You Need These Balloons!

If and when you go to Koshien Stadium for a Hanshin Tigers game, you will want to be part of all the fan festivities. In order to do so, you will want to enjoy the 7th inning balloon release. Of course, you need balloons in order to take part! How/where to get them? You can buy them inside the stadium, and maybe even from one of the people running up and down the stadium stairs hawking other stuff. But once you get into the game, it’s easy to forget about needing them until it’s too late, so I recommend buying them before entering the stadium.

There are two easy places to get them. First, just outside the west exit of Koshien Station. Leave the station and you’ll see a little shop/stand on the left. They sell them there. The other is just outside the entrance to the Tigers Shop Alps, which is between Koshien Station and the stadium, on the left. There is a stand there, which from far off might look like a hot dog vending cart. You will pay no more than ¥210 for a pack of 4. Just know that you will want two balloons per person in case the team wins, because many fans release balloons again at game’s end.

Here’s what a half-used pack looks like:

Fans will start inflating their balloons at the start of the 7th inning, but in my experience, that’s way too early. There’s always about 20-30 seconds between the third out and the start of the song that leads people into the rubber launch. Unless you really think it’s going to take you a couple of minutes to blow it up, you don’t need to hurry. Here’s what the balloon release looks like in the seventh inning.

Be warned, though. The balloon release at game’s end is much quicker! As soon as the third out is recorded, whether on a strikeout, ground out or fly out, the balloons are released spontaneously! Here’s what the final out looks like from the fans’ vantage point.

So there you have it. Get your balloons on your way in, and take part in a crazy release of colorful latex. You won’t regret it. In fact, you’ll remember it as long as you’re a Hanshin fan.

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T-Ray is the founder, chief writer and Junior Executive Vice President of Hanshin Tigers English News (H-TEN). Find him on Twitter @thehanshintiger.