No matter where you are in the world, there’s no better ice-breaker than a chat about the local sports team! Kobe has a long and rich history when it comes to sports, with many of its teams enjoying a loyal and passionate fan base. Here’s a quick read to prepare you for Monday morning banter!
Kobe is home to one of the most famous soccer clubs in Japan, Vissel Kobe. Founded in 1995, Vissel Kobe has undergone many changes since its establishment, but the team has always been a formidable presence in the Japanese soccer scene. The team plays their home games at the Noevir Stadium Kobe, which has a capacity of 30,132 sports fans. Vissel Kobe boasts a number of famous players, including Andres Iniesta and Lukas Podolski, both of whom have had successful careers at the highest levels of European soccer. The team has won several major trophies, including the Emperor’s Cup in 2019, and has a strong following among Japanese soccer fans.
Another popular team in Kobe is the Kobelco Steelers, a professional rugby union team that competes in the Japan Rugby League. The team was founded in 1928 and is one of the oldest rugby teams in Japan. The Kobelco Steelers have a proud history of success, having won the Japan Rugby Top League a total of seven times. The team plays their home games at the Kobe Misaki Stadium, which has a seating capacity of over 30,000 spectators. Rugby is a popular sport in Japan, and the Kobelco Steelers enjoy a loyal and enthusiastic fan base in Kobe and beyond.
Kobe is also home to a professional basketball team, the B.League’s Rizing Zephyr Fukuoka. Although the team is based in Fukuoka, they play several of their home games at the Kobe International Arena, which has a capacity of over 6,000 spectators. The Rizing Zephyr Fukuoka were founded in 2015 and have quickly established themselves as one of the most exciting and dynamic basketball teams in Japan, despite the code not having quite the same profile as other sports. The team boasts a number of talented players, including Josh Peppers, a former player in the American NBA G League, and the veteran Japanese national team player, Yuta Tabuse.
In addition to these teams, Kobe is also home to a professional baseball team, the Orix Buffaloes. Although the team is based in Osaka, they play several of their home games at the Hotto Motto Field Kobe, which has a capacity of over 30,000 spectators. The Orix Buffaloes were founded in 1936 and have enjoyed a great deal of success over the years. The team has won the Japan Series several times and has produced a number of famous players, including Ichiro Suzuki, who went on to have a legendary career in Major League Baseball in the United States.
The mighty INAC Leonessa!
And our personal favourite last…Kobe is also home to a successful women’s soccer team, INAC Kobe Leonessa. The INAC team have all studied English at Lexis Japan, as part of their preparation in the lead up to the last World Cup, and are still some of our favourite students ever! INAC Kobe Leonessa was established in 2001 and has since become one of the most successful women’s soccer teams in Japan.
The team has won the Nadeshiko League (the top women’s soccer league in Japan) a total of six times and has also won the Empress’s Cup (the top women’s soccer cup competition in Japan) a record eight times. The team’s success has been built on a strong foundation of talent, with several players from the Japanese national team having played for INAC Kobe Leonessa over the years.
In addition to their success on the field, INAC Kobe Leonessa is also known for their commitment to promoting women’s sports in Japan. The team has established a number of youth programs aimed at developing young talent, and they regularly hold soccer clinics and events to encourage more girls to take up the sport. Their success both on and off the field has made them one of the most popular women’s soccer teams in Japan, and they continue to inspire young players across the country.
Kobe is a city with a rich sporting history and a number of successful and popular professional sports teams. Whether you are a fan of soccer, rugby, basketball, or baseball, there is something for everyone in Kobe. The city’s teams are known for their passionate fans, exciting games, and talented players, and they continue to play an important role in Japanese sports culture.
If you’d like to learn more about these teams (or catch up on the latest news before your arrival), check out links to their websites here:
Vissel Kobe (soccer): https://www.vissel-kobe.co.jp/
Kobelco Steelers (rugby): https://www.kobelcosteelers.com/
Rizing Zephyr Fukuoka (basketball): https://rizingzephyr.com/
Orix Buffaloes (baseball): https://www.buffaloes.co.jp/
INAC Kobe Leonessa (women’s soccer): https://inac-kobe.com/
Lexis Japan is open now, and welcomes new students each Monday. Learn more at www.lexisjapan.com