Everything You Need to Know Before Watching a Football Game in Japan

First-timers, take note!

Watching a football match can be a little confusing for people who aren’t familiar with the rules of the game. More so, if it’s their first time going to an event like this. 

Sound like you? Don’t fret, we prepared a handy guide of things to do before and while watching a J. League game. Read on below for more.

The 2019 season of the J. League has begun!

First of all, buy a ticket. 

Of course, you can’t enter the stadium if you don’t have a ticket with you. Tickets for some games tend to be sold out immediately after they go on sale. If you have plans on watching a football match, make sure to buy a ticket right away.

How to buy tickets:

There are three main ways to buy tickets for the J. League:

1. Online. You can easily purchase a ticket anytime and anywhere, as long as you have internet.

2. Convenience Store. You can choose a date or a club from the machine in major convenience stores to buy your ticket. This is much more convenient since you’re issued your ticket on the spot, right after purchase.

3. At the venue. On the day of the game, you can buy tickets at the ticket office of the stadium. You can also go to the stadium beforehand, after school or work. However, ticket availability isn’t guaranteed when you purchase it on the day of the game. (They’re usually sold out immediately!) That’s why we recommend that you buy your tickets in advance. 

On the day of the match, the stadiums may also sell tickets for the next match! 

How to choose a seat:

Types of stadium seats. 
Photo provided by J.League.

When buying a ticket, you’ll be asked to choose a type of seat. People who want to feel a sense of unity behind the goal should choose unreserved seats. Meanwhile, those who want to sit and watch quietly should choose reserved seats.

Since the seats are divided between the “Home Side” and the “Away (Visitor) Side,” make sure that the seat you choose corresponds to the team you’re supporting. Basically, there’s enough room for the home side. We suggest you choose a seat here if you’re fine with sitting on either side of the stadium.

Note: There are unreserved and reserved seats behind the goal main stand and back stand.


Check the weather.

It’s best to come prepared for the sun or rain by applying sunscreen and bringing a raincoat. We also encourage that you check beforehand if your seat is covered by the roof. 

What to bring on the day of the game: 

1. Ticket. As we have mentioned, you can’t enter the stadium without your ticket. Make sure to check it before leaving the house. There are clubs which allow you to buy tickets online and issue them at the stadium. Others require a QR code on your smartphone. 

2. Towel Scarf. This can be pretty handy on the day of the game. You can either use this item as a towel or a cheering item. There are various types of towel scarves available for each club. You can buy one at the stadium. 

3. Uniforms. This is the standard attire when watching football games in stadiums. Part of the experience is wearing the uniform of your team and cheering with your fellow fans. However, if you don’t have a uniform, you can still show your team spirit by wearing or bringing an item in the color of your team. 

When it comes to clothes, be extra careful to wear the color of the team you’ll be sitting with. If you’re seated at the Home Side, wear the color of the Home Side. If you’re on the Away Side, you should wear the color of the Away Side. If you’re not supporting either of the teams, it’s best to wear light-colored clothes such as white and pastel colors. 

Be at the stadium at least an hour early. 

Being at a football game isn’t all about enjoying the match. Included in the experience is interacting with mascots, indulging in the stadium’s food, and having a great time chatting with your friends or fellow fans. 

What to remember during the game:

1. Get groovy with the chants!

Chants are cheering songs for players and teams. Each team in the J.League has a unique chant. Remember to clap your hands and feel the festive mood!

2. Don’t focus too much on the detailed rules of the game. 

All in all, there are 17 rules in football. However, if you’re watching a game for the first time, you only need to remember these three:

- If the ball goes into the opponent’s goal, a point is earned.
- Players, other than goalkeepers, cannot use their hands.
- There are 90 minutes in total if you add up the first and second half of the game.


3. Keep your eyes peeled until the end!

An entire match usually lasts for about 90 minutes. The time wasted during the match is added to the first or last half as “additional time.” A lot of dramatic moments happen within these 90 minutes, so make sure to watch it until the very end.

After watching the game, you’ll surely want to share your thoughts with your friends on the ride home! 

For more information, you may visit J. League’s
official website

Provided by Japan Walker™, Walkerplus™, and Tokyo Walker™ (19 February 2019)

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