Japanese Derby is on May 26! Enjoy it with Echigo Koshihikari Beer!

23 May 2019

Horse Racing in Japan

Horse racing is not only the most popular of Japan’s official forms of gambling, it also has a very international history. After US Commodore Matthew Perry opened Japan to the world in the 19th century, horse racing was introduced by the Europeans who came to live in Yokohama – which explains why Japan favours European-style turf courses over American-style dirt tracks.

Horse racing (keiba) is immensely popular in Japan and the racehorses here are some of the strongest in the world. There are about 20,000 active racehorses, with many races held every Saturday and Sunday even on major holidays. The big-ticket races, known as “G1” races, hand out prize money comparable to the Kentucky derby in the US (about $1.3 million USD) for the winner, but instead of one or two such races in a year there are almost two dozen.

It’ll only cost you about ¥100 or ¥200 to get in,  and purchasing bets is made easy with the automatic vending machines. Even first-timers and non-Japanese speakers can do it, as the machines have an English option and guides to betting. Collecting winnings is equally easy; just insert your winning ticket into one of the automated payout machines and wait for your money!

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Tokyo Yushun (Japanese Derby)

The Tokyo Yushun, also called as the Japanese Derby is a Grade 1 flat horse race in Japan for three-year-old thoroughbred horses run over a distance of 2,400 metres (approximately 1 mile 4 furlongs) at the Tokyo Racecourse, Fuchu, Tokyo in late May or early June. This year Tokyo Yushun is set to take place on May 26.

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Tokyo Yushun 2018 Winner : Wagnerian


Tokyo Racecourse is a nice place to spend a day at because it can offer much more than just horse races. It has a sprawling theme park-esque venue that hosts top-notch events, how-to seminars on betting for beginners, kid-friendly play areas, a wide range of restaurants, and seasonal events. The most common drink served at racecourse is of course beer!

If you visit Japan, we recommend spending a day at Tokyo Racecourse and experiencing keiba. However, for those who like to enjoy watching horse racing on the screen, we recommend doing it with a glass of refreshing Echigo Koshihikari Beer!

Echigo Koshihikari Beer is the flagship brand of Echigo Brewery. It is a rice style lager with 5% alcohol. While the malt ingredient is imported from Europe, the rice is harvested literally from the backyard of Echigo Brewery. The beer has a crisp and refreshing flavor, and exceptionally soothing and smooth quality. The sweet aroma of Niigata grown Koshihikari rice, and eloquent fragrance of hops, make it the perfect complement to any dish.

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