You might have heard of discount ticket shops (aka Kinken shops), the little resale shops that buy and sell cheap train tickets, shopping vouchers, concert tickets and more. Most of them can be found around railway stations and in shopping streets. In Tokyo, there are several dozens of Kinken shops (金券ショップ).
However, the number of shops that usually have event tickets on display is much smaller. In this article, I’m introducing the best shops, where you can find event tickets for sure. Each of them is better for certain tickets and worse for others. So I’ll explain about the differences, and also how you can research the available tickets before actually hopping on a subway to the other side of town.
1. Yokohama Ticket Service (Yokochike)
The five stores of “Yokohama Ticket Service” (ヨコハマチケットサービス) aka Yokochike (ヨコチケ) are currently the most useful Kinken shops for event-goers in Tokyo.
At their five branches – which are all located in the capital (none in Yokohama, despite the name!) – you can find tickets for sold-out concerts, musicals, Takarazuka performances, idol group hand-shake events (Akushu-kai), the next Giants baseball match…you name it!
Prices can be high, especially if you’re looking at arena seats or similar. But in many cases, it might be the only chance to get your hands on such tickets (for example, if you can’t purchase them online anymore).
There are stores in Shinjuku (East Exit Store, South Exit Store), as well as in Shibuya, Ueno and Ikebukuro. You will not find many event tickets at their branch in Ikebukuro and even less at their small Shinjuku East Exit store, but the other three all have a fairly broad selection of tickets at all times. If I had to recommend only one, I’d check out their branch Ueno if you are on the east side of Tokyo, and the one in Shibuya if you are on the west side of the city.
How to buy from Yokohama Ticket Service
If you are looking for a specific artist, I strongly recommend using the search feature on the Yokohama Ticket Service website. It will show you what tickets are available at which store, including prices. You can then go to that shop to purchase in person.
If you want to be 100% sure the tickets are still available when you get there, you can give them a call and reserve the tix for a few hours.
Although the site is all in Japanese it’s simple enough to be useful to basic Japanese speakers, or if you know how to use the Google Translate for entire pages.
How to search for event tickets on Yokohama Ticket Service Website
In the picture below, you can see the five steps for finding specific tickets at any Yokohama Ticket Service branch:
2. Ticket Ranger (Ginza Branch)
The next best address for event resale tickets is a shop called Ticket Ranger. But beware, they have several branches in Tokyo, but only one can be recommended for event tickets: the Ginza 3-chome branch (near Yurakucho and Ginza station).
The strength of this shop are “higher-end” events. If you like Enka singers or evergreen J-Pop artists like Matsuda Seiko or Kome Kome Club, then this shop might hold the treasure you are looking for.
This shop also have an impressive selection of tickets for classical music concerts, musicals, Takarazuka and traditional theater performances and plays such as Kabuki or Noh.
Last time we checked, their baseball ticket display was empty, so if you are looking for sporting events, it’s probably better to check at the other recommended shops, first.
How to buy event tickets at Ticket Ranger
If you can read Japanese, you can find a list of available tickets here on their website. However, it’s not certain how frequently they update the information there.
When you visit this shop, you will notice that the actual tickets are not on display as in other Kinken shops in Tokyo. Instead, what they do is hang little pieces of paper in their main window, with event date, seat location as well as the original and asking price on them.
If you cannot read Japanese, you will need to ask the staff in the shop for help. Even the names of foreign artists tend to be written in Japanese Characters here, so don’t despair if you can’t find what you are searching, on first sight.
Ticket ranger also places a box filled with seating maps of most Tokyo venues below their window display. So you can check where the seats offered would be.
3. Rotary Gifts in Shinjuku
Rotary Gifts (ロータリーギフト) comes in third, simply because the number of tickets offered is much lower. However, they could be worth checking out if you are in Shinjuku.
There are two shops which are actually almost next to each other, only separated by…another (less interesting) Kinken shop.
They are located very close to the well-known Omoide Yokocho food stall street, on the west side of Shinjuku Station. The street is full of discount ticket shops, but these two branches of Rotary Gifts seem to be the only ones that handle a notable number of event tickets.
Out of (Ticket) Business: Gorakudoh
After listing the best three active Kinken shops, let me also mention a legendary shop that we can’t recommend anymore: the infamous ticket resale shop in Harajuku called Gorakudoh (娯楽道).
This shop located in Takeshita-dori is an old fan favorite. For years, it was the number one address for resale tickets, especially for Johnny’s (Arashi, KAT-TUN, Hey! Say! JUMP) and Hello! Project (Morning Musume, CUTE, Juice=Juice). They used to be where you had the best chance to find last-minute tickets for sold-out shows.
However, Gorakudoh closed down their ticket business in September 2017 the Harajuku shop. Nowadays, they are specialized in goods and merchandise only.
There are still quite a few good alternatives, though.
Event Tickets at Other Kinken Shops
You might find some event tickets at other Kinken shops in Tokyo. Almost all have movie theater vouchers or tickets for art exhibitions. However, if you are looking for live music or sports, chances to find them at other Kinken shops are fairly slim.
Searching for resale tickets online might be the better way to go if you still have time until the show. Websites selling Japanese resale tickets, such as Yahoo Auctions or Ticket.co.jp are usually all in Japanese (except and Viagogo). Thus, you might need to ask a proxy shopping service for help.