Photo credit: Keenon Lindsey (Flickr)
You just heard about an event you really, really want to go, but it’s already in a couple of days… how do you go about getting tickets with only little time until the show?
If there are only 3-4 days until the event, it might not be possible to book tickets online anymore. However, if you find yourself in the situation of needing last minute tickets, don’t get disheartened too early.
You might still be able to purchase tickets in person, when you are in Japan. Here are 5 possible ways to purchase last minute event tickets.
If not sold out, you could still try to purchase tickets at a ticket machine at one of the major convenience store chains (Lawson, FamilyMart, Seven Eleven, MiniStop, Circle K).
Those kiosk-type machines (FamiPort, Loppi, etc.) are usually all in Japanese so it might be a little tricky to navigate them without help.
There are some youtube videos that show how to purchase tickets from those machines but note that the process for the event you’re looking for might be slightly different than shown.
Also, the videos we found for FamiPort are actually for Taiwanese machines, not the ones in Japan. Note also that for many events, convenience store sale also stops a few days before the show.
Online sites such as eplus, Ticket Pia and L-tike usually stop selling tickets a few days before the show but sometimes they still sell so called Tojitsu-ken (当日券).
They are sold just like tickets but are actually vouchers that need to be exchanged for the tickets at the venue (ask staff to point you to the respective box office/counter).
Since they can only be bought last minute, usually only credit card is accepted as payment method. Note that you need an account on the specific ticket site and it’s usually all in Japanese.
For some shows, you can also purchase tickets at ticket resale shops (aka Kinken Shops 金券ショップ). They sell 2nd hand tickets (not only for concerts but also train tickets, shopping vouchers, stamps, etc), usually at higher prices if good seats or sold out, but sometimes at a discount, especially on the day of the event).
In Tokyo, resale shops that carry concert tickets can be found in Shibuya, Shinjuku, or Ueno near the JR train stations. In Osaka most are located around Namba and south of Umeda station. See also “Best Kinken Shops in Tokyo”.
If not sold out, you can sometimes still purchase tickets at the box office, on the day of the concert! In some cases, we’ve even been successful at events which were sold out (but smaller shows). If you’re lucky, a few additional tickets are released at the time door open, but you might need to ask staff and be ready when the opportunity arises.
No matter if sold out or not, there might also be scalpers hanging around near the venue. Oftentimes, they will hold their tickets and a wallet in the same hand in a visible manner (as a sign that they have tickets for sale).
At least in Tokyo, it is not legal to sell/buy 2nd hand tickets in the vicinity of the venue. Thus, most scalpers are a bit shady and possibly part of Yakuza-controlled groups. Sometimes police keeps an eye on them and cases were the buyer is fined too are not unheard of.
For those reasons that we don’t recommend going that route. In some cases it might be the absolute last chance, though.