The view from an AKB48 handshake event.
1. Buy the limited edition/first press CD
The official tickets you receive at the handshake venue. You receive a seat number and another number which denotes when you will be able to stand in line for the handshakes.
If you buy the LE edition of a 48 single, there will be a handshake ticket included. This will allow you to attend the event and you can enter the lane of any member you wish. The more CDs you buy, the more tickets you’ll get, and you can spend more time with a member if you use multiple tickets.
The handshake tickets in the LE CDs.
2. Enter the theatre lottery
The AKB48 theatre in Akihabara.
For the 48 franchise, you can apply through each theatre (Akihabara, Nagoya, Osaka, etc.) for handshake events. When you apply, you can pick the member whose lane you want to be in. Although there are multiple rounds to the lottery, you can only apply a certain amount of times and more popular members like Oshima Yuko sell out in the first round.
3. Buy your tickets at a store
This store in Harajuku resells tickets at a lower price.
Although technically illegal, one way to purchase your tickets is to buy them at a ticket resale store. There are several of these in Harajuku, although they can be found throughout Tokyo. The prices depend on the store and can be higher or lower than usual, although most of the time they are mocked up. Buying resale tickets can be sketchy at best and should be a last resort as some companies are strict to match ID names to the ones on the ticket.
The store separates their tickets by category and displays their prices proudly.
4. Buy a photobook
Photobook handshake events are usually held at bookstores.
Individual idols or members of an idol group may also hold handshake events at bookstores for their photobook releases. Tickets for these events can usually be bought through the venue itself on a certain day. These handshake events are special in that you might also get a free photobook if you don’t already own one, and even a signed copy if your ticket falls within a certain number range.
An example of a handshake ticket for a photobook event.
5. Attend a show
Can’t get a ticket to a handshake event? The “show must go on,” and it will if you manage to attend a theatre show.
If you find yourself unable to get a handshake event ticket, the 48 girls hold high-touch (high-five) events after all of the shows they do at their individual theatres. You don’t need a ticket for these except the one you have to get into the theatre, so this is a nice and somewhat stress-free alternative to the giant handshake events.