A Guide to Tokyo’s Many Baseball Teams

ByMichael Stigall
Mar 28, 2023

A Guide to Tokyo’s Many Baseball Teams

It is hard to describe how popular baseball is in Japan. With the recent win at the World Baseball Classic over the USA, nobody can deny that Japanese baseball is the real deal anymore. And while every major city and region has a team, no place in Japan, or Earth for that matter, is more blessed with many options than the Kanto region. The Metropolis is home to a whopping five different teams. Compare that to New York’s two teams or Southern California’s three teams. It is possible to take in 3 different games in a day by six different teams, thereby having seen nearly half of Japan Baseball’s offering! Let’s find out who the teams are, their location, and their unique characteristics. Maybe one will be a good fit for you to rally behind!

Tokyo Yomiuri Giants

Of course, the 900lb juggernaut in Japan Baseball comes first. Hailing from the Tokyo Dome, they dominate Japan Professional Baseball due to their marketing as “Japan’s Team” outside the country.  Chances are you’ve heard of them before the others on this list.

Home Field: Tokyo Dome
Division: Central
Website: http://www.giants.jp/en/

Tokyo Yakult Swallows

Tokyo’s “other” team isn’t as well known but makes up for it by being more approachable concerning game days and having an “old-school” feel to their field; Meiji Jingu Stadium. You’ll also be able to see a lot of Japanese baseball traditions here as “chants,” and fireworks tend to go off more than at the Dome a few clicks east of here. It is Japan’s second oldest baseball field, a field legend Babe Ruth once rounded. Sadly, despite its historicity and fantastic location near Shibuya, it is scheduled to be demolished. See a game at this legendary field while you still have a chance! 

Home Field: Meiji Jingu Stadium
Division: Central
Website: http://www.yakult-swallows.co.jp/en/

Yokohama DeNA BayStars

Cross over the Tama River into Kanagawa Prefecture, and you’d better hide those Giants caps; this is BayStar country. Even though it’s just 20 minutes south of central Tokyo by train, Japan’s second city inhabitants are die-hard fans of their team. Calling Yokohama Stadium home in the heart of downtown Yohohama’s Kannai district, you’ll be in for an international flair since Minato-Mirai and Chinatown are all a stone’s throw away.

Home Field: Yokohama Stadium
Division: Central
Website: https://www.baystars.co.jp/

Chiba Lotte Marines

Mickey Mouse and Duffy, The Disney Bear, aren’t the only ones setting off fireworks on the east side of Tokyo Bay in the summertime. The hard-hitting Chiba Lotte Marines call Zozo Marine Stadium home in the Makuhari Messe exhibition complex. This team is known for its cliff-hanging plays and has been recruiting and honing younger talent in the last few years, so they could be the ones to watch in the Pacific League this year.

Home Field: Zozo Marine Stadium
Division: Pacific
Website: http://www.marines.co.jp

Saitama Seibu Lions

Lighting up the foothills between Tokorozawa and Sayama in Saitama is the Seibu Lions. Depending on the year, the Lions are the powerhouse driving the Pacific League or somewhere just outside first place in the hunt. Their home field isn’t an actual dome so much as a stadium with a roof over it, and homers can go right out the open back wall in center field; you’ll always find a group of boys in the concourse on that side waiting to scoop a game ball or two.

Home Field: MetLife Dome
Division: Pacific
Website: https://www.seibulions.jp/

江戸村のとくぞう, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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