Nagoya Dome: A Baseball Game with the Chunichi Dragons

 Nagoya is often overlooked as a tourist destination. I don't blame people, actually - the sightseeing hotspots here are just a little less hot than, say, Tokyo, Kyoto, and Sapporo. But for Japanese baseball fans, it's a required stop on a tour of the country. Nagoya Dome is a 10 minute walk from the nearest subway station (via a covered raised walkway), which itself is 20 minutes from Nagoya Station. The raised path gives a good view of the stadium as you approach, though.
 Arriving early enough, I was able to see the Dragons' cheerleading team performing on a stage before the game. I guess they sign autographs too? Cheerleaders here are pretty popular. They have their own card sets, after all - five large sets in the past three years, plus some singles in a few other team issues.
 There are a few things to do and see around the stadium, mainly if you're a kid. You can climb inside this bounce house, for example.
 But, I'm here for a game. Upon entering the stadium, I saw this small display on trading cards. Nothing really special, but a nice touch nonetheless.
 The stadium is pretty typical and symmetrical. I could have probably taken a picture of half the stadium and just made a mirror image for the other.
 The seats are pretty far back from the field and are well protected by that large screen.
 While these pictures were taken well before game time, the seats didn't fill up too much until the game started.
 From left field.
 Unfortunately, my visit was fairly unmemorable. The stadium is extremely average, despite being built in 1997, when American stadiums were undergoing a style renaissance (Turner Field, Jacobs Field, Camden Yards, etc). The Dragons do the same things every other team does. There wasn't any standout food.
 The empty seats slowly filled in as the game went. This is the view from my seat. There were over 32,000 fans at the game, somehow, but the stadium holds about 40,000.
Before the game, the Dragons cheer team led a group of girls in a dance, along with the mascots. This happens at some other stadiums too. Overall, the game was fun, but in such a large stadium with nothing really special as a draw, I'm not too interested in returning for another.

That said, Nagoya itself has a few draws for me, most importantly as the home of my favorite amusement park in Japan, Nagashima Spaland. And should the schedule permit, I would spend an evening back here for more baseball. As I mentioned earlier, the stadium is 10 minutes on foot from Nagoya Dome-mae Yada Station. There is a museum on the third floor, which I missed, as well as a full-service restaurant court that seems to be pretty popular.

For those visiting the stadium, arriving a few hours early would allow you to enjoy the walk to the stadium (there are some displays along the walkway) and browse the shopping mall next to the Dome; enter the stadium as soon as the gates open - two hours before game time - if you plan on eating at one of the full-service restaurants.

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