In recent years Japan has become one of the best locations for thoroughbred horse racing. Japan horse racing features high quality horses and some of the best trainers and jockeys that the world has to offer. It is also possible to bet on horse racing from Japan with many online horse betting site.

Here’s a quick overview to familiarize you with Japan horse racing. You can also find many informative articles about horse racing in the Land of the Rising Sun on EZ Horse Betting.

History of Horse Racing in Japan

For many centuries there has been horse racing in Japan. It may have even been conducted informally by the earliest emperors and rulers, but it wasn’t until around 1862 that horse racing started to become standardized under European rules.


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In fact, it was British residents who established a rudimentary race track near what is now Yokohama. The race track was built on the marsh near the port, and it soon was named the Swamp Ground. Negishi Racecourse was later established in 1866. It became so popular that Emperor Meiji was a frequent visitor.

The Kobe Jockey Club came into existence in 1870, becoming the first governing authority for Japan Horse Racing. In 1954 the Japan Racing Association was formed. It has continued to oversee horse racing in Japan to the present day.

Japan Horse Racing Season

Japan has a long horse racing season. It runs from February to December. January is the only month when horse racing is not regularly conducted.

The climate in Japan makes it possible to conduct horse racing throughout most months. Horse racing meetings are sanctioned and approved by the JRA. Any horse racing that is conducted outside of this organization or the National Association of Racing’s oversight is considered to be illicit and unsanctioned.

Major Race Tracks in Japan

There are ten major race tracks in Japan which are overseen by the Japan Racing Association. These are referred to as Chuo Keiba, which means central horse racing. The Chuo Keiba tracks offer some of the largest purses to be found in the world of horse racing.

The National Association of Racing controls the Chihou Keiba, which means local horse racing. There are 15 tracks which are a part of the Chihou Keiba. These tracks are considered to be of smaller stature than the Chuo Keiba tracks.

Tokyo Racecourse is the crown jewel of all the horse racing tracks in Japan. It is home to the richest races that the country offers.

Horse Betting in Japan

The Japan Racing Association is tasked with overseeing all the horse betting action that occurs in Japan. The JRA makes sure that each track is in compliance with parimutuel rules, and it also resolves any issues that arise between bettors and the individual race tracks.

It is only permitted to make live horse racing bets in Japan with approved facilities. Most betting is done on the track. Bookies and other unsanctioned betting operations are not permitted. The price for using such a service can be high with criminal penalties a possibility in some cases.

The Best Way to Bet Japanese Horse Races

There is a way for you to watch and wager on Japan horse racing without having to travel to the country. All you need is an account with one of our recommended online racebooks.

When you bet horse racing in Japan online you will receive free past performances and race replays to assist your handicapping. Some online racebooks will also give you a bonus when you make your first deposit. All of them offer convenient horse betting with a phone or tablet.

See our Bovada racebook review,  Betamerica review, or AmWager Review. All great choice if you are in the US. 5Dimes review for folks anywhere!

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