Saturday, 24 June 2017

Kashima Soccer Stadium

Kashima City, Ibaraki Prefecture

Kashima is a small seaside town about two hours to the northeast of Tokyo, on the Pacific Ocean coast. It is not a particularly large town, but it has a long history due to its location on a sandy peninsula near the mouth of the Tone River. This location made it an important port and center of transportation between the ocean, the major highways to northern Japan, and the extensive river systems in the Kanto area. Kashima Jingu is a large and ancient shrine, which is said to have been founded in Kouki Gannen, in 660. It is one the three most famous shrines in the Kanto region, and has grown into a large and powerful institution thanks to the patronage of the local magnates who controlled the local trade.

Kashima literally means "deer island". Although it is not actually an island, it is surrounded by water on three sides. It lies on a strip of land bounded by Kitaura Lake, the Tone River, and the Pacific Ocean. In the past, the area was aptly named, because large herds of deer did indeed roam the marshy land in this area. However, nowadays the region is home to a number of large petrochemical complexes, light industry, and a scattering of rice and tobacco fields which grow more expansive as you travel inland, away from the town.

The only deer that are commonly spotted in the area are the handful of semi-tame ones that roam the grounds of Kashima Jingu, and the mascots of the local football team, the Kashima Antlers. Kashima is a fairly small town, with a population of just 62,000. Nevertheless, the Kashima Antlers regularly draw over 20,000 fans to home matches, and frequently fill the 45,000-seat Kashima Soccer Stadium for matches against top opponents.

Kashima Soccer Stadium is a football-only facility, and it may be one of the "coziest" venues of all the World Cup stadiums. The end zone stands are so close to the pitch that opposing keepers often find it hard to concentrate during free kicks. Kashima Antlers fans in the stands are waving huge flags that almost reach to the back of the net. Football has become such an important part of the local region that many of the city's landmarks are related to the local team. One of the most popular attractions for sightseers, perhaps second only to Kashima Jingu shrine, is the statue of Zico, which stands in a local shopping mall.

Kashima Soccer Stadium is the home of the Kashima Antlers, one of the traditional powerhouse teams in Japan's J.League. The Antlers have won the league championship eight times in the League's 25-year history, and have a total of 19 major titles (league and cup). The Antlers have done a beautiful job of refurbishing Kashima Stadium, which originally had a capacity of just 13,000. When Kashima was selected as a World Cup venue, the stadium was upgraded by adding a second deck and a beveled roof supported on struts. this more than doubled seating capacity. The Antlers played their first match in the refurbished stadium on May 19, against Kashiwa Reysol. Shortly thereafter, the stadium was used as one of the venues for the 2001 Confederations Cup, and a year later, hosted the 2002 World Cup.

Kashima Soccer Stadium

Location:Kashima City, Ibaraki Prefecture   Capacity: 45,000
Home Team(s): Kashima Antlers   Completed: April 2001

  

Stadium Access

Kashima Soccer Stadium is a short walk (about 5 minutes) from Kashima Stadium station, on the JR Kashima line. Alternatively, one can take a bus from Kashima Jingu station and get off at the stop named "Piston bus stop". On match days, there are special shuttle buses from Tokyo Station which leave from outside the Yaesu exit and travel by highway directly to Kashima Stadium. Travel time is about 2 hours, depending on traffic.

Click to enlarge

Ticket Prices

"Supporter seats" (Unreserved):
Adults Y2,500; Children Y1,500
SB Zone reserved seats:
Adults Y2,800; Children Y1,800
SA Zone reserved seats:
Y3,000
S reserved seats:
Y4,000
SS reserved seats:
Y5,000
SSS reserved seats:
Y7,000