Susano Shrine, a.k.a. Koshien Shrine

We all want our home team to win. Every game. But they can’t. They don’t. The best of the best teams (in nearly any sport) will only win about 3 out of every 4 games.

Fans are often told they make a difference in the team’s success. How many times have you heard players say in interviews, “The home field advantage really makes a difference.” “The crowd drove us to play harder.” “The cheers are what carried the ball over the fence.” Lip service? Quite likely.

There’s one more thing you can do for the Hanshin Tigers, though. There is a shrine located on the south side of the stadium grounds where you can pray for the team’s success. Will it make a difference? I doubt it. In fact, I know it doesn’t.

And as a Christian, I do not recommend this place as a spiritual grounds. I will, however, recommend it as a unique place where you can get some insight into the nation’s culture as well as that of the team.

Welcome to Susano Shrine (素盞嗚神社), also known as Koshien Shrine or Tigers Shrine.

As you enter the grounds, you will see a place of purification, and beside it, a statue of a giant baseball, which was inscribed by former manager Senichi Hoshino. It has been there since 2008.

There is a counter where you can buy little trinkets and give your hard-earned money. One of those trinkets might be a Hanshin Tigers emblem-shaped wish card. You can write your hope, desire, prayer on it and hang it alongside the hundreds of others.

Finally, there are some Torii gates. Not sure what to make of them, but they look nice.

If you have a bit of time before the game, I recommend checking this place out!

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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.