Asia,  Japan,  KPOP

Going to kpop concerts in Japan, what I learned going to them

As a huge kpop fan, I was so happy when I found out that there are many kpop events that happens in Japan. I have lived in Japan for a total of about 2 years, and while there, it really started to feel like there’s a different kpop concert every week. If you want a more in-depth guide about kpop in Tokyo, check out my Kpop Guide In Tokyo guide. The most notable kpop concerts in Japan that I been to is 2019 KCON Japan 2019 and the 2018 Mnet Asian Music Awards, while my most favorite event being NCT 127: Neo City – The Link, and a Bae JinYoung 1st Asia Fanmeeting Tour “IM YOUNG”. I have been to a good amount of kpop concerts in America and seeing the difference first-hand between going to kpop concerts in America and Japan was really interesting! Here are some things that I learned while going to kpop concerts in Japan. If your looking for an updated lists of Kpop concerts in Japan, check out my Kpop concerts in Japan 2023 blog post.

No more waiting for hours

In America, If you want to get front row for a general admission pit tickets, people wait for hours in line, sometimes even days outside the venue to secure a good view of their favorite artist. I know for certain concerts in New York, I heard people said that they waited 2 days before the concert and camped out. But for Japanese fans, this concept is crazy to them. In Japan, doing like this is prohibited as it causes an inconvenience for people who work and live around that neighborhood. The earlier you buy the tickets, the earlier you are let into the venue or have closer seats to the stage. When I went to the MAMA awards, they were going by intervals of 5 and making people according to the number on their tickets. The closer to 0, the closer you would be to the stage since you will be let in first.

kpop concert in Japan ticket system
kpop concert in Japan ticket system

Fan Merch

I noticed that the merch that fans favored different types of merch then the ones in America. A lot of Japanese fans love making personalized Uchiwas (traditional Japanese fans) with their favorite member’s face on it, as well as their name. They are also a huge fan of banners and some fans even bring plushies that resemble their favorite member. People really do go big for going to Kpop concerts in Japan.

Japanese fans with their seventeen merch
Japanese fans with their seventeen merch

Going to kpop concerts in Japan: Concert Etiquette

Japanese fans tend to be very quiet while songs are being performed. No one really screams, jumps or overly fan girls. The only time where sometimes fans would fangirl were between songs when the artists are taking a break and talking/catching their breaths, or for fan chants. Most times, they quietly sit and listen and appreciate the songs. All my life, I been used to fans screaming at the top of their lungs right into my ears, so this was pretty nice for me. Although sometimes I do miss being able to jump around and really get into the music, I also appreciate getting to soak in their presence.

Kpop concert at Odaiba's Zepp DiverCity
Kpop concert at Odaiba’s Zepp DiverCity

No photography/videos

Almost all concerts and live events in Japan ban photography and video recording of the event. They are very strict about this and if they catch you, they will make you delete the photo/video and make you leave. Due to this, I don’t really have good photos from when I went to kpop concerts in Japan, and when I was recording secretly, I felt paranoid that someone was going to find me and kick me out. In America, people are always recording so this was a huge culture shock for me. It seems like Japan prohibit these actions in the case of official concert DVDs and merch. A lot of Japanese concert goers actually like this policy as cameras and phones can block views and lower one’s concert experiences.

One time I went to a free kpop event for a small group in a mall in Ikebukuro. It was with a very small audience, and they just performed 2 songs with a short meet and greet session. I was really surprised that they had a designated person on each floor of the mall to hold a sign that says no photography/videos. Even in small public events like this, they were very strict about monitoring the surroundings. There many be occasions in which there is a specfic song or moment in which they call it “photo oppurtunity” and thats they only time they let you take some photos. But once they say the time is over, cameras down.

No photography/videos in kpop concerts in Japan
Notice the No photography/videos sign

Fan Interaction

I felt like there was a difference on how they treat the audience from the west and east. Of course, the cultures are different so it’s natural to behave a certain way in different locations. In Japan, it really felt like there were much more fan interactions with the crowd at all times. I always read that they treat Korean/Japanese fans better then in America, and in all honesty, they do. The events somehow feel more intimate with the idols in Japan. Kpop idols are usually trained in Japanese and sometimes, their Japanese is stronger than English, and they can convey more to the fans. They also tend to sing either the Japanese version or Japanese singles that they wouldn’t sing anywhere else. For Arena concerts, they often have moving carts that goes around the whole venue for fans to feel closer to the artist, but America never has those, but this is probably just a safety issue. All this special fan interactions makes it so fun to be going to kpop concerts in Japan.

Kpop concerts in Japan moving carts
Izone one in a moving cart at KCON Japan

Prices

Most kpop concerts in Japan I been too, the prices were the same for everyone no matter if you were in the front or the back. This tends to make concerts seem more expensive if you buy the tickets closer to the performance date since you will be further from the stage. There are rarity tiers like “VIP” and such. Everyone pays the same and is treated the same. For the 2018 Mnet Asian Music Awards, I was lucky and were able to score tickets during the 1st round of presales, and ended up in front row, but I would hate to have paid the same amount and been all the way in nosebleed seats. With this method, I perfer the American system. You pay for the seat and the more you splurge, the closer you are. This makes it easier to go to concerts that I’m not the hugest fans to since I can just buy the cheapest and farthest tickets. All the fan meetings that I attended, at the end there were handshake events with the idol with everyone in the audience.

2018 Mnet Asian Music Awards tickets
2018 Mnet Asian Music Awards tickets

Going to kpop concerts in Japan: Fanclub gatekeep

They take the fanclub memberships very seriously. Some events can only be for fanclub members (twice does this often) or fanclubs gets first dips on tickets, and if there are any tickets leftover from the sale period, it becomes general admission. A big problem about this is that in order to be in the fanclub, you have to have a Japanese address and home number, and can be impossible for overseas fans.

kpop concerts in Japan
Seventeen concert

Japan travel tips:

  • If you have a lot of luggage and want to start exploring the city the moment you land, I recommend using a luggage service that allows you to transport your suitcase from the airport to your hotel in a safe and cost-effective way, like Luggage Delivery Service between Tokyo Hotels and Airport.
  • Check out Skyscanner for the best deals on flights/hotels to Seoul!
  • Planning to travel out of Tokyo? The Japan Rail Pass for Japan allows tourists to travel most Japan Rail operated train/bus and ferries. The JR Pass is a convenient, cost-effective, and flexible way to travel around Japan!
  • The Skyliner is the fastest way to get to the city from the airport, it’ll get you to downtown Tokyo in just 36 minutes!
  • If you are looking for an affordable hotel, I recommend looking at Agoda. This is the booking website that I personally use. Agoda has a very strong market in Asia and is a popular booking website to make bookings on. Agoda allows users to leave reviews of hotels, which can be helpful in making a decision about where to stay and also allows for easy cancellations and changes. They also have a good rewards program in which you can earn points and use them for future bookings, discounts, or even free stays.
  • Get access and discounts to Tokyo’s top activities all over Tokyo through Klook’s Greater Tokyo pass. It has general admissions to places like teamLab Planets TOKYO, Tokyo Sanrio Puroland, TOKYO SKYTREE®, Roppongi Hills Observation Deck ”Tokyo City View“, SHIBUYA SKY Observation Deck, and Tokyo Tower Observatory.
  • Check out Trip Advisor for the best user-based reviews and ratings, helping you make informed decisions and plan your trips more effectively! It offers a convenient platform to search for accommodations, restaurants, and attractions, making it easier to find the best options that suit your preferences and budget.
  • Don’t lose time upon arrival at the airport and order your E-SIM or a 4G Pocket WiFi, a portable WIFI device in advance so you’ll have wifi the whole trip!
  • Never leave home without travel insurance. Check out Safety Wing!

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Email me at pennylesstravels@gmail.com for consultations to plan your trip to Japan or just simple things questions about going to kpop concerts in Japan!

Some Useful Sources when traveling to Japan:
My Japan posts: Pennyless Travels Japan posts
My kpop posts: Kpop Posts!
Youtube Channel: Just Coneys Corner
Instagram: @coneychiiwa
Email: pennylesstravels@gmail.com
General Tourism information: Japan Travel Website
Airport pickup pocket wifi: 4G WiFi pocket wifi 

Fun and Discounted admissions for travel in Tokyo:

Klook.com
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