Late July and August in Japan is the time for rock and popular music festivals. One of the best is the Earth Celebration on Sado-ga-shima, where the famed Kodo drummers collaborate with guests from the world music scene. If you want to catch up on the latest in Japanese rock and pop then schedule your visit to coincide with the most established event, as far as foreign bands is concerned, Fuji Rock (wwww.fujirockfestival.com). This huge three-day event hosts a wide range of top-name acts covering musical genres from dance and electronica to jazz and blues on multiple stages. It takes place at Naeba Ski Resort in Niigata prefecture, easily accessible from Tokyo via Shinkansen. It’s possible to visit for a day, camp or stay in the hotels that in winter cater to the ski crowd.
Attracting an audience of well over 100,000 and simpler to get to is Summer Sonic (wwww.summersonic.com), a two-day event held in Chiba, just across the Edo-gawa River from Tokyo. This festival showcases a good mix of both local and overseas bands and has both indoor and outdoor performances.
Rock in Japan (wrijfes.jp), focusing on domestic bands, is usually held in August at Hitachi Seaside Park, north of Tokyo in Ibaraki-ken (accessible from Ueno Station).