Japan’s largest stadium, “International Stadium Yokohama”
International Stadium Yokohama, Japan’s largest stadium, is located in the country’s second largest city, Yokohama. The venue is known as Nissan Stadium due to naming rights held by Nissan Motor Company. Currently, it is the home field of the Yokohama F. Marinos, a club belonging to the Japan Professional Football League (J. League).
The stadium has double layer stands, with a total seating capacity of 72,327 (Lower Stand: 34,371, Upper Stand: 37,956). The stands feature a steel construction roof, which covers 3/4 of all seating.
On the Lower Stand, the front-row seats are positioned 75 cm higher than field level, allowing spectators a view of athletes running on the track at approximately the same eye level. By overhanging the Upper Stand seats out by 10 meters, spectators are brought closer to the action, while the 30-degree incline offers a view of the entire field.
The pitch is a First-Class athletic field certified by the Japan Association of Athletics Federations (JAAF), containing a 9-lane 400-meter track, and a natural grass field measuring 107 x 72 meters. Surrounding the grounds is a ditch designed to impede spectators from rushing onto the field, separating the ground from the seating area.
Located on the north and south Side Stands are large video screens (2 total), each measuring 22.5 x 9 meters (955 inches). Lighting is provided by 580 modern LED lamps, providing an average of 2,600-lux for soccer matches. There are also 439 large directional speakers installed throughout the venue.
The stadium is equipped with information infrastructure for media, with an interview room which can hold up to 350 journalists, a press lounge, and waiting rooms for media members.
History and major events
Construction began in January of 1994, with the venue scheduled to hold events such as the “53rd Kokumin Taiiku Taikai Autumn Games” (National Sports Festival of Japan – also known as “Kanagawa Yume Kokutai”) held in Kanagawa Prefecture in 1998, and the 2002 FIFA World Cup. The stadium was completed in October of 1997, and opened on March 1st, 1998. Total construction costs were ¥60.3 billion.
The inaugural event was the Dynasty Cup soccer tournament (an East Asian international tournament which is no longer held), with a match between Japan and South Korea. This match was held before the 1998 World Cup in France (for which Japan qualified for the first time), and ended in a 2-1 victory for the hosts, with 2 goals scored by Masashi Nakayama and Shoji Jo. Attendance was 59,380.
In October 1998, the stadium served as the venue for the “Kanagawa Yume Kokutai,” with both opening and closing ceremonies and track and field events held there. From 2000 to 2007, the stadium served as the host venue of the international track and field tournament “Super Rikujo” (Super Track & Field), held each September. In June of 2003, track and field events of the Japan National Championships were held there.
Subsequently, the stadium served as the venue for the 2002 FIFA World Cup, and the match on June 9th, 2002 between Japan and Russia became memorialized as the very first World Cup victory for Japan. Other group matches held there include Saudi Arabia vs Ireland, Ecuador vs Croatia, and the championship match, in which Brazil’s Ronaldo scored 2 goals in a 2-0 victory, earning Brazil its 5th World Cup championship.
Currently, in addition to J. League matches, the stadium serves as the venue for various concerts and events. It is scheduled to host the Rugby World Cup 2019, with 7 matches (including the championship match) scheduled to be played there.