Fuji Rock Festival 2020 is from August 21st – 23rd of August
Allured, you continue your walk through the meadow; you notice the captivating sound of music echoing through the trees. You follow the sound, baffled and entranced, and the music begins to become recognizable.
It is indeed the rhythm you’ve been swaying to all along. In fact, it’s your favorite band, jamming and sending musical vibrations throughout the natural scenery! Björk, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Radiohead, Jack Johnson, and Muse. . .
Welcome to the Fuji Rock Festival — Japan’s biggest (and most stunning) music festival.
Other Top rock festivals in the world include the Download Festival in Donington Park UK
The festival was in the naturally dazzling Naeba Ski Resort, in Yuzawa, Japan, from July 26th – July 28th. Even though there is focus on rock music, there are more music genres in the fest.
It featured more popular musicians by the likes of SIA, The Cure, The Chemical Brothers and, Martin Garrix — as well 200 other Japanese and international musicians.
2020 Ticket Info
Earliest Bird tickets will only be available in Japan at the price of ￥39,800 (Approx €330) for all 3 days. You can purchase the entries on Monday February 10th, Tuesday February 25th, at e+, and on Saturday February 29th at Gan-Ban stores.
The rest of the ticket sales begin from Friday March 6th for the first tier, at the price of: ￥43,000 (Approx €357) for all 3 days. 2 days at the festival is at ￥34,000 ( Approx €283) and a Single day entry is at ￥19,000 (Approx €158).
What Makes Fuji Rock Festival Special
What separates the Fuji Rock Festival from every other festival is it’s absolute devotion to preserving the natural landscape around it, boasting to be the cleanest festival in the world. A difficult task, considering over 100,000 people will be all-in to dance, party, and bask in the pristine scenery.
The festival is run on almost entirely renewable energy and bio-fuels, and has strict rules about smoking in public, as well as policies that make it easy to dispose of trash and recycle.
Wondering about the vibe? The vibe is so safe and family friendly that kids frequently forgo camping, and even simply sleep under the stars.
If you’re from the western world, the Fuji Rock Festival is one of the best possible introductions to eastern culture — the Japanese can be quite koi. Their kind and playful hearts are yet another astonishing aspect of the festival.
So Why Fuji Rock Festival?
When this summer rolls around, and the festival season is in full swing, what will you be doing? Sitting on your couch watching your grass bleach, partially due to the sun but mostly due to your neighbor’s dog’s urine?
Or will you say “YES” to culture, music, and the biggest party in Japan. Exploring the untouched Japanese oasis, swaying to the rhythm alongside the trees, the falling petals of exotic flowers, and the rowdy, rockin’ Fuji Rock community.
In one of the three camping sites offered by Fuji Rock Festival, or at the Naeba ski resort for hotels and resorts.
Fuji Rock Festival Tips
At Fuji Rock festival, there are 3 core principles that participants must abide by. Don’t worry, they are simple:
#1 Look After Yourself #2 After Each Other #3 Nature
With these 3 principles in mind, some things to consider are:
1# Prepare for the weather
Mt. Naeba (like most mountain climates) is notorious for its variability. A sunny afternoon can turn into a torrential downpour within in minutes.
Furthermore, the festival does not allow umbrellas into the festival grounds, or any gear that can obstruct the view of nature and the stage (tents, parasols, selfie-sticks, etc). Bring a pack that has a poncho, with lighter clothing for the sunny moments, and warmer clothing for the chilly nights.
2# Watch your step
Ski resorts rarely have flat ground (duh!). Keep this in mind when choosing a campsite (if you are camping in the ski resort), and be prepared to walk across terrains with shifting gradients.
3# Bugs, bugs, and bug spray
Mt. Naeba, a highly preserved and untouched mountain landscape, is home to bees, wasps, and ticks. While the festival organizers remove bee-hives from the populated areas before the festival, it is recommended to wear clothing that covers your skin, but isn’t so loose that these bugs can get caught inside your clothes. These bugs are typically not a disturbance, but bug spray is a great deterrent.
What To Do?
The Fuji Rock Festival contains almost everything you could want to do, onsite.
The Dragondala (or doragondora, in Japanese)
The largest gondola lift in the world is a must see at the festival. This 15-minute ride will carry you and your friends about 3.5 miles to the top of the Mt. Naebu, with an elevation gain of nearly 1500 ft. From the top, you can enjoy a stunning view of the surrounding mountains, as well as a grand overview of the bumpin’ festival.
There are number of hiking trails on the outskirts of the festival grounds. They range in levels of difficulty, but the most common and beautiful are the simple forest walkways.
These will take you through magical worlds of wooded forests and shimmering streams and rivers, revealing views of the surrounding mountains. This kind of beauty most certainly can’t be found in any urban landscape.
Tired of dancing? The festival has a movie theater — onsight — as a relaxing get-away from the loud music and avid partiers. How crazy is that?
The Palace of Wonder
Peruse the works of art in this Japanese art gallery while enjoying Raman Noodles. The Palace of Wonder also hosts entertainment shows, and even has a casino for you to test your luck.
If you are looking to do some exploration outside the festival, the nearest town is Mitsumata, a section of the greater Yuzawa district, and the festival provides shuttles to and from this small ski town.
You can find a few restaurants, the local Shirataki Brewery, a few stores, and nature-oriented tourist attractions such as Kiyotsu Gorge and the Yuzawa Alpine Garden.
Where To Stay?
There are 3 main campsites within the festival:
-the main campsite (located on a golf course next to the festival)
-the Pyramid Gardens
-the car-camping section.
Each campsite has it’s own value, but the Pyramid Gardens campsite is a flat and grassy area, in an otherwise unlevel and rocky terrain. Tickets are a little more expensive, but well worth the cost if you are particular about your sleeping conditions.
These campsites fill up pretty quickly, but there are other options if you are unable to acquire a ticket. There are 3 ski-resorts nearby, with free shuttle services to the festival – Tashiro, Asagai, and Mitsumata all have a variety of accommodations, from camping to lodging.
Hotels and more
If camping just isn’t your style, the Naeba ski resort offers 2 hotels within walking distance of the festival —- Ryokan and Futaba.
If you are interested in staying here, you can contact the hotels and ask to be put on a waiting list for the dates of the festival.
The Japan Lifestyle Apartments FJ01 are a more luxurious option, costing from $345 – $425 a night. They offer much more space, and can be shared with friends to reduce the cost.
These apartments also include the shuttle service to the festival.
Now, definitely make sure to book any accommodation far ahead of time, as these places tend to sell out quickly near the time of the festival. You can book ahead of time using a website such as booking
What To Eat?
The center of the festival is a place called, The Oasis. With 30 different worldly food stalls, festival-goers have access to nearly the entire palette of the globe. Hungry for some Aloha? Hit the Oasis for Hawaiian food (loco moco bowls, acai bowls, you name it!).
Got a craving for Ethiopian or East African cuisine? The Oasis is the place. Indian food, sushi, Mediterranean, American…. You name it, the Oasis has it.
As well, you can feel free pack your own food and make your own meals. Be sure to bring snacks around as you dance your face off to keep your blood levels healthy.
How to Get There?
Niigata Airport is the closest airport to the festival. Every 20 minutes, a bus goes to the train station. This takes 25 minutes and costs $4. From Niigata Train Station, catch the Shinkansen Max Toki line, leaving every hour to Echigo-Yuzawa Station.
This train ride takes 50 minutes and will cost $30 – $50. From Echigo-Yuzawa Station, the festival shuttle bus will be transporting festival-goers to the festival for a $5 ticket, which includes your return ticket back to the train station.
The Fuji Rock Festival organizes a bus to and from the festival from 16 locations all over Japan. Including but not limited to, Hachioji, Funabashi, Yokohama, and even in Shin-in.
From Tokyo Station, you can take the Shinkansen Max Toki train to Echigo-Yuzawa Station for $40 – $65. Leaving every hour, this train will take about an 1.5 hours to arrive to Echigo-Yuzawa Station. From here, the festival shuttle bus will provide transport, taking approximately 1 hour, to the festival for a little under $5, which includes your return shuttle back to the train station.
Alternatively, you can taxi to the festival from Echigo-Yuzawa station for a whopping (estimated) $250.
From Tokyo Station, you can catch a bus operated by Kan-etsu Transportation, to Shima Onsen. This bus leaves once a day, will cost $48, and will take about 3.5 hours to arrive in Shima Onsen.
Shima Onsen to Echigo-Yuzawa Station is one of the most expensive taxi rides you may ever take — costing $280 – $340, and taking a little over an hour.
Alternatively, you can taxi from Shima Onsen to Jomo Kogen in 45 minutes for $140 – $160, and catch the hourly train from Jomo Kogen station to Echigo-Yuzawa Station in 15 minutes, for $17 – $25.
From Echigo-Yuzawa Station, the shuttle bus will transport you to the festival for $5 (return shuttle to the train station included), taking about another hour.
Driving from Tokyo to Mt. Naeba will require you to have a readable knowledge of the Japanese language.
There are 2 train options to get to Mt. Naeba from Kyoto. The fastest and most convenient is taking the Shinkansen Nozomi line, leaving Kyoto Station every 20 minutes towards Tokyo. This route costs $95 – $140 and takes approximately 2 hours.
With a 25 minute transfer in Tokyo Station, you can then catch the Shinkansen Max Toki to Echigo-Yuzawa Station, arriving in 1.5 hours for $40 – $65.
The total travel time is estimated at 4 hours, and the total travel cost is estimated between $138 – $200. For $5 the shuttle will transport you from Echigo-Yuzawa to Fuji Rock Festival in an hour (return ticket included).
The other train option is from Kyoto to Kanazawa, to Itoigawa, to Naoetsu, and finally to Echigo-Yuzawa Station — an 8 hour journey costing $112 – $135.
From Kyoto Station, catch the Access Shinshu bus-line to Nagano. A 7.5 hour journey costing $66. From Nagano, you must transfer to the train station, where you can find train lines leaving hourly to Echigo-Yuzawa, operated by Shinkansen Hakutaka and Shinkansen Asama.
An approximately 1.5 hour journey, costing between $55 -$80, with a transfer in Takasaki. From Echigo-Yuzawa, the festival shuttle bus will transport you to the festival for 5$ (return trip included) in an hour.
Fuji Rock History
Fuji Rock’s first festival was created in 1968 and held on the side of Mt. Fuji, hence the name Fuji Rock Festival. With only a few hundred people attending, due the Japanese government denying men with long hair entrance into the country (which we estimate was 95% of all the rockers in 1968). The festival did not become an annual event until 1997 (the official first Fuji Rock Festival).
Some tough patches on the road
Incredibly, the Fuji Rock Festival survived it’s first year — it had some rough patches. Not only was the event struck by a typhoon, leaving the crowd in desperate need of medical attention due to hypothermia, but the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ (the headliner of ‘97) lead guitarist played through the typhoon with a broken arm.
Some of the Japanese values, ingrained in their culture, are: honor, duty, and respect. Although the first official festival was a rough one, they definitely honored their commitment to their attendees; with their headliner fulfilling their face-melting duties despite the worst weather conditions the festival has ever faced, which ultimately gained respect worldwide as a kick-butt, guaranteed to rock your face, festival.
Ever since, the festival has thrived. Years to come are to be no exception.