Last minute guide to Fuji Rock Festival 2015
Dates: Friday, 24 July to Sunday, 26 July. There's a free opening party on Thursday night if you want to maximize the experience and get in early. Expect lots of fireworks and bon odori, a traditional Japanese folk dance.
Doors open: 9.00am. Gigs start from 11.00am and run till around 5.00am daily.
Admission: One day tickets are ¥16,800 ($183) and the three-day ticket is ¥39,800 ($465) in advance.
Flights: Fly into Tokyo via Singapore Airlines, who's doing a two-for-one deal to Tokyo from now till 15 July, with a travel period till 31 August.
Visas: Most countries do not require a visa to Japan if you're staying for less than 90 days.
Where To Stay: The places marked with a star on the map indicate all lodging zones with hotels and small Japanese inns (also known as minshuku).
Staying in the Naeba or Asagai area is ideal since it's walking distance from the venue. If you can't find accommodation in Naeba, there are frequent and reliable shuttles which will get you to the festival site within 40 minutes from Echigo-Yuzawa, Mitsumata and Tashiro. We recommend staying near the Echigo-Yuzawa Station. There's more hotels to choose from, including local eateries Nakanoya and Kojimaya, which serve some of the best soba in the world.
Camping is always an option and for Fuji purists, a must. You'll need to buy a camping pass along with your ticket and be prepared to pitch your tent on a slope — it's a ski resort after all. Most of the flat ground will be taken by 10am on Friday, so get in early. Don't forget to funk up the top of your tent or risk not finding it when it gets awfully crowded.
Getting there: There are two ways to get there, either by car or train and festival shuttle. If you drive, you'll need to purchase your parking ticket along with your festival tickets as they're not available separately. From Tokyo, it's a one hour and ten minute train ride to Echigo-Yuzawa Station by the Joetsu Shinkansen Line. From the station, the festival is about 40 minutes away (without traffic) on shuttles which cost 500 yen, purchased from the train station and running from 5am to 12am daily. The return shuttle is free. The last train from Tokyo leaves at 10pm, while the return train from Echigo-Yuzawa leaves at 10.23pm, which makes day trips to the festival possible.
ONCE YOU'RE THERE...
Line-up: Foo Fighters, Muse and Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds are headlining, but don't forget the other 200 acts and activities to catch across the seven main stages and smaller ones. We recommend catching FKA Twigs, Rudimental, Hudson Mowhawke, The Vaccines, Galactic featuring Macy Gray, Johnny Marr, Of Monsters and Men, Flume, Joey Bada$$ and Max Cooper. See the full line-up here.
Don't miss: Catching your musical heros is only half the fun. Explore other hidden areas that have been curated to appeal to our inner child.
Catch a Dragondola — yes, a dragon and gondola in one — for a 20 minute ride up to the top of Mount Naeba for a full aerial view of the festival and some respite from the crowds and heat. With it's gigantic and surreal art installations, The Palace of Wonder runs till dawn but only opens after the last act of the Green Stage finishes. Home to Willy's Burlesque, a cabaret act and other thematic bands, Café de Paris is a Moulin Rouge-inspired space that serves wine and cocktails, a welcome change of tipple from beer.
What to wear: Prepare for rain or shine, as the weather at the festival can vary from 15 to 30 degrees. Rain is not uncommon so non-slip water proof trekking boots are best as well as a water proof jacket, especially since umbrellas are not allowed on site. While denim shorts may be de rigueur at many summer festivals, this festival is in the mountains, well amidst nature and the critters that come with it — so think about that when you're deciding on how much skin you want to expose.
The final piece: The festival's audience attracts one of, if not the most considerate, polite and civic crowd around. Do your part in maintaining this festival utopia through considerate acts — we think adopting a zen approach is best. Mark your timetable with the acts you want to catch but don't be too precious about it, and free yourself to explore and follow your fancies. Festivals are about coming together through a shared love for music, a chance to make new friends and be a part of a collective experience that can never be replicated. The countdown begins now.
- Image: Getty Images
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