Fuji Rock 2012
This year’s Fuji Rock festival is shaping up to be a cracker. Get the most out of it with our complete how-to guide
Fuji Rock is the favourite overseas festival of Hongkongers, with a growing contingent making the pilgrimage to Japan for the three-day event each year. And with Radiohead headlining the 2012 edition, interest this year is bound to hit fever pitch. Here’s our guide to getting the most out of Fuji Rock ‘12:
When is it?
Friday 27th-Sunday 29th July (although parts of the festival site are open on the eve of Thursday 26th, with a few live performances.
The headliners this year are reformed indie gods The Stone Roses (Friday), Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds (Saturday) and the one-and-only Radiohead (Sunday). Other highlights include Jack White, Explosions in the Sky, The Shins, Beady Eye, Gossip, Justice, The Field, Caribou, At The Drive In, Refused, Spiritualized, Elvis Costello, The Specials, Toots & The Maytals and Ray Davies. More bands are still to be announced.
How much are tickets?
A three-day ticket costs 42,800 yen (approx. HK$4,200); a one-day ticket costs 17,800 yen (approx. HK$1,750). Tickets can be purchased (with a 2,000 yen [approx. HK$200] booking fee per ticket) at www.ganban.net/frf12-oversea.html
Camping tickets cost 3,000 yen (approx. HK$300) per person and must be purchased with your festival ticket; it is not possible to buy camping tickets separately.
How to get there:
The festival takes place at Naeba Ski Resort, close to the town of Yuzawa-machi in Niigata Prefecture. The closest train station to the festival site is JR Echigo Yuzawa, from where shuttle buses (departing every 15mins or so from 6am-1am) ferry ticket holders to the festival site some 40mins away. JR Echigo Yuzawa is around 1 hour 15mins from Tokyo by bullet train (shikansen), or closer to 4 hours from Tokyo by local trains (plus you’ll need to change trains twice).
To get from Narita Airport to Tokyo by train: The Narita Express takes around 90mins to Tokyo Station and leaves the airport every half hour or less from 7.30am to 7.15pm. After 7.15pm, trains are less frequent and vary depending on the day, with the last train leaving Terminal 1 at 9.44pm. See: http://jreast-shinkansen-reservation.eki-net.com/pc/english/common/timetable/e_nex_u/index.html
Tickets cost just under 3,000 yen (approx. HK$300) one-way. http://www.jreast.co.jp/e/nex/tickets.html
To get from Narita Airport to Tokyo by bus: The Airport Limousine bus service leaves Narita seven times a day, with the first departure at 1.30pm, and the last at 9pm. The journey to Tokyo Station takes around two hours and costs 3,000 one-way.
To get from Haneda Airport to Tokyo Station: Take the Tokyo Monorail to Hamamatsu-cho then change to the JR Yamanote line and ride the three stops to Tokyo Station. Travel time is around 30mims. Tokyo Subway map: http://www.tokyometro.jp/en/subwaymap/pdf/routemap_en.pdf
To get the bullet train from Tokyo Station to JR Echigo Yuzawa: Take the Joetsu Shikansen from Tokyo Station, on the Marunouchi Line (red) of the Metro. Trains leave every 20 mins or less, with the first train at 06.08, and the last at 22.24 (there is a later train, at 23.00, but note this doesn’t go to Echigo Yuzawa. Other trains that don’t stop at Echigo Yuzawa: 09.12; 12.32; 15.32; 16.32; 21.12). Tickets cost 6,490 yen (approx. HK$645) each way.
To get the local train: take the train (JR Yamanote Line) from Tokyo Station to Ueno; from there, take the train to Takasaki; from there, it’s on to Echigo Yuzawa. Travel time is around 4 hours (potentially more, depending on waiting times between trains) and it costs around 3,000 yen. Beware, however, that trains on some sections of the trip depart just 5 times per day, so careful pre-planning is a must.
Getting back to Tokyo after the festival: The last train for Tokyo leaves JR Echigo Yuzawa at 22.23, well before the acts finish. It’s best to leave on Monday morning/lunchtime, although expect queues…
Accommodation: There are a few lodges and small hotels close to the festival in Yuzawa-machi, but if you haven’t booked them by now, you’re too late. That means you’ll be camping. If you can, it’s best to arrive on Thursday afternoon to get a good spot. The campsite is on a slope, so late arrivals may find that the only spots left are a grueling trudge away at the top of the hill. And while it might not seem that bad in the light of day, it will likely be a different story at 4am after a day of walking and bouncing. There is a shop that sells some camping essentials at the festival entrance, but we highly recommend taking everything you’ll need (tent, sleeping bags, etc) along with you.
Bands start around noon each day, running through to around 11pm on most stages. On Friday and Saturday, the Red Marquee keeps going until around 5am. It’s generally fairly warm, but it does rain, sometimes heavily, so make sure you have appropriate footwear and a waterproof jacket or poncho.
For full-lineups and information, see www.smash-uk.com/frf12