10 Tips to Survive Summer Sonic Music Festival

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Tags: entertainmentfestivalskansaikantoosakapopculturetokyo

Have you heard about Summer Sonic? It’s one of the biggest and most anticipated music events in Japan, held concurrently in Tokyo (Chiba) and Osaka in August every year. The festival attracts top international and Japanese artists from Coldplay, Muse, Imagine Dragons, Rihanna, to X Japan, One OK Rock, and Kyary Pamyu Pamyu. It’s an event not to be missed for music fans travelling to Japan during the summer period.

In this article, let’s find out about this highly anticipated festival and some tips on how to have a good time at the show!

A Music Feast For All

Image credit: Nesnad / Wikimedia Commons

Taking place over the weekend, Summer Sonic is a two-day affair that features extravagant artist lineup and various genres such as rock, pop, and electronic dance music. Besides having the big names as headliners, there are also many up-and-coming stars and indie acts from across Japan and the world. The artists usually play in Tokyo on the first day and Osaka on the second day or vice versa, though the lineup for Tokyo and Osaka is not identical.

Tokyo concert venue.
Image credit: Sachiko Miyamoto on Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

As an urban music festival which you can attend just like going a day trip, the venues for Summer Sonic are easily accessible from the cities via public transportation. The Tokyo show takes place at ZOZO Marine Stadium and Makuhari Messe, a large convention centre overlooking Tokyo Bay not far from the Tokyo Disney Resort, whereas the Osaka show takes place at Maishima Sonic Park (Maishima Sports Island) which is close to the Universal Studios Japan.

Discover Your Favourites

Whether in Tokyo or Osaka, multiple stages are set up across the venue to feature different acts at the same time. While the main stages are headlined by the big names, don’t forget to check out also the comparatively less crowded smaller stages. Move around from one stage to another catching whichever acts that interest you, in the process, you might just discover some great talents that would become your favourites since!

Image credit: LuxTonnerre on Flickr / CC BY 2.0


Satisfy The Foodie In You

What’s a Japanese festival without a myriad of food and drinks? With hundreds of select food stalls set up across the venue offering mouthwatering choices from rice bowls to hamburgers, ramen to shaved ice, festival-goers would not only have their auditory and visual senses fulfilled but also the gustatory one. Whenever you get hungry or thirsty during the show, simply head to the vendors and fill up.

Tokyo Only All-Night Performances

Sonicmania and Hostess Club All-Nighter are Tokyo only night-time show with their own attractive lineup that even the non-party animals might enjoy it. Sonicmania is a warm-up gig focusing on electronic dance music that takes place on Friday night, whereas Hostess Club All-Nigher keeps the party going after the end of day 1 program until the Sunday morning. Now, party to your heart’s content if you like!

Attend The Festival Like A Pro

Despite all the cool acts that would send the festival goers screaming and fanatical, Summer Sonic is, after all, a summer event where you will be rocking out under the midsummer’s sun or worse, in the pouring rain because the event will take place rain or shine. Besides, the festival runs from morning till night. It is also crowded – imagine there are tens of thousands of people attending the event.

Here are 10 tips to help you enjoy the festival as much as possible in spite of the crowds, heat, and rain.

#1 Plan your day

As artists will be performing on different stages at the same time, this means that you might not get to see all the acts you want. Do check the concert’s timetable when it is out and plan which gigs you want to see beforehand to better time your schedule.

#2 Comfortable clothing

Wear light and breathable clothing, something that allows easy movement and regulation of body temperature. Not forgetting the footwear – the venues are massive and a lot of walking is required, so wear a pair of good walking shoes instead of heels.

#3 Bring H2O

You can’t bring food and drinks into the venue except for bottled water, so bring as many as you can to stay hydrated. Although you can always buy it on the spot, it is expensive – better spend the money on something else.

#4 Other essentials

You may want to bring along towels, sunblock, sunglasses, hat or cap, raincoat, mosquito repellant, binoculars, tissues, a change of clothes – whatever you find necessary.

#5 Take a break

No one can sing and jump in the scorching summer heat for the entire day, and you don’t really have to see all performances. Chill out and rest, take refuge in the shade or go to indoor venue whenever you feel like it.

#6 Accommodation

Especially for those who plan to rock out both days at Summer Sonic Tokyo. Rather than heading back to your hotel in Tokyo after singing and jumping for a whole day, an overnight stay in Chiba would save you from travelling back and forth, wearily over the two days.

#7 Travel to nearby stations instead of nearest station

The train station closest to the concert venue would be packed at the end of the day. If you want to avoid the crowds, you might want to take a taxi to other nearby stations and catch the train from there.

#8 Make use of coin lockers

Sometimes it is cumbersome to carry a bag around while enjoying the gigs. In that case, you can leave your stuff in one of the coin lockers available at the concert venue or train station.

#9 Consider a platinum ticket

Queueing for merchandise.
Image credit: LuxTonnerre on Flickr / CC BY 2.0

This comes with perks like exclusive viewing area, exclusive lounge, exclusive cloakrooms to put your bags and valuables, special merchandise lanes, welcome drink, and shuttle buses between Zozo Marine Stadium and Makuhari Messe (Tokyo only).

#10 Cherish the moment

It is not just about seeing your favourite acts up close or catching as many gigs as you can. You would find the show more enjoyable by taking in also the sights and sounds, the atmosphere, as well as the company of the audience.


Image credit: LuxTonnerre on Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Seen by many people as one of the summer must-dos in Japan, Sonic Summer offers wonderful music experience and amazing vibe which delight not only local fans but also many international fans eager to catch their favourite artists while visiting Japan.

If you are planning to visit Japan in summer and your favourite artists happen to be playing at Summer Sonic, why not consider joining the celebration? After all, seeing them live during your vacation is not some experience that you would come across often!

The upcoming Summer Sonic Music Festival will take place on 18 and 19 August 2018.

Ticket prices:

Summer Sonic Tokyo

  • 1 Day Ticket: ¥16,000
  • 2 Day Ticket: ¥29,000
  • Platinum Ticket (1 day) : ¥30,000
  • Sonicmania: ¥12,000 (plus additional ¥500 drink charge)
  • Sonicmania Platinum Ticket: ¥20,000

Summer Sonic Osaka

  • 1 Day Pass : ¥14,500
  • 2 Day Pass : ¥25,500
  • Platinum Ticket (1 day) : ¥25,000

Official Website: http://www.summersonic.com/2018/

Kyla HS
Kyla HS
A student, part-time translator and writer. I like anime, Jpop and Jrock in general but ultimately, I love to travel and often spend most of my expenses on food.

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