This year Fuji Rock Festival is an annual multi-day music festival held in Naeba Ski Resort last July 26-29 and since I take one good trip as a birthday treat for myself every year I decided to pack up my camping gears, get myself tickets, and fly to Japan! I just turned 35 and I told myself that this will be my last music festival as I deem myself to be too old next year to be attending.
Why “Fuji” Rock and why not “Naeba” Rock? The first festival back in 1997 was held in Mt. Fuji and as a homage, they’ve continued to carry out the name when they started holding the event in Naeba starting in 1999. A three-day event organized by Smash Japan and it features more than 200 local and international acts- deemed to be the largest music event in Japan. The average attendance would rank up to 100,000 people.
First things first, you have to secure all your tickets and passes. For a multi-day festival such as this, you have to secure the following;
As mentioned, this is a three-day festival and you can purchase 1-3 day passes. They start selling tickets 6months before the event date and Early Bird Rates to apply to save extra on cost. Just to give you a snippet of the cost:
- 42,000 Yen/ 21, 500php/ $438
- 2 days ticket: 34,000 Yen/ 17,000php/$346
- 1-day ticket: 19,000 Yen/ 9,500php/ $193
Aside from the general admission tickets, there are other tickets for considerations;
Do make sure to get your tickets to an official partner ticketing channels like Gan-Ban, e + (e plus), Ticketflap, iFLYER, Rakutan Ticket, Peatix, Ticket PIA (General Admission, Campsite, Parking Tickets), Lawson Ticket (General Admission, Campsite, and Parking Tickets).
Note: with online and English servicing
There are a few other ticketing services w/c I didn’t mention, but those are local serving only and storefront purchase in Japan only.
There are several ways to get to Naeba Ski Resort from Tokyo, the easiest way is to get a JR East Pass Niigata. This covers the districts of Niigata, Nikko, and Nagano.
Once you have your JR East Pass Niigata, it’s advisable to reserve seats for the Shinkansen that is heading over to Echigo Yuzawa. We got ours a few days before the trip or you can actually reserve online HERE. The trip from Tokyo Station to Echigo Yuzawa takes around an hour. From the station just follow the signs and take the bus provided by the festival going to Naeba Ski Resort. Tickets are two way for only 500 Yen/250php/4USD and is about 30 minutes.
The bus runs 24 hours a day, so make sure to avoid the lines and go earlier so you don’t need to spend too long lining up for the bus. You can also take a taxi from the station but it is very expensive.
We opted to do camping as it is relatively cheaper and easier rather than booking a hotel or lodge. As you walk up the slopes, you’ll immediately notice the “female only” section right at the base. If you’re female, definitely take advantage of this. If you’re male, do not enter and keep walking and find a nice flat patch of grass and pitch your tent.
Some useful links to find accommodation:
- Accommodations in Mitsumata
- Accommodations in Yuzawa
- If you can’t find anything through booking.com, then you can also try contacting other lodges in Mitsumata directly – here.
- Shuttle Bus information from Fuji Rock website
Imagine going to the woods and setting up camp. The Fuji Rock Festival isn’t for those who would go to events just for the “Gram” or whip out any Coachella-inspired outfit. Expect a lot of unpredicted weather such as heavy rain and mud.
Here’s our suggested shopping list
- Waterproof bags/ packs
- A pair of rubber rain boots
- Sleeping bag
- Chair. This is will make or break your festival experience. Unless you’re planning on moshing and standing for 4 days, get something to sit on. We got small foldable outdoors chairs from the grocery store inside the resort.
- Sunscreen. Don
- Bug Repellent.
- Gatsby wet wipes
Here are visual snippets from the festival grounds.
Slideshow photos: Fuji Rock Official
Toilet (Portalet) Situation
There are plenty of toilets peppered around the basecamp and festival grounds. There were “Western Toilets” and traditional squat toilets, so choose accordingly to your preference. They’re pretty generous with toilet papers and they’ve stationed large bottles of alcohol at the end tables.
There are communal showers at the base of the campsite. The lines during peak hours (after main stage acts and end of the day 3rd) were quite long for both genders. As a Filipino, we’re not so used to anything “communal” especially when it comes to any shower situation, (We know its gross!) we opted to rely heavily on wet wipes and alcohol to clean ourselves! (please don’t judge us). The minute we got back to our hotel in Tokyo, we immediately took a long satisfying hot shower.
Other wash area/sink
These are available near the shower area. The water that comes out from the faucet is drinkable.
There are seven main stages and other minor stages scattered throughout the site. The Green Stage is the main stage and it has a capacity for almost 50,000 spectators. Other stages include the White Stage, the Red Marquee, Orange Court, and Field of Heaven.
We love how everything was well thought out. There were plenty of toilets in-between stages, proper crowd traffic management for a large flow of foot traffic, unique F&B choices per location, and other activity areas that cater to kids.
The reason why I booked the ticket is to catch The Cure, Death Cab for Cutie, American Football, and Toe- and the rest was a solid bonus. They cover every genre, age, demographic, and interest. Fuji Rock Festival is by far the most diverse music festival I have been to in my entire life.
The walks between some of the stages can be long, and some of the trails can be hilly, but the walks are beautiful, often taking you through forests and over sparkling streams. Dragondola – the longest gondola lift in the world, carries festival goers up to the top of the mountain overlooking the festival site.
To our surprise, Fuji Rock is also a solid curated food fest! I mean, the carefully selected food and beverage roster are available. Each stage has different offerings while beer and highball are offered in most stages, there are also specialty drinks in different areas like Kale Beer, Organic Wine, and even Mezcal. Aside from the alcoholic drinks, you can get your coffee fix with the selection of third-wave coffee places available. There are a wide array of stalls to choose from that come from different districts of Japan.
The main site closes each night after the final act, but Oasis continues to stay open until late at night, as well as the Red Marquee where an all-night rave continues until 5 am. The site re-opens at 9 am.
Before flying to Japan I’ve been telling myself that this will be my last music festival because I just turned 35 and I thought that I wouldn’t have enough tolerance to go through the crowd and chaos, but see.. Fuji Rock Festival is on another element. The lineup, how organized everything was, when we were at the moshpit people respect enough each other where they were courteous enough to give you enough personal space, and where courtesy amongst festival-goers and nature is highly encouraged. They have well-curated music stages and performers where from age 4 up to 60 you can still enjoy each act and activities. For the Japanese, this music festival is an annual family event where they get to spend quality time with their kids.
If you want to commune with nature, listen live to diverse acts, and you love good solid food– you are definitely in for a treat my friend. I am already considering going next year 2020!
The last show with The Cure was amazing and truly a well worth experience. I mean, the perfect mountain air and light drizzle of rain was the perfect complement to their very theatrical performance. Bianca and I went back to our tent very happy and spent the rest of the night re-capping our amazing day. After 4 hours of sleep, we woke up early, packed up our whole campsite, grab ourselves some coffee and walk quickly towards the bus. We hopped on the shuttle back to Echigo-Yuzawa using our bus return ticket. We returned back to Tokyo and took a nice and very long shower in the hotel.
As we always say, go forth and wander and when you return home to become a storyteller.