When you think about sports in Japan what comes to mind? Sumo wrestling? Karate?
You might be surprised to hear that baseball is actually one of the most popular sports to play and watch! Baseball is so established in Japan that apparently some Japanese people are surprised to hear that baseball is the national sport of America.
Seems like in Japan, Baseball is even more popular than football/soccer.
Well, baseball was actually introduced here by an American professor in 1872. It quickly became popular and the professional league was established in the 1920’s.
The professional baseball league is called Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) and is divided into two leagues, the Central League and the Pacific League. Each league has six teams. High school baseball is also a big focus and the annual championship games are aired on national television.
If you know anything about Japanese fan culture (think JPop and fangirls) then you may know that they are very passionate about what they are supporting. This also holds true for baseball and that is what makes viewing a professional Japanese game really special, the fans.
The cheering fan clubs, called “ouendan” in Japanese, always sit together in the bleachers. They have tons of organized chants and songs for different situations and each player. It is impossible to not be swept up by it all and find yourself singing and cheering right along with them.
The cheering is accompanied by trumpets, whistles, taiko drums, flags and banners. The Yakult Swallows fans cheer on their team with umbrellas.
Japanese baseball games are also seen as a great opportunity to network. While the opposing team is at bat, many businessmen take the opportunity to get friendly with each other, hoping to close their next big deal. Since most games start at 6:00, it is a popular after work activity.
The regular season games are held from late March to October and they take place on the weekdays and weekends.
Check out the schedule on Yakult Swallow website >> Here
If you are a baseball fan or just want to try something different while in Japan, consider attending a game!
The Harajuku Tourist Information Center is an official seller of Yakult Swallows tickets and we can help you with your reservation. Stay tuned for our post about how to purchase tickets!