There are so many things to do in Tokyo! If you want to get special experience, what do you think to do Keiba? Keiba is the horse racing, yes a gambler’s paradise is here!
The racehorses in Tokyo are some of the strongest in the world. It’ll only cost you about ¥100 or ¥200 to get in, and you’ll quickly realise that the focus is on betting rather than who’s wearing the tallest top hat. Japan boasts 25 racing tracks, with two of them in Tokyo – Tokyo Racecourse in Fuchu and Ohi Racecourse (also known as Tokyo City Keiba) in Shinagawa. Most tracks are open from 9am to 5pm, but Ohi hosts ‘twinkle’ races at certain times during the year that go on until as late as 9pm.
There are three types of Keiba.
1. Flat racing
This is the type of sport most people think of when they picture conventional horse racing. Horses run around a flat track and whichever equine’s nose crosses the finish line first is the winner.
2. Jump racing
Rather than just speed, jump racing puts an emphasis on a horse’s ability to navigate different obstacles. Horses generally run a longer distance, sometimes around 4,000m, and must traverse hedges, fences and water. What sets Japanese jump racing apart from the rest of the world is primarily its purse. The largest such event, the Nakayama Grand Jump, offers a prize pool of over ¥120 million. The horses that race are also unique in that few of them specialise in the steeplechase and virtually all of them have flat racing experience. In most other countries, horses run one or the other.
Also known as draft racing, this is a whole different horse game. Held only in Obihiro, in the cold Tokachi region of the northern island of Hokkaido, Ban’ei is not so much a race as an equestrian endurance marathon. The horses run a comparatively shorter distance but must do so while hauling a massively heavy sledge. Ban’ei horses are enormous compared to regular racing thoroughbreds, averaging roughly 1,000kg. That’s over double the average racing horse’s weight.
Horse racing terminology can be difficult to understand, even in English. Here’s a brief guide to help you place your bets in Japan. Note that tickets can be purchased up until two minutes before post time. If your ticket wins, you can redeem it at one of the automated payoff machines. Interesting? Please check it out!