peaking over the trees, or hiding in the corner. I had been "kind of" inside once before, when I visited the Japan Baseball Hall of Fame. But until August of last year, I hadn't seen a game at the Tokyo Dome. Why is this so noteworthy? Well, it's probably the most-visited stadium as far as foreigners go. It's certainly the home of the most popular, most wealthy team in Japan - the Yomiuri Giants are the Yankees of Japan, after all. It also might be the closest stadium to my apartment.
But going to places closest to you usually ends up being the least-important thing on your mind. After all, the stadium is so close - you can just go next weekend, right? That turned into next month, and then next year... Well, I finally made it to a game.
The game itself wasn't outstanding. The Giants lost the game, as their pitcher (Sugano) didn't have his stuff; the Dragons ended up hitting four home runs in the game - two off Sugano. In fact, Sugano had seven earned runs in 2.1 innings of work.
There were more than 44,000 fans in attendance, but the Dragons got on top very early and the Giants never really had a chance. Fans didn't get into the game like they probably would have if the score had stayed close.
Being on the top level, I felt like I was removed from the good stuff in the stadium, and I didn't really get a good feel for food selection, souvenirs, and other amenities at the park. However, the Hall of Fame is outside (I recommend visiting before the game - I don't know about in-and-out privileges, and I don't know why you'd want to spend most of the game in a separate museum). The Giants advertise a team museum which turns out to be just a small display in the basement.
Most foreign tourists who want to watch baseball in Japan will go to a Giants game. Know that it is very crowded, and tickets can sell out very early, especially for Sunday games. Access is pretty simple, with multiple train stations on multiple lines surrounding the stadium. There's also a baseball-themed restaurant, amusement park, shopping mall, and Koishikawa Korakuen garden nearby, so making an afternoon or full day of the area is certainly possible.
Due to the air conditioning and dome, seeing a game here eliminates possibilities of rain-outs and discomfort due to extreme temperatures (and Tokyo gets really hot and muggy in the summer). But for a slightly more intimate experience, you can also see the Swallows in Tokyo, or head to nearby Yokohama, Saitama, or Chiba for their teams. (Yokohama has a lot of touristy things as well; Saitama and Chiba are a bit out of the way.)