Nothing matches the experience of seeing an game in person. While English-speakers may find this to be a daunting task, in reality it’s like learning to ride a bike or tie a pair of shoes; once you know, you know.
There are several ways to buy tickets to FCT games, all with varying degrees of difficulty and reward, as follows.
Pro: Saves you a ton of money if you frequently attend home games. Special perks like early entry into the stadium and early access to special match tickets and merchandise. Kinda freaks out the locals.
Con: Large up-front investment. Obviously requires dedication to attend every home game.
How to: Sign up through the FC Tokyo Season Ticket website – the deadline for the full season ticket package is sometime in February and they start taking applications for the second-half package (which coincides with the break in the season that comes with the NT’s qualifiers) in June-July or so. You can opt to pay through a conbini or COD when the tickets are distributed in early March.
Pro: Allows you to buy tickets to individual games, for when your schedule doesn’t allow for you to attend 20+ games a year. Also gives you access to away games.
Cons: Tickets moderately more expensive, especially when handling fees are factored in. Requires decent Japanese knowledge and/or a good online dictionary to navigate the sites.
Single Tickets (Pia Ticket shops)
Pros: Fast, no handling fees, usually a clerk at the counter who can help you out.
Cons: Tickets will sell out if you’re not fast enough. Locations limited.
How to: Go to a Pia Shop, fill out the ticket order form with as much information as you know (usually there’s a sign on the wall that lists J.League games that are for sale, and there are even ticket order forms in English), and bring it up to the cashier who will help you fill in any required blanks.
Single Tickets (Lawson’s Loppi machines)
Pros: Fast, no handling fees, convenient.
Cons: Odds are the staffers are helping other customers so you’re on your own. Touch screens can occasionally be finicky.
How to: See our guide here.
Single Tickets (Yahoo! Auctions, Scalper Shops)
Pros: If you’re desperate enough, you can find whatever you’re looking for.
Cons: Y!Auctions good Japanese or better plus the ability to pay through bank transfers or however the seller prefers. Scalper shops are rip-offs more often than not and will overcharge by as much as they can get away with (conversely if a game isn’t that high up on the popularity radar they’ll sell for around face value). Buyer beware.
How to: Honestly, as I really wouldn’t recommend this way of procuring tickets, you’re on your own, but if you check the street near the Odakyu department store in Shinjuku that’s close to the subway entrance, there’s about 5-6 ticket shops lined up in a row that are a good place to start.