Nov. 01, 2019 UPDATE

How to Catch a Football Match in Kyoto with Kyoto Sanga F.C.!

The definitive guide to catching a football match in Kyoto and seeing the boys in purple, Kyoto Sanga F.C.

This article gives all the information you need to catch a football match at the Takebishi Stadium Kyoto, Kyoto Sanga F.C.'s home stadium.

The article also introduces you to the fun things there are to do around the stadium before and after the match too!

Did you know Japan has its own professional football league?

The J-League was established in 1993 and ever since has aimed to improve football throughout Japan and work closely with communities.

One of the pro teams in this league is Kyoto's very own Kyoto Sanga F.C., or simply "Sanga."

Wrapped in purple, the imperial colors of Japan, this prestigious club have previously been winners of the J-League Cup.

However, they currently sit in division 2, where they are adamant about getting out of and once again standing atop the podium.

With Kyoto Sanga F.C. having such a great season, I thought I'd go and cheer them on a bit!


Sanga’s home stadium, the Takebishi Stadium Kyoto, is located slightly far away out to the west of downtown. There are two main ways of getting to the stadium from Kyoto Station: train or bus.

1. Train: Take the subway to Shijo Sta., then change to the Hankyu line and head to Nishikyogoku Sta. (approx. 17 min).

2. Bus: Catch Municipal Bus No. 73, or Keihan bus No. 21 and get off at the Nishikyogoku Undo Koen Mae Bus Stop (No. 73 – approx. 30 min/No. 21 – approx. 20 min).

map detailPersonally, I took the train and headed to the stadium via the Hankyu Nishikyogoku Station. The stadium is located right outside the station, and since there will be a ton of supporters on the day, if you’re lost, just follow the crowd of people in (most likely Sanga) uniforms.

Nishikyogoku Comprehensive Athletic Park

When you get to the Nishikyogoku Comprehensive Athletic Park, you’ll see a massive welcome gate waiting for you. The stadium is just past this gate, so go straight on through.

food trucksJust past the gate, you’ll find this wide-open, busy space filled with tents and food trucks. This area, called Friends Square, is an event area featuring booths selling official Sanga merchandise, food and drinks. 

 Friends Square is open 2.5 hours before the match starts; however, despite it being so early, it was already teeming with fans! 

ticketing booths

At the front of Friends Square are the ticketing booths. You can purchase tickets online as well, but if you haven’t done so, then you can always get them here on the day.


If you want to book your tickets online, then head to the link below.

*When you’re purchasing your tickets, make sure to check that the venue is the TAKEBISHI.Sta.


seven typesThe stadium seating is divided into seven types. 

 If you want to jump on board with the fanatic local supporters, then grab a SANGA supporter’s seat. 

 However, if you want to sit back, relax and enjoy the match with a beer, then go for the SB non-reserved seats.

I chose the SB non-reserved seats because the entrance is right outside Friends Square and is super convenient for popping back and forth between the food stalls and the stands during half time.

In the center

In the center of Friends Square is an event space. On this day, a local high school marching band was performing, providing the square with the atmosphere of a full-blown festival.


One of the biggest draws of this square is the surrounding food stalls and food trucks. Among them are even food trucks belonging to well-known Kyoto restaurants, and Sanga branded "SANGA DRINKS" and "SANGA BANANAS."

Sometimes these food stalls/trucks will even include local cuisine from the away team's hometown.


As I always say, come for the football, stay for the fried chicken and football team-branded bananas.  

Pursa and Kotono-chan

Also, if you’re lucky, you might be able to catch the Sanga mascots Pursa and Kotono-chan! If you see them around, they’ll be more than happy to snap a picture with you! 

Friends Square

While you can kill plenty of time in Friends Square, I highly suggest securing yourself a seat in the stadium before checking out more of the area.

 As the SB non-reserved seats are, well, non-reserved, you can watch the game from whichever seat you like.

 Entry into the stands opens 1.5 hours before the match starts for normal ticket holders/non-fan club members.


You can reach the SB non-reserved seats through the big au Gate located right by Friends Square.

Please be aware that cans and bottles are prohibited from being brought into the stadium.


Of course, re-entry into the stadium is possible. However, make sure not to lose the “Re-entry ticket” you’re given when you leave the stadium.

Also, be careful not to leave any precious belongs, such as phones or bags, when leaving your seat.

Sanga merch shop

After I secured my seat, I headed to the official Sanga merch shop.

Here they sell all kinds of official Sanga merchandise, including uniforms and neck towels. 

Sanga fandomTo completely assimilate into the Sanga fandom, I picked myself up a sweet purple T-shirt. The shirt spells out the team’s name in beautiful hiragana – “Kyoto Sanga Efu Dotto Shii Dotto.”

young maiko

We thought the cute Kyoto-esque design of the young maiko was a great addition!

 If you come to a Sanga game, then why not pick up some official merch for yourself while you’re at it too! Wrapped in purple, the club color, you'll be welcomed in with open arms.


The game was about to start, so I headed in! 

If you want to catch a match, then head to the Takebishi Stadium Kyoto and experience the emotional roller coaster and explosion of fan excitement around you with each new goal that you only get with live football for yourself!

Even if you don’t understand Japanese, the energy of the fans and closeness of the players will be more than enough to bring everyone around you together.


During the season (late-Fed to late-Nov), there are usually two matches per month played at the “Takebishi Stadium Kyoto” in Nishikyogoku. 

 With the white-hot passion of the fans, cheers from the supporters and fun of Friends Sqaure, there’s a ton of things to enjoy at a Kyoto Sanga F.C. match even for those who don’t understand Japanese.


If you’re a football fan coming to Kyoto, then make sure you pick up a ticket to a Sanga match, enjoy the festival-like atmosphere of the stadium and experience a more local side of Kyoto that you won't see in any of the guide books!

Purchase your tickets now from the URL below:

Shin[ Sharing Kyoto Staff ]
I had so much fun going to the stadium and seeing the game that I thought, “why haven’t I done this in so long!” The crowd of people gathered in Friends Square well before the match, coupled with the brace band and food stalls, made it feel just like a festival. Of course, the excitement during the match was just as incredible. During the match, I found myself locked onto the pitch, making sure I wouldn’t miss a millisecond of the super thrilling game. Also, the incredible feeling of the players being right in front of you together with the echoing cheers of the fanatic supporters gives these matches a level of excitement that completely exceeds any need for Japanese. In spring 2020, Sanga’s home stadium will move to a new stadium out in Kameoka, so you’ll only be able to see matches at the Takebishi Stadium Kyoto for a little while longer! If you want to see a game while you’re here, now’s definitely your chance. Grab yourself a ticket and let’s support our boys in purple together! I picked myself up a Sanga t-shirt while I was there, so I’ll definitely be back to see another match soon!
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All Things To Do All Kyoto Area

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