The first purpose-built cricket ground in western Japan is all set to open its doors this coming weekend, on 4th October 2020. The weekend festivities at the Kaizuka Cricket Field include an opening ceremony and a demonstration by the locally based Japanese national team cricketers. This will be followed by the ground hosting its inaugural cricket match, the Japan Cup Kansai Regional Final.
This is exciting news for cricket in the region and comes on the back of the “City of Cricket Agreement” signed in January 2018 between the Japanese Cricket Association (JCA) and the local Kansai Cricket Board. One of the agreement’s primary goals was to transform Kaizuka into the largest cricket base in western Japan. The local cricket association hopes to utilise the ground’s proximity to Kansai International Airport to host more national and international team tours in the future as well as holding high performance training camps in the region. It is all part of an ongoing effort to regenerate this small Japanese city of 88,000.
The seeds for the cricket city concept were first planted in 2008, when in an effort to curb de-population in the city of Sano, the local Chamber of Commerce chairman Kanai Shimada got together with mayor Masahide Okabe to use cricket as a vehicle to attract more people to the city. The project included setting up a cricket supporter’s club, which has grown to attract monetary investment from more than 100 local businesses for the building of cricketing infrastructure. The project was capped off with the construction of the iconic and picturesque Sano International cricket ground which features world class training facilities (pictured below).
Kaizuka City will become the fourth “City of Cricket” in Japan after similar projects were successfully established in the Kanto region cities of Akishima and Sanmu, in addition to Sano. Kaizuka represents a ground-breaking development for the sport as it seeks to escape outside its Kanto regional boundaries and entrench itself nationally.
The cricket ground will feature a permanent artificial pitch and a grass field of about 12,000m2.
Kaizuka City Cricket Ground Opening Ceremony Overview
Date: October 4th (Sun)
Venue: Kaizuka Municipal Cricket Field
Address: 1517 Hashimoto, Kaizuka City, Osaka Prefecture
|11: 15 – 11: 30||Opening Ceremony|
|11: 30 – 11: 50||Demonstration by members of the Japan National Squad|
|12: 00 – 15: 25||Japan Cup Kansai Regional Final / Kaizuka Cup|
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^ Updated October 7: faciliy moniker to include ‘Field’, correct name of chamber of commerce head, and updated number of local supporting businesses.