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Japanese Baseball Teams

Click team name on map to view our team page.

Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles Saitama Seibu Lions Orix Buffaloes Hanshin Tigers Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks Hiroshima Toyo Carp Chunichi Dragons Yokohama DeNA Baystars Chiba Lotte Marines Tokyo Yakult Swallows Tokyo Yomiuri Giants

Map created by Matías Solario (@solario.art.waikiki; solario.studio)

Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) is the premier baseball league in Japan, featuring highly competitive teams, dedicated fans, and world-class talent. Though the first professional baseball league in Japan (The Japanese Baseball League) dates back to 1934, NPB officially formed in 1950.  

Nippon Professional Baseball consists of two leagues with a total of 12 teams across Japan. The Central League and Pacific League each contain six teams, with each team playing a 143-game season. Wins, losses, and ties are reflected in the standings and determine the regular season league champion and paint the postseason picture.

The top three teams from each league qualify for the Climax Series, with the regular season champion getting a first-round bye. The winner of the First Stage between the second and third place team then faces the regular season champ in the Final Stage. The Final Stage winner from each league advances to NPB’s championship series, The Japan Series, with the overall winner being crowned in a best-of-seven game series.

Pacific League teams use designated hitters, while the Central League does not. However, each year, there is a portion of the schedule that features interleague play, where the designated hitter is only used if the Pacific League team is the home team. Much like Major League Baseball’s interleague play when it was first implemented, NPB interleague games offer exciting opportunities to see matchups between teams that normally would not face one another. In the Japan Series, the DH is only utilized in Pacific League team home games.