If you've ever wanted to dance to sick beats in an unexpected destination, Japan should be on your list. The Fuji Rock Festival is unlike any other musical festival you’re used to — not quite as mainstream as Coachella or Tomorrowland, but indie enough to have you partying it up with friendly travelers from all over the globe. Surrounded by a gorgeous mountain landscape, you’ll listen to the best British, American, and Japanese dance music while dining on incredible eats made for hard-core foodies. The festival also features eccentric entertainment options, from hot baths and comedy shows to even eating contests. With all that going on, we guarantee you’ll never be bored.
How to Get There
The best way to get to Fuji Rock Fest is by flying to Tokyo first. We recommend arriving a few days before the festival so you can explore the cool city of Tokyo before moving on. When you do, you’ll take the world-famous bullet train known as Skinkansen to a city called Echigo Yuzawa. After an hour-long ride, you can take a shuttle bus to the Fuji Rock Festival, hosted at the Naeba ski resort. The shuttle will cost 500 yen (not even $5 USD) and the return trip will be free, so totally worth it. Other transportation options include a helicopter ride, costing you 30,000 yen, and the Dragondola cable, which takes you up to the top of the mountains for breathtaking views and fun party games.
Where to Stay
Whether you want to stay grounded in nature or prefer luxurious comfort, the festival offers grounds and lodging for both. For roughing it, there are three campsites to choose from: the main campsite, the pyramid garden campsite, and the auto-campsite. The main campsite is the closest to the festival and normally gathers over 17,000 party goers each year. The Pyramid Garden campsite is near the official bus stop and is limited to those on official bus tours, and the Auto-Campsite is good for those who are arriving to the festival by vehicle. For a more comfortable stay, consider the nearby hotels or traditional Japanese Inns, such as the Naebe Prince Hotel or Hotel Effe.
Which Artists to Catch
Whichever type of music you’re craving, the Fuji Rock Festival has it. All weekend long, six different stages will feature a variety of music, from rock to indie and pop to jazz. With so many stages and choices, there will be music that will satisfy any ears. Popular artists that will headline this year include Bjork, Lorde, Gorillaz and Rag & Bone Man. If you’re looking for more indie music, this year is special as 44 new artists have been added to the final line up.
What to Eat
Food and drink can easily be found in an area called Oasis, a large hospitality area that features food from all over the world. As you can imagine, festival food in Japan is quite unique. At this festival, you’ll find Japanese cuisine, noodles, curry, kebabs, Thai, Indian and even sake. The great news is that everything is reasonably priced and you won’t have to line up for ages for a beer. The festival also offers one of the first covered food courts in the city, known as the Orange Café, where you can enjoy exclusive eats with some indie tunes. For a relaxed experienced, head to an area within the Oasis known as the World Restaurant Area, a section that offers sit down food options accompanied by DJ tents.
What to Pack
Usually for any type of festival, you’ll want to wear fun colorful clothing. For Fuji Rock Festival, we recommend going for the boho/hippy look to go along with the indie vibes — and don't forget what's culturally appropriate to begin with (the Japanese are more conservative than westerners typically are). Make sure to pack a backpack with essentials such as sunscreen, cash, your phone, and sunglasses. Don’t forget to bring a rain jacket and rain boots, as it can rain during this time of year in Japan. It is also recommended to bring insect repellent and toiletries, especially if you are camping on the nearby grounds. You can also bring swimwear and towels to be used at the nearby creeks and hot baths.