A day at the races in Tokyo

The Japan Derby is a huge sporting event, with a crowd of just over 130,000 squeezing into Tokyo Racecourse for this year’s June 1st extravaganza. But, just like every other race, in every other country, it’s a case of checking out the horses.

Japanese horse racing in Tokyo

Carefully studying the form.

Japanese horse racing in Tokyo

The closer the better.

Japanese horse racing in Tokyo

Then hoping that one of them will be a winner.

Japanese horse racing in Tokyo


  1. Coli says

    Love the last picture. Their expressions are just great really captures the mood of anticipation.

    • says

      Cheers! Apart from winning a load of money, which needless to say I didn’t do, my goal was to get a photo of people’s faces during the final race. So I was pretty pleased to get something along the lines of what I was after.

    • says

      Cannot agree more. I also think this is your best picture (this year/in the past year/ever) by far. I feel one could write a whole novel based on it!

  2. says

    Once again you document an aspect of Japanese life virtually unknown to the outside world, very nice! The last shot is the clincher: faces with hope and desperation, plus I was curious about the people coming to gamble.

    • says

      Thank you very much!

      As I mentioned to Coli above, I’d gone with the intention of getting a shot along those lines, so was pleased to get something I was pleased with. Got a good array of expressions.

      At the JRA betting shops, it’s predominantly older, chain smoking and boozing men, but at the track it’s generally a very mixed bunch. Even more so for a big race like the Japan Derby. Pretty much all walks of life are represented. Lots of families too. A day out, basically.

  3. Coli says

    That’s not the race track. That’s where they walk the horses before the race so people can see what condition they are in. Both physically and mentally. People check to see how hyper or relaxed or how composed the horse is. :)

  4. Valérie says

    How funny, I stumbled upon that post today and actually, I said to my husband I wanted to go to the horse race one month ago. I guess it’s some kind of reminder of my childhood (don’t ask). And I love horses. In France, when I was a kid, there was a possibility to see the horses after the race. Is it possible in Japan ?

    By the way, the last picture is simply stunning.

    • says

      Cheers! It was a photo I wanted to get, so was happy to get something approaching what I had hoped for.

      It’s a great day out. Whether a hardcore gambler, family or a racing beginner, the track at Fuchu at least caters for everyone. Incredible setting too, as the stand in the last photo is absolutely huge. Quite a sight when it’s full.

      After the race I’m not sure, but it’s easy to see the horses before each race.

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