Hanshin Koshien Stadium is considered the holy land of baseball in Japan.
The stadium in Nishinomiya City located between Osaka and Kobe boasts a history of more than 90 years. It is the home ground of the Hanshin Tigers, one of Japan’s premier pro baseball teams, and also the stage for the wildly popular high school tournaments.
Join us for an inside look as we visit Koshien Stadium!
- Table of Contents
- Behind the Koshien Stadium's name
- Feeling the power of baseball: Taking Koshien Stadium’s tour
- The Koshien Stadium tour begins with a trip to the third-base bullpen and interview space
- On to the long-awaited third base benches which normally only the players can enter!
- Feel like a high school player and touch Koshien Stadium soil
- For those who love high school baseball, the Alps Stands are of interest
- Hanshin Koshien Stadium Museum: A treasure house of Koshien memorabilia!
- A composite of Hanshin Tigers history!
- Here are more things to see in the museum!
Behind the Koshien Stadium's name
Koshien Stadium was completed in 1924. It was built in about four months in order to be used for the 10th National High School Baseball Championship of Japan.
It was the first large-scale ballpark made in Japan, its design based on the New York Giants football team’s home grounds. 1924 was the year of the Wood Rat according to the Japanese zodiac and the two characters for it are the same as “Koshi” used in Koshien, which literally could be translated as the “park of the Wood Rat”.
Accordingly, the ground was originally named the Koshien Grand Sports Ground. Every year, with the exception of the war years of WWII, it has been the site of the twice-annual national high school baseball championships.
Feeling the power of baseball: Taking Koshien Stadium’s tour
Koshien Stadium has a Stadium Tour that takes you behind the scenes and shows you aspects of the ground that you normally would not be able to see during a baseball game.
As of July 2017 a total of 16 types of tours have been offered. The dates of the tours are scheduled outside game times. You need to make a reservation two months in advance at the beginning of the month by 5:30 p.m. either on the website or by telephone (note, though, that reservations are no longer accepted once the number of participants allowed on a tour has been reached).
I took the S2 tour course that covers among other areas the bench along the third base line and grounds (1,500 yen for adults, 1,000 yen for children. Tax included; tour lasts about 50 minutes).
On the day of the tour you first must go to the Hanshin Koshien Stadium Museum next to the No. 16 Gate to pay for the tour, upon which you will receive an original ticket holder; then you head over to the meeting place.
The tour guide will first brief participants on good places for taking pictures and other things they must be mindful of during the tour. Now it’s time for the tour to begin! We entered the ball park from the nearby No. 14 Gate.
The Koshien Stadium tour begins with a trip to the third-base bullpen and interview space
On days when there are night games, the S2 course is held a total of three times during the day. First we will go to the second-floor passageway near the third base “Alps Stand”.
When there is a game, shops along the passageway are busy with fans buying bento boxes, curry, and yakitori, but when there is no game, the shutters of the shops are down. One of the shutters is opened for the tour. And through it we can see the third base bullpen. There is a thrill of excitement in seeing this.
This space is used by high school baseball teams for warming up before their game during the annual high school tournaments. Here the guide showed us a photograph of Japan’s first public heated swimming pool.
That’s right. When Koshien was still called the Koshien Grand Sports Ground the bullpen by the third base was a heated pool which was quite epoch-making at that time. And the bullpen by first base was used as a judo and kendo hall.
Continuing on, before and after games the players are interviewed and a special area for conducting those interviews has been made on the first floor. On this day a Hanshin Tigers backdrop was shown, but when a high school game ends, this is where the coach and athletes are interviewed.
On to the long-awaited third base benches which normally only the players can enter!
Players get to the third base benches from their locker room. It seems that there are times when it is also possible to watch players warming up on the field on days when there are games.
Feel like a high school player and touch Koshien Stadium soil
One scene that always stands out during the high school championships is that of the losing team members gathering up soil from the ground as a souvenir as they cried. On the stadium tour you can’t touch the actual field grounds; instead, Koshien soil is shown in a case that you can touch.
During the tour we could see the grounds being maintained. Staff of the company that maintains and manages the Koshien Stadium grounds do this every day regardless of whether there is a game.
This was something I learned on the tour. You can really feel how big Koshien is by looking up at the stands.
For those who love high school baseball, the Alps Stands are of interest
Leaving the third base bench we moved along to the Alps Stands which are located between the infield and outfield stands. This is where the supporters of high school teams sit during high school tournaments.
When high school baseball tournaments are held, there are many types of plans implemented such as doubling the height of the infield fence so that school banners can be displayed and removing the front row of seats to secure aisle space to enable all the spectators to change places between games.
Passing through the outfield stands and exiting through the No. 16 Gate from where the tour started we come to the end of the tour which lasted about 50 minutes.
This was a happy time for me as I was able to feel a closer connection to the Koshien Stadium by being able to go behind the scenes. There are still more things I would like to learn about the stadium so I am looking forward to taking one of the other tour courses offered.
Hanshin Koshien Stadium Tour (S2 Course)阪神甲子園球場スタジアムツアー（S2コース）
- Address 1-82 Koshien-cho, Nishinomiya City, Hyogo Prefecture
- Phone Number 0798-44-3310
Fee: Adults 1,500 yen, Children 1,000 yen (Group Adult 1,200 yen, Group Children 800 yen) *All prices include tax
* Children fees are for 4-year-olds to junior high age
* Fee includes admission price for Hanshin Koshien Stadium Museum
Tour Duration: about 50 minutes
Reservation Method: 5:30 p.m. On the day before the first day of the month two months in advance. Reservations can be made on the website or by telephone
* Once the set number of participants has been reached, reservations are closed
0798-44-3310 (10:00 a.m. ~ 5:30 p.m., only on Hanshin Koshien Stadium Museum business days)
Hanshin Koshien Stadium Museum: A treasure house of Koshien memorabilia!
The admission fee to the Hanshin Koshien Stadium Museum (adults 600 yen, children aged 4 to junior high school 300 yen; tax included) is included in the stadium tour; a history of the Hanshin Tigers and high school baseball is displayed here. While the tour experience is still fresh in your mind, visit the Hanshin Koshien Stadium Museum!
The museum is divided into two zones, the High School Baseball Zone and the Hanshin Tigers Zone, each rich with historical memorabilia and video clips. We begin by going up the red carpeted staircase right after entering.
To the right at the top of the stairs the tour begins with the High School Baseball Zone. Here there is a collection of the players, memorable games, video clips of games, and uniforms from high school baseball.
Here also is the original pennant from the National High School Baseball Championship of Japan (Summer Koshien).
A composite of Hanshin Tigers history!
Next is the Hanshin Tigers Zone. Here are a number of exhibitions certain to delight old Tigers fans; displays of uniforms of famous players, their bats, and other items.
Of course there is an area dedicated to the current Hanshin Tigers, too.
The displays in both the High School Baseball Zone and the Hanshin Tigers Zone pack all the major highlights of both into these compact displays.
Here are more things to see in the museum!
There are many other displays other than those about high school baseball and the Hanshin Tigers as well. The Manga and Koshien area has memorable scenes taken from manga with Koshien baseball themes, such as Dokaben and Touch, as well as illustrations signed by the artists.
“Back Screen View” shows to maximum effect the Koshien Stadium. It takes you from outside the museum, along the outdoor stairway, to beneath the scoreboard. When the weather is nice you can go outside for an all-encompassing view of the stadium. During games and when the weather is bad, it is not possible to go out, so you should confirm whether it is possible to do so when you enter the museum.
There are lots of fun attractions in the Hanshin Koshien Stadium Museum. To begin with there is trick art. Here you can photograph yourself hitting a home run off a pro pitcher! There is a Pro Baseball Version and a High School Version, and with each season these are changed.
There is also a virtual reality corner where you can see yourself as one of the girl high school students marching into the stadium carrying the name of a high school or soar above the stadium like a bird looking down on it.
This is a corner where you can experience the baseball draft. Pro baseball drafts are often shown on TV. Here you can have your name drawn just like the names of designated players. You can choose the team and your position, be selected by your favorite team, and strike a pose.
Hanshin Koshien Stadium Museum甲子園歴史館
- Address 1-82 Koshien-cho, Nishinomiya City, Hyogo Prefecture
- Phone Number 0798-49-4509
Hours: 10:00 a.m. ~ 6:00 p.m. (November ~ February 10:00 a.m. ~ 5:00 p.m.) ※ Business hours fluctuate depending on events being held
* Admission closes 30 minutes before closing time
Admission fee: Adults 600 yen, children 300 yen (tax included in both)
* Children are between the ages of 4 and junior high school age
Closed: Mondays, (game days, excluding holidays), end of year holidays
* Other times, such as when building is undergoing maintenance
Koshien Stadium, the Mecca of baseball, is a place all pro and high school baseball fans will want to visit. From the stadium tour and the Koshien park historic center I was able to gain a deeper appreciation of the attractions of the stadium as well as historical and memorable events associated with it.
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.
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