12 Best Summer Music Festivals in Japan 2023

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Stefanie Akkerman moved from the Netherlands to Japan in 2013 with her Japanese husband and son. She jumped into the niche of Dutch tour guiding in Tokyo and Kamakura in 2015 and occasionally writes articles about all the great sights and activities Japan has to offer. She loves (Japanese) food, and to work that all off she goes diving, snorkeling, cycling, or hiking.

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Once summer starts, there are endless outdoor activities in Japan. There are traditional matsuri festivals and firework festivals all throughout the country, but did you know that Japan is also a very good destination for music festivals? If you enjoy rocking out to the best bands and artists from all over the world, keep reading for a list of the best Summer Music Festivals in Japan in 2023! 

1. Fuji Rock Festival

Kevin Utting, (CC BY 2.0), via flickr

Perhaps the most well-known summer music festival in Japan, Fuji Rock Festival is guaranteed to have some of the music world’s biggest names on stage like Foo Fighters, Vaundy, and The Strokes. Of course, there is also no shortage of local musicians such as the famous ELLEGARDEN. For those who won’t be able to join the festival in person, they will also be holding a Live YouTube feed for free for everyone to watch.

Dates: July 28 – 30, 2023
Where: Naeba Ski Resort, Yuzawa, Niigata Prefecture
Official website: Fuji Rock Festival  

2. Rock in Japan Fes

hildgrim, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons (2009 Festival)

The Rock in Japan Fes is the largest J-pop and J-rock festival in Japan when it comes to the number of fans. This festival always manages to attract some of the hottest artists in the history of J-pop. Musical legends such as Bump of Chicken, One OK Rock, and Hyde share the stage with fresh talent like Vaundy and this is LAST. If you want to be immersed in Japan’s pop and rock scene, this is the summer festival for you!

Dates: August 5-6, 11-13, 2023
Where: Soga Sports Park, Chiba prefecture
Official website: Rock in Japan Fes  

3. Summer Sonic Festival 2023

LuxTonnerre, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Held simultaneously near Tokyo and Osaka, the Summer Sonic Festival is one of the summer festivals that is the most accessible. It is also the Japanese summer music festival that attracts the most artists from abroad. This year, they were able to get some amazing acts such as KENDRICK LAMAR, FALL OUT BOY, and LIAM GALLAGHER! And of course, there will be many famous Japanese artists like Yoasobi and [Alexandros] to name a few.

Dates: August 19 – 20, 2023
Where: ZOZO Marine Stadium/Makuhari Messe near Tokyo/Maishima Sports Island in Osaka
Official website: Summer Sonic 2023 

4. Rising Sun Rock Festival

Due to the fact that it is held in Hokkaido, temperatures are bound to be on the cooler side during the Rising Sun Rock Festival. Mainly featuring Japanese rock and indie performers, you can enjoy the music in a beautiful rural environment. This year’s line up includes artists such as Asian Kung-fu Generation, My hair is bad, Yoasobi, and Super Beaver!

Dates: August 11 – 12, 2023
Where: Ishikari and Otaru, Hokkaido
Official website: Rising Sun Rock Festival  

5. Sweet Love Shower 2023

With wonderful views of Mt. Fuji and Lake Yamanakako in the background, the Sweet Love Shower festival is a great way to enjoy the best of Japan’s music scene. This year you will have the opportunity to listen to artists like Wanima, The Oral Cigarettes, and Creepy Nuts among others in the clean and fresh mountain air. 

Dates: August 25 – 27, 2023
Where: Lake Yamanakako, Yamanashi prefecture
Official website: Sweet Love Shower 2023 

6. Download Japan

For the best rock and metal bands from Japan as well as other countries, Download Japan is the place to be! Held in one of the largest indoor event spaces in all of Tokyo, the Makuhari Messe, it is easy to get to this one-day festival. Rock out to bands like Mastodon, Bullet for my Valentine, and Band-Maid in the comfort of an air-conditioned venue.

Dates: Usually late-August
*We will update the dates for 2023 when it’s officially announced
Where: Makuhari Messe near Tokyo
Official website: Download Japan   

7. Rush Ball

Rush Ball is an open-air rock event in Osaka where everyone who loves to experience music the best way(live right in front of you) get together and enjoy great music among one another. Dance and sing along with Japanese rock groups like Shishamo, Hump Back, Creepy Nuts, and BiSH!

Dates: Usually late-August
*We will update the dates for 2023 when it’s officially announced
Where: Izumiotsu Phoenix Multipurpose Field, Osaka
Official website: Rush Ball 

8. MONSTER baSH

Shikoku is probably most famous for its 88 temple pilgrimage. However every summer, music fans go on a different kind of pilgrimage to Kagawa’s beautiful Sanuki Manno National Park to enjoy music under the beautiful blue sky while surrounded by lush greenery and colorful flowers. With both lively concert venues and even more quiet open nature spots, MONSTER baSH (or Monbash) has something to offer for everyone. Enjoy Japanese artists such as bucknumber, MONGOL800, Creepy Nuts, and Vaundy at this festival out in the middle of nature.

Dates: August 19 – 20, 2023
Where: National Sanuki Manno Park, Kagawa prefecture
Official website: MONSTER baSH 

9. Local Green Festival

You don’t have to leave the metropolitan area to enjoy music while you’re surrounded by green. At the end of the summer, the Local Green Festival is held in the picturesque Red Brick Warehouse in Yokohama. With good eats as well as good music featuring Japanese artists like Rhymester, ReN, Awich, and Chilli Beans, this outdoor festival is fun for the whole family!

Dates: September 9 – 10, 2023
Where: Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse, Kanagawa prefecture
Official website: Local Green Festival 

10. Inazuma Rock Fes

Rock.jazz.cafe, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons (2015 Festival)

On the scenic shore of Japan’s largest lake, Lake Biwa, Inazuma Rock Fes is held in the middle of September. With multiple stages and a free area, every year it is a large get together for those who love to listen to Japanese rock music. Jam out to bands like Da-iCE, Vaundy, Dish//, and Novelbright at Shiga’s largest music festival not far from the touristy Kyoto.

Dates: Usually mid-September
*We will update the dates for 2023 when it’s officially announced
Where: Lawn Square, Kusatsu, Shiga prefecture
Official website: Inazuma Rock Fes 

11. Gampeki Music Festival 2023

Photo by: gampekimusicfes

The Gampeki Music Fes that’s held in September in the rural Yamaguchi prefecture has one of the most spectacular backdrops for a music festival. It is held in an old stone quarry with large vertical stone walls that surround the festival terrain. Once the evening approaches, the light show that accompanies the music is beautifully reflected on the walls and it feels as if you are in another world!

Dates: Usually mid-September
*We will update the dates for 2023 when it’s officially announced
Where: Uriwari Sekitei Park, Yamaguchi prefecture
Official website: Gampeki Music Festival 2022 

12. Greenroom Beach

If you like Japanese rock music and being on the beach, then you can’t miss the Greenroom Beach music festival near Osaka. Bask in the comfortable ocean breeze at the end of the summer season while enjoying music by bands like Nulbarich, Sirup, and Def Tech. There is also a beach market, where they sell scrumptious finger foods that are hard to pass up.

Dates: June 10-11, 2023
Where: Sennan Long Park, Osaka
Official website: Greenroom Beach 

As you can see, there are loads of great summer music festivals that you can take part in in Japan. No matter what kind of music you are into, there is bound to be a festival out there that you can enjoy. We hope you found a festival that you want to join and that you can take advantage of the hot but beautiful summer in Japan!

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