buying tickets in japan
For smaller or less famous artists, you can just buy tickets from the venue on the day of the show. For shows that might sell out, or to save about 500yen, you can get tickets in advance. Sometimes in the comments section of this gig guide, it will say where tickets can be bought from. Usually from Lawson or Pia. The numbers next to 'Lawson' or 'Pia' are the code numbers you can use to find the event on the ticket machines. If the place where tickets can be bought is not indicated, check the venue, promoter, or artist's website to find out.
Most tickets are sold from Lawson / l-tike / LawTicke. A convenient way to buy these tickets is from the Loppi machines in the ubiquitous Lawson convenience stores. First you will need to find out the L-code. You will find it on the Tokyo Gig Guide listing, the venue or promoter's page, or search for it on the Lawson ticket website. For concerts in the Tokyo/Kanto area, the L-code usually starts with 7. If you cannot understand much Japanese, print these instructions out and bring them to the store. Ask the clerk for help if you get stuck.
how to use the loppi machines
1. Touch anywhere on the screen to bring up the menu.
2. Touch the big white square on the left.
3. Enter the 5 digit code.
4. Touch the orange square on the bottom right.
5. Now the concert info, venue, times etc will be displayed. On the right it will show the types of tickets available. Usually it will only display one type (スタンディング (all-standing)), so select that box. If the same artist is playing on more than one day, a calendar will be displayed. In that case, just select the date you want to attend.
6. On the next screen, you will see the number 1 with up and down arrows next to it. Click the arrow to select how many tickets you want to buy. Then touch the bottom right orange icon. Wait while the computer checks if there are tickets left.
7. If there are tickets left, the next screen might appear asking you if you can accept the service charge (105yen). Touch the orange icon.
8. The next screen will appear asking if you have a Lawson ticket card. Two orange icons will be at the bottom of the screen. The left one says "iie" (no) and the right one says "hai" (yes). Touch the left one.
9. A screen displaying the hiragana syllabet will be displayed. Enter your first name in hiragana, then touch the second icon down on the right of the syllabet. Enter your second name and touch the same icon again. Touch the orange icon. If you don't know hiragana, maybe just try entering random characters.
10. Enter your phone number in the format 03-1234-1234. Note: If you're visiting Japan and don't have a telephone number, maybe try entering random numbers. Tokyo phone numbers start with 03.
11. A confirmation screen will appear. On the bottom right will be two orange icons, to confirm (O) or to cancel (X). If all the information is correct, select 'confirm.' If a pop-up appears, touch the orange icon (O).
12. Wait for a while and the computer will print a receipt. When the receipt has finished printing, take it.
13. Take the receipt to the counter and give it to the clerk. Pay for the ticket, sign the receipt and wait while the clerk prints the ticket for you.
Tickets will often be available at Ticket Pia agents around Japan. The website lists the locations of the shops in Japanese. Machines selling Pia tickets can often be found in Family Mart convenience stores. The procedure for buying tickets is similar to the machines in Lawson stores as described above. Otherwise, look out for the little shops displaying the Pia sign. Tell the clerk what concert you want to buy tickets for. It will help if you write down the artist/tour/concert names, the venue and the date on a piece of paper and hand it to the clerk.
There are some Ticket Pia counters in Shinjuku: 1st floor of Keio Department Store, 7th floor of Marui (0101) City, 8th floor of Marui (0101) Young, 2nd floor of Isetan Department Store New Building, and on the 5th floor of Seibu PePe.
In Shibuya: on the 1st floor of Bunkamura, 1st floor of Tokyu Bunka Kaikan, 8th floor of Marui (0101) Young, 10th floor of West Wing of Tokyu Department Store, 2F of 109 building at Ticket Port, and one in Book 1st.
At Narita Airport: There are Ticket Pia counters at Narita Airport so you can get tickets as soon as you arrive in Tokyo. In Terminal One, there is a Ticket Pia in the North Wing on the 1st floor. In Terminal Two, there is one in the Main Building on the 1st floor (Arrivals). They are open from 10am to 8pm. Info. There is also a Lawson convenience store at Narita Airport in Terminal 1, Central Bldg, 5th Floor.
The clubs/bars/live houses themselves will sometimes sell tickets in advance. Find directions to the venues on the Live Houses page. Tell the person at the door what concert you want to buy tickets for. If you can't speak Japanese, it will help if you write down the artist/tour/concert names and the date on a piece of paper and hand it to the clerk.
The artist, venue or promoter's website will indicate whether tickets are available from certain record stores. Tell the clerk what concert you want to buy tickets for. It will help if you write down the artist/tour/concert names, the venue and the date on a piece of paper and hand it to the clerk. Gigs promoted by Smash usually have tickets available at Ganban in Shibuya.
eplus & others
Tickets are sometimes available from other agents, promoters or websites such as eplus (e+). For help buying tickets from eplus, check out this post on the Tokyo Gig Guide blog. A knowledge of Japanese will be necessary to order the tickets by internet or telephone from most agencies.
buying tickets from overseas
Tickets can sometimes be bought from Japanese agencies online from overseas, but only in Japanese and you usually need a Japanese address for them to be sent to. You could ask a service like FDJP or BuySumoTickets to help.
arriving at a show
Shows in Japan start early! Usually about 6:00. The good thing about this is that they finish before the last train. Club events, on the other hand, often start at 11pm or midnight and go until the first train. There are usually two listed times; the opening time when people are admitted, and the start time when the first band starts. At some shows, particularly larger ones, ticket numbers are called out at opening time and people are admitted in order of ticket number. So the further in advance you buy your ticket, the earlier you can get in. If you can't understand Japanese numbers, show your ticket to the person calling out numbers and they will help you. If you don't have tickets, arrive early so you can buy them at the door before they sell out. When you arrive at most shows, you will have to pay another 500yen for a drink ticket on top of the door price or even if you have an advance ticket. Bring the drink ticket to the bar inside and exchange it for a drink. Upon arriving, you may be asked which band you came to see. Then you are given a handful of flyers. You will often find lockers somewhere inside where you can put your bags and stuff.