Whether you’re an ardent fan of animation or a casual viewer, the Ghibli Museum in Mitaka is an attraction that can’t be missed if you’re visiting Tokyo.
Unlike most attractions, though, it isn’t a place you can simply stroll in when the mood takes you. Admission is strictly by advanced booking at certain times before your desired date and time.
Here’s how you can get your hands on the coveted tickets!
Disclaimer #1: While you do pay upfront, what you get at this stage is a printed voucher which you exchange for a ticket at the museum.
What you need:
- Your passport number
- A working credit card
- Your address in Japan
- Reliable Internet connection
- Sheer will and preparedness (the former to tide through that momentary heart attack when you’re re-directed to the waiting screen, and the latter to get everything ready to make your purchase as smooth as possible!)
Disclaimer #2: As I did not purchase the tickets using all the methods listed here, I cannot vouch personally for the reliability of each and every third party platform, so choose them at your own risk and discretion. I tried to compile my research as accurately as possible, but if you spot any mistakes/updates I may have missed, feel free to point them out!
1. Official Ghibli Museum Website
The official – and cheapest – way of getting tickets is through the online ticketing portal, managed by Lawson. Be warned, though, as legions of Hayao Miayazaki fans worldwide would be clamouring for the same tickets, and it’s not surprising to be stuck at the waiting screen for a good half hour before you can even get through the date and time selection screen.
So here’s what you do! Hit the link above at 10am Japan time, scroll down, and you will see this screen. Hit the pink “select” button on the right hand panel.
If you’re lucky, you should be directed to this page. The calendar will take a while to load, so don’t make the same mistake I did and click the “back” button.
Ta-dah! You can pick your date and time by clicking on the appropriate time slot.
You’ll also notice a symbol next to each time slot:
- ○ Available
- △ A few left
- × Sold out
Based on my experience, the 12pm and 2pm time slots sell out the fastest, followed by 10am and then 4pm.
While the entry times are staggered across 2 hour slots throughout the day, you can stay till closing time no matter when you entered, so choose wisely!
Once done, you’ll be asked for the following:
- Number of tickets by age group
- Your name, email, phone number, passport number, country of origin, and address in Japan
- Your credit card information to process the payment
Do note that you cannot change anything once your purchase goes through. Tickets are non-exchangeable for the “group leader” whose details you submitted to the website, as the museum staff will verify your identity with your passport number to prevent scalping.
Once your purchase is confirmed, you’ll be asked to set up an account to access your electronic ticket, including a 4 character alphanumerical password (don’t lose this!).
You can access and print your ticket anytime through the “My Page” portlet.
2. JTB Overseas Office
When: 1st of the month, up to 3 months before your intended date of visit
Price: List price; subject to weekly currency exchange rates
Additional Charges: None
Delivery: Self-collect upon purchase at the JTB overseas office or via delivery depending on your respective country office
Contact: Contact your respective country office (check the link below)
Living in Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada, UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, or Finland? You’re in luck!
You can purchase Ghibli museum tickets from your respective country office at least 3 months before your intended date of visit – but hurry, as ticket sales are limited to 200 per day for all overseas sales through JTB (reservation over telephone, fax, and e-mail is available for Oceania, North America, and Europe regions).
For Singapore residents, tickets are available with a minimum 1 night booking at any Tokyo, Chiba or Kanagawa hotel through JTB. More details here!
3. Third Party Platforms
If you’re truly desperate (or simply decided to try your luck at the last minute), there are tons of third part platforms that you can purchase tickets from, for an added fee. Voyagin even allows you to pick more than 1 preferred time slot to increase your chances of getting a ticket!
Whatever you do, do not buy from third party individuals or auction platforms, as these are most likely scalpers whom the museum is working hard to clamp down on.
While the supposed 2,400 tickets sold per day might seem a lot for the museum to handle in terms of crowd control, it is still a minuscule amount compared to the worldwide demand; it’ll behove you to increase your chances by:
- Asking (or begging) a friend or relative who is currently residing in Japan, as tickets go on sale way earlier in some neighbourhoods. There are also the Loppi machines at Lawson stores, where tickets are sold on the 10th of every month.
- Planning your holiday to Tokyo such that it takes places over the start or end of the month, i.e. from 29 May to 10 June. That way, you can battle the online queue on the official website twice!
I’ve compiled a list of available options and vendors here (you’re welcome!) – good luck!