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Watching Japanese baseball games: Travel attractions in Japan

Travel Japan
Category : Travel Japan未分類

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?

Baseball stadium

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.

2023 NPB Season Standings:
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?

At the end of the regular season, the teams that finish 1st through 3rd places can advance to the Climax Series, the playoffs. In the Climax Series, the final winner of each league is determined through a two-stage process from First to Final.

Climax Series

First stage

In the first stage, the 2nd- and 3rd-placed teams play games at the home stadium of the 2nd-ranked team. This gives an advantage to the higher-ranked team. One of the two teams who win two games first can be the winner to advance to the Final stage.

Final stage

The final stage pits the first-place team against the winner of the first stage. The team with four wins first becomes the final winner. Here is also an advantage for the higher ranked team, and one game win is given ahead for the 1st-ranked team when starting the competition.

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.

Tokyo Dome
What you can enjoy at a stadium is not only watching games. There are concession stands around the stadium where you can get exceptional local food only available there. While most stadiums have nearby amusement facilities, visiting with family is also 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.

Tokyo stadium outsideConcession stands and official goods stores line outside the stadium.

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!

How to purchase tickets:
– Purchase tickets on the team’s official website
Most of the official websites will be only available in Japanese.
– Purchase tickets through ticket websites
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.
– Purchase at the box office at the stadium
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.
If you are in Japan during the NPB season, consider catching a game at a local stadium and treating yourself to a refreshing Japanese beer. It’s a great way to immerse yourself in the local culture.

NPB Teams


1. HANSHIN Tigers
Stadium Location: Hyogo Prefecture
Hanshin Koshien Stadium
2. Tokyo Yakult Swallows
Stadium Location: Tokyo
Jingu Baseball Stadium
Stadium Information | English | Jingu-Stadium
This page is information about the Jingu Stadium
4. Hiroshima Toyo Carp
Stadium Location: Hiroshima Prefecture
MAZDA Zoom-Zoom Stadium
Mazda Zoom-Zoom スタジアム広島(マツダスタジアム)公式サイト
Mazda Zoom-Zoom スタジアム広島(マツダスタジアム)公...
6. Chunichi Dragons
Stadium Location: Aichi Prefecture
Vantelin Dome Nagoya dome
バンテリンドーム ナゴヤ公式サイト


7. Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters
Stadium Location: Hokkaido Prefectre
8. Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles
Stadium Location: Miyagi Prefecture
Rakuten Mobile Park Miyagi
Page not found - 東北楽天ゴールデンイーグルス
11. ORIX Buffaloes
Stadium Location: Osaka
12. Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks
Stadium Location: Fukuoka Prefecture
Fukuoka PayPay Dome
みずほPayPayドーム情報 | 福岡ソフトバンクホークス
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