Well, duuhhh, Fuji Rock!!! Yes, you probably don’t need to be told that Fuji Rock rules the roost when it comes to getting filthy in a field in Japan. It’s the only Japanese summer festival that anyone beyond these shores has heard of, it’s managed to bag itself a name association with one of the world’s most iconic natural superstars, and the organisers tend to bag headliners that would pass the test of Glastonbury's rock snobbery.
As for the rest of the summer festivals in Japan, who knows. Summer Sonic must be in there somewhere, but after that maybe we’re struggling. Let’s ask the locals then. (Italicised text is where we've translated from the source).
RankingShare earlier this week, published their list entitled:
Translation: Preparation for summer starts now! 2016 Kanto Festival Ranking
So, let’s bring it to you here. And the best summer music festival in Japan is ...
1: FUJI ROCK FESTIVAL ‘16
Dates: July 22,23,24 (3 days)
Place: Naeba Ski Resort, Yuzawa, Niigata
Price: 1 day ticket 19,000 yen / 2 day ticket 36,000 yen / 3 day ticket / 43,000 yen
Acts: Sigur Ros, Beck, Red Hot Chili Peppers
The best outdoor music event! The massive festival area is divided into a number of blocks, and many festival goers turn up looking like they’re ready to climb the mountains.
2: SUMMER SONIC 2016
Dates: Aug 20,21 (2 days)
Place: QVC Marine Field (a baseball ground), Makuhari Messe (an exhibition centre), and surrounds, Chiba
Price: 1 day ticket 16,500 yen / 2 day ticket 30,500 yen
Acts: Underworld, Radiohead, Fergie, Weezer, The Offspring, Flo Rida, Mark Ronson
Summer Sonic features a mix of artists both domestic and overseas. Every year this summer music festival attracts foreign artists that can be seen regularly in the news.
3: Slow LIVE’16 in 池上本門寺 (Ikegamihonmonji )
Dates: Sept 2,3,4 (3 days)
Place: Ikegami Honganji (temple), Ota-ku, Tokyo
Price: Sept 2 tickets from 6,800 yen / Sept 3 and 4 tickets from 8,000 yen / 2-day ticket 13,400 yen / 3-day ticket 18,500 yen
Acts: Original Love (acoustic set), トータス松本 (Tortoise Matsumoto), Char, Glim Spanky, ましまる (Mashimaru), ハナレグミ (Hanaregumi), 奇妙礼太郎 (Strange Reitaro), NakamuraEmi
With a starting time of 3 pm each day this is a late-afternoon into the evening event. Perfect for those who don’t want to endure the day-time heat. The festival has a kind of mellow, and grownup vibe to it.
4: a-nation stadium fes./a-nation island
Dates: July 29 to Aug 4 a-nation island / Aug 27,28 a-nation stadium fes.
Place: Yoyogi National Gymnasium, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Price: stadium fes (per day) 9,800 yen / island (per day) 7,800 yen
Acts: Big Bang, Daigo, Ayumi Hamasaki, AAA,
2016 will mark the 15th anniversary of the avex organised pop fest. As such it’s an extra long one this year, divided into 2 parts; island and stadium (the bigger acts are performing in the stadium part). There’s a battle every year to get into this Japan summer music festival. Expectation is particularly feverish this time around.
5: J-WAVE LIVE SUMMER JAM 2016
Dates: Aug 20, 21 (2 days)
Place: Yoyogi National Gymnasium, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Price: 9,300 yen (per day) online from Ticket Pia
Acts: Superfly, スガ シカオ (Shikao Suga), Unison Square Garden, JUJU, miwa, AYAKA, MILIYAH
A line up of J-pop heavy hitters.
6: 旅祭り2016 (Tabi Matsuri 2016)
Dates: Aug 11
Place: Shiokaze Park & Sun Square, Odaiba, Tokyo
Price: Advance tickets 5,800 yen (adult) 4,800 yen (child) / On the day 6,500 yen (adult) 5,500 yen (child)
Acts: Caravan, GAKU-MC, Goose House, 水曜日のカンパネラ (Suiyobi no Campanella), MAN WITH A MISSION
More than just a summer music festival, in keeping with the theme of ‘travel’ (旅/tabi), this event takes its guests on a journey around Japan through a number of different attractions. Also recommended for mums and dads with young kids that make it difficult to take trips overseas.
7: OCEAN PEOPLES 2016 (Beach Food Festival)
Dates: July 9, 10 (Sat. & Sun.)
Place: Yoyogi Park, Shibuya-ku
Acts (Japanese and foreign): toconoma, Sandii, Michael Kaneko, Rickie-G, Awesome City Club
Plenty of live music and food. Recommended for those who want to spend time outside drinking while listening to music.
8: SPACE SHOWER SWEET LOVE SHOWER 2016
Dates: Aug 26, 27, 28 (3 days)
Place: Yamanaka Lake, Yamanashi-ken
Price: 1 day ticket 10,000 yen / 2 day ticket 19,000 yen / 3 day ticket 28,000 yen
Acts: The Oral Cigarettes, Glim Panky, Asian Kung-Fu Generation, Dreams Come True, flumpool
With a wide range of performers at the festival, this is a good one for those who like to get a taste of plenty of genres.
9: WORLD HAPPINESS 2016
Dates: Aug 28
Place: Yumenoshima, Koto-ku, Tokyo
Price: 9,500 yen (adult) 1,200 yen (child - elementary school)
Acts: WEAVER, 水曜日のカンパネラ (Suiyobi no Campanella), 電気グルーヴ (Denki Groove), Akiko Yano
Spread out the tarpaulin and kick back with the family at this mellow summer festival in Tokyo.
10: 音霊 OTODAMA SEA STUDIO 2016
Dates: July 1 to Aug 31
Place: Yuigahama, Kanagawa-ken
Price: 2,500 - 6,000 yen depending on artist
Acts: Too many to mention here
Right on the beach, so a good place to enjoy both ocean and festival vibes. Plenty of artists on show from a number of genres, so could be a good place to unearth a new personal favorite.
So the locals have spoken, and these are best summer music festivals Japan has to offer for 2016. Agree? Haven’t a clue what half of them are? Let us know your summer music festival recommendations in the comments below.