Summer days in Tokyo are notoriously hot and humid. This year, because of electricity issues related to the Tohoku Earthquake, air conditioners across Japan are turned down – if they’re on at all. What’s the best way to cool off? You could head for the beach, or – as about 100,000 people, including some of the TokyoFashion.com crew, did this weekend – the mountains. What were 100,000 people doing hanging out together in the mountains of Japan? Three words – Fuji…Rock…Festival!!!

Fuji Rock Festival

The Fuji Rock Festival is one of the most famous music festivals in all of Japan. From its now-legendary typhoon-struck beginnings in the shadow of Mt. Fuji almost 15 years ago to its move to Naeba – and subsequent rise in popularity – Fuji Rock prides itself as the granddaddy of all of Japan’s now-numerous summer music festivals.

Fuji Rock is much more than just three days of hundreds of world-famous bands playing on stages scattered around a beautiful green mountainside setting (although it is that, too). The festival brings together a huge group of extremely friendly, nature-peace-and-music-loving people that some have called, for lack of a better term, “hippies”. It’s hard to think of a place in Japan where it’s easier to make new friends than Fuji Rock.

Fuji Rock Festival

Besides the music, there is camping, plenty of food and drink, performers, arts and crafts booths, all of the trees and rivers you could ever dream of, and even a cable car to the top of one of the mountains. Various NGOs are on hand to raise awareness of social issues in Japan. This year, we saw a number of anti-nuclear campaigners on site – as you might expect after the Fukushima disaster.

The bands at this year’s Fuji Rock Festival included The Chemical Brothers, Towa Tei, Coldplay, Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra, Manu Chao, The Kills, The Naked and Famous, Yellow Magic Orchestra (with Ryuichi Sakamoto), Jimmy Eat World, CSS, Sugar Plum Ferry (from Taiwan, not the one from Sweden), 80Kidz, and hundreds of others. It’s impossible to see all of the bands because many of them are playing at the same time, but we did our best!

Fuji Rock Festival

Storms dumped heavy rains on all three days of this year’s Fuji Rock. That’s nothing new for the festival. While it does create a lot of mud, it doesn’t slow the 24/7 party atmosphere. The wet weather meant that the fashion on display this year was mostly rain jackets and rain boots. Fuji Rock fashion is definitely something that you have to see to believe. Years before the term “Yama Girls” became hip in Tokyo via fashion magazines, Japanese girls (and guys) at Fuji Rock were dancing away their days and nights in stylish outfits of colorful patterned mountain gear.

Fuji Rock Festival

There will be plenty of music magazines and music websites posting pictures and video of the various bands who played at Fuji Rock 2011. Instead of bands, we decided that this year we would focus our coverage on the concertgoers and their colorful rain fashion. We only brought a compact camera with us – and we were using it most of the time in the rain – so please forgive the less-than-studio quality of the pictures. We hope that the photos will give you a taste of the Fuji Rock Festival vibe. And we really hope that they might encourage you to check it out for yourself! As usual, you can click on any of the pictures to see them in high resolution.

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Once the festival is over, it’s about an hour and fifteen minutes on the fast and comfortable Shinkansen (bullet train) back to Tokyo!

For information on next year’s Fuji Rock Festival (Fuji Rock 2012), keep an eye on the official Smash Japan website.

16 Comments

  1. omg. Those rabbits holding the picket says “war is over?” are so cute!
    Thank you for these great pictures!

  2. Everything looks so beautiful and lovely!! I don’t like any of the bands on the bill (at least, none of the ones I know :P), but everything looks so great and fun it still makes me wish I’d been there :) All the people look so relaxed… and the landscape is just breathtaking <3

    I have no words, really :)

    BTW, watching the pictures, I couldn't help but asking myself: "Where's the trash?!" There isn't any!! OMG!! I've been to festivals in Spain (it's where I live, actually) and the entire ground was just covered in plastic glasses and all kinds of rubbish… it's SO disgusting! And here everything is just… CLEAN! O__O I couldn't believe my eyes, really. I think this is just another proof that the japanese are the most civilized people on the entire planet.

    I just had to say it ^^

    I'm more and more in love with Japan every day <33

    Love! xx

  3. OMG, what a FANTASTIC collection of pix!

    I’m with Felix, that rabbit with “war is over” – so great!

    The 2 peeps in Michael Jackson Captain EO t-shirts, wow!

    And just so much FUN / COLOR / ENERGY!

    So many great pix! Thanks so much for sharing!!

  4. Pingback: Fujirockers: The official Fuji Rock Festival blog » Blog Archive » Fuji fashion 2

  5. I can’t believe I missed the Clockwork Orange crew!!
    And Chopper <3
    I saw a kid in a Chopper raincoat but has to resist both stealing it (raincoat, not the kid) when I was helping his mother push their pram up half an effing mountain of mud. :'(
    Very sweet family though! ^^)

  6. Massive congratulations to all who gave input to Fuji Rock ’11 my ichi ban festival… missing Japan big time see you 2012 or 2013 xxxxx

  7. JamJammieJam

    Loving all the Clockwork Orange cosplayers! Oh!Little Alex!~

  8. Amazing Pictures! What I would give to be there!

  9. Might Whales

    Great bands on the bill. Fuji rock is a blast. But come on, this whole “mountain girl/boy” 山ガル look is lame. It’s not even original. It’s how everyone dresses at EVERY outdoor festival in Japan.

  10. sillyboybrybry

    What an awesome festival!! You didnt need to like all the bands on the bill. There was always something to discover round the corner that would inform or entertain. We spent a lot of time in the mornings exploring and discovering great things. We stopped at Gypsy Avalon to have a look on Friday and discovered a stall selling flower headbands. The one my wife wanted was sold out so we organised to meet them back there at midday on Saturday to get a new one. I spent 45 minutes watching sugar plum ferry in awe! So happy we had to go back.

  11. Can anyone tell me wheer to go those rain boots with the B on? What brand are they?
    Clecky