5 Things To Know About Watching Baseball In Japan

Baseball fans! Have you ever dreamed of watching a game under the lights in Tokyo Dome or cheering on your favorite team with a passionate Japanese crowd? This blog is your one-stop shop for “watching a baseball game in Japan.”

Coto Academy is a Japanese language school located in Tokyo and Yokohama. With its small class sizes and flexible course schedule, we ensure the students find their community here in Japan and learn practical and useful daily-life Japanese by focusing on conversational practice.

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What is the most popular sport in Japan?

Baseball is ranked proudly first in the 2023 in-person and TV games survey! This sport has a long history in Japan, and although soccer, with its J-League, is catching up, it still proudly holds the number one spot. However, soccer is the most famous sport in the world. Many countries participate in the World Cup, which attracts worldwide attention from the qualifying rounds. Baseball, on the other hand, only about 20 countries participate in the World Cup. And there are almost no qualifying rounds! We will explain baseball as a sport and what professional baseball is in Japan. After reading this, watching a baseball game in Japan will be on your bucket list!

What kind of sport is baseball? What are the rules of baseball?

Baseball is a team sport with defense and offense. The manager and coach “devise” various strategies (tactics) to advance the game.

Each team takes turns playing “defense” and “offense” nine times each. The offensive team aims to score runs by avoiding the pitcher’s throws and getting far away from the defenders. The defending team scatters on the ground and tries to get out by taking the hitting team’s pitches. This ends the opposing team’s offensive time without scoring a run.

The top of the scoreboard is the “Omote” side. The bottom is called “ura (back).” HomeTeam is the first team to defend. The Home Team defends first because they can defend on a clean field.

There is no time limit for “time.” The time to attack continues until “3 out” is reached. So, sometimes you can keep playing for an hour, and sometimes, on the other hand, it takes only “3 minutes” with “3 balls” with one ball for each player.

Rules and Tips for Watching A Baseball Game in Japan

  1. The batter cannot hit or miss three strike balls, one out for a strikeout.
  2. Three outs end the attack and are replaced by the defense.
  3. The pitcher may throw three bad pitches, but the fourth pitch is a penalty.
  4. There are three bases (first, second, and third); if the fourth (home base) is stepped on, a point is scored.
  5. It is a home run if it goes into the stands where no one can get it. You can step on the fourth base without being fooled by anyone. Tokyo Dome offers many chances to be seen!
  6. The third batter is the best hitter on the team. Please keep your eyes on him!
  7. The number 3 batter is often the most famous player on that team. Buy the merchandise!
  8. I recommend about three draft beers per game.
  9. If possible, no more than three pitchers should pitch in one game.
  10. The batter is a good hitter if he hits once every three times! So it would be great if the scoreboard showed a number greater than .300 (30%)!
  11. He is a good pitcher if he can stop at three runs per game! Therefore, if the scoreboard shows a number less than 3.00 (3 points), that’s great!
  12. The average game takes about three hours, with an average of about one hour by the end of the third inning.

Baseball Scoreboards Analysis

When the game is over, the scoreboard looks like this.

baseball scoreboard
Photo By Alamy

Y = Away team (front) | G = Home team (back) For example,

  • Y 000 200 110 [Total Run…4]. 
  • G 500 103 00✕ [Total Run…9].

So, “G” is the HomeTeam. Since there are 5 points in the first “hit,” maybe the “hit” was very long at this time. If you like “G,” you probably had much fun.

From the above example, this game was won by Y at home 9!

There is an “O” written on the last “hit” of “G.” This means that “Y” did not get the score on the previous “hit,” so “G” does not have to hit anymore since that is the rule.

By the way, the best pitcher of “G” will come out only to make the last “Y” chance “0”. (the previous 10 minutes or so!) This is called the “closer”. Of course, he is the star player of that team. He sometimes comes out for several games in a row, so he has a tough job.

All the fans get very excited when that star comes on! When that pitcher comes on, please shout in Japanese, “I’ve been waiting for you! and cheer in Japanese when the pitcher comes out.

Unfortunately, for first-time viewers. There will be lots of confusion; it’s a bit like, “…what? Why? What was that? Many rules make you think, “What was that?” Some of the people I went to the stadium with, The same pitcher, throw all the time. But the hitters don’t hit at all. And yet, everyone is saying, “Oh~! Amazing!” but they are all saying, “Wow! Why? Why do they look so happy even though they are not hitting? Who are they cheering for?” There are so many rules in baseball. People say, “I don’t know much about baseball, but I will watch Japanese baseball!” Therefore, I want to introduce some points to enjoy at the stadium!

Make a cheer team and go on a trip!

Finally, I’ll write some information so you can enjoy watching a baseball game in Japan. First, Japan has two leagues, the Central and Pacific Leagues. Please remember them as the Central League and the Pacific League. Each league has six baseball teams with an owner company and a home stadium. Here is a brief introduction!

Central League (in order from north to south)

  • Tokyo – Yakult Swallows: Many bright players and a stadium in the city’s center! The best Japanese hitter, “Murakami,” is on the team!
  • Tokyo – Yomiuri Giants: Japan’s oldest and most popular team, with fans all over Japan.
  • Yokohama – DeNA BayStars: Everyone in Yokohama loves this team! The team that hits and hits and hits.
  • Meijin – Chunichi Dragons: They are training young Japanese hitters, and their stadium is super big!
  • Osaka – Hanshin Tigers: Last year’s champions, talk about the Tigers when you go to Osaka!
  • Hiroshima – Hiroshima Toyo Carp: Fun, inventive, and lively cheering! The cheering alone is exhausting.

Pacific League (in order from north to south)

  • Hokkaido – Nippon Ham Fighters: No.1 fan service team! The stadium is also the best in Japan! The stadium is the best in Japan!
  • Sendai – Rakuten Eagles: One of the most popular teams in Tohoku, with the No. 1 closer in Japan!
  • Chiba – Lotte Marines: Windy near the ocean! Not flashy, but good at fighting!
  • Saitama – Seibu Lions: A defensive team with a growing young pitching staff! The strongest in the past!
  • Osaka – Orix Buffaloes: Champions two years in a row, all pitchers are excellent!
  • Fukuoka – Softbank Hawks: Lots of star players, #1 by far this season!

They play 125 games in one league (VS 5 teams x 25 games = 125 games) and 18 against teams from different leagues, 143 games in a year. The results will determine the champion of the league.

Based on the results of these 143 games, the players will be evaluated on their work for one year.

The first, second, and third place teams from that league then compete in a playoff, and the teams that finish first in that tournament (as league champions) play each other in the “Japan Championship (Japan Series)” to determine the “best of Japan. The first team to win four games wins.

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We enjoy watching a baseball game in Japan at a stadium!

Buying Baseball Game Tickets In Japan

The easiest and most common way to buy tickets is to go to the “Lawson Ticket” page and select “Professional Baseball,” or to the “Ticket Pia” page, or the “7-Eleven” page and select “Sports” => “Professional Baseball” in the same way. Search for “professional baseball tickets” and go to the respective page to check.

Buying is easy, but all pages always have 12 teams’ names on the top. So, decide which team (city) you want to see a game and where you want to support them, and then search for them! Once you’re on the page, check the schedule, select the available seats, the amount, and the number of tickets, and make your reservation! There are two types of tickets: OR codes and actual tickets sent to you.

Best Seating For A Baseball Game

So, where in the stadium is the most fun to watch? Back-net seats are the most enjoyable! Unfortunately, these seats are filled almost every game by reporters, annuals, and team officials (family and relatives), so you can’t buy them from the general public. What about other seats? If you want to be close to the action, try to reserve a seat in the infield! If you’re going to hear the cheering, sit in the outfield seats and shout out to the players! If you want to spend time alone with family and friends, look at the stadium’s HomePage and reserve the original seats! I recommend “Coca-Cola Seats,” which are available at some stadiums.

The seating is divided into the Home Team area on the right side from the home base and the Visitor Team area on the left. So, if the team you are rooting for is playing at HomeHomet in the infield seats on the first base side and the outfield seats on the light stand side! You can see the ball fly by in the infield seats and hear the players. The outfield seats are filled with passionate fans who know the game daily. The cheering is also very lively. Occasionally, you will see a visitor sitting on the first base side by mistake, even though he is wearing the opposing team’s uniform. Anyway, please remember “Home Team is on the right side”!

Cheering For Your Baseball Team

Of course, once the home visitors are separated, cheering will also change between the front and back sides. Fans use trumpets and drums to cheer the players as hard as possible during the “attack.” Some teams even have everyone standing and jumping up and down while cheering. (Hiroshima and Hokkaido). At the TokyoDome, you and the person next to you say, “Kattobase- (name)! (Name)! With the person next to you!

Hold your hands lightly and knock on the door twice for each name.

Hands ⇒ 1, 2, 3, 4
Voice ⇒ “Kattobase! Ouka-motoku! Ouka-mototoku!  
*Okamoto…Giants No. 25 / 2023 WBC World Champion member

Sometimes, each HomeTeam does a fun dance during ground preparation in the 5th inning, during the pitcher change, and in the 7th inning for the lucky seven. The “Tokyo Ondo” by the Tokyo Yakult Swallows is the most famous. Even though it is not raining, they cheer with umbrellas over their heads.
The “Kita no Kitsune Dance” of the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters has become so famous that even people who know nothing about baseball can dance it! Also, the Yomiuri Giants’ “Venus” women’s dance team’s dance is beautiful.

When it comes to cheering for baseball? Draft beer!

Finally, the main event of watching baseball in Japan at the stadium is ordering draft beer!

Please raise your hand, buy a beer, and drink it while sitting there. In addition to alcohol, you can also buy shaved ice and juice for the kids. Whenever customers pay attention to the players on the field, a lady with a beer barrel is always on her back to the field, watching our faces.

First of all, you should raise your hand to confirm whether the barrel on your back is “Asahi”, “KIRIN”, “Sapporo★,” or “Suntory”! And when you see a woman, don’t hesitate to wave your hand in the air and say, “Excuse me! Beer, please! and shout “Sumimasen! Then she will run up the stairs and come closer to you, smiling as if she had found her boyfriend on the Shinkansen platform at Tokyo Station. So smile and say “thank you,” and buy a beer.

The fastest way is cash, and the other is Paypay. Credit cards are not accepted. If you raise your hand while showing a 1,000 yen bill, the lady will give you a 200 yen change on the way.

However, these girls with their beer tanks are all competitors, so three or four of them are walking around customers like me who have “I like beer” written on their faces. If you want to have another beer, it is a good idea to tell them quietly when you buy your first beer, “Next time, please come around the table in the XXth inning! When you buy your first beer, you can gently tell them, “Please come back around the table for the next round! They come!

Watching baseball in Japan is an extraordinary experience. So, please take the time to go to the stadium and experience how Japanese professional baseball has become such a popular sport.

Want to know more about baseball? Read this blog!

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