Watching baseball in Japan is an exciting way to experience modern culture. It is one of the most popular sports and played at all levels. The rules are the same as American baseball, so it is easy to follow along.
How to Experience Baseball in Japan
Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) has two leagues, the Central League and the Pacific League, and each league has six teams.
- Chunichi Dragons (Nagoya)
- Hanshin Tigers (Osaka)
- Hiroshima Toyo Carp
- Tokyo Yakult Swallows
- Yokohama DeNA BayStars
- Yomiuri Giants (Tokyo)
- Chiba Lotte Marines
- Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks
- Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters
- Orix Buffaloes (Osaka)
- Saitama Seibu Lions
- Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles (Sendai)
The games start in March and continue through October. At the end of the season, there are league playoffs called the Climax Series. Then, the winners of each league compete against each other in the championship game called the Nippon Series.
The most interesting aspect of attending a baseball game is the non-stop cheering. The fans enthusiastically cheer throughout the game. They beat plastic bats, blow whistles, wave flags and banners, and know the words to every organized chant and song.
Interestingly, the fans cheer loudly when their player is at bat, but are silent when the visiting team is at bat.
Food & Drink
You can expect to find beer and popcorn, but the concession stands also sell curry and rice, Japanese hotdogs, and Bento boxes. Food and drink can be expensive inside the stadium, but you can bring your own food into the game.
The teams are owned by major companies. For example, the Hanshin Tigers is owned by the Hanshin Electric Railway and the Chunichi Dragons is owned by the Chunichi Newspaper.
The players do not have agents, but are considered employees of the company. They generally do not change teams. After a player retires from baseball in Japan, he usually transfers to a different position within the company.
Tickets are available to buy at the ballpark on the day of the game, but popular games sell out quickly.
Ticket prices depend on the team and time of year. They generally range from about 1,000 yen to 7,000 yen. The best seats are in the outfield with the cheering fans!
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Becki and Shawn
Japan Travel Specialists
Hi, we’re Becki and Shawn! We love Japan and are truly passionate about Japan and Japan travel.
We’ve lived, worked, and traveled in Japan for 20+ years, so we know where to go, what to see, and how to get there. Join us in Japan for an adventure of a lifetime!