Fuji Rock: Why Japan's Biggest Music Event Is Better Than Your Average Festival

Head East next summer.

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Music
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As festival season comes to a shuddering conclusion for another year, we take a moment to look at the highlights of an exciting international music event full of Eastern promise. Fuji Rock, a three-day festival held at Naeba Ski Resort, in Niigata Prefecture, is the largest music event in Japan and has been attracting up to 100,000 people every summer since 1997. Featuring over 200 Japanese and international acts, a stunning setting, the longest gondola lift on the planet and the boast of being “the cleanest festival in the world,” Fuji sets itself apart from other international festivals in tone and ethos. We have a look at some of the reasons why you should make it your choice of festival next summer.

The Setting:

The very first festival, back in 1997, was held at the base of Mount Fuji, however after a brief sojourn in Tokyo Bay-side Square in 1998, it was relocated to the breathtaking Naeba Ski Resort where it has remained ever since. During the summer months, Naeba is as remarkable as it is when snow-covered and Fuji’s seven stages are framed by some of the most remarkable views in Japan, if not the world.

Organization:

Japan is a wonderfully organized country. Everything makes sense. Fuji Rock is no different. No hour-long toilet queues, no agonizing wait to get on site, no overflowing camping areas and certainly no delay in the acts coming on stage. The meticulous organization of the festival organizers is matched only by that of its most frequent patrons, who come prepared. For those who have experienced the sheer terror of a European festival it is also clean. Eerily clean.

Atmosphere:

Drug-fuelled, alcohol-tinged festival experiences are all well and good, and available to you at Fuji if you so wish. What is also available however is fun for some of the planet’s best dressed children, in the form of everything from facepainting to a dedicated play area and entertainers. Rather than hindering their parent’s enjoyment, children seemed to be accentuating it at this year’s festival and Fuji has one of the most relaxed, amiable atmospheres around.

Acts:

Whilst not reaching the dizzying heights of the likes of Glastonbury and Coachella in terms of star quality, Fuji still manages to draw a fine array of names each year from various genres. This year’s festival featured, among others, Joey Bada$$, Hudson Mohawke, DangerMau5, Noel Gallagher, Foo Fighters and FKA Twigs, alongside a selection of Japanese and international acts. There are also plenty of smaller stages and tents full of a weird and wonderful variety of acts that are well worth investigating on your travels around the site.

Location:

Fuji Rock is really, really close to Tokyo. You can get into the city easily via train and regular shuttle buses. Proximity to one of the world’s greatest cities should be taken into account when choosing Fuji and allows you to extend a weekend into a more extended holiday.

Find out more about Fuji Rock Festival here.

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Photographer
Daigo Yamamoto

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