Guide: How to Buy a Baseball Ticket and Watch a Game in Japan
Most of you might not know this but baseball is the national sport of Japan. Making the Nippon Professional Baseball league games very popular. Watching a baseball game is a recommended tourist attraction by many, because you will be able to experience a different side of the Japanese culture. For other tourist attractions picked by locals, check out this article. The atmosphere at the games are also very intense and lively. You will find “oendans,” who are cheering squads on both sides of the stadium for each of the two teams. They will be singing their unique team songs, and also even for individual players, with drums and huge banners. Each team’s fan base also has a unique celebrations, that use, banners, balloons, umbrellas. Finding a seat near these passionate fans will definitely be an experience.
Many foreigners come to Japan to watch baseball, but it may be hard to find a way to buy these tickets. But there are several easy ways in which you can buy these tickets. These tickets usually cost around 2,000~10,000 yen depending on the popularity of the game and the seat.
Where and How to Buy Tickets to Watch Baseball
1. Using the ticket machines at any convenience store in Japan
a. There is always a green or white ticket machine in convenience stores. Most of the time it will be next to the ATM where you can also charge your Suica or Pasmo, and in the area of the photocopy machine. This machine will usually be set in Japanese, so you will need to change it to the language of your preference. You can also buy tickets for other sports and concerts, such as soccer at these machines. For more information on how to buy J league tickets read this article.
b. Then you will need to find baseball in the list of sports. You should finally see the list of NPB games that are available, and find the one you are looking for.
c. You will then need to bring the paper that the machine will print out to the cashier and make your payment there.
d. You will need to bring this ticket that you receive on the day of the match. So don’t lose it!
2. Through the website of the team you want to watch
Another easy way to buy a Nippon Professional Baseball League game is to buy a ticket through the website of the team you want to watch. This is a more convenient and reliable way for foreigners to buy tickets ahead of time. The only problem is that several smaller teams don’t have an english website that is available. But most of the teams should have a working english website that is easily accessible and navigable. The tickets also come in QR code form meaning, that you won’t have any trouble losing your ticket. You will also be able to send this ticket via email to a friend without directly meeting them. Click this link for a list of websites for all teams.
3. At the stadium on the day of the game
This is another option, but it is one of the least reliable way for you to get your hands on a ticket. Most baseball tickets sell out very quickly, even before the day of the game. If you are thinking of watching a big game, going on a national holiday, or if the stadium is small, I don’t recommend for you to use this method.
4. Private Chat Boards, Private Brokers and Fan Clubs
This is the least reliable way and the hardest to navigate, especially if you don’t speak Japanese. Often, fan clubs and groups stock up on tickets for their group to all be able to go to the game. These tickets usually do get bought up, but sometimes they may have spares. Private brokers generally sell tickets higher than face-value. But be careful because they might sell you a ticket that is way over face-value.
Tips and Advices for Buying and Watching Baseball in Japan:
- Plan which game you want to watch ahead of time, so that you won’t miss out on tickets. They sell out fast!
- National holidays, big games (Hanshin Tigers, Yomiuri Giants), small stadium tickets sell out fast!
- Make sure to show up 1 or 2 hours early if you bought a non-reserved ticket because they sell more tickets than the amount of seats available
- Don’t lose your tickets, or buy the tickets on the official website for the QR codes
- Using the convenience store machines don’t require credit cards, so if you don’t have a working credit card and can’t order online, use the convenience store machines!
- Lastly, make sure to have loads of fun!