Watching Baseball in the Tokyo area

Last updated : May 7th, 2022

  

Notes for the first month of the 2022 season 

The 2022 season is started on March 25th with teams playing a total of 143 games.

The All Star game will on the 26th and 27th of July.

Game 1 of the Japan Series is scheduled for October 22nd.

 

Multiple teams have already been forced to postpone games because of a huge breakout within the team.

There is no restriction on the number of fans allowed in; many teams however have struggled with attendance figures. Through May 7th, the Giants are averaging 30,490, while the Swallows are struggling with only 17,907 (The numbers were 42,643/27,543 in the 2019 season). The restriction on cheering (only clapping is allowed) could be partly contributing to these low numbers. For the time being, getting tickets do not seem to be too difficult even on the weekends.

 

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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.

Jingu Stadium, Nippon Seinenkan Hotel

Meiji Jingu Kyujo (Jingu Stadium)

Home of the Tokyo Yakult Swallows

2021 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: Some rooms at the Nippon Seinenkan Hotel just across the street from the third base side have wonderful views of the ballpark (photo).

 


Baseball at Tokyo Dome

Tokyo Dome

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.


Yokohama Stadium

Yokohama Stadium

Home of the Yokohama DeNA BayStars

2021 Record: 6th/last place 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

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

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. 


Getting tickets to the ballgames

Of the five teams in the Tokyo area, only the Giants have pretty decent information in English, including the option to buy tickets.

Giants English Website: http://www.giants.jp/en/

 

The Swallows had the option to book tickets in English for the 2019 season, but it was not working for the 2020 season and beyond. They might bring it back when the border restrictions are eased...will see...

 

”Ticket Pia” and "e plus" are agents that handles tickets for all teams, there is only a Japanese option.

 

A movie covering all 12 stadiums in pro baseball

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