Spectators heading to the Nippon Ham Fighters' new ballpark for the first time next March will be greeted by a large mural featuring Shohei Ohtani and Yu Darvish, two major league stars who once represented the Japanese baseball club based in Hokkaido, northern Japan.
The Es Con Field Hokkaido stadium in Kitahiroshima, near Sapporo, is designed not only for baseball but also to host other activities including musical and other performances.
The 7-meter-wide, 5.5-meter-tall mural is located on the first floor of the Tower 11 building of the ballpark. Named after the uniform number of both Ohtani and Darvish during their Nippon Ham days, the tower will host a museum and other facilities including a spa and a hotel. Artworks will be on display around the ballpark.
Finishing touches are being put on the stadium, which was opened to the media earlier this month, ahead of the next season's opening game on March 30, 2023.
"Things that were envisioned are taking shape," said Taro Ogawa, head of the facility creation section of Fighters Sports & Entertainment Co., the operator of the new ballpark. "I will focus myself on continuing preparations for opening day."