The secret of Discount Ticket shops in Japan
Resale Ticket Shops in Japan aka Discount Ticket Shops or Kinken Shops are ways Japanese buy and sell discounted tickets. Japanese sell unwanted tickets to these resale ticket shops for cash. These discount ticket shops have all sorts of tickets such as train tickets, shinkansen tickets, department store vouchers, concert tickets, movie tickets, coupons, Tokyo Skytree tickets, and even baseball game tickets. Any ticket that you can think of in Japan, the KinKen shops probably sell it, and more than likely sell it at a discounted price. Japanese usually sell tickets when they can't use it and the shops offer cash for these tickets on the spot. The discount ticket shop will then resell the tickets for a profit.
Also, ticket shops will buy specific Shinkansen train tickets from customers which allows customers to convert their credit card balance into Cash right away for just a small fee. This credit card to cash exchange is hard to get anywhere else in Japan and is almost like an 2-step ATM machine.
The Japanese will buy Shinkansen tickets with their credit card and get a cash return rate between 97%-93% depending on the resale ticket shop and the type or value of Shinkansen ticket the customer purchases.
In this video, I go undercover to show you how the ticket buy and sell process works. When I went to the Discount Ticket Shop they offered me several price options to buy Shinkansen tickets, called Kaisuken 回数件, which is a booklet of 6 Shinkansen 1-way tickets. The price varied depending on the train stations. I went for the cheapest train ticket booklet, which was 17,000 yen about $150 USD, but some train booklet prices were more than $1000 USD. So when customers are strapped for Japanese Yen, this is one way to use their credit card to quickly get cash.
The train tickets are valid for use for about 3 months so it gives the discount shops plenty of time to resell the Shinkansen tickets. Furthermore, the resale shops in Japan resell the tickets individually allowing them to make an additional profit on top of the 3%-7% they already made by buying tickets from customers. The Kinken shops take the risk of not being able to sell all the tickets, but they are able hedge their risk by asking customers to purchase specific type of Shinkansen tickets that are popular.
Japan Resale ticket shops though also have a secret black-market side. Criminals use these Kinken shops to resell stolen or counterfeit tickets. And some companies use these shops to evade taxes by cashing out business expensed tickets. While these Japan discount ticket shops can be used for illegal buying and selling of tickets, these shops are quite legal and operate under the law and in plain site. They’re even required to register their shops with the police.