- 3 min read

Swallows Game - Meiji Jingu Stadium

Umbrellas, baseball history & Tokyo's Yakult Swallows

Meiji Jingu Stadium is a historic ballpark in the heart of Tokyo. It is the home of the Central League's Yakult Tokyo Swallows.

Jingu Stadium is big and open, has a classic feel, and is a comfortable place to watch a game with 37,932 of your closest friends. The Shinjuku skyline can be seen beyond the left field wall, making for a pretty backdrop. The seats are very much on top of the field, providing close access and a great atmosphere. It is located in Meiji Jingu Gaien, the outer gardens of Meiji Jingu Shrine, which owns the stadium.

Jingu Stadium is the home of one of the more famous celebrations in Japanese baseball. When the Swallows score a run, fans all across the stadium open umbrellas and wave them around while singing "Tokyo Ondo," a traditional festival song, turning the crowd into a sea of colors. Swallows fans are also well-known for their sarcasm, and some of their chants at the opposing team are not the most polite you'll hear.

Prices range from ¥1,500 for unreserved outfield seats up to ¥4,500 for the best in the house. The right field is for the rowdy home team fans, and the visiting team's faithful sit in left. The worst seats in the stadium seem to be down low along the first base line, past the bag. These seats remain facing the left field wall long after they should have started to turn back towards home plate, meaning that you could end up with a stiff neck, and the infield fence is also very obstructive to the sight-lines from there. Game tickets can be purchased from the Swallows' website or at the stadium.

As a special hint, the players' clubhouse is actually located across the narrow street from the stadium, near Gate 1. If you get to the stadium early, you can see the players as they arrive (some by bicycle!). And, if you're quick to exit after the game, you can see the players and coaches exiting the stadium to the clubhouse in their full gear, ready to hit the showers.

Concessions are pretty standard. Concourse food stands include everything from French fries (¥400) to yakitori (¥100). A friend insisted I get the "Weiner plate," which is a variety of hot dogs and sausages (small size was ¥500), but they were nothing special. A draft beer costs ¥750.

Swallows merchandise can be purchased at the team's Official Goods Shop, located just down the street from the stadium.

The stadium building itself is full of history. Opened in 1926, it is the second oldest stadium in Nippon Professional Baseball (Koshien Stadium in Osaka is the oldest, which opened 2 years earlier and is home to the Hanshin Tigers). It served as the official home of the Toei Flyers (now the Nippon Ham Fighters) from 1962-63, before the Swallows took it over in 1964. The stadium is also one of the few remaining stadiums in the world that baseball legend Babe Ruth played in, which happened in a 1934 event. The stadium was also a part of the 1964 Tokyo Olympics when it hosted a Japan-U.S.A. baseball exhibition.

Jingu Stadium can be reached from Gaienmae Station (Ginza Line, 5 min. walk from Exit 3), Kokuritsu-Kyogijo Station (Oedo Line, 12 min. walk from Exit A2), JR Shinanomachi Station (Chuo-Sobu Line, 12 min. walk), or JR Sendagaya Station (Chuo-Sobu Line, 15 min. walk).

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Lester Goh 9 years ago
When I first visited Tokyo, I had no idea there was a stadium next to Meiji Jingu. It's so weird, a huge classic tranditional shrine with all the pilgrims, the famous row of aged sake vats, the lush forest powerspots, and then this stadium! Now though, I wish I'd stayed, apparently there was a match later that day which i missed...
Todd Wojnowski Author 10 years ago
Balentien not only leads Japanese baseball in home runs by a ton, but he's also leading the Central League in batting average. If the opposition would ever put the race issue aside and stop intentionally walking him, he'd easily hold the single-season record. Stay tuned...
Larry Knipfing 10 years ago
Todd, it looks like one of the Swallows players, Balentien, might break Oh's controversial single season HR record! Any thoughts on this?
Tao Kawase 11 years ago
Thanks for this Todd. A true Tokyo experience.
I recently took a good friend of mine from the States who is a big baseball fan, and it was a big hit (pun intended). If you want a true Japanese baseball experience (which, is very different from an American one), this is the place. Contrary to Tokyo Dome where the Giants play, who are basically the Yankees of Japan, this has a much more down to earth and local feel to it. Cheap and fun, I would suggest a Swallows game even if you aren't a huge baseball fan.

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