Music Festivals: Fuji Rock, Summer Sonic, Rock in Japan
Summer Music Festivals in Japan
Fuji Rock Festival
The granddaddy of all Japan's summer rock festivals.
Fuji Rock Festival was founded by Masahiro Hidaka and inspired by his visits to the Glastonbury Festival in the UK in the mid 1980s. Hidaka subsequently set up the Tokyo-based promotions company Smash Corporation along with Tomoaki Ishitobi. In 1997 the pair hosted the inaugural Fuji Rock at Tenjinyama at the foot of Mt. Fuji. Despite the third day being washed out by a typhoon the 1998 festival took place in Tokyo before finding a permanent home at Naeba Ski Resort in Niigata prefecture.
Fuji Rock Festival reguarly attracts over 100,000 fans each year.
Previous line-ups have included Basement Jaxx, The Chemical Brothers, Courtney Love, Lou Reed, Morissey and many more.
Usually last weekend of July (check the website for details)
Naeba Ski Resort, Niigata Prefecture
202 Mikuni, Yuzawa-machi
Joetsu Shinkansen from JR Tokyo Station to Echigo Yuzawa Station, then free shuttle bus to Naeba Ski Resort.
Campsite and & car parks available.
Summer Sonic kicked off in 2000 with a line-up of mostly rock, punk and now hip-hop acts. Summer Sonic is unashamedly urban and the venues are split between Chiba, (outside Tokyo) and Osaka, with the bands swopping venues for the two days of the festival.
Prvious line-ups have included Avril Lavigne, Beastie Boys, Darkness, Lee "Scratch" Perry, The Damned and many more.
At the same venue the day before Summer Sonic is the more club music orientated warm-up all-nighter event Sonicmania.
Usually early August (check the website for details)
Chiba Marine Stadium & Makuhari Messe International Event Halls, Chiba; WTC Open Air Stadium, Intex and Zepp, Osaka
Chiba - short walk from JR Kaihin Makuhari Station on the Keiyo Line.
Osaka - short walk from World Trade Center Station on the Technoport Line.
Rock In Japan also dates from 2000 and is Japan's largest rock festival focusing on domestic rather than foreign bands.
Previous line-ups have included Dragon Ash, Asian Kung-fu Generation, The High-Lows, Rip Slyme, Guitar Wolf and Ellegarden.
Hitachi Seaside Park, Hitachinaka, Ibaraki
Shuttle buses from Mito and Katsuta Stations on the JR Joban Line.
Sukiyaki Meets the World is a massive all-encompassing music-centered event in Nanto, Toyama prefecture, and has been going strong since 1991.
Sukiyaki Meets the World is truly a world event, drawing artists from all continents and cultures, and featuring regular annual favorites like Japan's own Sukiyaki Steel Orchestra.
Usually late-August (check the website for details).
Helios Bunka Kozo Center, 100 Yakata, Nanto, Toyama
Fukuno Station on JR West's Jōhana Line.
Hokkaido's version of the summer rock festival craze with mainly domestic bands on show.
Previous line-ups have included Bonnie Pink, Boom Boom Satellites, Dragon Ash, Kemuri and more.
Usually mid-August (check the website for details).
Ishikari Bay New Port Tarukawa Futoyoko, Ishikari, Hokkaido
Shuttle Buses from Asabu Subway Station, Ishikari.
The Greenroom Festival is an annual music, film and art festival held at the Red Brick Warehouse in Yokohama. The emphasis is on surf and beach culture. The festival began in 2005 and has grown steadily every year. Over 50,000 people usually attend.
Dates: usually late May; check the website below for further details and tickets.
Venue: Red Brick Warehouse, Yokohama
Transport: 15 minutes on foot from Sakuragicho Station or Kannai Station on the Yokohama municipal subway. Alternatively, 6 minutes from Bashamichi Station or Nihon-odori Station on the on the Minatomirai Line.
Dating from 1988, the Kodo Drummers-produced "Earth Celebration" of World Music is one of Japan's best known music festivals. The event is held on Sado Island off Niigata every August. The central theme is tataku - to beat out a rhythm - and attracts percussion groups from all over the world. The three-day event is complete with workshops, fringe and exhibitions and has the feel of a hippie WOMAD event.
August (check the website for details)
Various venues on Sado Island including Shiroyama Park, Ogi.
Ferries to Ogi on Sado from Niigata.
Dating from 1992 and formerly known as Mukogawa, Dance on the Banks and held on the banks of the Mukogawa river, it's now Nakanoshima, Larks in the Park, after the event grew too big for its original venue and moved in 2003. An all-day, outdoor, free music festival at Kenzaki Park in Osaka organized by founder and local resident Joe Wade.
Previous line-ups have included The Porkers, Tripod Jimmy and more.
The Tokyo Summer Festival is one of Japan's biggest music events, taking place between the beginning of July and the beginning of August. Begun in 1984, it has become the capital's major summer music fiesta.
Sponsored by the Arion-Edo Foundation (dissolved in 2013) - a foundation devoted to promoting musical talent in Japan, musical performers from all over the world come to liven up Tokyo's summer.
Almost every genre and style of music is represented, meaning the Summer Festival's extensive schedule offers something for everyone. Thousands of music lovers from all over Japan and the world congregate at the Festival every year.
Usually from early July to early August (see website below for listings)
Various venues all over Tokyo, depending on the event.
For further information, check the Tokyo Summer Festival website.
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