Japanese Baseball is unlike any sporting event we have ever been to. We’ve seen Sumo wrestling in Japan, AFL football in Australia, NBA Basketball, Major League Baseball and even NHL Ice Hockey. Nothing comes close to the overall show and cultural experience that Japanese Baseball delivers. It’s no wonder it is said to be the official sport of Japan.
We headed to Nagoya on our Trip to Japan, which took some considerable planning. We timed a trip to the baseball with attendance at a grand sumo tournament over a 36 hour period in Nagoya. More on the sumo wrestling in a future article.
We purchased our tickets well in advance as it does often sell out. Getting great seats is harder again, and thanks to Michael at Japan Ball Tickets we were able to secure them and have them delivered waiting for us at our Hotel in Nagoya. You can also have your tickets delivered to a post office for your collection too, but the hotel delivery worked great for us.
Our game? The Chunichi Dragons (home town team in Nagoya) Vs the Tokyo Yakult Swallows.
Getting to the Nagoya Dome was very simple, a short train ride from the main part of Nagoya delivered us right near the stadium. We weren’t sure the way to go, but when we got there the crowd was huge and all migrating the same way. We tacked on the back of a group and followed.
Upon arrival at the baseball we were given a free top, a balloon as well as some other small promo items. We found our seats and settled in for the start of the game.
The baseball itself was entertaining, but it is known as a sport that can sometimes be tedious to watch. Not in Japan! There were cheer leaders, three mascots, non-stop chants, singing and entertainment delivered both by the local and visiting teams. The Swallows have some kind of a tradition with umbrellas being held up in a song, dancing along in tune and that was something to watch. The boys purchased banging sticks to clap along with the action.
We weren’t sure on the balloons we were given initially. The boys blew them up but you couldn’t tie them up on the ends. So we left them, but then right after the 7th inning a murmur went around the crowd and everyone started blowing up their balloons. WOW! Right on cue everyone released and it sure was a sight to see. A fireworks display of sorts made up of thousands of screaming balloons.
It didn’t take much for us to get involved and invested in the match itself. We had our free tops and were sitting amongst mostly Dragons supporters. A tight game followed and the home team won. The boys got right into it and had a great time. Even Steph, not well known as a sports watcher, got into on the music and cultural grounds.
Food and drink were really reasonable at the venue, but one tip! There is no ATM to access cash onsite at the Nagoya Dome. We found this really odd, but luckily a 10 minute walk away from the stadium was a major shopping centre where we were able to duck out to grab some cash for food, drink and souvenirs.
Baseball is played allover Japan and speaking to friends who have travelled it is equally fun, colourful and loud throughout Japan. Make sure you check it out!