Japanese kyotei camaraderie

Japanese boat racing (kyotei) certainly doesn’t have the same image as its bigger and much more respectable relative, horse racing, as there are no fancy hats or royal connections down by the river. No families either. Just boats and lots of betting.

Japanese kyotei/boat racing

A sport that unashamedly boasts a collar as blue as the water, or at least boat number 4.

Japanese kyotei/boat racing

And, perhaps due to its lack of airs and graces, and much more functional rather than fancy facilities, it is one of the friendliest and most welcoming places I have ever had the pleasure to visit in Tokyo.

Of course that said, when it came to figuring out the form of the drivers.

Japanese kyotei/boat racing

And watching the actual races.

Japanese kyotei/boat racing

Whether precariously,

Japanese kyotei/boat racing

Japanese kyotei/boat racing

or otherwise perched.

Japanese kyotei/boat racing

It was all seriousness and solitary silence.

But in-between races, there were waves (of the non-water variety), greetings and the biggest and warmest of smiles a newcomer could ever hope for. The latter in particular being especially pleasant, as despite it being so simple, it’s something that sadly isn’t seen so much in Tokyo.

Japanese kyotei/boat racing

Meaning that without a doubt I’ll be back. And maybe next time I’ll get a result, allowing me to add financial gain to the fun.

A hope that a lucky t-shirt might just help me with.

Japanese kyotei/boat racing


  1. says

    For the longest time I couldn’t work out why boat racing was so popular here, then I found out it’s one of the few sports that people can legally bet on. God knows what would happen if they opened a Ladbrokes in Tokyo.

    • says

      Yeah, I’ve never understood the restrictions on betting here. Illegal gambling on the likes of baseball is obviously rife as the recent sumo scandal proved, and yet betting is allowed for football.

      The JRA ‘bookies’ near me is always packed. I can only imagine how much much needed money the government would rake in if those betting places did offer all the options you get in a Ladbrokes.

  2. Kurt says

    where is this, if I may ask? and did you see any families, couples, etc.? from the pics it seems pretty much an oyaji-fest. nothing against that mind you, just wondering if this gaijin with his son would be way out of place (more than usual)

    • says

      It’s Edogawa Kyotei. There was the odd woman, and even a young-ish couple, but no families. Like you said, pretty much an oyaji-fest. But you and your son would be no more out of place than we were as two gaijin. And I expect you’d be made just as welcome as we were. Probably even more so.

  3. andy says

    I love the eighth picture of the old man with the missing teeth smiling. He’s yet again another elderly person who lived a full life and accepting everything both the good and the bad. Wonderful pictures Lee.

  4. chelle says

    i have a student who is a motorboat racer..though i dont fully understand the race..this got me interested after my student told me a lot of stories about his work..this blog is really nice..and the pictures as well.. :)

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