Apart from your work and daily life, you might want to spend your free time doing special activities available throughout Japan. Attending live music concerts could be one of the options to have fun and refresh your body and mind. However, sometimes it can be tricky to find great places that hold live concerts, get tickets or even know the correct rules and manners while at them.
Therefore, here, I would like to introduce you to some useful key points on listening to live music in Japan, specifying different genres.
- 1 Pop Music
- 2 Jazz and Rock concerts
- 3 Classical concerts
- 4 Kabuki performance
- 5 Summary
Japanese pop music is one of the most popular genres for both Japanese people and foreigners alike such as Perfume, MIYAVI, BABYMETAL, ONE OK ROCK etc. But when visiting there are certains behaviors that should be followed. You can refer the following tips in order to make your concert day perfect.
Venues for Pop Concerts
When it comes to Pop, many famous artists give live performances in huge Domes or Stadiums as this allows for big audiences to be accommodated. Although Domes and Stadiums are normally used for sports games such as baseball or football, Pop performances are held during off-season, and can accommodate about 50,000 people. There are famous Domes and Stadiums where you can participate in live music in all different parts of Japan.
- Tokyo Dome in Tokyo
- Kyocera Dome Osaka in Osaka
- Nissan Stadium in Kanagawa
- Fukuoka PayPay Dome in Fukuoka
How to get ticket for Pop concerts
Basically, the most common way for people to get tickets for Pop live events is via ticket retailer websites. Some popular ticket retailer websites can be seen below, but unfortunately there is little English translation.
- Japan Concert Tickets
- Ticket Pia（チケットぴあ, Japanese only）
- Lawson Ticket （ローチケ, Japanese only）
- E plus （eプラス, Japanese only）
Are there any manners or rules for Pop concerts?
There are some rules for Pop concerts. Although it depends on the venue and situation, some places don’t allow people to take photos or smoke. In addition, these concerts don’t have anywhere for you to throw away your rubbish, so you will need to bring everything back with you. Some concerts allow you to bring drinks and meals from outside the venue, but again, you will have to keep any rubbish and throw it away later.
Jazz and Rock concerts
You can also enjoy jazz and rock music in japan as well. Both styles of music have many sub-genres and variations to explore. For example, with jazz you can see all kinds from big band fusion, so-called modern and even free jazz. So, if you are interested in these genres, refer to the information below and plan your days off with some jazz and rock concerts.
Venues for Jazz and Rock concerts
If you want to listen to jazz and rock music in a more intimate atmosphere, you can visit jazz bars, jazz cafes and rock bars. Please check the website called Time Out from the link below as they give us insightful information about famous jazz and rock bars in Tokyo.
How to get tickets for Jazz and Rock
Instead of getting tickets in advance, you can just go and enjoy the performances and pay a small admission fee (or table charge) when you arrive. These charges are normally from around 500 to 1,500 yen, and music charges for particular artists range from about 2,000 to 4,000 yen. In addition, you might need to order drinks or meals which cost about 1,000 yen each.
Are there any manners or rules for Jazz and Rock performance?
Basically, there are no dress codes in jazz bars, jazz cafes and rock bars so you can wear casual clothes. Moreover, whether or not photography is possible depends on the place you visit.
Listening to classical music is also popular in Japan. Many famous orchestras and artists visit Japan for their tour from all over the world. Moreover, there are a lot of professional orchestras in Japan, and they held their concert series regularly. If you are interested in classical music, please check the information below.
Venues for classical music
As you can imagine, there are a lot of concert halls where you can enjoy classical music in Japan. I will provide a list of famous concert halls in Tokyo here.
- Suntory Hall in Tokyo
- Tokyo Bunka Kaikan in Tokyo
- Tokyo Opera City Concert Hall / Recital Hall in Tokyo
- New National Theatre in Tokyo（especially for ballet and pera）
How to get tickets for classical music
If you are keen on going to classical concerts in Japan, it would be easy for you to check the website of the concert halls named above. In addition, you could also check the website backtrack, which has a search engine allowing you to find all kinds of information about concerts, not only in Japan.
Furthermore, you can enjoy these events for a more reasonable price if you are a young adult, senior citizen, or handicapped and become a subscriber of the orchestral concert series. Please check these websites below.
Are there any manners or rules for classical music performance?
Much like rock and jazz venues, there is no dress code for classical concert venues in Japan. Some people attend classical concerts in casual clothes, although others prefer to attend them in one piece or formal jackets.
Like in other countries, smoking, eating and drinking, and taking photos and videos are prohibited in classical concert halls.
Kabuki, a form of classical theater performance, has evolved over 400 years to still maintain influence and popularity to this day. The word Kabuki is derived from the Japanese word Kabuku, meaning out of the ordinary or bizarre. This would be a great opportunity for you to experience traditional Japanese culture and history.
Venues for Kabuki performance
If you are interested in Japanese traditional music, I would recommend watching Kabuki, a classical Japanese dance-drama in Kabuki theatre. There are four Kabuki theatres in Japan as indicated below.
- Kabukiza Theatre in Tokyo
- Shinbashi Enbujo Theatre in Tokyo
- Minamiza Theatre in Kyoto
- Osaka Shochikuza Theatre in Osaka
How to get tickets for Kabuki performance
If you access the Kabuki official website, you can book tickets easily. Although a kabuki programme is normally made up of several various plays and dances and could take over 3 hours, ‘single act seats’ are available so that you can watch just one of the acts with an economical price.
Are there any manners or rules for Kabuki performance?
As with classic concerts, people cannot take photos or videos, eat, drink and smoke during the performance. Moreover, there is no special dress code but you’d be better to wear formal clothes if you book the first floor which is the most expensive seat. Unlike classic concerts, however, you can drink and eat in the Kabuki theatre during the intermission.
I have given you various information about attending live music events in Japan. Normally, this website provides a lot of instruction in the business scene, but I hope this page will help you spice up your free time in Japan.
ABOUT AUTHOR: Shiori Imazeki
A PhD candidate in Music (Musicology) at the Tokyo University of the Arts, studying the piano culture in nineteenth-century Britain. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Shiori_Imazeki