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Japan's oldest existing jazz cafe opens temporary digs in Yokohama during rebuilding

Jazz Cafe Chigusa is seen in its temporary rental location in Yokohama's Nishi Ward on May 6, 2022. (Mainichi/Satoru Suzuki)

YOKOHAMA -- Japan's oldest existing jazz cafe here has recently reopened at a temporary site after rebuilding work on its original spot began in April.

    Jazz Cafe Chigusa reopened in a rental space in the seaside Minatomirai commercial zone in the city's Nishi Ward on May 1. The cafe, established in 1933 in Yokohama's Nogecho district by Mamoru Yoshida, who was loved by jazz fans, had to make the move due to the deterioration of its original building. It will stay at Minatomirai until March 2023, when it will move back to its rebuilt Nogecho home as the Jazz Museum Chigusa.

    The Chigusa may be in a new space for the coming 10 months, but it has brought much of its original charm with it, including about 3,500 of its some 6,000 vinyl records, audio systems, tables, chairs, and even its sign.

    Employee Mayuko Shinmura said, "Many people are happy because Minatomirai didn't have a jazz spot."

    There is no admission fee to listen to the cafe's music, and items telling the history of Chigusa, where numerous jazz musicians have visited, are also on display.

    Regular customer Yasutoshi Hirabayashi, 82, visited the temporary location and said with deep feeling, "You can listen to records (here) that you can't find anywhere else in Japan."

    (Japanese original by Satoru Suzuki, Yokohama Bureau)

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