Japan is a country that offers some of the best thoroughbred racing action in the world. It is also home to impressive racing facilities such as the Tokyo Racecourse. While the largest horse racing track in Japan may be the most famous, it is by no means the only one. Here is a quick guide to the horse racing tracks in Japan.

How Many Race Tracks Are In Japan?

Japan has become a location where horse racing is conducted on a grand scale. Some would argue that it is second only the United States and the UK when it comes to live racing. Japan also has a vibrant breeding program to make sure that the country retains enough horses to support the race tracks in its cities.


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There are a total of 25 horse racing tracks located in Japan. If you are not from Japan, only a couple of these might be familiar to you. The tracks host three varieties of horse racing. There is flat racing, jump racing, and power racing. For most bettors from the United States, flat racing will be the most familiar of the three.

There are also 100 off-track betting locations situated throughout the country. These facilities allow bettors to watch video feeds from the various tracks, and they can also place wagers.

Who Oversees the Horse Racing Tracks in Japan?

In Japan there is a central authority that governs all of the horse racing action. This authority is responsible for making sure horse betting is conducted legally. It also establishes the rules of racing, and maintains order in the form of punishments when the rules are broken.

The Japan Racing Association, or the JRA, oversees all the horse racing tracks in Japan. Each facility will have someone from the JRA on the premises to observe all that takes place. The decisions regarding horse racing in Japan made by the JRA are final. There is no appeal to another organization.

Many countries are moving to this type of horse racing model. The United States is one country that has resisted a national body of racing regulators. Instead, the US allows each individual state to have its own horse racing boards. This can sometimes lead to issues when trainers compete in different states.

The time has come to take a look at some of the different horse racing tracks in Japan. Our focus will be on the major tracks. We will begin with the most famous of them all.

Tokyo Racecourse

The Tokyo Racecourse is located in Tokyo and occupies a vast complex which includes three different tracks, barns, and training areas. It was originally constructed in 1933. In 2007 a renovation of the facility occurred. This made it one of the most advanced horse racing facilities in the world.

The Japan Cup is by far the most prestigious race held at this elegant race track. It draws hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world each year.

Nakayama Racecourse

This racecourse is also located in Japan’s capital area. It is actually older than Tokyo Racecourse by a few years. Nakayama was constructed in 1920. Since that time it has remained an important facility to the sport of Japanese horse racing.

Some of the famous races that are held at the Nakayama Racecourse include the Sprinter’s Stakes and the Nakayama Grand Jump. This is a track where bettors can enjoy both flat racing and jump racing, sometimes on the same day.

Kyoto Racecourse

Kyoto Racecourse was built in 1924 and occupies Western Japan. It has a colorful history, and it has survived all the troubles that Japan endured as a result of World War II. The typical five-day meeting which is customary to all major race tracks in Japan is observed. Each race meeting lasts from 8 to 12 days.

The Queen Elizabeth II Cup and the Mile Championship are two of the primary races that are held at the facility. Most of the racing at this racecourse is of the flat variety.

Hanshin Racecourse

Along with Kyoto Racecourse, this race track is the second facility to be located in Western Japan. Japan tries to keep all of the race tracks in certain areas limited to a specific number. Usually, only two tracks are allowed within a certain jurisdiction. This keeps the races full and the cards competitive.

At Hanshin the Osaka Hai and the Oka Sho are the primary races on the calendar. There are also a few other races which are seen as major sporting events.

Other Racecourses in Japan

Along with the major horse racing tracks that we have listed above, there are also some minor racecourses in Japan. These include:

  • Chukyo Racecourse
  • Fukushima Racecourse
  • Niigata Racecourse
  • Kokura Racecourse
  • Sapporo Racecourse
  • Hakodate Racecourse

The events at these tracks consist of flat racing and jump racing. While jump racing is still conducted on a certain scale in Japan, flat racing remains the most popular. There is, however, a third type of horse racing track in Japan.

Power Horse Racing Tracks

In Japan you will find some horse racing tracks that offer what is known as power racing. In this type of event the horses are connected to a large sled. They then have to pull this sled after it is loaded with weights and a driver. This is a test of endurance and large draft-type horses are used.

While power racing can be entertaining, it is not a sport that is overseen by the JRA. Most people would even consider this to be an entirely different event than thoroughbred racing.

How to Bet Horse Racing Tracks in Japan

We will conclude this guide with a look at how to bet on many of the horse racing tracks we have mentioned. If you live in Japan, a pleasant day at the track can be a fun endeavor. If you are like the rest of us, you may need to find another option. The online racebook is perfect.

Online racebooks have become very popular in recent years throughout the world. Many bettors like them because they offer access to horse racing in other countries. You can bet on almost all of the horse racing tracks in Japan when you sign up for an online racebook account.

There are other advantages. Convenience is the biggest. You don’t have to leave your home to make bets, and you can use a phone or table to wager on the go. See our Bovada racebook review, Twinspires review or even our Betamerica review. All great choice if you are in the United States. 5Dimes review for folks outside the USA such as Canada or Europe!

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