Alternate Home of the Orix Buffaloes
Official name: Hotto Motto Field Kobe
Also known as: Kobe Sports Park Baseball Stadium
Opened in: 1988
Stadium Capacity: 35,000
Dimensions: LF & RF: 99.1 m (325 ft) / CF: 122 m (400 ft)
Serving as one of NPB’s “backup” ballparks,” Hotto Motto Field was once the stomping grounds of the Orix BlueWave, where the legendary Ichiro Suzuki began his professional career. Nowadays, the park occasionally plays host to the Orix Buffaloes (who return to the stadium every year for 8-12 games to give their Kobe-based fans a chance to see the team play in its former hometown) and, on rare occasions, the Hanshin Tigers (who are forced to play home games at alternate sites when Koshien Stadium, their regular home, hosts the Koshien High School Baseball Championship).
Its status as an alternate site doesn’t mean it avoids the spotlight: On a November night in 2021, the Tokyo Yakult Swallows clinched the Japan Series title at Hotto Motto Field!
With a natural grass field, old-school (and sharply-cut) dirt pathways, and vistas of the trees beyond the stadium walls, this hidden gem in the rolling hills is one of NPB’s most underrated parks.
The stadium is located in Kobe, just off Osaka Bay, at the aptly named “Kobe Sports Park” (the park also has tennis courts, a university stadium, and pretty walking paths). While perhaps not as conveniently located as some of NPB’s primary stadiums, Hotto Motto Field is one of the more accessible sites for NPB’s “countryside” games, in which teams play in non-NPB cities. The nearby Sogo Undo Koen Station, with its proximity to the Tokaido-Sanyo shinkansen line, provides access from Kobe or other cities.