I love to watch horses running. I don’t stake money on horses, and I don’t ride. But seeing horses running with their manes streaming in the wind is beautiful.
The Kawasaki racecourse is a local public course, and so it is quite small. To tell the truth, it is a very simple course and the premises are the smallest in Japan. But this track has a huge screen that monitors the races and the horses’ state in the paddock before they come out to race. Horse race enthusiasts appreciate this screen and the extensive views that can easily be seen from almost anywhere in the stands. Even if you are not going to bet on the horses, you will have a fun time coming here and observing them from such a close range. You can also enjoy some Japanese snacks while you are here too!
The races begin near Gate 1. If you decide to go to the course by the free shuttle bus service, this bus will arrive in front of this gate.I like standing at the rail near the starting gate.Different from the finish line where huge numbers of people gather, here I can relax, and lean against the fence watching the horses and jockeys get ready to race. Before the race, theywalk onto the track one by one. Watching this, I try to imagine the emotional tactics between the jockey and his horse. I talk to myself, “Is he nervous? Oh, I wonder if he has a good strategy for today’s race. They both seem like they are well prepared. Who has the most endurance?” I also like to watch the horses just as they enter the starting gate. It is a very electrifying moment, isn’t it? Then I watch the initial charge in breathless excitement. Thrilling!
Access & Schedules
Minato-machi Station on the Keikyu Daishi Line is the nearest station to Kawasaki Horse Racetrack. It is just across the street from it. Another way to get there is by using the free shuttle bus service mentioned above. On the days that there are races, Keikyu Bus offers free transport from near JR Kawasaki Station to the racetrack (see the schedules on the website below). The bus leaves from Pole 21 near the east exit of Kawasaki Station bus terminal.
There are several food stands inside the racecourse. The most popular and famous food here is yakisoba (fried noodles, 400 yen) near the paddock. It is REALLY spicy, so people can’t resist buying expensive beer too (600 yen). Potato croquette is another popular snack (150 yen) in the paddock area. It is a homemade large-sized croquette that is limited to 300 per day, so it’s first come, first served. My favorite food here is the Chinese restaurant ‘Ramen-bou’ (らーめん坊). This is below the second stands. They serve real Chinese food. Although you might have to stand in line for a while, you will smack your lips together over their tasty dishes.
If you’re looking for an offbeat thing to do, then I recommend you take in some races here. You can’t beat the location, the horses are magnificent, the racing is superb, and the food and beer are delicious. It will be hard to find a better combination anywhere else in the big city!