Living

How to Find and Buy Concert Tickets in Japan

Miso Dog
Hi Misoko! I want to go to a concert in Japan but I’m confused. Can you help me?

Of course. What’s the problem?
Misoko

Miso Dog
There are so many types of shows, tickets, and rules ... I’m not sure what to do!

I’ve been to a lot of concerts so I can break it down for you. I'll guide you through finding concerts, buying tickets, and attending the show. There’s a lot of information so feel free to use the table of contents to skip through!
Misoko

How To Find Concert And Ticket Information

It is much easier to buy tickets in Japan than it is from abroad, but even then, you need to plan ahead and strategize!

Tickets often sell out, so the best way to secure your ticket is to keep up to date with the latest news. Here is how to find concert and ticket information:

Newsletters

Artist and Fan Club Newsletters

If you belong to an artist’s fan club or mailing list, you will be the first to know about upcoming concerts or events and will have access to information about ticket sales before everyone else.

Many artists organize fan club only concerts, signing events, special ticket lotteries, or pre-sales for their members. If you really like an artist, the perks are worth the price!

Ticketing Service or Venue Newsletters

Japan’s many ticketing services (Lawson Ticket, e+, Ticket Pia, etc.) send emails to their customers about upcoming events and ticket sale information. You can set your email preferences to receive information for a certain geographical area, for certain artists, or for certain genres.

Some concert venues and live houses also have newsletters that announce upcoming events.

Official Websites

Artist or Venue Websites

The best way to find out about concerts is from the artists themselves! Artists usually post tour and event information directly on their website or blog, sometimes even before it is posted to the venues’ websites!

Concert venues also announce upcoming shows and provide details on how to buy tickets on their homepage. Some venues might not update their sites as frequently as the artist, so it’s always best to check both.

Social Media

Social media is a great place to check on updates for concerts and ticket sales. Some Japanese artists have Facebook pages, but many are more active on other Social Networking Services such as Instagram, LINE, or Twitter.

Twitter is quite popular in Japan and sometimes artists tweet about an event before they post it on their website. If you add an artist’s official account on LINE, you can receive LINE messages with news and links to buy tickets and merchandise.

Not All Events Are Equal!

Types of Events

Fan Club Only

Fan clubs are very popular in Japan and many artists have their own fan club.

Membership fees can be expensive but they are worth it because they give you access to exclusive merchandise, meet and greets or signings, and special ticket sales. Concert tickets can sell out within minutes of going on sale, so early access is essential.

Fan club only concerts are quite common. It may not be clear that a show is only for fan club members because these events are listed as “(fan club name) only/exclusive”. Unless you know the name of that artist’s fan club it can be hard to spot!

Typically you can only buy fan club tickets if you are a fan club member. However after the concerts are announced, there is usually a cut off date that you can register by, and still be able to apply for tickets.

Some artists require the person who bought the tickets to show their ID and fan club membership card at the door of the venue, so buying a fan club ticket from a reseller is risky. Each member can buy up to a certain number of tickets, so it is possible to bring friends even if they are not members.

Regular Concerts

Even though artists hold special shows for their fan club members, they also have lots of concerts that are open to everyone!

Anyone can buy tickets for these shows but the process can be a little complicated and there are rules and limits to how many tickets you can buy. It can be frustrating to navigate, but these rules exist to prevent scalping and to make access to tickets fairer.

Getting tickets for a popular artist can be difficult as they can sell out quickly and some shows only offer tickets through a lottery system.

How To Buy Tickets

Where to buy tickets

Venues or Record Stores

Although larger venues don’t sell tickets directly, some smaller venues and independent live houses sell tickets in advance, or on the day of the show.

I don’t recommend buying from the venue unless the artist is relatively unknown, even underground indie bands’ shows can sell out!

Tickets bought on the same day as the performance (当日券) usually cost a little more than tickets bought in advance.

Some record stores sell event tickets. In large cities like Tokyo, promoters and venues sometimes sell tickets at certain record stores. The number of tickets available from record stores may be lower than the number available to other sellers.

Convenience Stores

Japanese convenience stores have ticketing machines that are affiliated with major ticketing services!

Machine NameConvenience StoreAffiliated Ticketing ServiceNotes
LoppiLawsonLawson Ticket (l-tike)How to use Loppi
MulticopySeven ElevenTicket PiaSimilar method to Loppi or Fami Port, also prints and scans!
Fami PortFamily Marte+How to Buy Disney Tickets at Fami Port

Buying directly from a convenience store is simple, but only if you can read Japanese. The machines have English or other languages available for some functions, but the ticketing system is only in Japanese.

You can find ticketing codes to type into these machines on the artist’s website, or you can search for the artist on the machine and choose the concert date you want tickets for.

Most machines need you to input a Japanese phone number to buy tickets, so make sure you have one you can use.

When you are finished applying for the ticket, the machine will print out a slip that you can take to the register. The cashier will scan the slip and you can pay for your ticket!

Online

There are several ways to buy tickets online so please read the next section for more details!

Buying Tickets Online

To buy tickets online you have to apply for them. Some sites let you create a guest account, but others require you to sign up.

Even if you can’t read much Japanese, Google Translate will work on most online ticketing sites and you don’t have to worry about taking too long at one of the convenience store ticketing machines.

When buying online you can choose how to pay. There are processing and handling fees but they aren’t very expensive.

Ways to Pay

Payment MethodWhen to payNotes
Credit CardThe payment will be charged immediately.Quick and convenient! Some foreign cards may not work.
Cash at Convenience StoreThere is a deadline you need to pay by. After your order is accepted, you usually have 48 hours to pay.Great if you don’t have a credit card. You can sometimes choose the convenience store.

On some sites, you can also pay through bank transfer or cash on delivery!

Types of Sites

Artist Ticket Sites

Some artists have their own ticketing sites and tickets will only be available there. When they announce concert and ticket information, they will provide a link to their ticketing site. You can sign up and apply for your tickets on their site.

If you are able to apply for more than one ticket, you can bring friends. In some cases, your friends will need to sign up for an account so they can receive a “companion code”, even if you are buying the tickets for them.

Ticketing Services

There are many online ticketing services in Japan but the largest three are the same ones affiliated with the convenience store machines; Lawson Ticket, Ticket Pia, and e+.

You will need your name, address, and a Japanese phone number to create an account. Some websites only accept characters of a specific width, so putting in your information might take some trial and error.

Make sure to use your real name, the name on your ticket and your ID might be checked at the venue!

After you create and verify your account, you can start applying for tickets. To find an event you can either follow a link from the artist’s website or go directly to the ticketing service’s site and use the search function.

Here are some words to look out for:

JapaneseEnglishMeaning
詳細DetailsSee event information; date, time, location, price.
受付ReceptionClick the button to apply for tickets.
受付中Accepting applicationsYou can apply for tickets at this time.
受付前Applications not yet openYou can’t apply yet, check to see when applications will open.
申込む/申込みApply/ApplicationClick on this to begin applying for tickets!

So Many Confusing Details!

Ticket Lotteries, Presales, and General Sales

There are several ticket sale periods in Japan: Lotteries, Presales, and General/Public sales.

Lotteries

Most concerts in Japan will have at least one lottery (抽選) round.

There is a period of time during which you can apply for tickets through the lottery system and after this period ends, the results (結果) are announced. They are typically sent in an email and will include the details for the concerts you applied for along with the results; “当選” if you won tickets, and “落選” or ”残念” if you did not.

Type of LotteryWho Can EnterNotes
Fan Club Pre OrderFan club membersYou can enter this type of lottery if you become a fan club member by a certain date. These lotteries come before all other lotteries and sales. Your best bet if you want tickets!
Exclusive LotteriesAnyone who buys specific merchandiseSometimes artists release special merchandise with a code you can use to enter an exclusive ticket lottery. Usually a new single or album, or something from a specific store.
Membership LotteriesMembers of certain servicesCredit card companies, event promoters, and ticketing services (e+, Ticket Pia, etc.) have lotteries for their members. Some have a sign-up fee, others are free.
Public Presale Lotteries (先行抽選)EveryoneTypically done through ticketing services. You may need to sign up for an account, but it’s usually free.

If you win a lottery you will need to pay by the deadline. Paying by credit card is convenient because the payment will be charged as soon as the results are announced. If you choose to pay at a convenience store or through another method, make sure to do so before the payment period is over so you don’t lose your tickets!

Lotteries are unpredictable and you can only hope that you are lucky enough to win. Waiting to hear whether or not you got tickets can be stressful, but if you win it is very exciting! Even if you lose in the first lottery, you can try again and hope for better luck in the next round!

Presales and General Sales

Type of SaleWho Can BuyNotes
Presale (先行先着)EveryoneFirst come first serve, so you can buy the tickets immediately if they are available. Tickets may sell out quickly, so it’s best to buy them as soon as they go on sale.
General Sales ( 一般発売)EveryoneFirst come first serve so tickets can sell out within a few minutes! Sometimes there is no general sale if all the tickets were sold during lotteries or preorder.

Waiting until tickets go on general sale is not recommended, especially if an artist is popular. It’s the only way to get tickets if you didn’t win any lotteries or found out about the concert after the preorder period ended.

Getting tickets to concerts is sometimes completely up to chance. If you really want to see an artist perform, keep track of the dates for lotteries and presales and get your tickets early!

Receiving Your Tickets

Methods You Can Choose

MethodHow to Receive TicketsNotes
By MailThey will come to your address!Many fan clubs only let you receive tickets this way.
Convenience StoreEither print the tickets from the convenience store copy machine or use the ticketing machine to print out a slip.Some ticketing services give you a barcode you can show to the cashier on your phone.
E-ticketBy email or through an app.You may need to download an app.

 

Types of Seating

Depending on the venue, shows are either seated, standing, or both! You can find out which type of seating is available on the artist or ticketing service website.

Seated Shows

If the only type of ticket available is “指定席” (assigned seat), then this is a seated event.

Even if standing is available, some venues also have an assigned seat section, so you can choose whichever you prefer!

Generally, you won’t be able to pick your seat, but sometimes you can choose the section you want to sit in. If you are able to order multiple tickets the seats will usually be together. You can double-check by looking for “連番” (consecutive number), this means that tickets bought together will be seated together.

If the artist is very popular they may have VIP seating options with special perks such as merchandise, or a signing event or talk. VIP seats can be very expensive compared to regular seats or standing.

Unless the venue is seating only, standing tickets are usually cheaper. If you don’t want to worry about getting to the venue early or someone stealing your spot at the show, assigned seating is a great choice!

Standing Shows

Some venues only offer standing.

Even if both standing and seating are available, the way standing tickets work in Japan is a little different from other countries.

At some venues, you can get a good spot in the standing area by arriving early and being one of the first in line. However, most venues will only allow you to enter in the order of your ticket number and you will be asked to line up in that order. If your “整理番号” (order/ticket number) is in the first 100, then you will be able to stand closer to the stage. If it is above 1000, then that many people will have entered before you.

Even if your number is high there may be space to move towards the front, but some fans are strict and will complain if they notice that someone with a high number is trying to move closer.

Large venues like arenas may have different standing sections, so it’s a good idea to check the venue’s floor map before deciding which ticket to buy.

In The Era Of Social Distancing

Livestream Concerts

With COVID-19, performances in front of a large audience have become almost impossible.

Artists have started broadcasting concerts live on the internet instead of performing with the audience in the same venue. This way you can enjoy live music without leaving home!

While some of these shows are streamed for free, recently more and more artists have been showing their concerts only to people who buy tickets. Although Livestream shows like this are a new concept, there are already many websites where you can buy tickets and watch performances live!

Some artists offer “アーカイブ” (archive) viewing so ticket holders can relive the live performance, or still watch it even if they weren’t able to join in real-time.

Buying From Ticketing Services

Some ticketing services have their own streaming sites.

Lawson Ticket LIVE STREAMING, PIA LIVE STREAM, and e+ Streaming+ are easy to use if you already have an account with Lawson Ticket, Ticket Pia, or e+. All you have to do is select the streamed concert you want to see, pay, and then a link to watch the stream will be sent to your email address. Ticket Pia and e+ host streams on their own websites, while Lawson Ticket uses Zaiko.

The stream will usually open 1 hour or 30 minutes before the show so you can make sure everything is working in advance.

Buying From Streaming Sites

You can also watch live-streamed concerts on streaming services like LINE LIVE-VIEWING, niconico Live, and Thumva.

Some of these sites allow you to buy streaming tickets directly from them, so you can buy and watch all in the same place!

Socially Distanced Shows

Socially Distancing At Concerts

Even though many artists have either taken a break from performing or have moved online, others are starting to tour again.

To keep both the audience and the artists safe, everyone in the venue is required to sanitize, wear a mask, and practice social distancing. Some events will ask audience members to fill out a health check form and check body temperature before allowing entry to the venue. You may also be asked not to speak in a loud voice or scream during the performance.

The number of people allowed to attend each event is reduced to enable social distancing inside the venue.

Venues that are typically standing only may have added seats or will ask the audience to stand in designated areas.

For seated shows, the seating will be arranged to keep seats empty between each person or each group. In some venues, you may be able to sit next to your friends but in others, every other seat may be kept empty.

There may be a curtain or barrier between the stage and the audience.

Pre-recorded Concerts

An alternative to keeping the audience socially distanced while the artist performs is to pre-record a concert and screen it at concert venues. The artist won't be there, but the fans can still enjoy the show together!

To keep the audience safe, the same anti Coronavirus measures as above will probably apply!

-Living

© 2021 MisoDog