Fuji Rock Festival -- Rock n Roll, Sake and the Cleanest Festival in the World

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Welcome to the Fuji Rock Festival, the biggest rock festival in Japan -- and the cleanest one, as well. Feel the real counter-culture side of indie music with the new package tour from Inside Japan, the independent travel company which brings you to the beating heart of the Land of the Rising Sun. For details about the tour see http://www.insidejapantours.com/index.php?content=Fuji%20Rock&include=no

With past line ups featuring international mega stars Red Hot Chili Peppers, Oasis, The Pixies, Bjork, Coldplay and Eminem; the best of British indie such as Franz Ferdinand and Super Furry Animals; up and coming talent such as The Automatic; and festival favourites Scissor Sisters and Happy Mondays, you would have thought that Japan's annual Fuji Rock festival (despite the name, taking place in the famous Naeba resort) would be better known on these music-loving shores.

But in an era when you have to have a turbo charged Internet connection and be as quick off the mark as an Olympic sprinter to get a ticket for Glastonbury, Fuji Rock remains an undiscovered gem on the world festival circuit; a festival where the original counter-culture ideals of Glastonbury still hold true, "alternative" still holds some meaning and where relentless consumerism can be left behind for the weekend. Oh, and the toilets at Fuji Rock festival are clean, there are hot spring baths(!) and cooling showers, not a spot of litter is to be seen and there is a steak eating competition with the chance to win a year's supply of beef.

Surveying the pristine fairways and greens of the Naeba golf course where 30,000 happy festival goers have been encamped for four days is a surreal experience. Think Glastonbury and you think mud (lots of it), smelly toilets (unless you trek to the African pits but when you're desperate for relief this isn't always possible), and the ground covered in the litter of 10 million pints of lager and innumerable fast food meals. But the camp site here in Naeba is spotless; not one can of lager, paper plate or half eaten curry to be seen anywhere. There seems little doubt Fuji Rock really is the cleanest festival in the world, a claim enthusiastically endorsed by both Smash Brothers, the festival organizers. Fuji Rock festival also carries a more than token Green message with the Friday in 2006 designated Global Cool Day and thousands attending the launch of the UK sponsored Global Cool initiative (global-cool.com). Fuji Rock also aims to be carbon neutral, investing profits in a range of carbon offset schemes.

Japan always does things differently. Western culture may abound in the ultra modern mega-cities but it always has a Japanese twist and Fuji Rock is no exception. Started 10 years ago on a site close to Mount Fuji, the Fuji Rock Festival was the realization of two young Japanese guys' dream to bring the Glastonbury festival to Japan; imbued with a feeling of escapism and freedom to more than match any festival in the UK, Fuji Rock was an immediate cult hit with indie aficionados throughout the country, becoming a masterpiece in Japanese history of music.

Despite the festival's ongoing popularity, British and American guitar music remains an underground element in Japanese culture with a dedicated but small following, and there in lies the fundamental difference of Fuji Rock. This is a festival for true believers: not just another product to consume. This is not a festival trying to sell you stuff. Unlike the ancient Japanese culture, nowadays the society of the Land of the Rising Sun is arguably the most materialistic consumer driven society on earth; in contrast, corporate sponsorship at Fuji Rock is conspicuous by its absence.

The Pocari Sweat girls are here handing out free bottles of the unfortunately named but rather tasty isotonic sports drink and Heineken have tied up the official festival beer tag, but it's all very low key. No huge billboards; no in-your-face marketing (Richard Branson take note). At Fuji Rock Festival even the food and beer is reasonably priced and good quality with seemingly everything on site costing 500 yen (just under 2.50) -- a veritable bargain when compared to the horrendously overpriced cardboard burgers and fried chicken which fill the stomachs of festival goers nationwide each summer.

Inside Japan are offering 7-night Fuji Rock Festival packages which include three nights in Tokyo, return airport transfers, transfer by 'Bullet' Train (via the high-speed Japan Shinkansen rail) to the festival, three day festival tickets with camping and they even throw in a tent and sleeping mats. Prices start from just £562 per person excluding flights or £1331 including direct flights with ANA from Heathrow. Longer packages are available on request but be sure to contact Inside Japan soon to secure your tickets to the festival. Please see http://www.insidejapantours.com/index.php?content=Fuji%20Rock&include=no for further details.

It is a long way to reach the Fuji Rock in Japan (12 hours on a direct flight from Heathrow) but with real magic in such short supply on the UK festival circuit it is worth every hour and every pound.

About Inside Japan

Inside Japan Tours (http://www.insidejapantours.com) is an independent travel company that offers a wide choice of Japan holidays designed by real Japan experts. Now in their seventh year they remain committed to ensuring all their customers have a unique and personal experience of this amazing country. Choose any of their Japan tours or just grab the adventure with a Japan Rail Pass: travel with us and you will discover a whole new world.

For those who would like to enjoy a Japan holiday in a small group (max 12 to 14 people) with an expert tour guide, we have a variety of accompanied Small Group Tours available.

The company's Self-Guided Adventures in Japan are ideal for those who prefer to travel independently and feature 11 exciting Japan holiday itineraries covering the most interesting locations of Japan.

Inside Japan Tours also offer a Fully Tailored Trips service allowing you complete flexibility to design a Japan holiday that fits exactly your interests and budget.

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Alastair Donnelly
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