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So, I've been thinking this post over for a while, and I'd like to do it for people who are considering attending GACKT's Visualive in summer 2015. I'll be adding things as I think of them, and I'm not sure how much I will be able to cover, we'll see.

I have an old post on this subject here (http://amaia.livejournal.com/221601.html). Please note that the shopping service I used to recommend, Mukunoki, ran a reliable business for several years, then suddenly disappeared after apparently becoming overwhelmed with work, taking a lot of people's money and goods with him. I haven't worked with other shopping services and so I can't offer any further recommendations. Google, read a lot of reviews, and be careful.

1.  Join G&LOVERS via a shopping service that does fanclub memberships
Japanese Required: None They will handle the transaction for you
Cost: Moderate Ticket cost + commission.  If you get a membership exclusively to buy tickets to one or two shows, the set up costs will make it Expensive
Chance of getting: Very Good You will be put into a ticket lottery with other members.  If you apply for multiple shows, you will usually get at least one and usually several.  However, I have personally experienced getting nothing, so keep in mind it can happen.  Keep in mind a new membership can take 3 months to be processed, so you need to have an active membership before the tickets go on sale.

2.  Purchase via Yahoo Auctions with a shopping service
Japanese Required: Low You need to find one with the date and location you want.  Google Translate and some of the more personal shopping services will usually help you confirm.
Cost: Expensive Depends on the auction, and can get very expensive for good tickets or in-demand shows.  You will also need to pay commission.
Chance of getting: Very Good If you can afford to win the auction, then you'll get your ticket.

3.  Meet up with a fan via Mixi and buy a spare
Japanese Required: Very High You will need to be able to read the posts on Mixi, send a message to the person arranging to meet up, and then meet them to complete the transaction.
Cost: Cheap Fans will nearly always sell at face value (perhaps with booking fee).  When they don't, they usually sell them cheaper to get rid of them
Chance of getting: Likely Depends on the concert and the venue, but you will usually find one.  In my experience, Japanese fans are very reliable (and will expect you to be, too.  Don't abuse their trust!)
Resources: mixi.jp (community name is GACKTライブチケット情報.  Discussion of ticket sales is strictly prohibited in most other GACKT communities)

4.  Wait near the venue with a sign saying チケットを探しています (looking for a ticket)
Japanese required: Moderate You will need to be able to understand numbers and costs in conversation, a bit of small talk and say thank you politely.  You may also need to tell Dafuya (ticket scalpers) to f**k off.
Cost: Cheap Fans will nearly always sell at face value (perhaps with booking fee).  Buying from the Dafuya will be Very Expensive, depending on the seat (though they will often have very good ones).  Please note that if you buy from Dafuya, they will remember you and creepy yakuza guys will follow you around like a bad smell at every other concert they see you at, until you tell them to f**k off.  Other fans may be reluctant to speak to you or deal with you if they see you buy from a scalper.

As of 2014, GACKT's strategy of selling the front seats at a premium, and often requiring fanclub membership or ID for them, has greatly decreased the number of ticket scalpers. However, some unfortunate people who have bought from them have found themselves unable to use their scalped tickets. Be sure to check the rules when buying premium tickets, even from other fans!
Chance of getting: Likely I have done this a lot, and only failed once or twice. However, I probably wouldn't take the chance if it is the only concert you will be able to see.

There are some methods that have become more viable in the last couple of years. These methods generally allow you to buy tickets for face value.

Public sales- generally through Ticket Pia and eplus, require Japanese ability to sign up and navigate the site (though some shopping services might do it for you.)
Toujitsuken- Same day tickets. GACKT shows used to sell out almost instantly, but recently there have been same day ticket sales at the venue for most things. Look for a sign saying 当日券 or ask at the information desk where to buy them (will require some spoken Japanese).
Twitter- Both Japanese and foreign fans use Twitter to advertise their spare tickets. Of course you will probably need to speak to the Japanese fans in Japanese.
OhGacktYouDidnt- Foreign fans may sell spare tickets here (Ticket information post: http://ohgacktyoudidnt.livejournal.com/587772.html )


Misato Bunka Kaikan, Saitama (Big Hall)
15 mins walk from Misato Station (JR)
The station is 60 mins from Tokyo Station on the Musashino Line
and 30 mins from Akihabara on the Tsukuba Express.
From the north exit of the station you can take a bus part way.
3/21 Mon
Koranii Bunka Ho-ru, Yamanashi
20 mins walk from Kofu Station (JR)
Bus or taxi available from station.
Yamanashi is a couple of hours from Tokyo and Kofu city
has the shrine of Takeda Shingen, Uesugi Kenshin's rival
which is quite a nice little forest shrine.
3/26-3/27 Sat-Sun
Orix Theater, Osaka
5 mins from Yotsubashi Staion (2nd exit) on the blue subway line,
5 mins from Nishi-Ohashi Station (2nd exit) on the green subway line
3/30 Thurs
Pacifico Yokohama (National Hall)
Check English website for information!
About 30-40mins from Tokyo
I recommend visiting Yokohama, there are lots of English signs
and it's less chaotic than Tokyo. The Chinatown and Minato Mirai
shopping areas are quite popular.
If you can swing it, I highly recommend staying in the Royal Park
Hotel in the Landmark Tower, the views are amazing and it's very
close to the venue. The Intercontinental Hotel is even closer.
4/1 Fri
Niigata Kenmin Kaikan (Big Hall)
4/6-4/7 Wed-Thur
Kobe Kokusai Kaikan (International Hall)
3 mins from central exit of Sannomiya station
4/9 Sat
Hachinohe Shikou Kaikan, Aomori
4/10 Sun
Sendai Sunplaza Hall
Next to Tsutsujigaoka Station on the Ishinomaki Line
4/12 Tues
Kamakura Geijutsukan
10 mins from Ofuna Station, which is probably about 40 mins from Tokyo(?)
4/16 Sat
Hokuto Bunka Ho-ru, (Big Hall), Nagano
4/17 Sun
Hondanomori Ho-ru, Ishikawa
4/21 Thurs
Ueno Gakuen Ho-ru, Hiroshima
4/23 Sat
Okayama Shimin Kaikan
Fukuoka Sanpresu Hoteru & Ho-ru
4/29-4/30 Fri-Sat
Nitori Bunka Hall
5 mins walk from Nishi 11 Chome Station on the Tozai Subway line
5 mins by taxi from Sapporo Station
5/10 Tues
Morino Ho-ru 21 (Big Hall), Chiba
15 mins walk from Shin-Yahashira Station on the Musashino Line
The station is around 40 mins from Tokyo Station
5/14 Sat
Nagoya Kokusai Kaigijo (Century Hall)
5/21 Sat
Matsuyama Shimin Kaikan (Big Hall), Ehime
5/27 Fri
Tokyo International Forum Hall A
Check English website for information!
6/15 Wed
Shimin Kaikan (Sojo University Hall), Kumamoto
6/17 Fri
Miyazaki Shimin Bunka Ho-ru (Big Hall)
7/2 Sat
Saitama Super Arena
Check English website for information!
About 30 mins from Tokyo, right next to Saitama-Shintoshin Station

7/4 ???
There is extremely likely to be a final birthday show announced after the tour begins, probably also in Saitama Super Arena (unless he decides to surprise us)


Advice: Book a hotel close to the venue if possible, particularly if attending the first or last show of the tour, or even the first show in a particular city. GACKT is often late and trains in Japan do not run all night. You don't want to have to choose between leaving the concert early and being stranded all night! If your hotel is far from the venue, make sure you know when the last train is, or have a back up plan like all-night karaoke or an internet cafe.

Toyoko Inn is a chain of business hotels, and there is at least one branch near most train stations in Japan (If you are at a major train station, there are often multiple branches so be careful). Depending on how major the city is, prices vary between 5000-9000yen for a single room including a simple breakfast buffet (generally toast, rice balls and some side dishes). Pillows and beds can be on the hard side, but I've never had any serious problems with them.

English website and online bookings avaliable: http://www.toyoko-inn.com/eng/index.html

(To add- Sakura hostel, Shinjuku youth hostel)

Useful sites
Tripadvisor- Hotels and attractions in your city of interest, online bookings http://www.tripadvisor.com/
Rakuten Travel- Online hotel booking engine in English. To be honest I've booked some questionable places through them, but I was being cheap. http://travel.rakuten.com/

Emergency Options:
Karaoke and internet/manga cafes will require you to sign up, and perhaps pay a membership fee of around 300yen. Staying in one all night will probably run about 2500yen, though that could vary depending on location and the exact time you enter and leave. Both generally have a soft drink bar and some even have things like corn soup, hot chocolate or ice cream in the free drink dispensers. Food can be ordered at most karaoke chains, and internet cafes have snacks and instant noodles for purchase. Internet cafes often also have showers for an extra fee.

If you actually intend to sleep, an internet cafe is better.


Purchase your return train ticket or charge your IC card before the show, there may be long lines at the station afterwards!

How to buy a Pasmo/Suica (IC card for public transport)
Pasmo and Suica are the two main IC cards used for public transportation in Japan. I highly recommend getting one, because it will save a lot of hassle buying tickets (which, as I mentioned, can take a long time immediately after a show). I believe it costs a 500yen deposit for a new card + whatever value you put on it.

What's the difference? Suica is the Japan Rail card, while Pasmo is Tokyo Metro and other private railways in the Tokyo area. In practice, the railway companies have cooperated so that you can use Suica on the Metro lines and Pasmo on the JR lines, etc. I can confirm that both are completely interchangable in Tokyo and the surrouding prefectures. I'm not 100% sure if Pasmo works everywhere else, so if you are travelling outside the greater Tokyo area, it might be safer to get a Suica.

IC cards do not work on the Shinkansen/bullet trains, or long distance buses, which require special tickets.

Official PASMO site with purchasing guide: http://www.pasmo.co.jp/en/about/
Official Suica site: http://www.jreast.co.jp/e/pass/suica.html
Photo and video guide to buying a PASMO: http://www.thejapanguy.com/how-to-get-a-pasmo-card/
Photo and video guide to buying a Suica: http://www.thejapanguy.com/how-to-get-a-suica-card/

Train timetables and search engines
Ekitan is probably the best, but Japanese only: http://ekitan.com/
Hyperdia is popular, and has an English option: http://www.hyperdia.com/en/
Jorudan is another site with English capabilities: http://www.jorudan.co.jp/english/norikae/

Train maps
Tokyo Metro subway lines http://www.tokyometro.jp/en/subwaymap/
Japan Rail East Japan map http://www.jreast.co.jp/e/info/map_a4ol.pdf
(Tokyo) Toei subway lines and buses http://www.kotsu.metro.tokyo.jp/eng/

Long Distance Buses
Willer Express http://willerexpress.com/en/?aid=184
Rakuten Travel (Japanese only) http://travel.rakuten.co.jp/bus/?s_kwcid=paidsearch&k_clickid=659a0f80-079d-4070-a243-d2bbbef5062f

Domestic Flights (budget airlines)
Peach Airlines (had a nice flight to Taipei with them, adorable pink and purple planes) http://www.flypeach.com/home.aspx
Vanilla Air http://www.vanilla-air.com/en/
Skymark (flew to Hokkaido with them no problems) http://www.skymark.co.jp/en/

While credit cards are becoming more popular in Japan and most big stores will take them, it is a good idea to have cash on you at all times. Travellers checks are reportedly not very useful.

It is generally cheapest to change money at a bank. You should be able to ask your own bank or credit union to order in some Japanese money before you go (this will take a few days). Changing money at the airport is convenient, but tends to be a bit of a rip off. However, the situation can vary in different countries and locations, and if you are concerned about getting the most out of your dollars, you should shop around.

7/11 ATMs will accept most foreign debit and credit cards, including Visa, Mastercard and American Express, and are probably your best option if you need more cash quickly. Fees will depend on your bank. It's a good idea to try and minimize the number of transactions you make so fees don't eat a big chunk of your money. I tend to take out too little money and then go back to the ATM cursing later.
Details here: http://www.sevenbank.co.jp/intlcard/index2.html

When travelling, I generally take two wallets, one with enough money for my whole trip that stays locked in my suitcase, and one that I carry around with just enough cash for one day + emergency taxi fare. I also only carry one debit card at a time. Pickpocketing and mugging is highly unlikely in Japan, but I have lost a wallet with all my cash and all my cards in it before and that was NO FUN AT ALL. If you are more paranoid than me you could also put your emergency money in a money belt/ your shoe/your bra/etc.

As a note, I believe foreigners are required to carry either a passport or residence card at all times in Japan, and the police may ask you to present it at any time. I don't think most people will be stopped by the police on a short holiday, but it is a possibility, and it could cause problems if you don't have it.

I recommend carrying a list (or even two, one in your suitcase and one in your day bag) with the names, addresses and phone numbers of everywhere you plan to stay. Even better if you can get it written in Japanese characters as well. I also print out Google Maps of where I plan to stay and other places like concert venues. These are useful for showing to taxi drivers or helpful locals if you get lost.

If currency conversion between your local currency and the yen is complicated, it can help to have a reference sheet for various amounts so you can judge the prices of things (100yen = $1, 1000yen = $10, 10,000yen = $100, etc).

If you have a Pasmo or Suica card, it is recommended that you keep it separate from your credit cards, particularly when touching it on the sensor.

Okay, so obviously learning Japanese is a massive undertaking, and most of you will not wish or need to do it for a short vacation. I will attempt to identify some things that are both learnable in a few months, and useful.

Things that will generally be in English, numerals or pictures/symbols:
-Everything at international airports, down to the fast food employees being bilingual. Also the airport buses/trains.
-The shinkansen (bullet train) network caters to international travellers.
-Names of train stations in the Greater Tokyo area. Announcements, timetables and signs will include English in all but minor stations. English maps are also available.
-Prices. Many clerks and store owners (including the goods table at GACKT shows) will have calculators on hand to show you the price in numerals.
-Signs for bathrooms, changing rooms, and other gender segregated areas. (Even if they use the Japanese characters, it's still generally color coded blue=man pink/red=woman). As another note, in cramped Tokyo, many restaurants will have a single stall unisex bathroom anyway.
-ATMs and train station ticket machines generally have an English option.
-If you are staying at a major hotel chain or hostel that caters to tourists, staff will generally speak English, at least enough to accomodate common requests, and in a lot of cases quite fluently.
-Many restaurants, including fast food chains, have menus with pictures that you can point to, or plastic food displays. Some places also have a food ticket machine where you pay at the machine and hand your ticket to the staff, or some kind of electronic menu. Staff in some restaurants are bilingual, though this happens more often in expensive places. Still, you can even run into McDonalds employees who want to use their English.
-And of course, anywhere that caters to tourists, like Tokyo Disneyland, and major attractions will be English speaker friendly.

In other words, with a bit of searching and a bit of pointing and gesturing, you can eat, sleep and get around in Japan without speaking a word.

Things that may require some Japanese:
-Taxi drivers may not speak English. I recommend that you carry a print out of your hotel's name and address and a Google map if you can.
-Buses. Local buses can be tricky even if you do speak Japanese. Long distance buses are generally not too difficult if you manage to get tickets and get on, but the driver and staff may not speak English.
-Regional airports and domestic flights will be less equipped for English speaking travellers (though there will probably be SOME English).
-Basically cheaper and budget travel options that are not specifically for backpackers may not accomodate English speakers.
-Smaller independent cafes and restaurants may have menus in Japanese only.
-Outside of the Greater Tokyo Area, train stations may not have English signage. Since Japanese place names can be non-intuitive even for Japanese people to read, there will generally be hiragana.

What should I learn?
This depends on how much free time you have before your trip. I will assume you are a complete beginner.

-First, learn the rules of Japanese pronunciation, particularly vowel sounds. It is difficult for Japanese speakers to guess what you mean if your vowel sounds are wrong. English is quite tolerant of different speakers using different vowel sounds, but unfortunately Japanese is not.
-Secondly, greetings and thankyous can go a long way.
-Third, find a good phrasebook, and read through it, make a note of things you might use often. "How much is this?" "Where is the (station)?" etc
-If you want to do more than that, I would learn either hiragana or katakana. If you are travelling outside Tokyo and might need hiragana for station names, learn it. Otherwise, since katakana is used for almost all non-Japanese food and drinks, it will probably be more useful.
-If you have time to learn the other one, you can do that too.
-If you still want to learn more, then I would get a basic textbook. Beginner textbooks are generally pretty similar, so don't stress too much about which one.
-If you have even more time and some money to throw around, book a couple of sessions with a Japanese tutor and ask them to either go over the textbook with you, or roleplay some basic travel scenarios. This could also help confirm if you are pronouncing things understandably.

If you are already studying Japanese, then I would add a travel phrasebook to your study, and ask your teacher for travel themed activities or roleplay (if there is any flexibility in the curriculum). If you are self studying, then you could also ask a tutor or a friend to roleplay with you.

Free Resources
Free guide to learning Japanese, including pronunciation, hiragana/katakana, and ongoing textbook project http://www.guidetojapanese.org/learn/
Free phrasebook http://wikitravel.org/en/Japanese_phrasebook
Free dictionary http://jisho.org/
Free iphone dictionary app https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/imiwa-japanese-dictionary/id288499125?mt=8
(Of course, there are many free dictionary and phrasebook apps)
Anki Flashcard Program (can download decks with hiragana/katakana/kanji, among others) http://ankisrs.net/

I cannot recommend "the best" textbook or phrasebook, because I haven't personally used any for a long time, and most of the big name publishers are fairly equal in quality anyway. Here are some solid options.

Genki Textbook http://www.amazon.com/Genki-Integrated-Elementary-Japanese-Workbook/dp/478901441X
Lonely Planet Phrasebook http://www.amazon.com/Lonely-Planet-Japanese-Phrasebook-Dictionary/dp/1742201865


Cell phone/SIM card rental
I think I've used this one while travelling with my family: http://www.rentafonejapan.com/
List of cell phone rental companies located in Narita (Tokyo) Airport http://www.narita-airport.jp/en/guide/service/list/svc_19.html

If you are travelling outside the Tokyo area, public toilets may not have toilet paper. It is a good idea to have a small pack of tissues or wet wipes on hand. Even in Tokyo, the toilet paper can run out and wet wipes can be useful when travelling anyway so I'd still recommend it.

Public toilets may be the squatting kind, even in Tokyo. Here's a short guide http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2003.html

Some pubic bathrooms do not have hot water or soap so you might want to carry hand sanitizer.

Department stores generally have the nicest bathrooms (western style, heated, bidet, soap and hot water), and many of them are built near or on train stations. If you're out and about, convenience stores and fast food restaurants are usually the easiest way to find a toilet.

Harajuku is a popular spot for people visiting Tokyo, but particularly in Takeshita Street, there are hardly any bathrooms once you leave the station. There's one in McDonalds, and another near the Sweets Paradise on the 3rd floor of a building, and that's about it.

The line for the women's bathroom at a GACKT concert will be terrible, go on your way to the venue if at all possible. Or use the guy's side if you've got the balls for it.


Things not to bring
-Cameras and recording devices are prohibited. If you are carrying them, put them down the bottom of your bag and leave them there. The staff will probably not search your bag, but if you are see with a camera out during the show you could be thrown out (also, y'know, respect the artists wishes).
-Plastic bags and things that are going to rustle during the quiet songs. (Again, put them down/inside another bag and don't touch them if possible.)
-Signs, hats and anything else that will block the view of the people behind you.

Things to bring
-A water bottle, particularly if you are going to be queing for goods and standing around outside the show for hours. Summer in Japan can get extremely hot.
-Some kind of food like a rice ball or sandwich. You will probably want to eat something either just before the show or just after.
-Comfortable shoes, you will be standing all show. Unless you are short even by Japanese standards, it's kind of a dick move to wear tall shoes.

Things not to do
-Have conversations with your friends during the quiet songs or MCs. Yes, recently there have been foreign fans doing this. The MCs when GACKT talks to the crowd may be a little dull if you don't understand Japanese, but try to sit through it.
-Scream during the songs/while GACKT is talking. People do their cheering in between the songs, and GACKT has a lengthy shouting match with the audience during each show, so you will have plenty of opportunity for screaming. A VISUALIVE can be very atmospheric, like a movie or play, if the audience lets it be.
-Heckle GACKT. Okay it's probably mostly the Japanese fans doing this, but it's increased a lot over the last few tours, and it's only funny maybe 1/10 times.

Things to do
-Scream and cheer between songs, and when prompted by GACKT and the band. Headbang or do furi. Feel free to sing along to the loud songs too, no one can hear anything anyway.
-Put excess bags in a locker at the station if necessary. For example, if you spent the morning sightseeing or doing other activities.
-The goods table generally opens about 3 hours before a show, and the line can be quite long, so stop by the venue early if you plan to buy goods. If there are goods ONLY avaliable at a particular show, you may have to get there very early to queue. Bring a bag for your goods, unless a bag is one of the goods you intend to buy.
-If you need to use the bathroom at the venue before a show, it could easily take 20mins or more of standing in line, plan accordingly. You might want to use the bathroom in a train station, restaurant,or department store near the venue.
-Seriously consider wearing earplugs, particularly if you attend a lot of concerts. You might feel silly, but you 100% will get some level of hearing damage if you don't wear them. Ultimately this is your choice, though. I think concerts can actually sound better with them in, it cuts out a lot of noisy echoes and painful loudness and just leaves the music itself, which is still plently loud.

(Writing that has made me aware of my tinnitus, argh. Which, incidentally is WHY YOU SHOULD WEAR EARPLUGS.)

Perhaps I seem a bit controlling with the whole "don't make noise" thing, but really,compare GACKT's old concert DVDs, where people saved their cheering for inbetween songs, to trying to watch fancams of S.K.I.N.'s performance, where people screamed constantly, for example. If you only get one chance to hear GACKT in person, which do you prefer?

GACKT fans have always cheered and applauded enthusiastically between songs, and no one is saying you have to stand still and be silent all show. But in the last few years, there's been a sharp increase in random people screaming random things during quiet bits of the show and when GACKT is talking, and really, it doesn't add anything to anyone's enjoyment of the show. It's even got to the point where GACKT has to tell people to shut up so he can get through his MC.

Really, please don't.



( 35 comments — Leave a comment )
Page 1 of 2
<<[1] [2] >>
Jan. 1st, 2015 04:05 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I'm looking forward to my trip! ^_^
Jan. 2nd, 2015 12:34 am (UTC)
Thanks. Can you think of any categories or topics I haven't listed? I've been here for long enough that I'm not sure what a first timer would have problems with...
(no subject) - sarahlgollum - Jan. 2nd, 2015 02:40 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - amaia - Jan. 2nd, 2015 12:14 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sarahlgollum - Aug. 10th, 2015 06:08 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 1st, 2015 04:29 pm (UTC)
What a thoughtful guide! Thank you so much for putting this together! I doubt I'll be in the financial position to get to Japan this year, but I'm sure this will be a godsend to people who can.
Jan. 1st, 2015 08:19 pm (UTC)
This was informative and helpful, thank you very much.
ScalesOfLibra [wordpress.com]
Jan. 1st, 2015 10:03 pm (UTC)
Thanks for this guide! I was wondering about phone rentals.

Oooh, the suspense is killing me! Can't wait for him to announce the tour dates! I was hoping he'd do it at the Fukuoka Gakuensai, but alas.
Jan. 2nd, 2015 12:23 am (UTC)
Thank you so much for this!
Jan. 13th, 2015 02:29 am (UTC)
Are there any travel apps you recommend? London had some really super great apps for their buses, where you could just enter where you wanted to go, and it would locate the closest bus stop that would drop you off there. (and is the only reason I managed to not get hopelessly lost and stranded in the middle of a city because the half of the darn Central and District lines were closed and I couldn't figure out their bus system because holy crap that was a lot of buses)

There any chance Japan has something like that that you've used before?

My Aunt is gonna try and have our week-long visit built around if I can get concert tickets--and if the concert happens between semesters so I'm not in class.
So hopefully we can get a hotel by the venue for the showings--I didn't even think about the transit systems closing!

Thank you so so so much, this has been really helpful. I really hope the timing works out/I can get tickets ;-;
I'm getting very nervous about getting a hold of them, an we've not even got dates yet!

Do you mind if I ask how smoking is there? I've heard it's pretty terrible, but do people smoke inside the concert buildings often? I'm allergic, and I'll certainly keep a mask with me for if anyone's smoking close to me (as always). But I would love to have a heads up on if that's common or not in a concert venue.

edit: and just an extra question, about how much do these concerts typically cost? I've got no idea what the price ranges for this are :x

Edited at 2015-01-13 03:24 am (UTC)
Jan. 13th, 2015 02:19 pm (UTC)
Google Maps works in Japan, though it doesn't always find the best route with public transport. I usually use Google Maps to figure out the closest station and walking route, and then ekitan or Hyperdia to find the best trains.

You should almost certainly be able to find a hotel near the venue, the venues are generally very close to the stations, and every train station in a major city is surrounded by business hotels. There's usually a Toyoko Inn at every one. The problem is if you want cheap hostel style accommodation, that's usually further away.

As for smoking, yeah it's pretty common in restaurants and such. The word for non-smoking is 禁煙 "kin'en", by the way. You can usually say "kin'en de" when asking for a seat, or karaoke box, hotel room, etc. Some small restaurants are smoking only, or don't have enough separation between the smoking and non-smoking areas.

You'll definitely want to book at a hotel that allows you to specify non-smoking. One of the not-so-great places I booked through Rakuten Travel put me in a smoking room and GOOD LORD. If I ever get lung cancer, I know who to blame. (The other one was in the middle of the biggest red light district in Sapporo, fun times).

I don't think people are allowed to smoke in concert venues though. I'm not 100% on that, since it doesn't bother me much and I might simply not have noticed, but I thiiiiiiink people have to smoke outside. I've definitely seen the sad cold winter huddle of smokers. You're probably more likely to choke to death on the miasma of Platinum Egoist at a Gackt show (I hope you are not allergic to perfumes).
(no subject) - cauliflower346 - Jan. 13th, 2015 03:39 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - amaia - Jan. 14th, 2015 08:42 am (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 13th, 2015 02:46 am (UTC)
Oh and how are the prices/seat options usually on the public sale websites? And do we have to use a shopping service with them; I'm a bit thrown off on why a credit card wouldn't be enough--but I'm remembering something about needing a Japanese address?

Jan. 13th, 2015 02:40 pm (UTC)
I think the public sales are the general seating, which is slowly creeping towards the 9000-10,000yen mark these days once you add all the fees in. Premium seats are generally fanclub only.

The ticket sales can be a bit complicated, you will need to sign up for either eplus or Ticket Pia, which requires an address (also it's in Japanese). However, you might be able to get away with using a random address of some store or house. I think that, at least for Gackt shows, you can always pick them up from a convenience store and thus the address doesn't matter (I don't recall even ever having an option to get them in the mail).

Anyway, there's a difference between the pre-sales, which are generally lottery-style, you apply and wait, then find out if you got them, then pay and wait, then finally pick them up. This process can take weeks to months, and if you're not in Japan to go to the convenience store and complete the payment and pick up stages, you're screwed.

(I nearly screwed myself out of orchestra show tickets last year by being in China during the week or so you get to pay, I had to beg a friend to go do it).

The general sales that take place once all the fanclub sales and other assorted pre-sales are over is more straightforward. Book ticket online, go pay, pick up. No wait. Of course, it's not going to be a great seat by that point in time.

I think they accept credit cards, but sometimes only Japanese cards (in practice, some foreign cards will work and others will throw up an error message). It's a crapshoot, and I generally pay at the convenience store.
(no subject) - cauliflower346 - Jan. 13th, 2015 03:59 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - amaia - Jan. 14th, 2015 09:27 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - dyan25 - Aug. 21st, 2015 07:22 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - amaia - Aug. 21st, 2015 08:56 am (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 15th, 2015 02:45 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the useful info!! :D

Really hoping I will be able to attend at least one visualive!!

I know you added general info about G-Lovers members applying for tickets. But I asked in OGYD a while ago about entering FC lotteries for premium tickets and regular at the same time... and the possibilities of winning only premium or only regular, winning both and then having to pay for both or get none.. it's a bit confusing and I know some other people were wondering about that at the time!
Jan. 16th, 2015 09:49 am (UTC)
Technically, if you enter the lottery, you're agreeing to buy the tickets if you win them. The hardcore Japanese fans enter both draws (and get all their friends to do the same), buy everything, and keep the best tickets and sell the rest.

However, I believe you can just let the payment period expire and your order will be cancelled. This -might- affect your future chances of getting tickets (no one really knows), which is why the hardcore fans don't do it. If you have to make a separate application for the premium tickets, then the payment process will also be separate, and you would be able to let the regular ticket order expire if you wanted. If they make you apply for both in the same order form then its possible that you won't be able to separate them. I think the draws are usually separate, though timed annoyingly so you might not get the results of the premium ticket draw back before the application deadline for regular seats. Also, recently there have been multiple rounds of both.

However, if you have multiple tickets in the same order (like, you were planning to go with a friend so you asked for 2 x regular seats), you have to buy them all even if your plans change.

If you do end up with spare tickets, and can't find someone online to take them, you can sell them at the venue a few hours beforehand in the same way that you can look for tickets there. Look for someone with a チケットを探しています("looking for a ticket") sign or make one that says チケットをゆずっています("letting go of a ticket"). Out of sight of the venue staff, of course.
(no subject) - alien_masked - Jan. 26th, 2015 11:37 am (UTC) - Expand
Aug. 8th, 2015 08:36 am (UTC)
Thanks! I definitely wanna go this time (pretty much why I got the FC membership) and I've never been to Japan before *sweats nervously* :'D
I should brush up on my Japanese at least. I used to be able to read/write hiragana and katakana at least but it's been a while...>.>
Aug. 8th, 2015 07:18 pm (UTC)
Thanks for such detailed info! ^^
Aug. 9th, 2015 08:55 pm (UTC)

Cool post amaia. Some things I didn't think of or didn't know yet! The ticket patr is very very interestinng, too! I'll be sending this to all of my friends who end up going *lol* Gotta help educating them on Japanese standards a bit to make sure they don't end up being hated :'D Overseas lives are really SO different!

Aug. 13th, 2015 07:24 pm (UTC)
Thank you for the post ^__^

On a side note, hall in Fukuoka is called Fukuoka Sunpalace Hotel & Hall

I guess not many overseas fans will go there, but just in case if you decide to include it in the post.
Aug. 21st, 2015 07:01 am (UTC)
Thank you for this post!

I can't sleep thinking about LVL this coming 2016. I'm a little bit in a panic mode you see because it's G's LAST Visualive and I really really really want to see him live at least once so I'm hoping to get a ticket (or three, depends if my two friends would want to see the live) for the Tokyo/Osaka/Kobe shows.

I guess my best chance on getting tickets is from other fans selling them. I hope fans will sell them in OGYD.
Aug. 30th, 2015 02:56 pm (UTC)
Concert Tickets
Hi Amaia,

I am really sorry to bother you but I have a favor to ask if you don't mind. It has been about 13 years since I learned about gackt and started appreciating his music and him as a person. I have been following you for years and I would just like to say how thankful I am for all the effort you have put into your translations. They have been immensely helpful. I currently live in America, specifically Texas, and I only managed to go to a concert with Gackt once because it was the skin concert held in California. I really want to be able to go to the last visualive in Japan but I am a fairly broke college student and I have no way of taking a flight to Japan just to get a ticket. I don't have any friends in Japan either so basically I'm out of more practical options. I know that it is asking a lot and that I'm a stranger but you are the only person I know that lives in Japan that is also an English speaking Gackt fan. I'm sure your aware of how nearly impossible it is for a person outside of Japan to participate in Gacktivities. If there is any way that you would be willing to buy a ticket for me when they go on sale I would of course pay the ticket, for any shipping and like an inconvenience and incredibly thankful fee. I would also be okay with paying your ticket even if it is one of the more expensive seating (it is still cheaper than flying). I have to ask, even if the possibility is small. If you would be willing, I will message you all my info and I can pay you through PayPal or something. Please let me know if there is any way you would do this for me. If not, I completely understand and I will still be following your blog/translations lol Thanks for considering my request. I really appreciate it!
Sep. 2nd, 2015 07:48 am (UTC)
Re: Concert Tickets
I wouldn't mind helping you if you're offering to pay for a ticket. I'm already getting tickets for friends anyway. Pm me if you're interested. :)
Sep. 1st, 2015 02:19 am (UTC)
I’m looking foward that live too ; ; I want to see Gackt at least once in my life ; ; but since I live in Venezuela and we dont have the chance to buy online my only option is to buy it in person ; ;

I was wondering if there’ someone helping to get tickets for fans outside Japan, obviously we’re paying and all~ ; ;

Edited at 2015-09-03 01:57 am (UTC)
Sep. 3rd, 2015 10:10 am (UTC)
I don't know anyone taking ticket orders currently, so I would recommend looking into a shopping service and keeping an eye on the OGYD post http://ohgacktyoudidnt.livejournal.com/587772.html
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