Nagoya Traveller 3: Ganbare! 頑張れ! Dragonzu . . . (baseball in Nagoya)

Nagoya Dome, home of the Chunichi Dragons!

For those of you that live in Japan and have access to a TV set, you’ve probably watched a baseball game, or maybe just saw one for a few seconds while flipping through all 6 of your wonderful channels *rolls eyes*. If you live/lived in central Japan anywhere near Nagoya, then you’ve definitely seen the Chunichi Dragons on TV before. The Chunichi Dragons have been a professional baseball team in Japan’s Central League since 1954, and are almost always near the top of the league.

Mr. Baseball, a movie from the 1990’s starring Tom Selleck and Dennis Haysbert (from 24) was a baseball comedy about a New York Yankees player being traded to the Chunichi Dragons. For anybody who’s lived in Japan before or who might be moving here in the future, I think it’s a very entertaining movie not only about baseball, but also about the culture shock and misunderstandings that many foreigners face when living in Japan. Plus you can see what Nagoya, Japan looked like back in the 90’s!

First pitch to the Araki of the Dragons Vs. the Rakuten Golden Eagles on June 9th, 2012

If you’re a sports fan, then I think going to a Dragon’s game is a must. I enjoy going to see a game every once in a while with friends, even if it’s in the nosebleed section. If you buy your tickets early enough (you can use the Ticket services at places like Lawson, Circle K, and other convenience stores if you want to buy a ticket a game) you can get some pretty decent seats. There is a lot of information on their website (http://dragons.jp/), but sadly it’s all in Japanese. You can however click on the Ticket tab and then see the seating arrangement inside of Nagoya dome and how much it costs for each section. Tickets range anywhere from 1500 to 30,000 yen depending on which ones you buy and where they are located. Just a note, but if you plan on going at the end of the season before the playoffs, get your tickets early because they’ll go fast!

VIDEO: Tony Blanco gets a hit to advance the runner in the Dragon’s 2-1 win against the Eagles

For people wanting to get souvenirs, there is large shop outside of the stadium with all sorts of goods, tons of smaller shops inside the stadium with goods for both the visiting team and the Dragons, and there is also a small store adjoining the Nagoya Dome Aeon Mall just across the street. The mall is a great way to kill time before a game, so be sure to get there a little early to check it out if you go.

How to get there:

It’s pretty straightforward getting to Nagoya Dome for a game, but there are a few things that can trip you up. If you are coming from Nagoya station, take the yellow Higashiyama line to Sakae station and then transfer to the purple Meijo Line going clockwise. There is a train going to Ozone (the stop right before Nagoya Dome), but if you take that train you should know you’ll have to transfer at Ozone station to the next train going Clockwise and hitting all of the stations. Keep that in mind when you’re traveling there. From Sakae, it’s about a 13 minute subway ride to Nagoya Dome Mae Yada station. Once you exit the subway, look for signs pointing to the stadium. If you see a long hallway with pictures of all the of players and the Dragon’s history, you’re going the right way.

The ticket is probably around 260 yen from Nagoya station, so I’d recommend getting an all day pass if you go on the weekend (donichi eco) for 600 yen if you plan on checking out other places such as Osu or Sakae after or before the game. (NOTE: All day passes on weekdays are 790 yen).

Other events at Nagoya Dome:

Baseball isn’t the only thing that goes on at Nagoya Dome. During the off season large concerts are held there, as well as events such as the One Piece Japan Tour, dog/cat shows, etc.

Why should I go?

So why should you go to a Dragons game? Well, if you’re a baseball fan I think it’s a great chance to observe how different baseball games are from back in the USA. The atmosphere is a lot more lively, with the team supporters for each team singing, cheering, playing music, and waving flags during each inning when their team is batting. The games can be very exciting when they are high scoring, and if you can get a seat by 3rd base/left field  you’ll get a chance to catch plenty of foul balls.

The shopping at Nagoya Dome Aeon Mall is also decent, but if you plan to tell a significant other to shop there while you’re at the game, that might not be a good idea. Games usually take about 2.5-3 hours, and you could see everything in the mall in about 1 hour (there is a lot of remodeling going on right now so it might even take less time than that).

Even if you’re not a baseball fan, but living in Japan, I think it’s worth going to at least one game just to say you had the experience. Cheering on whichever team you choose can be fun (especially if a lot of alcohol is involved). It’s too bad they don’t tail gate in Japan though . . .

The Chunichi Dragons’ mascots, cheerleaders, and cheer squad of young girls from around the Tokai area

That does it for this Nagoya Traveller article. There are some Nagoya Grampus (soccer) games coming up soon, as well as Sumo in July, so keep your eyes peeled if you’re into sport in Japan. I’ll definitely be posting more info about it in the future. Thanks for reading.

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