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AnyPASS: What You Need To Know About the Digital Ticket App

When purchasing tickets for concerts or other events in Japan, you might need to use a mobile phone app to receive and use your digital tickets. AnyPASS is one of the most commonly required apps by ticket agencies.

If you set it up correctly, entering the venue on the day of the concert will be a smooth ride: the ticket will automatically appear in your AnyPASS app, and you just need to show the (regularly changing) QR code when going through the venue gates. Luckily, the AnyPASS website and app are available in English, too, so it is mostly self-explanatory.

Nevertheless, the app has a number of pitfalls and many users have experienced stressful hours, or even days, while not being able to get it to work.

This article covers the basics of the app, as well as some common problems that may arise when installing the app, authenticating your phone number and downloading tickets.

But before going on: Disclaimer, disclaimer! The following information is to our best knowledge (from research and testing with our own mobile phone) at the time of writing this article. We can’t guarantee that everything stays the same with the app (and any future updates). Also, the way things work exactly can differ from event to event (as it often does, in Japan) or also among countries, users, mobile phones, SIM cards and more. If you find any outdated or incomplete information here, please let us know!

Things You NEED to Know Before Using AnyPASS

There are a number of things that can go wrong with this app, and some are virtually impossible to rectify later on. So I want to start with some must-know items before you even install the app.

>> Use the same phone number everywhere you register.

In the process of installing AnyPASS you will need to authenticate your mobile phone number. It is important to note that you won’t be able to download the tickets if you change your number or SIM card before visiting the event.

Technically, it doesn’t have to be a Japanese phone number but – and this is a big BUT – the phone number will have to be exactly the same number you use when purchasing the tickets from the official ticket agency (such as Ticket Pia, Lawson Ticket or eplus) or fan club. Otherwise, AnyPASS will simply not load your tickets when the day of ticketing comes.

This is where probably the biggest difficulty lies: if the official ticket agency doesn’t accept foreign cell phone numbers in the first place (as is often the case), there will be no use in successfully authenticating your foreign number in AnyPASS.

There are a few exceptional scenarios in which not having a Japanese number when purchasing the tickets won’t be an issue:

  1. If you are to receive a companion ticket from somebody else (friend or reseller), you can use a foreign number in AnyPASS or wait until you are in Japan and can activate a Japanese SIM that includes a real phone number (e.g. from Mobal).

    Caveat: some pre-order sales (especially fan club sale) require the initial buyer to register their companions beforehand and input everyone’s phone number at the time of purchase, and it might be limited to Japanese numbers.

  2. Apparently, in some cases the tickets are not downloaded automatically into the AnyPASS app, but an “AnyPASS link code” is sent by email. You can then enter into the app to receive the tickets. However, this seems to be the exception and only available to some events or ticket agencies. What we don’t know yet, are the conditions that have to be met for this to be available (please let us know if you do so we can update this point!)

  3. It is rare, but if the specific sales page or playguide of the event allows foreign phone numbers (e.g. mu mo Shop) you will be able to use your non-Japanese phone number throughout the process.

The stumbling blocks on the AnyPASS journey don’t stop there, though. Here’s another lifesaving tip…

>> Unless a different format is specified, write the leading “0” (zero) when writing your phone number, even if there is a country code selection!

For example, if your country code is +61 and your phone number is 09 5555 9999, you might be used to just type “+61 9 5555 9999 (without the first zero). In anything related to AnyPASS, you should always enter the zero, though. It is not impossible to rectify this after the fact (e.g. by contacting support) but it will take a lot of time and nerves (which you might not have shortly before a concert).

>>The third thing to keep in mind when buying tickets that require AnyPASS is that everyone visiting the concert with you will need their own smartphone with installed AnyPASS.

Your companions will have to use their own cell phone and AnyPASS app to receive their ticket from you, and enter the venue on the day of the concert. Screenshots of the ticket QR codes will not work at the entrance because they keep getting automatically updated.
Note also that the one ticket of the original buyer will not be transferable, only the additional “companion” tickets.

How to Install the AnyPASS App (and Not a Fake One)

To make absolutely sure that you are downloading the correct app, only install it from the iOS App Store (iPhone) or Google Play Store (Android). The app is released by “avex digital Inc.”.

You can use the links below:

iPhone/iOS
https://apps.apple.com/us/app/anypass/id1509651539

Android
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.anypass.android

The app should be available even if you are not in Japan. If Play Store shows “This app is not available in your country”, you will need to change the country setting of the Google account you are using on that phone.

How to Authenticate Your Phone Number on AnyPASS

To use the AnyPASS app you will first need to “bind” it to the phone number of your smartphone by authenticating that number. No worries, you don’t absolutely need a Japanese mobile number; you can authenticate your local number, granted it is able to receive and send SMS internationally or make international calls. We’ve also heard that in some cases, AnyPass will automatically take your “Caller ID” as your phone number (as long as you don’t have it set to “hidden” in your settings)

Keep in mind that once you authenticate your number, you might need to keep it active until the event.

The app will usually show the option to authenticate by SMS. When you chose this method, you will receive an SMS with a verification code. The SMS option might not be available if you have an Android phone (the reason still unknown to us). In that case, a button will appear that lets you make a call to a Japanese number and listen to a recording of someone saying your 4-digit verification code in Japanese (so make sure you can understand numbers in Japanese, or have a Japanese-speaking friend to listen to the message).

If you are not an iPhone user (who for some reason don’t seem to be ever required to authenticate per phone call) and are worried about this, there are some workarounds: once you have bought a ticket, it doesn’t mean that you have to install the app right away. Usually the tickets are released only a few days before the concert anyway. So it is okay to buy the tickets first, and install the app after you arrived in Japan. This might be useful if you don’t have a phone number/SIM card that works with AnyPASS. In that case, you could purchase a Japanese SIM card with phone number. Note: the only SIM cards we know to be available for tourists AND which offer a real Japanese cell phone number (not 050 number) are the Mobal SIM Cards (with voice, not the data-only SIMs).

What to Do in an “AnyPASS” Emergency

Imagine you successfully bought tickets through a Japanese ticket agency like eplus, Ticket Pia or Lawson Ticket and the concert is coming up very soon. You try to get AnyPASS to work, but for some reason it just doesn’t, or your tickets don’t appear in it. Maybe you have messaged support several times already but received no reply. There might still be hope!
If you have the original purchase information such as the printed confirmation emails, the credit card you used, etc. you can go to the concert venue 1–2 hours before the show (earlier is better) and look for a support booth. There will be staff to help with any type of trouble you have with the app. They can even print paper tickets for you.

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