To Buy Baseball, please do TWO things first:
1. Understand how it works by reading How It Works.
2. Scroll through this entire page below schedule to fully see its contents. Click (or tap) on the home team of the date you want to start the ordering process.
The Tokyo area has five teams highlighted in blue below. The Kyoto area has three teams highlighted in tan. For tips on stadiums and teams, read Choosing a Game.
Vaccination News (Updated June 22nd)
Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) and J-League (soccer) announced that they will be vaccinating their players through the Olympic break with the goal of being fully vaccinated once regular season games resume in August. Furthermore, whereas the trading deadline is usually the end of July, that will be pushed back to the end of August this year. Any foreign players signed and entering the country will have a 3-day quarantine before joining the "team bubble" for workouts. (This doesn't help with the family separation issues expressed by Zack Neal on this past week's Japan Baseball Weekly Podcast.)
And speaking of the Olympic break, each team will be playing up to 10 unofficial practice games against teams of a league other than their own over the break to keep in shape. (It isn't clear of that means Central vs. Pacific League games or if they will play games against Independent League teams.) The Eagles will host Samurai Japan for a pair of practice games leading up to the Olympics. Oh, and none of the games will be scheduled to interfere with Samurai Japan's Olympic games.
State-of-Emergency Extended to June 20th (Updated May 30th)
Baseball here in Japan has entered its inter-league phase of the season. While people 65 and older get their vaccine shots, variants of COVID-19 continue to spread.
The good news is that the spread on the fourth wave is slowing down. The Kansai (Osaka) region has contributed the most to bringing those numbers down, going from over 1,000 daily new cases at the height of the fourth wave to under 300 for the past week or so. Meanwhile, Tokyo has remained rather flat at around 600 new cases per day all along.
Despite the great improvement in reducing daily new cases, the government announced that the current state-of-emergency in 9 metropolitans and prefectures shall be extended a second time, this time until June 20th. With that announcement, the affected baseball clubs have also announced how they will be handling ticket sales going forward.
With hospital beds still at 90% capacity (hospitalizations trail new infections by a couple of weeks), Osaka's governor Yoshimura is still not allowing the Buffaloes to have fans in the stands at Kyocera Dome Osaka. So there will be no tickets going on sale there. The Hanshin Tigers, in neighboring Hyogo Prefecture, will recognize seats already sold to season ticket holders for the 9 games through June 20th, but will not be holding sales for Fan Club nor the general public.
Update on Buffaloes (May 31st)
I just received a notice from the Orix Buffaloes that up to 5,000 fans will be permitted in Kyocera Dome Osaka on weekends while the state of emergency in Osaka continues through June 20th. Weekday tickets sold so far will be valid against the Giants on the 8th to 10th and against the Carp on the 11th. Those with tickets for the weekend of the 12th and 13th, please continue to hold on to the tickets as the club negotiates with the city of Osaka and infection rates continue to change.
Up in the Kanto (Tokyo) area, the Giants, Lions, and BayStars (9 "home" games at Tokyo Dome and Jingu while Yokohama Stadium prepares for the Olympics) have all announced that affected game ticket sales will be ceased tomorrow evening. Those tickets sold until then will be valid.
The only other announcement so far is that the SoftBank Hawks in Fukuoka will continue to have no fans in the stands through June 20th. Tickets already sold for the affected period will be refunded. The numbers of infections in Fukuoka have been consistently low (200 or under) compared to Tokyo. But they have less capacity to handle those admitted to hospitals, so are feeling the strain a bit more.
Finally, for those of you in Japan, I have a single seat for June 22nd in Hiroshima as the Carp host the Swallows. The Carp continue to be at half capacity despite the state-of-emergency also encompassing the City of Peace. The seat is in the "Best" (A) section on the third base side. With travel into the country still restricted, the purchaser cannot make it. (We all had hopes things would open up by now back when the ticket was ordered in March.)
That wraps things up until the next major announcement, which I expect to be around June 14th through 18th. Please feel free to write to me if you have any questions about upcoming games and their status.
Rules for Attending Games
The clubs ask that you DO NOT use those empty seats, even if you come together with others. It may seem rather draconian to not allow a family to all sit right next to each other, but it's easier to enforce a blanket rule of having everyone sit in their designated seats than it is to get into the nuanced cases-by-case enforcement of the optics caused by groups sitting together. If that is an issue, please do not attend.
Other common restrictions include:
- You will not be permitted entry if you have a fever, cough, fatigue, sore throat, or other symptoms
- No entry for those in the country for 14 days or less
- Temperature checks and wearing of masks will be required for all people entering
- Cheering style will undergo many changes (no balloon shoot, trumpets, whistles, high fives, etc.)
- Tight control over food and beverages sold within the stadium - some stadiums will NOT be serving alcohol at all
- Smoking areas may be closed
- Exchanges with fans for signatures, high fives, etc. will be suspended
- Retain your ticket stub for 14 days after attending a game to assist with contact tracing
Again, if you feel that such restrictions are too much, please do not request tickets. I expect that the restrictions in fan cheering are going to be the biggest difference, kind of detracting from the usual Japan Baseball Experience.
When you go into many of the stadiums, they will have you fill out a paper for contact tracing. In the event that someone in a seat near you is diagnosed with COVID-19, contact tracers will want to be able to contact you. If you get your tickets through me and don't have a domestic phone number, please feel free to use my phone number (included with the tickets). I can then pass on any contact information in English to you if necessary for the two weeks after attending. I'll have a record of your seat number, so can communicate that much with the contact tracers.
If you are in Japan and none of the above turns you off, please contact me and I'll supply you with costs and seating available. I will only charge you if I am able to get tickets.
Finally, the ball clubs are promoting the COVID-19 Contact App (COCOA) which uses the Apple/Google privacy emphasized framework and was created by the Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare. Tech and privacy leaders all agree that best privacy practices are followed in the framework's design, so please put aside any biases you may have for the tech companies. The framework was also designed to work in the background using very little power. Your mileage may vary depending on how old your phone is. But this app, used in conjunction with testing and contact tracing, is one of the best ways to help contain this virus. Please do consider installing it, especially if you will be attending events like a baseball game.
The COCOA app is available at:
Apple App Store: https://apps.apple.com/jp/app/id1516764458
Google Play Store: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=jp.go.mhlw.covid19radar
It's going to be a completely different experience this season for those of you who are able to go.That's it for this update. Until more information is released, take care.
No Restrictions on Bags
A question I've been getting a lot lately is, "Can I bring my bag/backpack to the game?" YES! Bags and backpacks are allowed to all events in Japan. You may want to limit the size to something that will fit under the seat. The general rule is that, so long as it doesn't get in anyone's way, no problem.
On a related question, yes, DSLR camera and large lenses are also allowed.
All prices in US Dollars.
Game times in the Tokyo area may start 15 to 30 minutes earlier than originally scheduled.
Games between July 27th and August 10th are exhibition/practice games during the Olympic break.
Games on schedule are listed by home team.
* denotes game at stadium other than primary home.
** denotes tentative playoff game. Venue may change depending on the season outcome.
Red denotes tickets sold out or otherwise not available.
Yellow text denotes ticket prices to be announced. Will become available in future.
Click on team for prices/venue details and to order.
|Central Tokyo||Yomiuri GIANTS||G||Tokyo Dome|
|Central Tokyo||Yakult SWALLOWS||S||Jingu Stadium|
|West Tokyo||Seibu LIONS||L||Seibu Dome|
|East Tokyo||Chiba Lotte MARINES||M||QVC Stadium|
|South Tokyo||Yokohama BAYSTARS||BS||Yokohama Municipal|
|Osaka||Orix BUFFALOES||B||Osaka Dome|
|Osaka||Hanshin TIGERS||T||Koshien Stadium|
|Nagoya||Chunichi DRAGONS||D||Nagoya Dome|
|Fukuoka||SoftBank HAWKS||H||Yahoo Dome|
|Hiroshima||Hiroshima CARP||C||Mazda Stadium|
|Sapporo||Nippon Ham FIGHTERS||F||Sapporo Dome|
|Sendai||Rakuten Golden EAGLES||E||Miyagi Stadium|