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My favorite stadium in Japan
I wasn't a baseball fan before moving to Japan. In fact, I didn't think I would ever be a sports fan. But after living in Nishinomiya for a bit, home of the famous Koshien Stadium, I was sorely mistaken. Now I'm a diehard Hanshin Tigers fan and the memories I have at Koshien Stadium are some of my best. Conveniently located on the Hanshin rail line, the stadium is hard to miss. Even when there aren't games, it's imposing in the most welcoming of ways. Outside the stadium is lively with shops selling Kansai specialties. Even when I wasn't there to see a game, I would always go to the takoyaki shop nearby. If you're lucky enough to catch a game, it's an entirely different experience. I've been to other stadiums in Japan, but none of them capture the same level of energy that Koshien seems to exude. Tigers fans are known to be some of the most hardcore fans out there, and since this is their home stadium, you better believe that everyone's in the mood! Flags waving, instruments playing, the fans know every word to every cheer of every song for every player. The balloon release is something else entirely as well. The tradition originated at Koshien Stadium and other teams adopted it and now it's pretty commonplace. But to see the hundreds of thousands of balloons released into the air at the original spot makes you feel like part of something incredible. When professional baseball season isn't going on, they still use the stadium for other things. Don't forget to check out the national high school tournament held here every year. You can spot the up and coming youngsters who are all at the peak of their game trying to get into the pros. There's always something to see and experience at Koshien Stadium, and I assure you that you'll never be bored here.
1-82 Koshiencho, Nishinomiya, Hyogo 663-8152, Japan