Baseball in Japan and Korea
When you think of classic Americana, you think of three things: the stars and stripes, apple pie, and baseball. And while baseball has its biggest Audience in the US, it is quite popular all around the world. In fact, every continent (besides Antarctica) is home to a baseball league, and nowhere is it more exciting to see than in Asia! It’s played all across the continent, from Israel to Japan, and is one of their main sports.
Taiwan is the hub of baseball in Asia, but Japan and Korea have some of the best cultures to view a game. With intense team cheers, wacky traditions, and huge fan turnouts it can be quite a party and something you should definitely see if you’re passing through in the summer. Tickets are relatively cheap, the food is good, and it’s a really fun way to spend an evening. In Korea, you can even order food from outside restaurants and have it delivered to you in the stadium! I fully suggest buying your own drinks beforehand!
In Busan, South Korea they pass out trash bags in the last inning, and everyone ties them up to wear as hats. It’s a cute way to keep the fans energized in the last part of the game, and encourage everyone to clean up after themselves. Each stadium has its own fun traditions for you to participate in and be confused by.
Both countries leagues are broken into teams based on location; Japan with 6, and Korea with 10. The easiest way to get tickets for both is to buy them on game day directly at the stadium you want to visit on. There will almost always be tickets available, unless it’s a holiday or a SUPER popular team matchup. A tip for buying online from foreign sites, use the google chrome browser. It has google translate built in which makes everything SO MUCH EASIER.
In Japan, it is super simple to buy tickets online as well. You can buy tickets directly from each team’s webpage (they all have an English version), as well as view their schedules, line ups, players stats etc. You can do that through the Japanese Baseball Leagues official site, which links to each teams site. Do that here: http://npb.jp/eng/teams/
You can also view an entire overview of the season and buy tickets that way, as well as get directions to each stadium here: https://www.japanballtickets.com/baseball-calendar.html
If you can make it to Busan, I would choose to go to a game there. Their team is not all that great, but the stadium atmosphere and fans are the best in Korea. It will really make the experience more enjoyable if you’re not really there for the game.
You can view the season schedule and teams information here: http://eng.koreabaseball.com/Default.aspx. Each team has their own home page with more information, and the links to buy tickets. You have to buy online tickets to these games direct from the team pages or their individual apps. Unfortunately, Korea does not offer online ticketing options for foreigners without an Alien Registration Card. So if you are just passing through Korea on a tourist visa, there is no option for online purchase. You will have to purchase either at the stadium, over the phone, or through a very generous friend. If you would like to order by phone, I have listed the numbers, but be warned, not every stadium will have an English speaker in the office.
SK Wyverns: 1599-4290
Ticketlink (Doosan, LG, KIA, Samsung, Hanwha): 1588-7890
Interpark (Nexen, NC): 1544-1555
If you do have an alien registration card and are looking to buy online, buckle up, it’s an intense process. You will need your alien registration card, your bank account number, your bank account secret number card, the digital certificate for your bank, whatever credit card you are choosing to use, and a PC. Sorry Mac users, Korea’s crazy banking system strikes again. Seven of the teams share a ticketing site, but the other three must be bought through the team site. The apps are generally easier to use, but entirely in Korean. I will list all the ticketing links and web pages below.
Hanwha Eagles: http://www.hanwhaeagles.co.kr/html/main/main.asp
Kia Tigers: http://www.kiatigers.co.kr/mainSeasonOn.asp
Samsung Lions: https://www.samsunglions.com/index.asp
NC Dynos: https://ncdinos.com/main/index
SK Wyverns: http://www.skwyverns.com/Wyverns/main