Last updated: 2023-05-11
In order to pay for tickets on JP ticketing sites, you usually need one of:
- a credit card—may need to be issued in Japan
- someone who can go to a convenience store (conbini) in Japan and pay there
- someone with a Japanese bank account
Depending on the event and the particular round of ticketing, one or all of these may be accepted.
US credit cards
I've tested buying tickets with my own (US-issued) credit cards—here's a log of what has worked.
Sites that didn't accept US credit cards
- Ticket Pia (when the ticket application doesn't require a code)
Sites that have accepted US credit cards at some point
- Ticket Pia (when the ticket application requires a code)
- Rakuten Ticket
- Pony Canyon website (only works with some cards)
- Pony Canyon mobile app (works with more cards)
- TICKET FROG
- Ticket Village
3D Secure differences are a pain
Your card may or may not work depending on how the payment processor implements 3D Secure, which is a system that's supposed to authenticate that you're the one using your card. (You may be asked to input a PIN or answer some security questions.)
The variance between implementations, on both the card issuer and merchant sides, means that your Chase card might not work while your Barclays card might work on the same site.
Japanese credit cards
If you already have a Japanese credit card, then you're set for most ticket applications. (Though some don't take credit cards at all.)
Otherwise, there are a few ways I know of to get a Japanese credit card as a non-resident. They may not work on all sites, but as of 2022-08-14, Vandle has a pretty good success rate in my experience. (You'll generally need a Japanese phone number, which is its own problem.)
- Visa LINE Pay Prepaid Card: Loading money can only be done in Japan (via 7-11 ATM or FamilyMart) or with a Japanese bank account—you'll need to ask someone in Japan to load it for you. This has worked for me on e+. (This may require signing up for LINE with a Japanese phone number; I haven't tried with a non-JP account.)
- Vandle Card: This is another app that gives you a virtual card and it requires SMS verification with a Japanese phone number. Like the LINE Pay card, you will have to load money onto this card at a convenience store or ATM in Japan. This has worked for me on e+, as of 2022-10-01.
- V-Preca: I haven't tried these myself, so I can't guarantee they'll work on any particular site, but there are some guides out there if you search for them.
- MIXI M: This is an app that gives you a virtual card that you can reload with Visa or MasterCard (works with very few cards) or Apple Pay (works with more cards). It requires SMS verification with a Japanese phone number. Unfortunately, this doesn't work on e+ (as of 2022-06-05) or Ticket Pia (as of 2022-08-12) due to 3D Secure issues, but it may work on other sites.
Convenience stores (conbini)
The big three chains are common options: FamilyMart, 7-11, and Lawson. This section will assume a "you" that is doing the payment.
- At FamilyMart and Lawson, there's a machine (FamilyMart: multi-copy machine; Lawson: Loppi) where you enter a payment code, it prints out a slip with a bar code, and you bring the slip to the cashier to execute the payment. (At Lawson, you may be required to enter the applicant name—exactly as you wrote it—and/or phone number, so have those on hand.)
- At FamilyMart, some sites have a QR code option, and you can just show the code to the cashier. But the QR code gets invalidated after a short period of time (a few minutes), so don't screenshot it too far in advance.
- At 7-11, you go directly to the cashier and show a number to them (if the ticketing site is nice, there might be a bar code), then they'll charge you.
(This is also more or less how printing a ticket at these places works.)
Which is the best option? Probably 7-11, since they can group your payments into one order, and they consistently accept credit cards for payment. (7-11 generally takes foreign credit cards.) FamilyMart can be OK too, but it's kind of iffy with my credit cards (doing more than one payment a day with the same card may not work) and sometimes it is cash only.
I only have experience here with e+, which uses Pay-Easy. They'll list three numbers (you might have to click around on the ticket application page):
- 収納機関番号 (5 digits)
- お客様番号 (13 digits)
- 確認番号 (4 digits)
Using these, one can make the payment via ATM or the bank's website—here's a guide (in Japanese): https://www.pay-easy.jp/howto/
Be sure that your contact in Japan has a bank account that will support this. The Pay-Easy site has a list: https://www.pay-easy.jp/where/