Tokyo is nothing if not hip, urban, and ahead of the curve, and the music scene here is no exception.
The most unique music festival here (or most other places, for that matter) is the Tokyo Summer Festival. Usually held through the month of July and into August, the festival takes place at different venues in the city. It focuses around a different theme every year — past themes include “Forest Echoes/Desert Voices”, “Songs of the Earth/Music in the Streets”, and “Ritual, Nature, and Music”. What separates this festival from others, however, is the breadth of the musical genres that is explored. Main features are classical and folk artists, but everything from hip-hop to pop also gets covered in this international extravaganza.
If you’re willing to make the trek north, Fuji Rock Festival takes place up in the mountains at the Naeba Ski Resort. Taking place at the end of July/beginning of August every summer, this festival attracts the latest and hippest in alternative (mainly American) artists. There is a larger stage but also some smaller ones tucked into the forest, providing an intimate and unforgettable concert experience. And only an hour and a half away by bullet train!
Summer Sonic has a more familiar mainstream concert feel, and takes place at the Chiba Marine Stadium in Tokyo and the Makuhari Messe convention center. The headliners at this late August festival are the rock bands currently topping the charts in the U.S.
Toward the beginning of September, the Tokyo Jazz Festival gets rolling for a few days of jazz legends and up-and-comers playing their latest and some of the classics. With international artists and appeal, you’ll hear some familiar tunes and some completely new sounds.
And October 1st is International Music Day in Tokyo, meaning if you’re around on that day or the several days before and after, you can find lots of local and international bands playing at a bunch of venues around town. If you keep an open mind, you might discover a new type of music you never knew existed!
[photo courtesy of marfis75]