Watch Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks vs. Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters.

Situated on Fukuoka’s coastline, PayPay Dome is a behemoth structure that hosts both baseball games and music concerts. It is the home turf of the SoftBank Hawks, one of the premier teams of Japan’s top baseball league. 

For highlights of my experience, watch this YouTube video.

PayPay Dome is enormous.

Baseball can be a whole afternoon and night-time activity, with souvenir shops lined outside.

On Saturday 30 September, the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks took on the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters. Outside the impressive exterior of PayPay Dome, people lined up for street food stalls and browsed souvenir shops. 

Go the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks!

Plenty of street food choices outside.

On entry, I was given a small towel bearing SoftBank Hawk’s colours of black and yellow. Every attendee seemed to receive one too. I could already feel the spirit of Fukuoka’s citizens supporting its home team.

Inside the edge of the stadium and about to enter the “stomach”.

PayPay Dome is enormous, with seven different ticketed entrances.

Along the rim of PayPay Dome before entering the main interior, there are more fast food outlets. I walked through a short tunnel and was in awe as I came out the other side. With the capacity to seat just under 40,000 people, the stadium has hosted legendary artists such as Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson.

Dancers performing to K-pop music.

The game is interspersed with moments of entertainment.

PayPay Dome felt gigantic, with a sea of spectators that stretched around the baseball field and a retractable roof that was as high as the sky. The atmosphere is even more enthralling during moments like the national anthem’s performance, or when a home-run is scored. 

Beer can be ordered from young people carrying around barrels.

It’s a tradition to release the balloons after the 7th innings.

I enjoyed experiencing the passion towards baseball that the spectators had. I can now see how it’s engrained in Japanese culture and one of the country’s favourite sports. The crowd was in unison with every achievement of a SoftBank Hawks player. Massive banners were waved and chants were led by fans willing their team to win. When the match-winning home run was scored, strangers next to me reached out with heartfelt happiness and held my hand while jumping up and down.

The lights dimmed and the stadium became more colourful.

The man who won the game with a home-run hit!

Another exciting aspect about watching this baseball game was the entertainment. It was dramatic and absorbing. The host venue certainly put on a good show, with cheerleading performances, acrobatic feats, funny skits and thunderous fireworks. 

All smiles after the home team’s victory.