Tucked away in the labyrinthine, unassuming streets of downtown Tokyo's Shibuya District, between smoke shops and love hotels, lies one of the world's best clubs. Nestled in a narrow back alley, you'd never know that behind the walls of what appears to be the back of a restaurant lurks the all-enveloping rave den that is Womb.
Of course, Japan is known for having its fair share of tech savvy, slickly designed nightspots, but none can match the sonic fury of this Shibuya cavern. Regularly inviting the likes of Richie Hawtin, Joris Voorn, Sasha and Digweed to play, Womb, since opening in spring 2000, has garnered a reputation for being sonically and visually one of the most arresting club experiences in our galaxy.
Climbing the stairs and emerging into the dark environs of the club space, the name seems entirely appropriate. Stripped of fancy ephemera, Womb is not a place to pose in, be seen in. It's a hexagonal, honeycomb shape, built for dancing, and accordingly the acoustics are off the chain. Boasting a superior Phazon system imported from NYC, the peerless speaker stacks emit the club's chosen underground electronic fare with a clarity and bass propulsion to make jaws drop and posteriors wiggle in equal proportion.
"It's a very special soundsystem there," believes Dutch techno don and keen advocate Joris Voorn. "And it's a very special atmosphere with the high ceiling, the great lighting and smoke machines, it's one of the best clubs around without a doubt."
Indeed, Womb has one particular stunning visual feature that is unmissable - its huge mirrorball, which descends from the ceiling as the night progresses to shimmer and reflect the stunning lights and lasers projected by the light team.
Though Womb's floor may appear a spare, minimal zone, the insane, futuristic laser shows make the club a blank canvas on which to project phantasmagorical criss-crosses of greens, blues and reds, infinitely complimenting the progressive house, techno and occasional drum & bass that is Womb's staple diet. It's such an arresting sight that the memorable Tokyo club scene from recent Hollywood epic Babel was shot here.
Perhaps the ultimate ingredient and secret of Womb's success is the incredibly up-for-it, crazy crowd - one of the friendliest and most enthusiastic that DJmag has come across.
"The energy of the Japanese people is unparalleled," says Richie Hawtin.
Joris Voorn concurs: "The Japanese people are the best audience in the world because of their culture. In day-to-day life they're very much bound by etiquette, but in the club they totally let go and lose themselves in the music."
Womb's open-minded but always on-point booking policy ensures that every night goes with a bang. In March, the club hosted nights from such labels as BPitch Control and Ostgun Ton, and on 4th May, Sven Väth brings his 'Sound Of The Ninth Season' tour to town.
Womb is a club truly befitting the neon-lit futuristic majesty of Tokyo. Do yourself a favour and find out why…