Baseball is undoubtedly one of the most popular professional sports in Japan. The friendly atmosphere of stadiums filled with local fans and the unique cheering style make watching baseball games a must-see attraction in Japan, even for travelers from abroad. After the regular season ends in October, the championship games finally begin. Why not experience the energy of playoff crowds at a stadium or sports bar and share the contagious joy of supporting a team?
- What are the Japanese professional baseball teams?
- When a pennant race begins/ends
- What are the NPB playoffs?
- Watching a game live is a different experience
- How do I get NPB tickets?
- NPB Teams
What are the Japanese professional baseball teams?
Japanese professional baseball teams are members of the Nippon Professional Baseball Organization (NPB), which comprises 12 teams. In the NPB, there are two leagues called Central League and Pacific League, where each of the six teams compete for the most wins during the season. The league names “Central-” and “Pacific-” are not associated with the location of their home stadium. These leagues were named early during the establishment of Japan’s professional baseball organization, and people today do not care about the meanings and call them “Ce-league” and “Pa-league” for short.
When a pennant race begins/ends
The NPB regular season runs from March to October, with 143 games to go around. The six teams in each league play 143 games, and the number of wins at the end of the season determines the standings from 1st to 6th. The teams in 4th place and under finish the season when completing all the games. The 1st to 3rd placed teams can go on to the next stage, the playoffs.
|CENTRAL LEAGUE||PACIFIC LEAGUE|
|1.||HANSHIN Tigers (Osaka/Hyogo)||1.||ORIX Buffaloes (Osaka)|
|2.||Hiroshima Toyo Carp (Hiroshima)||2.||Chiba Lotte Marines (Chiba)|
|3.||YOKOHAMA DeNA BAYSTARS (Kanagawa)||3.||Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks (Fukuoka)|
|4.||Yomiuri Giants (Tokyo)||4.||Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles (Sendai)|
|5.||Tokyo Yakult Swallows (Tokyo)||5.||Saitama Seibu Lions (Saitama)|
|6.||Chunichi Dragons (Aichi)||6.||Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters (Hokkaido)|
What are the NPB playoffs?
Winning the Nippon Series and finally becoming the champion!
Nippon Series determines the NPB champion by pitting the winners of each league against each other in a final showdown following the Climax Series. The Central and Pacific League winners play games at their respective home stadium, and the first team to win four games becomes the No.1 Japan’s champion.
Watching a game live is a different experience
Watching NPB games on TV or the Internet is a fun and easy way to enjoy it, but watching the game live at a stadium is one recommendation for more excitement. The vibe and energy shared among local supporters is something special and fun. Even if you are unfamiliar with baseball, experiencing the stadium’s atmosphere can be enjoyable.
When it comes to watching a game, you will be more thrilled if you know about walk-up songs, or hitting marches in Japanese, played to cheer players and entertain fans themselves. Each player has a walk-up song so the fans can sing together to cheer up the player at bat. This cheering is very different from that of American baseball.
How do I get NPB tickets?
There are three ways to purchase game tickets. The available tickets online are advance tickets. The cost of tickets and the types of seats available depend on the stadium you’re going to. Check the official websites of each team and stadium before purchasing tickets.
Tickets for the Climax Series and Nippon Series always sell out so quickly. If you miss out on a ticket, catch the games at a sports bar or on TV. You can still be part of the thrilling experience!
Most of the official websites will be only available in Japanese.
Although the ticket price will be higher due to the handling fee, English- or other language websites are available, making it a suitable option for non-native Japanese speakers.
Getting good seats at the box office is a challenge compared to buying tickets online. But, if you catch a game on a weekday, purchasing a ticket at the box office for an unreserved seat will be easy and convenient.
Stadium Location: Hyogo Prefecture
Hanshin Koshien Stadium
Stadium Location: Tokyo
Jingu Baseball Stadium
Stadium Location: Kanagawa Prefecture
Stadium Location: Hiroshima Prefecture
MAZDA Zoom-Zoom Stadium
Stadium Location: Tokyo
Stadium Location: Aichi Prefecture
Vantelin Dome Nagoya dome
Stadium Location: Hokkaido Prefectre
Stadium Location: Miyagi Prefecture
Rakuten Mobile Park Miyagi
Stadium Location: Saitama Prefecture
Stadium Location: Chiba Prefecture
ZOZO Marine Stadium
Stadium Location: Osaka
KYOCERA DOME OSAKA
Stadium Location: Fukuoka Prefecture
Fukuoka PayPay Dome