Tokyo City Keibajo Racetrack

The Tokyo City Keibajo Racetrack is an excellent, almost free place to spend an evening in Tokyo. It’s known for it’s “Twinkle Races,” which are held in the evenings.

I was surprised that I didn’t see a single foreigner here when I went.  It’s cheap (just 100 yen) and entertaining, and the horses are gorgeous.

Races are held every 30 minutes on the hour and half hour.

The English website has a guide to gambling.

The racetrack is quite easy to get to. Just take the Tokyo Monorail to Oikeibaj0-mae Station. Go out of the station, turn left, and it’s just a two-minute walk to the track. There are also free shuttle buses from Shinagawa and Kinshicho Stations on Twinkle Race days.

Unfortunately, the race schedules are not available in English, but you can see them here: http://www.tokyocitykeiba.com/01/

Races are held on the dates in blue or orange. Blue indicates night races and orange indicates afternoon races. The next races are going to be held from October 4 to 9, and then from the 18th to the 23rd. They’re run from around 2:30 in the afternoon until 8:00 at night.

The official Tokyo City Keiba-jo Website (Japanese)

The official Tokyo City Keiba-jo Website (English)

Motorboat Racing

Motorboat racing is one of four forms of legalized gambling in Japan, and there are racecourses all over the country. A couple of weeks ago I went to the Heiwajima Racecourse.

It was pretty interesting and I was happy with the photos I got, but it’s probably not for everyone.

Most of the people who go to watch the races are middle-aged and older down-on-their-luck males, and no one seems to get very excited about the races themselves. I don’t think I saw anyone smile the whole time I was there. It’s quite interesting, though, and admission is only 100 yen.

If you show up with a camera, a security guard will tell you that you need permission and take you to a little room where you have to fill out a simple form and promise not to take photos of the other spectators.

These Ryoichi Sasakawa statues are outside every Motorboat Racing facility.

Getting there:
From Tokyo Station, take the Keihin Tohoku Line to Omori Station. From there, go out the East Exit. There’s a free shuttle bus that runs every ten minutes on race days. The shuttle runs from 9:40 AM to 430 PM and leaves from Bus Stop #4. You can also walk (10 min.) from Heiwajima or Omori Kaigan Stations on the Keihin Kyuukou Railway. Here’s a map.

Here’s an explanation of the races: http://www.kyotei.or.jp/contents/basic_e/

Here’s an old but very interesting Sports Illustrated article.

A blog called Tokyo Times has a completely different take on Motorboat Racing from mine.

Sumo Mawashi Hanging Out to Dry

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While I was riding around looking for the Oni slide, I came across this sumo stable out in the middle of nowhere. The white fabric on the fence is the wrestlers’ mawashi hung out to dry. It’s called the Sakaigawa-beya. Here’s their homepage and a photo of the wrestlers.

Odd Scenes From the Tokyo Marathon (Part 2)

I quite enjoyed the costumes in the Tokyo Marathon, but I couldn’t help wondering if there isn’t something a little passive-aggressive about them. On the one hand, people wearing costumes are saying, “Hey, look. I’m just out here having fun in my costume. I don’t take this seriously.” But on the other hand, if I was out running my heart out in a marathon I trained six months for and some guy dressed up as Doraemon ran past me, I don’t imagine I’d feel too good about it.

marathon-doraemon

marathon-rabbit

marathon-pink-guy

marathon-cello

marathon-supergirls

Read the rest of this entry »

Kobudo (Traditional Martial Arts) at the Meiji Shrine Culture Day Festival

Every year on November third, thousands of martial artists gather on the grounds of the Meiji Shrine in Tokyo to give demonstrations of their techniques. There’s karate, aikido, kyudo, and jujutsu, but also some very unusual arts such as yabusame (horseback archery), and nawa-jutsu (rope fighting). The day culminates with a demonstration of samurai firearms called hinawaju.

If you like photography, you’re sure to get some great shots of martial artists in action.

kobudo4

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Here are some other photos of the festival:
https://qjphotos.wordpress.com/2008/12/03/kobudo-at-meiji-shrine-culture-day-festival/
https://qjphotos.wordpress.com/2008/09/13/horseback-archery/
https://qjphotos.wordpress.com/2008/09/03/nawajutsu/
https://qjphotos.wordpress.com/2008/11/16/kyudo-demonstration-at-the-meiji-shrine/
https://qjphotos.wordpress.com/2008/10/22/samurai-reenactors-2/
https://qjphotos.wordpress.com/2008/12/24/kyudo-demonstration-at-the-meiji-shrine-2/

Kyudo Demonstration at the Meiji Shrine (2)

The Culture Day (Nov. 3) Festival at the Meiji Shrine in Tokyo is something I look forward to every year. I’ve been four times, and still get excited about going because it’s so great for photography. I tried out the Jidai Matsuri in Asakusa last year, but a lot of the costumes were kind of cheesy, and it was so crowded it was hard to take photos.

kyudo4

kyudo3

kyudo8

Here are some other photos of the festival:
https://qjphotos.wordpress.com/2008/12/03/kobudo-at-meiji-shrine-culture-day-festival/
https://qjphotos.wordpress.com/2008/09/13/horseback-archery/
https://qjphotos.wordpress.com/2008/09/03/nawajutsu/
https://qjphotos.wordpress.com/2008/11/16/kyudo-demonstration-at-the-meiji-shrine/
https://qjphotos.wordpress.com/2008/10/22/samurai-reenactors-2/

Kobudo at Meiji Shrine Culture Day Festival

Every year on November third, thousands of martial artists gather on the grounds of the Meiji Shrine in Tokyo to give demonstrations of their techniques. There’s karate, aikido, kyudo, and jujutsu, but also some very unusual arts such as yabusame (horseback archery), and nawa-jutsu (rope fighting). The day culminates with a demonstration of samurai firearms called hinawaju.
If you like photography, you’re sure to get some great shots of martial artists in action.

kobudo5

By the way, the guy getting flipped over his opponent’s back with a steel chain around his neck just rolled out of it, completely unhurt.

kobudo11

kobudo17

Here are some other photos of the festival:
https://qjphotos.wordpress.com/2008/09/13/horseback-archery/
https://qjphotos.wordpress.com/2008/09/03/nawajutsu/
https://qjphotos.wordpress.com/2008/11/16/kyudo-demonstration-at-the-meiji-shrine/
https://qjphotos.wordpress.com/2008/10/22/samurai-reenactors-2/

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