The regulations at Love Live! concerts are mostly common sense, but there are some non-obvious components, and some rules have changed over time.
Rules that are common sense in Japan, but maybe not where you're from
- Do not record video/audio or take pictures during the concert. (Unless staff/the performers explicitly say you can.) This is a rule common across many (most?) concerts in Japan.
- Regular-sized bags (like your average backpack or messenger bag) are allowed in, and do not have to be transparent. I have brought a 40L backpack into an event before, but I don't recommend bringing in bags that large unless you really can't store them elsewhere—there are usually coin lockers near stations and your hotel can hold your luggage after you check out.
- Bag checks, if they are done (they are rare in my experience), are not super stringent. They mostly care about whether you brought a camera (see the first point) or any dangerous goods.
- Non-alcoholic drinks are usually allowed with no specific restriction on container size or type of liquid, though you probably can't bring a barrel in. Some venues do restrict size/form: Tokyo Dome prohibits containers larger than 1L and Saitama Super Arena prohibits glass bottles and canned drinks.
- Bringing your own alcohol is generally not allowed.
Cyalumes, including Daisenko/Ultra Orange (UOs)
The current rule, as of 2023-12-22
There is no specific ban on UOs/Daisenko at Love Live! concerts.
But staff can prohibit certain usages of cyalumes or penlights if they deem that it is causing trouble for other audience members, so try not to be a nuisance.
What is this about?
Cyalumes are consumable chemical light sticks that you activate by applying pressure. (This is often called "cracking" or "breaking" it—slightly misleading since these sticks normally shouldn't break as to let the inside fluid out...) Once you activate them, they glow for some amount of time and eventually fade away.
The most common ones you are likely to see at a Love Live! event are UOs (Ultra Orange), named as such because they are ultra bright and glow orange. Daisenko are the most common brand of UO, manufactured by Lumica.
Famously, fans use UOs at the climax of the µ's song "Snow halation", turning a snow-white sea of lights into a bright orange illumination, mimicking the music video.
But ultra-bright cyalumes like the UO have not always been welcomed at Love Live! concerts. (Below, I'll use "UOs" as a shorthand for both UOs and similar ultra-bright cyalumes.)
- Through µ's Final LoveLive! (ending 2016-04-01): There was no prohibition on UOs in the Love Live! concert regulations, as far as I am aware.
- Aqours First LoveLive! (starting 2017-02-25): The rules now have a clause: since they can obstruct the view of the concert, participants should refrain from using ultra-bright cyalumes.
- For the next 5.5 years, until NijiGaku 5th Live! (ending 2022-09-18): The rules consistently include this clause with similar wording: refrain from using these cyalumes. (Actual enforcement depended on venue staff, though, so there were still people using them, especially for "Snow halation" at Love Live! Fest.)
- Liella! 3rd LoveLive! Tour (starting 2022-12-03): The rule's wording changes to be stronger—the usage of UOs is banned. (This was already written in the rules before the first leg of the tour. So contrary to what many people—myself included—believed, this was not the result of an incident at the first leg of the tour, where a UO was thrown near the stage.)
- This stronger wording continues to be in the rules through Hasunosora's Dream Believers release event (2023-04-21).
- Starting with NijiTabi! (starting 2023-04-22): Daisenko/UOs are no longer mentioned in the rules. This implies that UO usage is allowed! But there is a caveat: venue staff can prohibit usages of cyalumes or penlights if they deem that it is causing trouble for other audience members.
What other restrictions are there on lights?
Lights longer than 30cm or lights that have been modified to be excessively bright are not allowed. This has been pretty consistent, though there wasn't always a specific limit on length (rather, the wording was more like "overly long lights").
Some people like jumping to music. Some lyrics even encourage it—for example, in Mira-Cra Park!'s "Do! Do! Do!", there are lines telling you (?) to fly. (Whether you actually should interpret them as literally telling you to jump is subjective.)
But jumping is not necessarily allowed at all Love Live! concerts—it actually varies by event! (It is sometimes not even consistent between events at the same venue.)
So before you start hopping, you should technically read the guidelines (注意事項) each time and confirm whether jumping is allowed. (Whether a ban is enforced is up to venue staff, of course...)
Recent examples of variations
- During the restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the rules for all Love Live! events prohibited jumping. This lasted from October 2020 (the first in-person live event since pandemic guidelines were put in place) to March 2023.
- The first event since 2020 to not prohibit jumping (thus implicitly allowing it) was Hasunosora's Dream Believers release event (2023-04-21). Many events since then have allowed jumping in this way, including Hasunosora's subsequent events, most NijiTabi! performances, and Jimo Ai Matsuri 2023.
- On the other hand, some events since then have prohibited jumping. Examples include: the Tokyo performances of the Aqours JMA radio event, the Hokkaido performances of NijiTabi!, and all of Liella! 4th LoveLive! Tour.
Speaking of the pandemic, there were various other restrictions implemented due to it. These were all first implemented in October 2020 for Saint Snow 1st GIG, the first Love Live! event held during Japan's COVID-19 state of emergency.
- Cheering: Cheering/call-and-response/etc. was banned until 2023-02-04, when A・ZU・NA LAGOON became the first Love Live! event to allow cheering again.
- Standing: Audiences had to stay seated for the entire concert for a period of time. The first Love Live! concert to re-allow standing was AZALEA 1st Live (2021-08-14).
- Masks: Audience members were required to wear masks. The first Love Live! event to not require masks was Hasunosora's Dream Believers release event (2023-04-21).