A Day of Fun at Japan’s Baseball Mecca: How to Enjoy Hanshin Koshien Stadium on its 100th Anniversary!

2024.07.03

Baseball is extremely popular in Japan. It captivates men and women of all ages to such an extent, it can even be considered a national sport. In the more than 150 years of baseball in Japan, one ballpark in particular has held a special place in the hearts of the Japanese. It's the home stadium of the Hanshin Tigers, a popular professional baseball team, but its also the site of Japan's high school baseball's greatest competition: Hanshin Koshien Stadium! (Hereafter, Koshien Stadium)

This year is Koshien Stadium's 100th anniversary. Even if you're not a baseball fan, come discover what makes the 100 year baseball traditions so special to locals in this carefully selected day trip from Umeda, Osaka!

About Koshien Stadium

Koshien Stadium was opened in Nishinomiya City, Hyogo Prefecture in 1924. By chance, this year was the first year in the 60 year cycle of the Chinese zodiac, an auspicious year known as 甲子, or koshi, the Year of the Wood Rat. For this reason, the stadium was given the name Koshien. Koshien was originally built to host the Japanese High School Baseball Championship (which has now become the spring and summer high school baseball championship known as "Koshien" itself). Today, it's also famous for being the home ballpark of the Hanshin Tigers, a popular Japanese baseball team. It is the largest outdoor ballpark in Japan, with a capacity of over 40,000 people. What's more, American baseball legend Babe Ruth even visited once!

On August 1, 2024, Hanshin Koshien Stadium will celebrate its 100th anniversary! To celebrate the occasion, the ballpark will host a series of commemorative events. The celebration will also include 100th anniversary commemorative collaborative merchandise from famous Japanese baseball manga such as Ace of Diamond and Touch. You'll be able to purchase these items at the stadium store. For more information, please visit the Hanshin Koshien Stadium 100th Anniversary Official Website!

How to get to Koshien Stadium from Umeda, Osaka

It's very easy to reach Koshien Stadium from the Umeda area in central Osaka. On the Hanshin Electric Railway's express train, it takes only about 15 minutes from Osaka-Umeda Station to Koshien Station. Get off at Koshien Station, and the stadium will be right there! If you're lucky, you may even be able to ride a special 100th anniversary train!

Exit the station from the West Exit, and you'll find coin lockers to your left. If you're visiting with large bags, you'll be able to leave them here. If you visit to watch a baseball game, we recommend buying your return train ticket in advance to avoid the rush after the game.

One-Day Course to Enjoy Koshien Stadium

There are actually many fun and interesting baseball-related spots around the stadium for you to enjoy, even if you don't watch a baseball game during your visit! Follow our day trip course of ideas and get deep into Koshien!

Stop 1: Get an in-depth understanding of Koshien's 100-year history at the Koshien History Museum

Renovated in 2022, the Koshien History Museum is divided into the Koshien PLUS Area and the Ballpark Area. The museum contains individually displayed artifacts and precious collections of more than 1,000 items connected to the Hanshin Tigers team, high school baseball, and Koshien Stadium itself. In addition to regular updates of the items on display, four special exhibitions are held each year, so every time you visit you'll find something new to discover - it's definitely worth a visit. If you look carefully, you can even catch a glimpse of what Japanese professional baseball star Shohei Otani looked like during his high school years!

This is a great place to visit because of its fun experiential space. You can touch the baseball equipment actually used by the professional players, take a picture at the benches they actually used, and do a simulation of the Japanese pro baseball draft. And if you don't get a chance to see a game at the stadium, there's no need to worry. With a visit to the Koshien History Museum, you'll be able to enter the stadium infield and outfield, and take in Koshien Stadium's unique and special energy from every angle, from beneath the score board to the observation area.

If a visit to the History Museum just isn't cutting it, a stadium tour is a must! These tours will give you the rare opportunity to see the inside of the ballpark. There are five different courses to choose from, and the most basic of these, a course to view the stadium, takes about an hour. The tour will introduce you not only to the stadium's history, but show you around the bullpen, locker room, benches, and other places actually used by the players. Why not see what the view is like from the bench? You don't want to miss this rare opportunity.

Just be sure to follow your guide's instructions on all of these tours (including those about photography). Food and drink are not allowed inside the stadium, and we recommend making your visit in shoes with no heels, so you'll be able to enjoy all of your tour in comfort. Additionally, the History Museum and stadium tours offer foreign language services, so if you're Japanese isn't quite up to snuff, you'll still be able to get all the details!

*Separate registration is required for stadium tours, and the content of these tours may change depending on the day.

Tickets available at: Koshien PLUS 2nd floor
Business Hours: 10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. (Last entry at 5:30 p.m.)
*Hours are from 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. from November - February (Last entry at 4:30 p.m.)
Closed: Mondays (Open when Monday is a game day or national holiday), New Years holidays
Website: https://koshien-rekishikan.hanshin.co.jp/global/en/
Reserve a stadium tour:https://webket.jp/pc/ticket/index?fc=00262&ac=1010(Language settings on the site can be changed at top right)

Stop 2: Enjoy a unique Japanese-style omelette-rice for lunch at Hokkyosei ("Polaris")

First opened in Osaka's Shinsaibashi area, Hokkyosei ("Polaris" in Japanese) is a famous Japanese-style omelette-rice shop with a history of 100 years. The location on Koshien PLUS's first floor has high ceilings, an elegant color scheme, and a refined interior—an elegant atmosphere in which to enjoy some delicious food.

Among the many varieties of omelette-rice, Hokkyosei especially recommends its popular beef stew omelette-rice. The rich beef sauce and tender, juicy meat make an incredible match with the omelette-rice, almost melting in your mouth. The restaurant also offers other menu items limited to this location, and unique drinks like the Koshien Highball. What's more, menus are available in English, Chinese, and Korean, so you'll be able to enjoy your meal without worrying about the ordering process.

Mall: KOSHIEN PLUS
Floor: 1F
Business Hours: 11:00-21:30

Stop 3: Treasure hunting at baseball goods store STAND IN Koshien

This shop has an American-style interior, with a full line-up of bats, gloves, cleats, and just about any baseball item you can imagine. The items in stock here are all high-quality products carefully selected from Japanese and international brands like MIZUNO. STAND IN also offers a variety of services, including a testing space within the shop where you can safely try the items out. It's a great way to test out a bat, and buy with confidence when you've found the right one for you. In addition, an on-site embroidery service allows you to put your original mark on gloves and caps, which takes only 20 minutes.

*The Shohei Otani bobblehead in the photo is sold out. There are no plans to restock.

In addition to a wide range of baseball equipment, you can also purchase popular Shohei Ohtani products, fashion bags made of glove leather, and other specialty items here!

Mall: KOSHIEN PLUS
Floor: 1F
Business Hours: 10:00-20:00

Stop 4: Experience what it's like to pitch at Koshien at "BE-STADIUM KOSHIEN supported by STAND IN"!

Want to simulate the atmosphere of a Koshien game? Don't miss BE-STADIUM KOSHIEN supported by STAND IN on the second floor! This is Japan's first virtual batting space that uses a large screen to recreate Koshien Stadium before your eyes. The space offers three different pitching experiences, allowing you to set your own game time, uniform design, pitching speed, and more. Put on your helmet, grab your bat, and enjoy your very own game. When you're done, be sure to put your equipment back in place!

This experience is available those of elementary school age and above. On days when there are baseball games, it may be crowded, so you may need to wait your turn nearby. If you have any questions about the setup, please ask the staff. You can get a discount on the experience when you buy a ticket set including tickets to the Koshien History Museum, so we recommend purchasing them together!

Mall: KOSHIEN PLUS
Floor: 2F
Business Hours: 10:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m. (Hours are 10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. November - February)
*Hours are subject to change during Koshien Stadium events.
Closed: Mondays (Open when Monday is a game day or national holiday), New Years holidays
Website:https://be-stadiumkoshien.hanshin.co.jp/global/en/

Stop 5: Enjoy some afternoon tea at Little Mermaid bakery

Located on the second floor, Little Mermaid offers delicious bread at low prices. The comfortable dining space inside has spacious seating for 60, and some of the seats also feature charging plugs, so it's the perfect spot to take a rest in the middle of your busy day of exploring Koshien.

Little Mermaid carries some 80-90 different types of bread products, but we especially recommend their Koshien-only anpan (soft bread filled with anko, sweet red bean paste). It has an incredible flavor, with the combination of rich anko from Hokkaido and creamy milk cream. You can also orders soups and drinks, making Little Mermaid the perfect spot for afternoon tea. The restaurant's dining area is clean and tidy, and you can even get a peek at the bread-making process, so customers can enjoy their delicious bread with peace of mind.

Mall: KOSHIEN PLUS
Floor: 2F
Business hours: 8:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m. (business hours may change during the year end and New Year holidays)

Stop 6: Get a baseball good luck charm at Susano'o Shrine

The over 400 year-old Susano'o Shrine is located near the stadium lights. Originally it was a small village shrine, but later began to provide baseball-related omamori (good luck charms) and ema (votive picture tablet) at the ardent request of baseball fans and the Hanshin Tigers. Today, the shrine has become a popular destination for those praying for victory in high school baseball games and for the Hanshin Tigers. In addition to Hanshin Tigers charms, there are also cute charms and votive tablets in the unusual shape of baseballs and bases. Next time you come to Koshien Stadium, be sure to stop by the shrine and find some unexpected treasures!

Business Hours: 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. (Open at all hours for prayers)

After your day at Koshien

After a day of fun and games at Koshien Stadium, take the Hanshin Electric Railway back to Umeda. At night, the Umeda area is full of trendy and atmospheric restaurants and bars where you can enjoy a gourmet meal, relax your body and mind after the day, and take in the gorgeous Osaka nightscape. It's the perfect way to end your one-day tour of Koshien!

For related trip ideas, check out Chic and Stylish Restaurants and Bars for a Delicious Night in Osaka to explore more of Umeda's nightlife!

For more information on Umeda, check out some of our Trip Ideas.

*Information in this article is accurate as of the date of posting. There is a possibility that details regarding these products and services have changed, or that some shops have since closed.

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