Last updated : Sep 26th, 2022
Notes about the 2022 season
The 2022 season started on March 25th with teams playing a total of 143 games.
The Tokyo Swallows won the Central League pennant for two seasons in a row.
The regular season ends early October with the first round of playoffs starting Oct 8.
Game 1 of the Japan Series is scheduled for October 22nd.
Organized cheering is still prohibited so the only form of noise allowed is clapping your hands.
Most NPB teams have struggled with attendance - even the Swallows or BayStars who were doing good in the standings no exception. The numbers are only 80% of what they were in 2019.
Getting tickets for weekday games were not a problem at all during the '22 season.
If you're arriving in town during the season, don't miss the chance to catch a ballgame even if you're not that big of a baseball fan. I guarantee you will find the experience interesting. The season starts around the last weekend of March and continues on until early October. There are two teams in Tokyo and another three in the vicinity, so usually there will be at least one game going on somewhere. Just keep in mind there are usually no games on a Monday, unless it falls on a National Holiday. Games typically start at 6pm on weekdays and anywhere between 1-3pm on the weekends, though this can vary depending on the team. During the hot summer months (July-mid September), most games are moved to the night slot starting from 6pm.
When getting tickets, take the following into consideration:
Home team fans sit on the first base side, the visiting team on the third base side (It's the opposite at the MetLife Dome; home fans on the third base side)
The most loyal fans occupy the outfield bleachers and prior to the pandemic there would be continuous cheering/noise throughout the game. In contrast, seats behind home plate are much quieter, but often reserved for season ticket holders.
Many teams have begun to introduce tiered pricing; prices for seats depend on the demand and whether it's a weekday or weekend. Games on weekends and holidays will always attract higher demand regardless of the teams they are facing. Weekday games earlier in the season (April/May) are easier to get. From late June to mid July, the Tokyo area heads into a wet season when games can get postponed; getting tickets for the Tokyo Dome or Belluna (Seibu) Dome will eliminate any risk of the game being washed out.
Meiji Jingu Kyujo (Jingu Stadium)
Home of the Tokyo Yakult Swallows
2021 and 2022 Record: 1st out of 6 teams in the Central League
Winners of the 2021 Japan Series
Opened : 1926
Capacity : 34,572
GOOD: Wonderful atmosphere, tickets relatively easy to obtain on weekdays, fireworks after the 5th inning during the summer months
BAD: Showing its age in many areas, limited number of toilets. Many obstructed view seats in the outfield, near the scoreboard.
FYI: There are plans to tear down this aging stadium as part of a redevelopment plan of the surrounding district.
Home of the Yomiuri Giants
2021 Record: 3rd in Central League, lost to Swallows in playoffs
Opened : 1988
Capacity : 46,000
GOOD : No worries about rain (First domed stadium in Japan)
Excellent access to multiple train and subway lines
BAD : Despite large capacity, tickets are difficult to get. Not the most ideal place to go on a perfectly sunny day. Food and drinks overpriced; a beer costs 800 yen
New for 2022: Cash is no longer accepted anywhere in the dome. The scoreboard has been replaced.
Home of the Yokohama DeNA BayStars
2021: 6th/last place 2022: 2nd in the Central League
Opened : 1978
Capacity : 34,046 (following renovations from 2019-20)
GOOD : Location next to Chinatown and central Yokohama, new ownership introducing fun entertainment before/during games. Try the original craft beer such as the "Baystars Lager".
BAD : Lots of very steep stairs to climb if sitting in the upper sections.
Built on limited space so concourse and stairs are always congested
FYI: The stadium hosted the baseball competition for Tokyo 2020.
Belluna Dome (ex-MetLife Dome)
Home of the Seibu Lions
2021 Record: 6th/last place in the Pacific League
Opened : 1979 / Roof Added : 1999
Capacity : 33,556
GOOD : It's right next to a rail station. Wide concourses with good view of the field. Major renovations in 2021 giving the place a more genuine ballpark feel.
BAD : Can feel like being in a sauna during the summers. No air-con despite being a dome. Can be very far if traveling from eastern Tokyo.
FYI: It's a weird dome without a wall - early in the season, winds will be sweeping through while in the summer the heat becomes trapped making the dome feel like being in a sauna. It's so bad a player once had to leave the game from heat stroke.
New for 2022: The naming rights agreement with MetLife expired after the 2021 season. Belluna (online shopping company) is now signed through February 2027.
ZOZO Marine Stadium
Home of the Chiba Lotte Marines
2021 Record: 2nd out of 6 teams in the Pacific League/lost in playoffs
Opened : 1990
Capacity : 30,082
GOOD: The most energetic fans in all of Japanese baseball. Much of the upper deck covered by a roof. Constant winds blowing from the outfield keeps things cool even in the summer
BAD: Can feel extremely cold in spring/autumn. Bit far from central Tokyo and another 15 minute walk from the Kaihim Makuhari Station.
FYI: This ballpark to the east of Tokyo in Chiba is known for its proximity to Tokyo Bay - in fact you can see the waters beyond the outfield walls if you sit up high in the upper deck. The old Candlestick Park in San Francisco supposedly became a model for this stadium.
Of the five teams in the Tokyo area, the Giants have pretty decent information in English, including the option to buy tickets.
Giants English Website: http://www.giants.jp/en/
The Swallows reinstated the option to book tickets in English for the 2022 season; it was not working during the 2020 and 2021 season.
”Ticket Pia” and "e plus" are agents that handles tickets for all teams, there is only a Japanese option.
Check out my movie covering all 12 ballparks used in pro baseball games, including the venues in the Tokyo area...and make sure you make watching baseball part of your activities for your next Japan visit!