The Studio Ghibli Museum in Mitaka, Tokyo is an anime lover’s dream. Unfortunately, it is very popular, and significant advanced planning is required to get tickets at a reasonable cost. Side note, the museum will be closed from Monday, May 9 through Friday, July 15, 2016 this year.

I’m finally going to visit the museum on my upcoming Japan trip with E, and wanted to share tips on how to actually secure a ticket.

First how much do tickets cost and how do they work? The Ghibli Museum has a schedule of timed entrances, where you buy a ticket for a specific time (10AM, 12PM, 2PM, 4PM) and must enter within 30 minutes of that time. The museum is closed most Tuesdays as well as the year end and New Year’s holidays.

scheduled entrance times

The schedule of museum entrance times

If you’re able to buy the ticket at cost, it is 1000 yen for adults 19+, 700 yen for teens aged 13-18, 400 yen for children 7-12, 100 yen for children 4-6, and children under 4 are admitted for free. However, how do you actually get a ticket if you aren’t in Japan?

Ghibli Museum ticket prices

Ghibli Museum ticket prices

Here’s a table of the various options, which I will go into more detail later.

Method Cost Timing / Notes
Overseas JTB office $5-7 surcharge + delivery fees Available on the 1st fo the month 3 months priorExample: Tickets for April go on sale January 1

  • Delivery fee waived with purchase of Japan Rail Pass.
  • As there are tickets specifically allocated for JTB, tickets sell out fast
  • Not available if you don’t have a JTB office in your country. This restricts this method to Hong Kong, Taiwan, Korea, U.S.A, Canada, Europe and Australia,
LAWSON online At cost Available starting from the 10th of the month before

  • You need a Japanese address to ship to
  • Japanese language fluency necessary
  • Sometimes overseas cards are not accepted
  • Tickets sell out fast
LAWSON in person At cost Available starting from the 10th of the month before

  • You either need to be in Japan the month prior, or have a friend in Japan
  • Japan language fluency helpful (you can ask a clerk to help you)
  • Tickets sell out fast
Hotel Concierge

At cost + possibly a small surcharge

The Conrad quoted me a 10% surcharge for 1100 yen

Should be the same as LAWSON, though hotels may have access to inventory earlier than thatFairly good option if you are able to contact your concierge beforehand
Ticket reselling agency

Costly. These are the prices on my last check.

Japan Ticket Buying – 4000 yen

Voyagin – $39 USD

Japanican – 6000 yen

Japan Wonder Travel – 5000 yen

kkday – Seems to be the cheapest at $10, they seem to buy when LAWSON becomes available

Possibly available up to a few days / week before

Might be your only option if you forgot to purchase until last minute. Planning in advance will help you avoid these options

Clearly we are trying avoid the ticket reselling agencies here, though if you forgot to buy tickets until a few days before you intend to go, that may be your only option. Forget about trying to buy tickets from LAWSON when you arrive in Japan, unless your trip is more than 3 weeks long.

Buying from JTB

Overseas JTB offices are probably the best way to secure your tickets multiple months in advance, but only if you are able to plan that far ahead and be on top of your game when tickets come out.

JTB definitely adds some big surcharges though, as seen from this chart for JTB USA:

JTB ticket costs

An additional delivery service fee is required as well, unless you pick up in person or buy with a Japan Rail Pass. The delivery fee was quoted as $14. So this method is pretty costly, though probably cheaper than ticket resellers.

Tickets are available on the 1st of the month 3 months prior, so say you wanted to buy tickets in April, tickets on the JTB site would come out on the 1st of January. Specific tickets are allocated to JTB, and these can sell out quickly. Let’s take a look at a sample availability chart, as checked on March 5. The red cross is for closed and the grey cross is for sold out. Ignoring the closure from May 9 to July 15, you can see that all tickets from March to May are sold out. So if you want to secure tickets far in advance, you really should be checking on the 1st up to a couple days after.

JTB Ghibli ticket availability

JTB Ghibli ticket availability

LAWSON online or in person

Tickets become available through LAWSON starting on the 10th of the month prior to your visit. Tickets are at cost with no extra surcharge.

You can actually buy tickets online through the LAWSON website, but Japanese fluency is needed. Tickets will be delivered to an address in Japan, so you need that as well, and some overseas credit cards may not be accepted.

Here are instructions on how to navigate the LAWSON website and check availability.

If you happen to be in Japan around the 10th of the month prior to your visit to the museum, you can walk into any LAWSON and buy the tickets yourself on the LOPPI machines. Or if you have a reliable friend in Japan, they can help you buy the tickets as well.

Here are instructions on how to use the LOPPI machines. If you can’t read Japanese and get confused, try getting a clerk or someone to help you.

Hotel Concierge

This is a great option if you are staying in a nice enough hotel to have a concierge, or if the hotel / guest house you are staying in is generous enough to help you. I’m not positive, but the availability for this should be the same as LAWSON. You may be charged some surcharge though. For example, the Conrad quoted me a 10% fee, which is 100 yen for an adult. Not bad at all!

Online ticket reselling agency

Try to avoid doing this. You can avoid paying much, much more by just planning in advance. However, if you failed to plan and you’re planning to visit last minute, this may be a good way to go. Prices from the various resellers last I checked:

Japan Ticket Buying – 4000 yen

Voyagin – $63 USD

Japanican – 6000 yen

Japan Wonder Travel – 5000 yen

Anyways, I’ll report back on the actual museum experience when I go later this month! I’m super excited for my trip to Japan!