Martial Arts in Tokyo
Martial arts are practiced in many places throughout Tokyo, but different establishments vary in their openness to non-Japanese as observers and participants. Contact Tokyo TIC for a list of dojo (practice halls) that allow spectators. To find out about participating in martial arts training, contact one of the national regulatory bodies.
Baseball and Soccer in Tokyo
Baseball’s place as Japan’s second national sport appears to be suffering in the face of soccer’s rising popularity. Some young players are choosing to go abroad to escape samurai-like regimes of training but the game continues to stir fervor.
There are two professional baseball leagues in Japan: Central League and Pacific League. The winners face off at the end of the season for the final of the Japan Series, The Central League’s Yomiuri Giants remain Japan’s most popular pro baseball team. Their games in the Tokyo Dome are always sold out; book through an agent well in advance. The best place to enjoy a game in the capital is in the beautiful Jingu Stadium, home of the Tokyo Yakult Swallows (also Central League). Tickets are often available at Ticket PIA.
The J-League, Japan’s professional soccer league, started in 1993.The World Cup, staged in Japan and Korea in 2002, sent interest soaring, and this further increased when Japan reached the second round of the World Cup in 2010. But it was the women’s team, Nadeshiko Japan, that really electrified the nation when they won the Women’s World Cup in 2011.
Ajinomoto Stadium with a capacity of 50,000, is home to two J-League teams – FC Tokyo and Tokyo Verdy. Tourist information centers have details of games, and tickets are available at Ticket PIA or from the stadium on the day of the match. Gangster-linked ticket touts are much in evidence in Tokyo so always use caution.
For details on other sports check the Sports column in Metropolis magazine. Entries are mostly concerned with gathering together like-minded people wanting to play, but those people will also know where to watch their favorite sports, from tennis and rugby to basketball, cycling, and cricket.