The Studio Ghibli Museum Ticket Guide 2019/2020

Studio Ghibli Museum Cat Bus

Real life size cat bus at the Ghibli Museum in Mitaka. Photo by Ryan Hyde used under CC.

Here is how to buy Studio Ghibli Museum Tickets well in advance, last-minute, or even if sold out.

The Ghibli Museum, conceived by its legendary director Hayao Miyazaki himself, is a must-visit item on many visitors to Tokyo.

What many don’t realize is: tickets have to be purchased in advance for a specific date and time-slots. You cannot just arrive and get them at the entrance!

However, buying Studio Ghibli tickets online (or offline) can be confusing as there are many different options, at widely diverging prices and conditions.

With the help of this guide you’ll find the best option for you, no matter what your situation is.

Some Tips Before You Make Plans

  • If possible, book ahead of time

    While it is often possible to get tickets last-minute, it is safer and cheaper to arrange them early on. We recommend booking them at least 3 months before your visit, so be on the safe side.

  • Visit during the week

    It is better to visit the museum on weekdays since weekends (and public holidays) tend to sell out quickly and be extremely crowded.

  • Choose your time slot wisely

    Ghibli tickets are valid for a specific time slot (entry time) on a specific date. You can maximize your time inside the museum by booking tickets for a time slot in the morning. There is no time limit to your visit, once you are inside.

General Information

Ticket Price

Original ticket prices:
Adults: JPY 1,000 (US$9.20)
Teens (ages 13-18): JPY 700 (US$6.50)
Children (ages 7-12): JPY 400 (US$3.70)
Children (ages 4-6): JPY 100 (US$0.90)
Children (under 4 years): free (no ticket needed)

Also, the price above is what you pay if you purchase the ticket at a Lawson convenience store. If you book online, or through an agency, the price will be higher because they include additional fees and services. Some sites don’t have children tickets, so you’ll need to purchase an adult ticket even if younger than 19 years old.

ID/Name Checks

The name on the ticket will be checked at the entrance in every case. This means that you have to:

  • Book or have your tickets booked under your name, as shown on your passport or ID. If you are buying for someone else, use their name.
  • Make sure everyone you booked tickets for enters together with the person printed on the tickets.
  • Don’t buy resale tickets from unauthorized sources (ebay, craigslist, Yahoo Auctions and similar) since these will probably have someone else’s name on them.
  • Tickets booked through the methods or agencies mentioned here will always provide valid tickets.

Time Slots

When buying a ticket, you usually have to select one of four entry times:

10:00 (enter by 10:30)
12:00 (enter by 12:30)
14:00 (enter by 14:30)
16:00 (enter by 16:30)

We recommend arriving even before the indicated time, since the queue can become quite long. If you don’t make it in time shown above, you won’t be able to enter!

Note that there is no time limit, once you are inside the museum. However, it closes at 18:00, so if you enter at 16:30, you only have 1.5 hours to view the exhibits.

On the other hand, the two middle slots are the most crowded. Thus, we recommend the morning slots to visitors who are flexible.

Insider Tip!
Note that tickets bought through a JTB agency don’t have a fixed time slot. Just in case you really can’t decide what time you want to visit.

So now that you know all about Studio Ghibli tickets, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of how to buy them…

Studio Ghibli Museum Japan 2019

The iconic Laputa robot on the roof of the museum. Photo by Wei-Te Wong used under CC.

Our Recommendations

Below are my recommendations if you want to buy the tickets…

If Sold Out

If tickets are sold out at Lawson (and your local JTB agency), there’s still a chance tickets are available through these online travel agencies (small chance), or tour operators (higher chance).

Well Ahead of Time (2+ months)

You can book confirmed tickets through JTB agencies even 3 months before the desired date. That earlier than any other option (though not available in every country).

On Voyagin, you can even pre-order tickets 12 months ahead, with high probablity that they will geet you the tickets as soon as they go on sale (month before the month of your visit).

Last-Minute (in Japan)

First of all, tickets are not sold at the museum. You might be lucky and tickets still available from the Loppi machine at Lawson convenience stores. Chances are better at some travel agencies which offer last-minute tickets, or even better, if you book a tour.

At the Lowest Price

The cheapest place to purchase Ghibli Museum tickets is Lawson tickets. This includes the English site, the Japanese site as well as the Lawson convenience stores (Loppi Machine). There, tickets are sold at the original price of 1,000yen (and less for children). However, note that they sell out quickly!

7 Ways to Get Tickets for the Studio Ghibli Museum

1. Lawson’s English Website

Booking through Lawson Tickets (aka L-tike) is the cheapest overseas option. However, the risk of missing out is higher than through other sales channels. This is because not all available tickets are bookable on the English site.

When to buy
Tickets go on sale every 10th of the previous month (10am Japan Standard Time; GMT +9). In other words, if you want to visit the museum anytime in May, you can buy tickets starting from April 10th.

Sold at face value (original price)
Available online and in English
Tends to sell out very quickly

Go to Online Ghibli Tickets at Lawson (English)

2. Lawson’s Japanese Website

For some reason, the Japanese site of Lawson Ticket sometimes still has tickets, when they are already sold out on the English site.

The caveats: you need to be able to navigate a Japanese website, and you need a Japanese mobile phone number for SMS verification to register a Lawson account.

When to buy
Tickets go on sale every 10th of the previous month (10am Japan Standard Time; GMT +9). In other words, if you want to visit the museum anytime in May, you can buy tickets starting from April 10th.

Sold at face value (original price)
Better availability than English site
Difficult to impossible to use for non-residents of Japan
Sells out quickly

Go to Online Ghibli Tickets on Lawson (Japanese)

3. Lawson Convenience Stores in Japan (Loppi Machine)

You can purchase tickets in person using the Loppi machine in any of the Lawson convenience stores. There is no need to register an account, or pay extra fees. However, tickets for most slots tend to sell out within hours or days.

When to buy
Tickets go on sale every 10th of the previous month (10am Japan Standard Time; GMT +9). In other words, if you want to visit the museum anytime in May, you can buy tickets starting from April 10th.

Sold at face value (original price)
Better availability than the English Lawson website (same inventory as on the Japanese version)

You have to be in Japan already
Loppi system is in Japanese only (but see picture guide linked below)
Sells out quickly

Go to How to purchase at Lawsons (guide with pictures).

Studio Ghibli Museum 2019

Outside view of the Ghibli Museum. Photo by Oliver Bruchez used under CC.

4. JTB Group Travel Agencies (only in some countries)

If you live in one of the following countries, you can try purchasing tickets through one of your local JTB-affiliated travel agencies: Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, New Zealand, Norway, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, United Kingdom, United States

When to buy
Tickets are released on the 1st of every month, for up to 3 months ahead. For example, you can buy tickets for April starting January 1st.

Earliest possible booking
No fixed time slot
Each agency only has a handful of tickets for each admission date
No last minute purchases possible because tickets are shipped physically

5. Online Travel Agencies

It can be more convenient to buy through one of several online travel agents (see below) that sell Ghibli Museum tickets. Sometimes they still have tickets, when already sold out at Lawson Ticket or JTB agencies.

Easy booking process
Better availability than other sources
Last-minute tickets possible for extra money
Expensive if sale has already started, so you might be better off ordering from tour operators in that case (see next section).

Voyagin
If you preorder before sale starts (8th day of previous month), Voyagin can try to get you tickets for JPY 3,500 each (approx. US$32). They take order even 12 months ahead of time. There is a small chance that tickets sell out before they get their hands on them, but for an additional JPY 5,000 (approx. US$46), you can book with a “guarantee” (they will prioritize your order over others).

Voyagin also offers a last minute option for when sale has already started (JPY 8,500; approx. US$78). All offers available here.

Viator
This Tripadvisor-owned website offers tickets incl. delivery to your hotel for JPY 4,900 (approx. US$45). However, you have to pre-order before the 5th day of the previous month.
Viator also offers last-minute tickets (check availability) for JPY 9,800 (approx. US$90).

Get Your Guide
Their entrance-only offer isn’t the cheapest (JPY 9,800, or approx. US$90), but you get an instant confirmation that you can print and bring to the museum.

6. Tours to the Museum

First of all, booking a Ghibli Museum tour does not mean that the visit of the museum itself will be guided (you are free to roam and explore by yourself inside the museum). Depending on the details of the tour offer, it could include transportation, and/or guided activities in the neighborhood of the museum, or at other Ghibli-related locations in Tokyo.

Usually available even last minute
Frequently still available even if sold out elsewhere
More comfortable and extensive experience
More expensive than the original ticket price

Klook
For around JPY 4,000 (approx. US$37) per person, you get a guided walking tour from Kichijoji station through the Inokashira Park to the Studio Ghibli Museum (approx. 30min), plus the entrance ticket for the museum.

Viator
This website (which also offers tickets only), have an “all-day” 7 hours-itinerary tour for JPY 13,500 (approx. US$124) which includes visits to the museum, various locations in Tokyo which were inspirations for the Hayao Miyazaki movies and lunch (but no pick-up from hotel).

Get Your Guide
Same 7 hours-itinerary tour as Viator (see above), but at JPY 14,000 (approx. US$132) a little more expensive.

Studio Ghibli Museum sign post in the neighborhood. Photo by Kentaro Ohno used under CC.

7. Mitaka Neighborhood Tickets

This option will be out of reach for almost anyone, but we’ll still cover it for the sake of completeness.

If you live, work or visit school in Mitaka City, Musashino, Koganei or Nishitokyo, you are eligible to purchase “Neighborhood Tickets” at the Mitaka City Tourism Association Office. If by any change you satisfy these requirements, the deal is pretty good; they can sell 50+50 tickets per day (for am and pm) at face value, from 3 months before the dates and until the last minute.

It would be futile to try to get the tickets this way, if you don’t satisfy the requirements above though. Proof in form of official documents has to be shown at the time of purchase. More information in English here.

What’s Your Experience?

Hopefully this guide helped you to see through the complexity of obtaining Ghibli museum tickets! If you have made any experiences worth spreading, or found anything lacking in this guide, let us know!

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