The Tokyo Dome turns 35 years old tomorrow. I’ve never been to Japan, but if I ever do go there, I’ll need to go to the Tokyo Dome. The televised games of the World Baseball Classic just didn’t seem to do it justice – but they have given us just enough of a glimpse to want more.
Construction began on the Tokyo Dome on May 16, 1985, and it opened on March 17, 1988. It has been home to the Yomiuri Giants of the Nippon Professional Baseball league since its opening. It also was also home to the NPB’s Nippon-Ham Fighters from 1988 to 2003, after which the Fighters moved to the Sapporo Dome in Hokkaidō and became known as the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters. Prior to 1988, both teams played in Korakuen Stadium.
The Tokyo Dome has seen its share of international events. Its was the location for games for all five World Baseball Classics (2006, 2009, 2013, 2017, and this year) and it hosted MLB Opening Day games in 2000, 2004, 2012, and 2019. The Tokyo Dome has also seen pre-season NFL games, rock concerts, monster truck rallies, figure skating, and several other sporting events.
One of the most intriguing things about the stadium is that it is part of a large entertainment complex called Tokyo Dome City. The area includes an amusement park, hotel, spa, shops, restaurants, museums, a theater, a bowling center, off-track betting, and a video game center. Also on the property is Tokyo Dome City Hall, which is an arena for smaller-scale sporting events, fashion shows, beauty pageants, circuses, and music concerts. Adjacent to the stadium is the Koishikawa Korakuen Gardens, which looks absolutely amazing.
Of course, in addition to watching baseball in Tokyo Dome City, you can also visit the Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. I think I’m sold! Maybe I’ll get there for the 2026 World Baseball Classic.