Everything You Need to Know About Buying Ghibli Museum Tickets in 2019

Ghibli Museum tickets are some of the hottest tickets in Tokyo, selling out within hours of release each month. Here’s how to get your tickets to the Ghibli Museum, and what to do if they’re sold out for your dates.

How Ghibli Museum Ticket Sales Work

Upon entrance, your digital tickets are replaced with a gorgeous celluloid ticket with frames from a Ghibli movie.

Ghibli Museum tickets are only available as advance sales through third parties. No tickets are sold at the museum, either in advance or on the day of.

Tickets are sold for a specific date and entry time (though you may stay at the museum as long as you wish after you enter).

The current ticket price for adults is 1,000 yen, about $9 USD.

Ticket re-sale is not permitted, so be careful when purchasing tickets from a third party. The companies listed in this post are authorized to sell Ghibli Museum tickets and safe to purchase from.

Buying Ghibli Museum Tickets From Outside Japan

From outside Japan, you can purchase Ghibli Museum tickets from two official sellers: Lawson convenience stores and JTB.

1Buying Ghibli Museum Tickets From the Lawson Website

Purchasing tickets from Lawson is the most affordable option, but it can be difficult to snag tickets even if you’re waiting to pounce right when they go on sale.

We were lucky enough to get tickets for our upcoming trip, but it took 40 minutes of getting halfway through purchase and then getting kicked off because of high traffic, and refreshing the site constantly until it let us try again. Their site isn’t designed to handle the huge volume of traffic, and it can be incredibly frustrating.

That said, it’s by far the cheapest option. If you’re on a tight budget, and wouldn’t consider paying significantly above the face value of the ticket to visit, give this a try. Just know that it can be a gamble.

If you have a larger budget and don’t want to chance missing out, see other options below, including paying companies to pre-order for you, and booking tours with guaranteed admission.

Tickets go on sale at 10am Japan time on the 10th of each month for the next month’s admissions. So, for example, we logged on to the Lawson site at 9pm our time on April 10th, in order to purchase tickets for May.

Be sure to check the time difference between Japan and where you live, because being just an hour off can mean logging on to find that tickets are sold out!

You’ll need a credit card to purchase Ghibli tickets from Lawson online, and the charge will be in Japanese Yen. Depending on your credit card, you may incur a small foreign transaction fee.

It’s also worth noting that this international purchase may appear suspicious to your bank. I’m not sure if it would help, but you could try calling beforehand to let the card issuer know what you’re trying to buy and request that the purchase be approved. I hadn’t considered this beforehand, while my ticket purchase did go through, I received a “Suspicious Activity” notice from Chase shortly after my purchase.

2Buying Ghibli tickets from JTB

Japanese travel agency JTB used to offer standalone Ghibli Museum tickets, but recently discontinued individual sales. Now, your only options are to purchase tickets as part of a rail pass package, or a Ghibli bus tour.

This is great if you already wanted one of these packages, but pretty expensive if not! The one advantage of buying from JTB is that tickets are available 3 months in advance, so you can better plan ahead.

JTB does warn that purchase of a rail pass package does not guarantee Ghibli tickets for a specific date. You’ll need to contact them beforehand to ensure that tickets will be available for your preferred date and time.

If you’d like to purchase from JTB, there are rail pass package and bus tour inquiry links on the JTB page linked above. If your trip is more than 3 months out, they ask that you wait to submit an inquiry until 3 months and 15 days before the month of your visit.

Buying Ghibli Museum Tickets in Japan

You can also purchase Ghibli Museum tickets while in Japan, but as with online sales, you must purchase a month in advance. Tickets are sold through special ticket machines at Lawson locations. See detailed instructions for purchasing from the machines here.

Obviously, being in Japan a month ahead of your desired visit to the museum won’t work for most travelers. But if you have a Japanese friend who’d be willing to grab them for you, or you frequently travel to Japan, this is a great option!

What to do if Ghibli Tickets are Sold Out for Your Dates

If you weren’t able to buy Ghibli Museum tickets before they sold out for your dates, you still have some options:

3Ghibli Museum Tours and Advance Tickets Through Viator

Viator offers a number of Ghibli Museum and Ghibli inspired tour packages, all pretty reasonably priced for what they offer. These are a good option for superfans, as they also include visits to sites that inspired Ghibli movies.

Their Ghibli Museum tour can be a lifesaver if you’re looking for last minute tickets. Spots on the tour may still be available when individual tickets are not.

If you can’t devote the time to fighting the online masses for advance Ghibli tickets, or just don’t want to take the chance that you won’t be successful, you can also pay Viator to purchase advance tickets for you. They do charge a premium, and you’ll need to plan over a month in advance. But I can see this being worth it to save the headache of Lawson’s overloaded website.

4Last-Minute Ghibli Museum Tickets and Pre-orders with Voyagin

If you find yourself in need of last-minute tickets to the Ghibli Museum, Voyagin could save the day!

Much like Viator, they offer advance ticket ordering if you don’t want to risk missing out when tickets go on sale.

But even better, they have a limited number of last-minute Ghibli Museum tickets available! They can even deliver tickets to your hotel. You will of course pay a premium for booking last minute, but it’s still cheaper than the tours and bundles that would get you in last minute.

Voyagin specializes in Asia, so they have quite a few other Japan attraction tickets and experiences available, often at a nice discount.

I purchased our Robot Restaurant tickets from them at about $15 less per ticket than if we’d purchased from the official site. We also loved their exclusive option for VIP front row center upgrade for the show–this is an upgrade you can’t even get if you purchase directly from the restaurant.


Using Your Tickets

Lucky enough to get Ghibli Museum tickets? There are some important things to know about using them:

  • Your ticket specifies an entry time– don’t miss your entry window, or you won’t be allowed in. You have 30 minutes from the time specified on your ticket. For example, your entry time is 2pm, you have until 2:30pm to enter.
  • You must bring your physical printed tickets showing the barcode and reservation details with you for admission.
  • If you purchased tickets online through Lawson, you were required to provide your passport number. The purchaser is considered the “group leader”, and all of the purchased tickets will bear the purchasers name and passport number. The purchaser must bring their passport with them for entry. Staff will check the passport name and number against the tickets (other members of the group do not need to bring their passports). This is a detail that’s easy to miss, but extremely important.

The Japanese are culturally sticklers for rules, so please don’t assume that you can get away with bending any of these requirements!


Getting to the Ghibli Museum

How to Buy Ghibli Museum Tickets Online (and what to do if they're sold out)

The Ghibli Museum is located in Mitaka Inokashira Park and is easily accessible by subway:

  • Take the JR Chuo Line to Mitaka station (about 20 minutes from Shinjuku station).
  • From the Mitaka South Exit, the museum is about a 15 minute walk along the Tamagawa Josui “Waterworks” within the Mitaka Inokashira Park. You’ll see frequent signs pointing the way to the museum.

If you’d rather not walk from the station, a local bus makes regular trips to the museum for a couple dollars. Walk out of the South exit of Mitaka station and look for Bus Stop #9. The bus stops right in front of the museum, so you won’t have any trouble knowing where to get off.

Car parking is not available at the museum (though I can’t imagine why you’d want to drive in Tokyo anyways).

Additional Info to Know When Visiting the Ghibli Museum

  • Photos and video recording are not permitted inside the museum, and you’ll be asked to turn off your phone. (This may be disappointing to some, but we actually loved not having to dodge a million selfie-takers.)
  • The museum and the restrooms are handicap accessible, with the exception of the roof garden.
  • While the museum is gated, the gates are open and a section of the exterior is accessible without a ticket (you’ll see a small entrance tent set up next to the restrooms–it’s very clear where public access stops). So if you just want to stop by and snap a selfie in front of Totoro in the faux ticket office out front, you won’t need a ticket.

If a visit to the museum is on your Tokyo bucket list, be sure to check your trip dates against days the museum is closed:

The Museum is closed every Tuesday, except on these Tuesdays:
 2019: March 26,April 30, August 13, October 22, December 24
 2020: February 11

The Museum is also closed at Year-end and for New Year’s Holidays and periodic maintenance:
   Periodic Maintenance 1: May 21, 2019 through May 31, 2019
   Periodic Maintenance 2: November 4, 2019 through November 15, 2019
   Year-end and New Year Holidays: December 27, 2019 through January 2, 2020

Tickets for September 29 and October 1, 2019 are only available to residents of Mitaka city and other neighboring cities.

Food and Drink at the Ghibli Museum

Ghibli offers a couple different options for refreshments.

There’s the Straw Hat cafe (pictured above), with food that looked and sounded quite good. There’s frequently a wait for the cafe, as was the case when we visited, so we opted for the more casual option.

The second place to grab a snack is a window just around the corner selling hot dogs, ice cream and the like, along with a special Ghibli branded beer.

You’re also welcome to pack a lunch and eat it on the outside dining terrace.