Having been to several music festivals in the U.S., we thought it would be cool to go to a music festival in a foreign country to enjoy some local bands as well as favorites from back home. We chose to buy the 1-day pass for Saturday(08/10/2013) of the Osaka Summer Sonic because three of our favorite bands were playing that day-‘The Smashing Pumpkins’, ‘Mr. Children’ and ‘Muse’. This was a truly unique experience as the concertgoers were mostly locals and the atmosphere itself was entirely different from the festivals in the U.S.
See & Do:
Osaka Summer Sonic 2013: Unlike most festivals in the U.S, things were fairly well organized, and everybody was extremely well behaved (pretty much zero drug usage, and everybody was very calm and very well behaved, just enjoying the music and atmosphere–compare this to Electric Zoo in NYC where two people died of a drug overdose and another six were hospitalized, causing the final day of the event to be cancelled). Muse was the headlining band, but Mr. Children playing second to last drew a larger crowd (we’re also huge fans). Rating: 5/5
The only real downsides were the extreme heat, topping off at around 98-102F (~37-39C) and the annoying bus system to get to the event, where we had to wait in line for approximately one hour in the heat, as there was no way to walk or take the train to the venue. We brought 2L of water with us and downed about 1.5L before we even got to the venue.
Overall everything was smooth, the artists got on stage and ended perfectly on time, the lines for food/drinks/restrooms was quick and efficient. Oh yeah, the music was great too (that’s why we went, right?), especially the sheer enthusiasm that Mr. Children had on stage and the way he was able to resonate with the crowd. One day pass costs us $134 per person.
Eat & Drink:
The “Oasis” was a self-contained area with a bunch of food vendors, mostly Japanese with a few foreign options, most notably Indian food and “American Hamburgers”.
- Omurice: An omelette over rice covered with Japanese demi-glace sauce–Japan seems to consider this a western dish, but I’ve only ever seen it sold at Japanese restaurants. Not bad, probably not the best meal we had on the trip, but it’s definitely above-average in terms of stadium/venue type food. Rating: 4/5
- Yakisoba: Pretty decent yakisoba(fried noodles) from another vendor in the Food Oasis area, completely smothered with mayonnaise. Rating: 4/5
- Kakigori: Shaved ice with strawberry syrup and a side of real strawberries. They were unfortunately out of mango by the time we got there, but this still hit the spot on a hot day. Rating: 4/5
- Pocari Sweat: and a lot of it! At ¥200 a pop, it was a little pricier than the usual cost at a vending machine, but at least they weren’t totally price gouging us like at US venues. A little disappointing that they didn’t have free drinking water, but the electrolytes from Pocari Sweat probably worked out better for us in the long run. Rating: 5/5
- Dinner @ Nakau: Japanese fast food, open all night (we didn’t have too many options as we got back around midnight). We did our best ordering at the vending machine using our limited Japanese reading skills and kanji knowledge (thank god for pictures!). Each set costs around ¥600 depends on the size. Rating: 5/5
- Shin Osaka Washington Hotel Plaza: We weren’t expecting too much from this little business hotel near the Shin-Osaka train station, but it turned out to be a pretty convenient base for our trips out to Summer Sonic and the Namba District. It isn’t quite in the heart of the action, but there was definitely a lot of value in being near Shin-Osaka station. The room itself was a bit small as is normal for Japanese hotels, but extremely clean and comfortable, and there is a convenience store next door as well as a bunch of 24 hour restaurants just a few minutes walk away. $276 for two nights. Rating: 5/5