Guide part 1: Concerts & Musicals
Guide part 2: Fan Club Events


For the second guide to H!P trips in Japan, I’ll be going over the tips and tricks to attending Hello! Project Fan Club (FC) events. Specifically, the events that will be tied to your name.

All of the following event types require you to be registered with the FC. To do this, you’ll need to apply for it through a proxy service [NCFTM, FromJapan, etc] or friend in Japan, since the fan club requires a Japanese address. Make sure you register everything with your legal name on your passport as that’s the ID verification you’ll need to get into these events. It’s also a good idea to apply for FC ahead of time if you have the intention of going to Japan for H!P events. The membership processing takes time and you almost certainly won’t get in in time if you wait until something is announced before you apply.

Fan Club Pricing
General FC: 6100yen for the first year. 5100yen every year after. (On the same membership of course. If you fail to renew and join again, it’ll be 6100yen again.)

There’s also a special and executive FC, but you need a Japanese credit card to apply for it.

Birthday Events

Plan ahead:

Birthday events are announced approximately 1.5 months before the event itself. The event itself is usually on or around the member’s birthday.

One trick I use to narrow down the possible dates when I’m planning my trips before they’re announced is to check what day of the week the member’s birthday falls on.

  • If it’s on the weekend, there’ll most likely be a concert or other event going on and they’ll hold the birthday event on another day. Usually, they’ll pick a day within a week of her actual birthday, but I’ve also seen it be done 2-3 weeks later when their schedules are packed with other events.
  • If it falls on a weekday, and there’s no other special events, then it has a decent chance of being on that day.

When to apply/buy:

Applications usually open within a week after the event announcement and the window to apply is ~2 weeks. The lottery results usually come out 3~4 weeks before the event.

Cost:

~8000yen range

Language barrier:

Mid-range. There’s quite a bit more talk than singing when compared to a concert, so you should at least be able to grasp game explanations, etc if you want to understand what’s going on. But a lot of things are also conveyed through crazy hand motions, so at least you have that.

How to attend:

Depending on the member you’re going for and the venue they have booked, the rate of winning the application lottery differs. Most of the time, it’s not too hard to win a ticket to these events since the company will choose an appropriately sized venue for that member’s popularity.

But if you want a bit of reassurance, and have other friends who are planning to go, you can collaborate on your applications.

For example, you and one other friend want to go. In that case, both of you would apply for 2 tickets each (the maximum per person).

  • If one of you loses your application (it’s all or nothing, you can’t win 1 out of 2), the other might win it and you can both get in.
  • At worst, you’d both lose and you’d be out of luck.
  • In the case that you both win, you have the choice of which seats to take. And then you can try to sell the extra two tickets on Yahoo Auctions Japan. Most likely, you’ll be getting less from the auction sales than you originally paid for it. But that’s the cost and risk for using this tactic.
  • Similarly, you can buy another FC member’s extra ticket. You would have to get in touch with that person (Japanese skills will be needed), meet up with them in front of the venue, and go in together. Note that even if you go as a +1, you still need to be in the fan club and have all your ID verifications.

The 3 pieces of ID verification you’ll need to have with you are:

  1. Your official fan club card
  2. Your passport
  3. The lottery result email (if you are the one who won the tickets)

Definitely make sure you have all of these or you won’t be able to get in.

Extra notes:

You’ll get to wave at the birthday girl as you leave the venue. There’s no physical contact but it’s nice to be able to wish her a happy birthday in person!

Average difficulty to attend: ★★★☆☆

Kind of nerve wracking in the application process because of the short time frame (you only know if you win or not ~3 weeks before), but it’s usually not hard to get into. The power of friendship and good connections helps a lot here.

Dinner Shows

Plan ahead:

Announcements come about 2 months ahead of the event.

When to apply/buy:

Applications open a week to several weeks after the announcement, and the window to apply is usually 2 weeks.

Cost:

Anywhere from 7000~18,000yen, though there are a few extravagant times where I’ve seen the price go to 28000yen.
The lower end (7000~9000yen) is usually for things like cocktail events, where the food and drinks are additional costs at the venue.
The more expensive events have dinner and drinks included in the price.

Language barrier:

Mid-range. Some talking, some singing. You might want enough Japanese knowledge (or a friend who has it) to read the menu though.

How to attend:

If going to a cocktail event, the food and drinks are optional. But since it IS a cocktail event, there’ll be a kanpai during the show, so it’s best to get a member-themed drink and keep it around until that time. AKA don’t guzzle it down once you get it. There’s other drinks and food you can get before the show starts if you wanna drink that bad.

For an actual dinner show, the food and drinks come included. You’ll get a pass with your table and seat number, and the event atmosphere is even more formal.

Extra notes:

Dress code! This is the rare idol event where you’ll actually have to suit/dress up, so make sure you’re prepared for that when you pack. No king blades or anything of the like are allowed either. There’s a coat/heavy baggage check in at the front so you can just keep the important things you need while you’re inside and not lug around a bunch of stuff.

Average difficulty to attend: ★★★☆☆

Again, this depends on the dinner show member(s)’ popularity, but I’ve personally never seen a slew of “I lost the dinner show lottery!!” tweets show up on Twitter before.

Bus Tours

Plan ahead:

Announcements come about 2~2.5 months ahead of the event.

When to apply/buy:

Applications open anywhere from 1 week to 1 month after the initial announcement, and the window is usually the customary ~2 weeks for FC events.

Cost:

Anywhere from 60,000yen to 145,000yen. The difference in price usually depends on whether the tour will be going somewhere local by bus, or flying to another region where they do the bus tour. The cost includes food, accommodation, etc.

Language barrier:

Pretty much as high as it can get. Here is a list of things you’ll have to do in Japanese:

  • Fill out application forms.
  • Know what’s going on during the tour.
  • Understand the itinerary, events, and instructions.
  • Talk to other wotas.
  • Understand the idol. (there is a lot of talking in bus tours)

It’s highly suggested to have mobile wifi at all times for translation and map apps, especially if you’re going alone.

How to attend:

  1. Fill out all the required form on the bus tour news print (requires a Japanese phone number in case more info is needed from you)
  2. There’s usually a deposit. For example, C-ute’s last bus tour deposit was 30,000yen per person.
  3. You can apply as a group for a room share but it’ll cost you an extra fee. Sometimes when you have enough people in one room (usually 4+), that fee can be waived.
  4. You either need to be 20 or over or have a guardian give permission to go. Depending on which proxy service you use, they may be able to be that “guardian” for you.
  5. Once you get to the meeting spot, you’ll need your FC card to get your pass. The pass will have your bus number. When you get on the bus, check the list to get your seat number and find your seat.
  6. Fill out more paperwork and get the rules/instructions/timetable.
  7. Enjoy the bus tour! You get to be around a really fun crowd for a few days!

Extra notes:

  • Bring printed confirmation documents for good measure, just in case.
  • Try to befriend people around you, even if you’re introverted. These are the people you’ll be around for a few days. Plus you have common ground to start conversations with.
  • Follow the crowd to make sure you know what’s going on.
  • Try not to wander off and get lost.
  • Ask questions if you need help. Even if people don’t understand English, they’ll still try to help.
  • Remember to bring king blades and wota gear.

Average difficulty to attend: ★★★★★

It costs a lot (even without counting the flight to Japan), you’ll want to have a really good grasp of Japanese, and you’re gonna need a bigger chunk of time to be able to go. Bus tours are probably one of the toughest, if not the toughest, of events to attend. But if done right (like much else in life), can make for amazing memories!!

[Dinner show and bus tour info comes from my friend, Ryu, who has much more experience than I have in those events. Thanks!]


So there you have it! FC events are great to go to outside of the normal concerts, and if you plan to go to Japan to see H!P, I’d highly suggest joining FC to get in on it. Otherwise you’d be missing out on stuff when you’re already making the trip to Japan.

Next up in the guide is single box events, aka moridakusankai. This is where you get to take chekis with the members, get signatures, and go to handshakes!!