Ichihara Seaside Stadium

Ichihara City, Chiba Prefecture

Ichihara Stadium deserves the prize as the "ugly duckling" among J.League stadiums. It is small, cramped, unattractive, and yet despite its tiny size, it has a huge running track around the field, so fans feel as if they are far away from the action. Surely a J.League club should have a better stadium than this, and indeed, the J.League had to set its minimum stadium capacity at 15,000 specifically to accomodate JEF United, which called this stadium "home" for the first decade of the club's history.

If that were not bad enough, the stadium isnt even easy to get to. It is located on a relatively un-popular train line between Tokyo and Chiba, and it is so far from the train station that it is necessary to take a bus. Worse still, there are only two major parking areas in the area around the stadium, and they can accomodate just 4000 vehicles! To add insult to injury, after making all that effort to get to the stadium, JEF fans in the early years paid some of the highest ticket prices of any team in the league.

Indeed, the demerits of Seaside Stadium were clear long before the neighboring city of Chiba built JEF United a new home stadium (Fukuda Denshi Arena), which led to the club's relocation and change of name. Even in the 90s, JEF held many of its "home" matches at other venues. This was not unusual in the early years, as big Tokyo-area stadiums such as Tokyo National Stadium (Kokuritsu) hosted "home" matches for a number of Kanto-based teams. But JEF held many of its matches in the early years at such remote locations as Matsumoto Stadium and even Miyagi Stadium. No doubt, this was a reflection on the unsuitability of Ichihara Seaside.

In the end, the team was lured to another larger city by the promise of a new stadium. The move made sense, since Chiba is right next door to Ichihara, and is also the name of the entire Prefecture. Though Ichihara never really showed much hometown loyalty to the team, JEF decided to leave Ichihara in the name (producing the club's unwieldy official name: JEF United Ichihara Chiba Football Club. However, this act - like so many decisions by the JEF front office - managed to alienate all concerned. Both its former home town and many fans, as well as the new city, which had built Fukuari Stadium just for JEF. The JEF organization now only uses Ichihara Seaside for matches involving the JEF Ladies (Nadeshiko Lg.) team, and the JEF United U-18 team (which proudly bears the acronym J.U.I.C.Y.)

Ichihara Seaside Stadium

Location:Ichihara City, Chiba Prefecture   Capacity: 15,338
Home Team(s): JEF United Ichihara, JEF United Chiba, JEF Chiba Ladies   Completed: 1987

Stadium Access

From JR Itsui Station, on the JR Uchibo line, it is a 30 minute walk to the stadium. There are free shuttle buses on match days that leave from the west exit of Itsui station, but some or our readers have indicated that the service only operates for an hour or so immediately preceding the match. If you plan to arrive early, you may have no choice but to walk or take a taxi. Taxi fare is about 600 yen.

Click to enlarge

Ticket Prices

General admission:
Adults Y2,500; Children Y900
A Zone Unreserved:
Adults Y3,000; Children Y1,300
S Zone Reserved:
SS Zone reserved:
Box seats:



Pictures of Ichihara Stadium