We’re going on our honeymoon in Japan soon, and excitement levels are high in the household (or rather, just my own excitement levels). Most of the planning is done, and I had a reminder on my calendar to buy Ghibli Museum tickets when it was due.
I thought I’d share a guide on how to buy these online as I found the entire process quite stressful, but was successful in getting a couple of tickets in the end. So here’s how to score tickets with minimum stress!
The Ghibli Museum website directs you to your local travel agency who sell tickets up to three months ahead. However, the JTB company in the UK only sells tour packages to the museum and the My Bus UK’s website was entirely in Japanese so the only option was to buy from the Lawson website. Lawson is a major convenience store (combini) chain in Japan and I guess they have a contract with the museum to sell these tickets. The other option is to buy tickets when you’re there in Japan at a Lawson store, but the chances of securing any will be slim. Especially when you’re going during Japan’s school holidays! There are only 200 tickets in total sold everyday.
Tickets come on sale online every 10th of the month prior. So for example, if you want to get tickets for March, sales start on 10th February at 1000 Japan time. I was all primed and ready at my laptop by 0050 here in the UK. But surprise surprise – the server to the website crashed immediately at 0100 (1000 Japan time). My big tip is to open multiple tabs/windows to the booking site and keep refreshing them on the off-chance one of them connects to the server. Just keep doing that over and over again. Keep opening and closing windows if you get the error message that the server is unavailable. I’m not sure if this happens every month, but I did realise today that I was planning to visit during the Japan school holidays so that might have been be a major negative factor in getting tickets. But better safe than sorry! It took me an hour of multiple windows refreshing and multiple curses before finally getting some tickets.
Here’s how to do it:
- Go to the Lawson website:
- Follow the links to Ghibli Museum. If you’re lucky, you’ll get straight to this page:
https://l-tike.com/st1/ghibli-en/sitetop. Select the relevant month.
If you’re not lucky, this is the stage where you’ll have to keep opening multiple tabs/windows and refreshing them. It is now about 10 hours after ticket sales have opened so I have no problem accessing the page.
- The next page you’ll get to is this one:
- Do not leave this page. Get all your other tabs that you’re busy refreshing to get to this page as well if possible. After a while, a calendar will appear at the bottom of this same page, with all the dates and entry times available. I have to wait a few seconds now for the calendar to load but when ticket sales started, this took several minutes at least.
- This is what the March calendar looks like only 10 hours after ticket sales started:
The ‘x’ means tickets have sold out. ‘o’ means tickets are still available, and a triangle symbol means tickets are low for that time slot. You can see how popular the museum is! When I first started trying the first couple of weeks were still available, but the second half of the month was selling out quick due to their school holidays.
- If tickets are still available, click on the relevant time and it will direct you to a details page where you have to input ticket numbers and the group leader’s details. If the page is telling you that they are unable to complete the process, that may mean that tickets have sold out for that time slot and the calendar just hasn’t updated itself. My tip is to choose a 1200 or 1400 time slot straightaway when you get to the calendar page and don’t fanny about with a 1000 time slot even though tickets look like they’re still available. Everyone will be trying to get those. Your last resort is a 1600 time slot – that’s what I had to do in the end.
- The next page is the payment page. Natwest blocked my card when I tried to pay which was a few seconds extra stress until I replied to their text and unblocked it!
Every step of the process will take extra time when ticket sales have just opened.
So in summary, these are my big tips in getting Ghibli Museum tickets:
1. Time your trip outside of their school holidays!
2. Buy tickets online immediately after they go on sale.
3. Be quick on your fingers and open multiple tabs and keep refreshing them.
4. Choose a later time slot in the day. I think most people spend about 4 hours at the museum so a 1200 or 1400 entry is still fine as the museum closes at 1800. 1600 is pretty late but any ticket is better than none if this place is a must-go for you.
Good luck in your mission!
PS: I also timed my visit to fit in with my Tsukiji Market day. The outer market at Tsukiji is closed on most Wednesdays and Sundays, but sometimes they differ. Here’s a helpful link for opening days to the market: http://www.shijou.metro.tokyo.jp/calendar/2019/
It’s in Japanese, but it’s not hard to figure out.