Hiroshima Toyo Carp: See Another Side of Hiroshima!
There's the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, and the A-Bomb Dome and Itsukushima Shrine, which are both UNESCO World Heritage sites; none of which you would want to miss while in Hiroshima. There is also a place you might want to add to the list; Mazda Zoom-Zoom Stadium, a sanctuary and the home base for Hiroshima Toyo Carp and the place the locals worship!
People of Hiroshima are known to be passionate especially when it comes to baseball. A majority of shop keepers wear uniforms of their favorite players when the team is back playing in their local stadium and the city becomes red with the color of the team!
Carp fans have become almost a social phenomenon, which created terms such as “Carp Joshi (girls)”, referring to the female fans of the team. The children of Hiroshima could also be fanatic fans of the team, inheriting the spirit from their parents and grandparents. The Carp fans are known to take over any baseball stadiums across the nation when their team is playing, passionately cheering in their red uniforms and T-shirts along with batons in their hands to make some noise. The songs for each player is sung almost overtaking the sounds of broadcasts for the games. There are also songs that are chanted when there is a home run. So imagine, how much of this explodes in the home base ground when all of this already overwhelms other stadiums where the Carp is considered a “guest”!
Renovated in 2009, after 50 years since it was first built as a city stadium, Zoom-Zoom Stadium has a variety of unique features including the BBQ party floor, playground for the children, and even a gym! There are also services available to support those in need, such as the enthusiasts in their wheelchairs.
The stadium holds 33,000 people, which is filled with the Carp fans in red! Unlike the old sports facilities, the promenade that goes around through the stadium is 10m wide, which leaves plenty of space for people to simply walk around or get food and beverages during the games. Rental services for the strollers along with the children’s playgrounds are also equipped. What used to be a place mainly for male fans who seek refuge in the baseball stadiums in the old days has become a family-oriented destination and also a fashionable place for the Carp Joshi to be at, in their uniforms of their favorite players.
Even when you’re tempted to leave because Carp is losing (which is what Hiroshima people do. They simply abandon their beloved team to express their disappointment by leaving!), make sure you stay until the 7th inning is over. This is when the audience release the red balloons in one go; a ceremony that you can only see at the Zoom-Zoom Stadium!
On your way home or to the hotel, don’t forget to stop by the convenience store for a bottle of drink to quench your thirst from singing and shouting. Note that the convenient store near the stadium also come in red in respect to the local team!
For more information (in Japanese only) check, here!