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Zoom Zoom Review

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Zoom Zoom Review
Anyone else out there caught a game at the new Mazda Zoom Zoom Stadium in Hiroshima this year? I made the trip in April for some Tigers game and have been meaning to post a review. Now is a good time, as I longingly look back at when the Tigers' season still had promise. Here are my grades for location, vending, and seats.

Location (A/C): No, that's not air conditioning, but both an A grade and a C grade. The reason for the C is for the citizens of Hiroshima. The old stadium was at a great downtown location which I think was more convenient for the locals. As a traveler, however, I would give it an A. It's just a short walk from Hiroshima Station, so I had a business hotel just a few minutes walk from the station and then could walk just a few more minutes to the stadium.

Hiroshima is fairly compact, so you can still do your sightseeing before the game. Walking to the stadium at first gives a bad impression, as you walk along an ugly section of the shinkansen tracks. Once inside, however, you have a good view of the surroundings hills that make Hiroshima one of the prettier major cities in Japan. I can't think of another stadium that is within walking distance of the major station for a city, so great location.

Vending (B+): I'll take Japanese food over American food any day of the week. Once I step through the gates of a baseball stadium, however, my palette reverts to that of a 10-year-old American boy. Considering this, I wasn't disappointed. You can get all your "American" favorites at the park, including hot dogs, burgers, and even a Philadelphia cheese steak. (Far from authentic of course, but something different.) For traditionalists, they have retained the old favorite Carp udon. Of course the other local specialty, okonomiyaki, is available as well, but was sold out one of the days I was there.

There are a few reasons I wouldn't quite give an A grade here. First of all, the draft beer is 700 yen, but I'd like to see it capped at 600 yen. I guess that's the price to pay for a beautiful new ballpark. Also, they teased me by having a poster describing the quality of oysters in Hiroshima, but of course they don't sell oysters there. Finally, although there are lots of tasty treats, nothing really stood out as spectacular, and the hot dog was a notch down from those sold at SkyMark in Kobe.

On one final vending note, for those wanting a good picture of the unfortunate results of mixing English with Japanese, there is a noodle shop that apparently tried to combine Carp with men, as in noodles. The unfortunate result is a shop called C-men!

Seats (A): For price, comfort, and viewing, I'd give an A here. I sat in different seats for all 3 games--outfield, general admission, and the sky seats. The outfield was fairly-priced at 2,000 yen and the views were good and seats comfortable.

The second level is general admission and was definitely good value at 1,600 yen. Just get there early. I arrived before noon for a 1:30 game and more than 70 percent of the seats were already taken. Granted, this was a Sunday Tigers game.

I probably wouldn't "splurge" on the sky seats at 3,000 yen again. They are really just a novelty--a separate section which hangs down ahead of the general admission seats. I thought I lucked out by having the first row, but there was little leg room and the view was partially blocked by an annoying net. Obviously it was there for safety reasons, but really made my view less attractive.

The best thing about the stadium with regards to watching the game is you can see so much out of your seats! You can walk around the entire area and they even have "tada-mi" sections all over where you can stand behind the good seats and watch the action. I probably spent about half of each game just roaming the stadium and checking out the different views. This would be unheard of at stadiums like Koshien, so was a nice treat.

Overall, I give very high marks to the stadium and will definitely make a return trip. Hopefully the Carp can stay competitive as well and make it even better.

So, anyone else who has been there, share your thoughts. And if you haven't been, try to forget this awful name and give this new stadium a chance! Besides, as long as there is still Kleenex Stadium in Miyagi, at least it's (arguably) only the stadium with the second worst name in Japan.
Re: Zoom Zoom Review
[ Author: No.1BayFan | Posted: Jul 2, 2009 11:45 PM | YOK Fan ]

Ironically, Kleneex Stadium Miyagi is about a 25 minute walk from the west exit of Sendai station. So there's another stadium (bad name and all) that is close to the main station of a city.

I'll be adding my thoughts on Zoom Zoom after I go there at the end of the month to see Yokohama play against the Carp. It sounds like a blast and it's great to hear that there are so many food choices at the ballpark in Hiroshima nowadays. Because honestly, the food absolutely stunk at the old ballpark.

I'm also glad too that the kept the Carp udon because I would've caused a riot there had they dumped it. Probably the only good food at the old ballpark in my opinion.
Re: Zoom Zoom Review
[ Author: Deanna | Posted: Jul 3, 2009 8:14 PM | NIP Fan ]

Well, I posted my first Mazda Zoom Zoom Stadium photopost last week and have been working on cropping the rest of my photos from there for a second. I went for the Fighters series on June 20-21 and had a great time -- it's such a nice stadium.

The "performance" seating is a little bit odd, but other than that I had absolutely no complaints about the stadium. The food I had was good. There were places to actually stand and watch BP while it was raining, which seems unheard of in other stadiums. Only thing is that you can't go down to the field until 2 hours before game time -- it makes everything a little less accessible than at other parks, though I was still able to yell hello to players and all, and a boy next to me got THREE baseballs from players walking by, so eh.

I'll try to finish up my other photopost tonight or tomorrow and link to that too.
Re: Zoom Zoom Review
[ Author: Guest: gotigersredsox | Posted: Jul 4, 2009 2:07 PM ]

- The "performance" seating is a little bit odd, but other than that I had absolutely no complaints about the stadium.

Yeah, I did notice that. I didn't sit in that section, but they seem strangely separated from the rest of the sections, maybe making for a lack of intimacy. It does, however, add to the cool, futuristic look of the stadium as a whole.
Hard Off Niigata
[ Author: Guest: ST | Posted: Jul 8, 2009 2:20 PM ]

You can add the new stadium in Niigata (right next to World Cup soccer stadium "Big Swan"), "HARD OFF ECO Stadium" to bad name list. ("HARD OFF" specializes in selling second-hand goods. "Book Off" stores belong to same group.) They should have named it according to its original plan, "Dokaben Stadium." But I assume Niigata needed some kind of financial aid and gave its naming rights to a local company with not so appealing a name.

Though I haven't been inside the stadium, I pass by it every month or so during my business trips over there. It's way too far to walk from Niigata station and I wonder how Niigata can afford to manage such a new stadium.
Re: Hard Off Niigata
[ Author: Guest: gotigersredsox | Posted: Jul 8, 2009 6:20 PM ]

Yeah, with the Tigers playing there this week, I became aware of the latest horribly-named stadium. Hard Off has been around forever, but I always found it to be very awkward-sounding Japanese-English.

Has anyone been to the stadium? It seems like a huge waste of money, as I'm not sure what use there is for a 30,000 seat baseball stadium in Niigata.
Re: Hard Off Niigata
[ Author: Guest | Posted: Jul 9, 2009 2:46 AM ]

Does anyone know if Niigata is considering an expansion team in the NPB? What is the exact population of Niigata? Is it about the same as Yokohama, Chiba and Sendai?
Re: Hard Off Niigata
[ Author: No.1BayFan | Posted: Jul 9, 2009 10:31 AM | YOK Fan ]

A quick scan of the Niigata Japanese wikipedia page lists Niigata's population at 811,775. So it is smaller than Yokohama, Sendai, and Chiba (not by much in Chiba's case). From my understanding, Niigata has been lobbying for a Pro Yakyu team for quite some time now.

I will be going to the stadium in early September for the Yokohama/Chunichi series and I will post of full stadium review in addition to the games on my blog around that time since people want to know about the stadium itself.

Also too, I find it odd that the original plan was to name the stadium "Dokaben Stadium" since there already is a "Dokaben Stadium" in Yamato City in Kanagawa Prefecture near where I used to live at. Although, that stadium is not nearly as big as Hard Off ECO and I'd still prefer "Dokaben Stadium" to Hard Off ECO any day of the week. Show Dokaben some love already and name a big stadium after him (no pun intended with that last comment).
Re: Hard Off Niigata
[ Author: number9 | Posted: Jul 9, 2009 11:13 AM ]

Local pro sports club Albirex Niigata's baseball team only plans on using the new Hard Off Stadium once a month.

Basically, yet another pork barreling white elephant construction project (like the endless unprofitable highways and Shinkansen lines), unless Albirex somehow manage to become big time, like the Urawa Reds have become in eventually filling the big Saitama Stadium 2002 every home game and moving all their games there from a much smaller and older stadium.
Re: Hard Off Niigata
[ Author: number9 | Posted: Jul 9, 2009 11:17 AM ]

Niigata may be comparable to Sendai (less glitzy, I guess) but don't forget that Yokohama and Chiba are both located in much more heavily populated prefectures with fair sized cities nearby, instead of being isolated pockets in the middle of nowhere.
Re: Zoom Zoom Review
[ Author: Guest: tigers2010 | Posted: Jul 9, 2009 11:34 AM ]

One addition to the food served at Zoom Zoom - if you need a bite after the game, a new Yakyu Dori was conveniently built just a few minutes walk from the stadium. For those not familiar with this shop, it's a small baseball-themed yakitori chain where you order food named after Carp players and managers. (For example, ordering a couple sticks of "Brown" will of course get you shinzou, or heart.) It's a good cap to a baseball evening, but either make reservations or be prepared to wait.
Re: Hard Off Niigata
[ Author: Guest: ST | Posted: Jul 10, 2009 11:02 AM ]

I thought I've heard of "Dokaben Stadium" somewhere...

Anyway, what I heard from a Niigata local is this. Shinji Mizushima, creator of manga "Dokaben" is one of the most prominent figures of Niigata-natives. One of the main streets in downtown Furumachi "Old Town" is named after him. Mizushima willingly gave rights to name the stadium "Dokaben" (or perhaps some other Dokaben-related name) without charge, but it seems Niigata cared less about its naming.

This is a site about Pro Yakyu (Japanese Baseball), not about who the next player to go over to MLB is. It's a community of Pro Yakyu fans who have come together to share their knowledge and opinions with the world. It's a place to follow teams and individuals playing baseball in Japan (and Asia), and to learn about Japanese (and Asian) culture through baseball.

It is my sincere hope that once you learn a bit about what we're about here that you will join the community of contributors.

Michael Westbay
(aka westbaystars)

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