By itshannukahdutch who was kind enough to put this list together and has wicked taste.
Shonen Knife (1981-present) - We can’t talk about japanese girl rock without the literal originators of the movement/popularity. Because Kurt Cobain said he listened them, a HUGE surge of all girl bands started popping up over Japan.
Go!Go!7188! (1998-2012) - Arguably the (second) most famous girl-rock band from Japan, I literally hear their influence in almost every modern Japanese girl band. Releasing over 8 albums (this number not including their cover albums, live albums, and best of album), the band has an extremely prolific career. Their vibe lives on with Yuu’s (guitarist/vocalist) current band Chirinuruwowaka which is basically go!go! but with a second guitar. :P Also I should mention their bassist Akko is the actual best bassist on the planet and my idol and I’M STILL TRYING TO FIGURE OUT HOW SHE GOT HER FREAKING BASS TONE.
(fun fact: there are two albums of other musicians covering Go!Go!7188! songs, and Shonen Knife covered their song Punk on the second one)
Stereopony (2007-2012) - These guys got really famous overseas for doing a ton of anime openings and endings during their time as a band (most famously, Bleach). Personally, I think they got a push from their record label to go mainstream and that ruined their sound and the band and that’s why they broke up. I adore their early stuff and was very happy that the last thing they ever professionally released was kind of a throwback to that (They did a cover of Akashi by ZONE that was the most punk thing they had done literally since 2007). Their first two albums are recommended listening (especially the first one), you can skip the third album its really crappy even as a mainstream pop album. Nohana (bassist) and Shiho (drummer) now play in a band called DRAFT KING which is a pretty snazzy band. (I think the guitarist of DRAFT KING was a touring member of Stereopony but i’m not 100% sure about that)
FLiP(2008-present) - FLiP are FREAKING AMAZING there’s nothing else really to it but i’m scared they’re going the way of Stereopony with the mainstream and while I like it I wish they were doing their “girls emo rock” again like they explicitly state ELLEGARDEN are their inspirations ugh I WANT THEM TO DO HARDER ROCK AGAIN SO BADLY *shot* /endrant Recommended listening: ALL OF THEIR ALBUMS but their most recent one, Love Toxicity, is easily my japanese album from 2013. I still have it on repeat. Their facebook page actually has some songs with official english lyric translations!
Exist Trace (2003-present) - If there’s one thing you need to know about the Visual Kei (VK) genre, its that for some reason VK guys love to crossdress. As a youngin, I always joked about how hilarious it would be IF (VK is a HUGELY dominated boy genre) there was an all-girl VK band and if they existed if crossdressed too. Low and behold, Exist Trace existed to prove my theory correct in the most attractive way possible (have I mentioned the word “exist” enough yet *shot*) If there’s anything I like more than crossdressing girls, its crossdressing girls IN SUITS shredding AMAZINGLY and Exist Trace has a lot of that which is relevant to my interests. B) Exist Trace are kinda weird in the sense that they started out doing death metal which is pretty much all of VK, but now they just kinda do whatever they want like they just released a disco song this year which was interesting. Still amazing whatever they do really.
BONUS MENTION: Rick Rack (Mid 2014-present) - EXTREMELY YOUNG BAND THAT IS WAY MORE TALENTED THAN THEIR OWN GOOD SERIOUSLY. Like this girl can F*CKING SHRED and thats something thats really lacking in Japanese girl bands. We need more shredding girls okay I know you’re out there show your faces. Did I mention the bassist and guitarist are STILL IN HIGH SCHOOL??? Here’s a really great article written up about the band to know more about them.
That’s all I got for today, but here some other recommendations that aren’t punk/metal/alt. I think it’s important to give these girls a chance because they’re major players in the band scene too: ZONE (Pop), SCANDAL (Pop/Rock), Chatmonchy (Indie), Mass Of The Fermenting Dregs (Indie).
Japan is actually also really cool about co-ed bands (there’s a ton of them) so here are some that are mostly boys, but have significant girl musicians in their bands: SUPERCAR (Miki Furukawa, bass/vocals), Ling Tosite Sigure (Miyoko “345” Nakamura, bass/vocals), Maximum The Hormone ((mentioned in the other post) Nao, drums/vocals), Hello Sleepwalkers (Narumi, guitar/vocals), POP DISASTER (Maiko, drums, formally Junko, bass (left the band in 2014)).