Baseball in Japan Baseball in Japan

Baseball in Japan


2019.08.09

NAVITIME TRAVEL EDITOR

Baseball in Japan

Professional baseball in Japan is likely a lot cheaper to experience than you think. Scoring tickets for a home game often cost less than 5,000 yen, with cheaper seats being around 1,000 yen for those on a budget.

You don’t need to be a die-hard baseball fan to have fun, either. The bulk of the entertainment comes from sitting in the stadiums and learning the special chants and dances that follow the action on the field. It’s a uniquely Japanese sports experience that will have you out of your seat and joining in on all the action.

  • 01

    Baseball Season

    Baseball Season

    Baseball Season

    Japanese professional baseball starts at the end of March, with Central and Pacific Interleague play taking place at the beginning of October. Games are normally played 6 times a week, with matches swapping fields to play at the home stadium of both teams for fairness.

    During the second week of October the “climax series” begins, which pits the top 3 teams in their respective leagues, either the Central or Pacific, against each other in a tournament. The post-season ends with the top team in each league going head-to-head in the Japan Series, which takes place at the end of October. It’s a 7-game series that crowns the first team to 4 victories the best in all of Japan.

    The WBSC Premier 12, an international baseball tournament with the world’s top 12 national teams, will also be held in Tokyo starting in November 2019.

    Baseball Season

    Baseball Season

  • 02

    Japanese Professional Baseball Teams

    Japanese Professional Baseball Teams

    Japanese Professional Baseball Teams

    There are 6 professional teams in both the Central League and the Pacific League. You can find their game schedules on the team’s home page or on the stadium’s home page, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to squeeze a game into your travel itinerary.

    Central League
    Yomiuri Giants (Tokyo Dome)
    Tokyo Yakult Swallows (Meiji Jingu Baseball Stadium)
    Yokohama DeNA Baystars (Yokohama Stadium)
    Chunichi Dragons (Nagoya Dome)
    Hanshin Tigers (Hanshin Koshien Stadium)
    Hiroshima Toyo Carp (Mazda Zoom-Zoom Stadium Hiroshima)

    Pacific League
    Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters (Sapporo Dome)
    Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles (Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi)
    Saitama Seibu Lions (MetLife Dome)
    Chiba Lotte Marines (Zozo Marine Stadium
    Orix Buffaloes (Kyocera Dome Osaka)
    Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks (Fukuoka Yahuoku! Dome)

  • 03

    Recommended Teams to See

    If you haven’t already got a favorite team in Japanese baseball, these next teams are extra excited to root for, so you can be certain of an action-packed experience. All the stadiums on this list are easily accessible by train, too.

    Tokyo Dome - Baseball Stadium

    Tokyo Dome - Baseball Stadium

    Yomiuri Giants at the Tokyo Dome - Baseball field

    Yomiuri Giants at the Tokyo Dome - Baseball field

    The Giants are often compared to the New York Yankees, and they’re Japan’s most popular team. At the bottom of the 7th inning get ready for a powerful chorus of “Toukon Komete,” the Giants’ fight song since 1962.

    Tokyo Dome City, which includes Tokyo Dome, is actually an amusement park, so you can have a great time before the game even begins.

    Yomiuri Giants at the Tokyo Dome

    Yomiuri Giants at the Tokyo Dome

    Tokyo Dome
    place
    Tokyo Bunkyou-ku Kouraku 1-3-61
    phone
    0358009999
    opening-hour
    Depending on the event
  • 04

    Tokyo Yakult Swallows at Meiji Jingu Stadium

    Meiji Jingu Baseball Stadium

    Meiji Jingu Baseball Stadium

    Meiji Jingu Baseball Stadium

    Meiji Jingu Baseball Stadium

    Meiji Jingu Stadium is right in the center of Tokyo, so it’s plenty easy to access.

    Fans wave special umbrellas (purchasable at the stadium) to celebrate, making for quite the spectacle.

    Tokyo Yakult Swallows Special Fan Umrellas

    Tokyo Yakult Swallows Special Fan Umrellas

    Tokyo Yakult Swallows at Meiji Jingu Stadium

    Tokyo Yakult Swallows at Meiji Jingu Stadium

    Jingu Baseball Stadium
    place
    Tokyo Shinjuku-ku
    phone
    0180993589
  • 05

    Chiba Lotte Marines at ZOZO Marine Stadium

    ZOZO Marine Stadium

    ZOZO Marine Stadium

    Chiba Lotte Marines at ZOZO Marine Stadium

    Chiba Lotte Marines at ZOZO Marine Stadium

    Cheering for the Marines is more akin to a J.League soccer game than baseball. There’s plenty of jumping, clapping, and yelling to get a solid workout during the game. You can sweat right along with the players.

    ZOZO Marine Stadium

    ZOZO Marine Stadium

    ZOZOMARINE Stadium
    place
    Chiba Pref. Chibashi Mihama-ku Mihama 1
    phone
    0356826341
    opening-hour
    Depending on the event
  • 06

    Hiroshima Toyo Carp at Mazda Zoom-Zoom Stadium Hiroshima

    Hiroshima Toyo Carp at Mazda Zoom-Zoom Stadium Hiroshima

    Hiroshima Toyo Carp at Mazda Zoom-Zoom Stadium Hiroshima

    Hiroshima fans are known for their intense cheering, and that combines with the bright red team colors of the Carp for a fiery atmosphere in the home stands.

    Hiroshima Toyo Carp at Mazda Zoom-Zoom Stadium Hiroshima

    Hiroshima Toyo Carp at Mazda Zoom-Zoom Stadium Hiroshima

    Mazda Zoom-Zoom Stadium Hiroshima
    place
    Hiroshima Pref. Hiroshimashiminamiku Minamikaniya 2-3-1
    phone
    0825682777
    opening-hour
    It depends on the gameConcou…
  • 07

    Fukuoka Softbank Hawks at the Fukuoka Yahuoku! Dome

    Fukuoka Softbank Hawks at the Fukuoka Yahuoku! Dome

    Fukuoka Softbank Hawks at the Fukuoka Yahuoku! Dome

    Perhaps the most impressive sight for those new to Japanese baseball is when Hawks fans let loose thousands of “jet balloons” in the stadium. There are also full stadium tours during the day.

    Fukuoka Dome

    Fukuoka Dome

    Fukuoka Softbank Hawks at the Fukuoka Yahuoku! Dome

    Fukuoka Softbank Hawks at the Fukuoka Yahuoku! Dome

    FUKUOKA PayPay DOME (Fukuoka Dome)
    place
    Fukuoka Pref. Fukuokashichuouku Jigyouhama 2-2-2
    phone
    0928441189
    opening-hour
    Depending on the store
  • 08

    Tips for Enjoying the Game

    Tips for Enjoying the Game

    Tips for Enjoying the Game

    If you really want to get the full cheering experience, aim for outfield seats. When your team is on the offensive, get out of your seat to root and chant and sing with all the other fans as everyone goes wild.

    You can really feel the passion from the crowd best from the outfield, and as an added bonus, the seats are cheap, too.

    Tips for Enjoying the Game

    Tips for Enjoying the Game

    But maybe you don’t want to deal with all of that craziness so close. Take a seat in the infield for a more low-key experience. As a rule of thumb, seats on the first-base side are for the home team, and seats on the third-base side are for visitors.

    Tips for Enjoying the Game

    Tips for Enjoying the Game

    When all that cheering makes you thirsty, you can grab a drink from one of the cute beer vendors walking around, then have a hot snack from a nearby concession for the perfect pick-me-up during the game.

    Sometimes, if you get lucky, they’ll have half-price beer events, and those games tend to fill most of the stadium seats.

    Tips for Enjoying the Game

    Tips for Enjoying the Game

  • 09

    How to Buy Tickets

    How to Buy Tickets

    How to Buy Tickets

    Assuming you don’t have any particular need for special seats or have your heart set on seeing a weekend game, you can normally get your hands on same-day tickets. While each stadium has its own rules for when tickets go on sale, they can usually be purchased up to a month in advance.

    If you read Japanese, convenience stores offer ticket machines that will allow you to buy and print your tickets on the spot. Lawson and 7-Eleven are especially recommended, as they have multi-lingual support for their machines that will make buying the tickets a breeze.

    But, if you happen to be near a stadium or prefer to get your tickets straight from the source, you can pick up same-day tickets at the field’s ticket counter, too.

    Buying tickets at a convenient store

    Buying tickets at a convenient store

    Buying tickets at the stadium

    Buying tickets at the stadium

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