Best 5 music festivals in Japan

Festival season is here. We dive into the favourite five held in the land of the rising sun each year, featuring A-list talents across electronic, pop, rock and more.

Electric Daisy Carnival

What began as a warehouse rave party in the open fields of Los Angeles in the ‘90s, Electric Daisy Carnival – more famously known as EDC – has grown into an annual, internationally-attended music festival in Las Vegas, with editions in Brazil, Japan, India and more. This year marks Japan’s third EDC instalment; an electronic music gathering, numbering in the hundreds of thousands, for a weekend by the beach in Chiba Prefecture. From the stages and the sound, to performers and pyrotechnics, expect a multi-sensory experience celebrating art, culture, and of course, music. The lineup this year includes par-for-the-course heavyweights such as Armin Van Buuren, Skrillex, and TIËSTO, as well as Future, Kshmr, Peggy Gou, and more.

Fuji Rock Festival

The biggest – some say best – music festival in Japan, Fuji Rock Festival has brought together music lovers since ‘97, when it first took place at the base of the famous Mount Fuji. This year’s headliners include festival returners The Chemical Brothers and The Cure, and first-time Fuji Rock performers Sia. There’s something for everyone on the rest of the roster; think acclaimed, highly-celebrated artists from Death Cab For Cutie, James Blake, and Mitski, to Courtney Barnett, Daniel Caesar, Kohh, Toro Y Moi, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, and Yaeji. Fun fact: Fuji Rock is often heralded by international media as the ‘cleanest festival in the world’. 

Rock In Japan Festival

Rock In Japan, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, remains to be the country’s biggest, premiere rock festival, held at a seaside park on the Ibaraki coast. Featuring veterans such as Orange Range and The Oral Cigarettes, Rock In Japan is such a wide assortment of who’s who of J-Rock and J-Pop, you’ll be sure to catch future alt-rock stars, a handful of power poppers, and others you’ll discover at the festival grounds. 

Summer Sonic

Summer Sonic is making a name for itself as one of the most tightly-curated festivals in Asia, combining big stage staples with eclectic, smaller supporting acts from around the region. This year, it’s held simultaneously in Tokyo and Osaka, with all the acts on rotation between days. Anchoring the weekend is the festival’s most manifold selection of headliners to date, featuring American giants Red Hot Chili Peppers and Japanese kawaii metal band BABYMETAL, rounded out by artists Brockhampton, The 1975, Two Door Cinema Club, The Chainsmokers, and more to be announced. 

  • Where: Tokyo & Osaka
  • When: Aug 16-18
  • Featuring: Red Hot Chili Peppers, BABYMETAL, The 1975, Two Door Cinema Club
  • Ticketing info: www.summersonic.com/2019

Ultra Japan

Ultra celebrates all things dance and electronic music. The Miami-born festival marked a new chapter in its ever-expanding history when it made its first appearance in Tokyo in 2014—and every year since has seen more and more neon revellers and top billing of superstar DJs. The festival hasn’t announced its Japan lineup yet, but we’ll take cues from its previous bookings: Afrojack, Empire Of The Sun, Hardwell, Porter Robinson, and Steve Angello amongst others. 

  • Where: Tokyo Odaiba Ultra Park II, Tokyo
  • When: Sep 14 & 15
  • Previously featured: Afrojack, Empire Of The Sun, Hardwell, Porter Robinson
  • Ticketing info: ultrajapan.com
by Ng Su Ann

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