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Baseball is one of Japan's most popular sports, and nowhere is this more evident than at Hanshin Koshien Stadium, the home venue for Osaka's Hanshin Tigers. Hanshin Koshien Stadium, Asia's biggest at the time, was first constructed for high school baseball games in 1924. The stadium's design was inspired by New York City's Polo Grounds and its Nishinomiya location is halfway between Kobe and Osaka.
As of 2011, the Hanshin Koshien Stadium can hold nearly 48,000 baseball fans during a single game. The stadium has a dirt infield, a natural grass open air outfield, and a pillar free Ginsan roof. Hanshin Tigers fans traditionally sit in the right field, while the left field is where fans of opposing teams normally base themselves.
Each Hanshin Tigers player has not only his own theme song, but also his own sponsored dish which spectators can sample in the stands. Spectators can also purchase the balloons Hanshin Tigers fans release in the air during the seventh inning as well as plastic bats. A plaque commemorating an exhibition game Babe Ruth played in 1934 is displayed at the Koshien Stadium Museum alongside exhibits about the Hanshin Tigers and the high school baseball tournaments the stadium hosts twice a year.
Address and contact: 1-82 Koshien-cho, Nishinomiya City, Hyogo 663-8152; tel: (81) 798 47 1041
Opening times and fees: Open between March and September, ticket prices between SG$23 and SG$46Where to stay
Hotels near Hanshin Koshien Stadium may be situated halfway between two of Japan's major cities, but there are only a couple of notable places to stay near the stadium itself. It takes just two minutes to walk from Koshien Station to Hanshin Koshien Stadium. Public transit is the easiest way to travel to Hanshin Koshien Stadium, which has no parking lot.
One of the two major hotels near Hanshin Koshien Stadium is a four-star Novotel property, while the other place to stay is a more modest two-star establishment. Both hotels near Hanshin Koshien Stadium, however, provide hairdryers, televisions, and slippers in every guestroom. Advance reservations are highly recommended during the stadium's two major high school baseball tournaments which take place in late March and mid-August each year.