Music Festivals in Japan

credits: rockin' on japan

credits: rockin’ on japan

Festivals are some of the most popular and successful events in the world of music, and as the biggest music market of the world, Japan isn’t obviously an exception. With several summer events gathering together both Japanese and International artists, wether they’re famous or emergent acts, there’s a wide choice of festivals to take in consideration if you’re planning to travel to the Land of the Rising Sun during summer: From the massive Rock in Japan FES to the evocative Fuji Rock Festival, there’s a lot of interesting events during this period where to get the chance to see several of your favorite artists rocking the same stage, and, not less important, discover some new ones in the magic atmosphere represented by huge open air shows and a crowd composed by different fans united by the same passion for music.

In order to enrich the ever growing list of guides that makes your visit on Land of Rising Sound a pleasant and continuos discover of Japanese Music, we listed all the most famous music festivals in Japan worth attending during your stay in the hot season. From events featuring Japanese only artists to those featuring well known international names as well, here’s everything you need to know about these huge events in order to make your choice of exciting summer festivals easier and more focused. Enjoy!


Rock in Japan FES

credits: prtimes.jp

credits: prtimes.jp

Set in the beautiful Hitachi Seaside Park in the Ibaraki prefecture, the Rock in Japan FES is the biggest festival of all Japan in terms of attendance. Since 2000, this festival welcomes all the most famous and acclaimed artists of the Japanese industry on its stage: If you’re a fan of mainstream and famous artists, wether the genre they play is, you’ll surely find them in the massive and valid line-up the festival features every year. If you wanna feel at the centre of the Japanese Music industry and see all the most influent artists of it perform live, this is definitely the event to go!

Location: Hitachi Seaside Park (Hitachinaka, Ibaraki)
Type: Three days event
Period: August (first week, usually first days of the month)
Genre: J-pop / J-rock / Electronic
Artists: Japanese only
Website: http://rijfes.jp/


Summer Sonic

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credits: summersonic.com

After Rock in Japan FES, Summer Sonic is one of the biggest and most known summer festivals of Japan. Featuring both Japanese and Internationally acclaimed artists, this event is split into two days, contemporarily featuring a show in Osaka and one in Chiba for each day. Artists who perform in the first day in Osaka usually perform in Chiba the next day and vice versa, in order to cover both areas with the same artists, even though not all of them can do this alternation due to the groups’ schedule.

Due to the different stages featured each day, this event is great to catch both famous mainstream and indie acts of the Japanese scene as well as globally famous artists from any genre who regularly perform every year at the event, creating a mixed experience made of different acts and performances, which is definitely interesting and unique.

Type: 2 days event
Location: Osaka, Maishima Sports Island (1st Day) / Chiba (Tokyo), Makuhari Messe and OVC Marine Field
Period: Third week of August (usually mid-month)
Genre: J-pop / J-rock / International music
Artists: Japanese and International
Website: http://www.summersonic.com/2015/


Sonic Mania

images (1)

“Sister” event of Summer Sonic, Sonic Mania is held in a different day, usually after the Summer Sonic dates, which is why it’s fair to be considered as a third day of the above mentioned event. It still features both Japanese and International artists, and it’s held at the well known Makuhari Messe venue, where also Summer Sonic partly takes place. If you’re attending the bigger event, it’s probably convenient to attend Sonic Mania as well if the line-up is of your interest.

Type: One day event
Location: Makuhari Messe, Chiba (Tokyo)
Period: Third week of August
Genre: J-pop / J-rock / Electronic
Artists: Japanese and International
Website: http://www.creativeman.co.jp/sonicmania/2015/


MetRock – Tokyo Metropolitan Rock Festival

credits: billboard-japan.com

credits: billboard-japan.com

Held at Wakasu Park in Shin-Kiba (Tokyo) and featuring three different stages, the Tokyo Metropolitan Rock Festival (better known as Metrock) can’t claim the same dimensions of the most famous festivals, but it’s still absolutely valid and got a lot a of recognition in the last years thanks to a great organization and killer line-ups from the Japanese music scene, featuring artists like Perfume, Sakanaction, BABYMETAL, Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, MAN WITH A MISSION and many more. If you’re traveling around the Tokyo area between end-spring / beginning of Summer, this festival is definitely worth it both for the artists performing on this stage and for the convenient location (which is also near the Club AgeHa, in case you still wanna party and have the time of your life after the festival).

Type: 2 days event
Location: Wakasu Park, Shin-Kiba (map)
Period: Fourth week of May
Genre: J-pop / J-rock
Artists: Japanese only
Website: http://metrock.jp/


Fuji Rock Festival

credits: fujirock.jp

credits: fujirock.jp

With over 200 artists performing during the three days of this huge and well known music event, the Fuji Rock Festival is the largest outdoor event of Japan in terms of dimensions and line-up. Despite the name, this festival doesn’t take place near the Mt. Fuji (where it formerly took place) but in the Naeba Ski Resort, in the lovely Niigata prefecture. Despite the word “Rock” carried by most of Japanese festivals, this one is pretty much one of the few who mainly features rock musicians with a bit of electronic artists as well, not only from Japan but from all over the world, with International artists of great value such as Radiohead, Björk, Muse and many more rocking the stage, without forgetting important Japanese artists like Asian Kung-Fu Generation and Yellow Magic Orchestra, just to name a few. The location is surrounded by nature and the atmosphere is unique, something that you should definitely experience if you’re into rock and good electronic music.

Location: Naeba Ski Resort, Yuzawa (Niigata)
Period: Fourth week of July
Genre: Rock /J-rock
Artists: Japanese and International
Website: http://fujirock-eng.com/


Inazuma Rock Festival

credits: jame-world.com

credits: jame-world.com

The above picture speaks for itself: The Inazuma Rock festival is beautiful, and represents not only a great end-summer event full of well known Japanese artists, but also a very nice promotion of the Shiga Prefecture, part of the Kansai region, featuring a free stage and another one dedicated to local indie acts as well as stands dedicated to local product of any genre, which is very admirable and amazing in case you’re interested in deepen your knowledge of this gorgeous place. And, of course, a pretty great lineup for the main stage featuring artists from several genres, also including Idol acts like Momoiro Clover Z, Dempagumi.Inc and NMB48 who hit the stage of the previous edition, for a festival that combines an interesting place to visit with quality music: Definitely worth attending!

Type: 2 days event
Location: Karasumaru Peninsula Plaza – Kusatsu, Shiga Prefecture
Period: Second week of September
Genre: J-rock / J-pop
Artists: Japanese only
Website: http://inazumarock.com/pc/


Rising Sun Rock Festival 

credits: qetic.jp

credits: qetic.jp

Claiming itself the “True Rock Festival”, the Rising Sun Rock Festival is a two-days event that takes place near Sapporo, in the beautiful island of Hokkaido, and it exclusively features rock artists from the Japanese Music Industry with rare exceptions of mainstream artists like Perfume, who hit this stage in 2012. If you are a J-rock lover this event is a must, and hey, you also get to visit Hokkaido!

Type: 2 days event
Location: Otaru, Shiribeshi (Hokkaido, Northwest of Sapporo)
Period: Second / Third week of August
Genre: J-rock / J-pop
Artists: Japanese only
Website: http://rsr.wess.co.jp/2014/index.html


That’s it: If you’re traveling to Japan in summer (be aware of the tremendous hot weather!) you should definitely attend one of these events and experience several live shows surrounded by a unique atmosphere. Good luck, and have fun!

– Alex