in the ancient capital of Nara, B-SELS is a shrine to John, Paul, George and Ringo.

Saturday 4th November, the day after The Beatles’ “last song ever” has landed, and I arrive in Nara, Japan’s deer-dominated, sleepy ancient capital, to catch a gig by a jazz quartet featuring Takeo Moriyama. I have no intention of exploring Nara, but as soon as I leave the station I happen to see this sign:

Sign at entrance to B-SELSCurious, I climb three flights of stairs and wander into what is apparently Japan’s sole Beatles-only record shop.

B-SELSThis shrine to John, Paul, George and Ringo sells nothing but Beatles records and paraphernalia, including old magazines, posters, and bizarre trinkets. The records are mostly rarities, original and early presses from all over the world, and each Beatles album has its own section within which you can dig through multiple iterations. Solo material is equally well covered, and the singles come from places as random as Denmark and India. Of course, Japanese presses are plentiful too.

Beatles In JapanJapanese Beatles storeSpeaking with the store's owner, Kenji (pictured below), he explains that he spent his whole working life as a civil servant, until five years ago, when he packed that in and opened B-SELS. The name is not simply a pun on “sells” but rather an acronym: Beatles, Singles, EPs, LPs, Shop.

Given the fortuitous timing of my visit to Beatlesland, I ask Kenji for his take on “Now And Then”...

I cried. It was very emotional. I found it so moving to hear John’s voice like this, and the way Paul brought it all together with the chorus makes it such a fitting finale. I'm just happy it was released.

B-SELS is open Eight Days a Week. Except Mondays.

Kenji Sakai, owner of B-SELSJazz Club Postscript

At Blue Note Naramachi—formerly Blue Note Kyoto, neither of which are affiliated with the label but have somehow evaded copyright infringement lawsuits for decades (the original Kyoto club opened in 1962 and started putting on shows in the late 1970s, including visits by Jimmy Smith, Elvin Jones, Mal Waldron and Nat Adderley)—a quartet of the great drummer Takeo Moriyama (check out his East Plants album for jazz on another plane), 84-year-old legendary pianist Takeshi Shibuya, saxophonist Eiichi Hayashi, and bassist Hiroshi Funato played a sensational set weighted two-thirds in favor of their own material. The venue, set in an old sake brewery with exposed beams and superb acoustics, is one of a kind:

Blue Note Naramachi


  • 2023-11-08 04:52:26 PM

    Anton wrote:

    "B-SELS is open Eight Days a Week. Except Mondays." Perfect. I am not much of a Beatles guy anymore (I hit the 10,000 times mark for pretty much all their material, so it's burn out more than dislike,) but I wanna go to this shrine just to enjoy the vibe and ogle the goods!

    • 2023-11-08 06:08:02 PM

      Michael Fremer wrote:

      Me too!

      • 2023-11-08 08:10:19 PM

        John Romano wrote:

        This is now a bucket list item.

      • 2023-11-08 08:49:14 PM

        Anton wrote:

        I look forward to your video...I think you will get there before I do. I want a loooong video for that visit.

  • 2023-11-08 06:52:39 PM

    JACK L wrote:


    I don't bother even another B-SELS shop were next door to mine.

    My Red Album 1962-1966 gets it all.

    JACK L

    • 2023-11-08 07:51:07 PM

      Anton wrote:

      Well bless your heart. Greatest hits compilation - surely the way to to go. You called it. Looking forward to not seeing you there!

      • 2023-11-09 03:41:51 PM

        JACK L wrote:


        "Looking forward to not seeing you there!" qtd Anton

        Who wants to fly 15-hour non-stop flight from this part of the world to Japan? Be my guest over there if you got nothing else better to do, pal. FYI, I am busy enough running my daily business here, including my money market investments..

        That' said, only about some 10 years back, I did fly such long flight over there & the Pacific rim to visit my business people there. As a tube nut, I made use of the opportunity to audition some world's most expensive tube sound system of Audio Note Japan there, e.g. USD125,000 turntable system, & USD125,000 17W+17W tube power amp. A jaw-dropping experience !

        Just for browsing some old Beatle's records to go there? Again, Be my guest over there, Beatlemania man ?!

        JACK L

        • 2023-11-09 08:26:02 PM

          Anton wrote:

          You forgot to mention your 1,000+ albums, all mint, bought for a dollar each....again.

          • 2023-11-09 09:00:31 PM

            JACK L wrote:


            Oh yea, you also "forgot to mention" the 40+ digitally mastered/remastered LPs are also there for a buck a piece as well.

            So why sour grapes if you were vinyl smart like yours truly ??

            Money alone won't buy you wisdom, pa.

            JACK L

  • 2023-11-10 10:40:48 AM

    PeterG wrote:

    LOVE THIS! One man's passion to something beautiful, taken to a magnificent extreme, just for love. You cannot buy that

    • 2023-11-10 03:10:43 PM

      Anton wrote:

      You could almost turn your great post into a song lyric!


  • 2023-11-12 05:22:25 PM

    airdronian wrote:

    What a cool little shop. Nara was an interesting place to visit, with a good okonomiyaki bar there at the time. The buddha was impressive......