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Do Japanese Like Horse Racing?

Horse racing has a long and vibrant history in Japan, and it is one of the most popular sports in the country. While it is not as popular as it once was, there is still a strong interest in horse racing among the Japanese people. This article will explore why this is the case, and what makes horse racing so beloved in Japan.

History of Horse Racing in Japan

Horse racing has been part of the Japanese culture for centuries. It is believed to have been introduced to Japan by the Portuguese in the 16th century, and it quickly gained popularity with the nobility and Samurai. During the Edo period (1603-1868), horse racing was a major part of court life and was often used as a form of entertainment for the ruling class.

In the late 19th century, horse racing spread to the public and became a popular form of entertainment. During this period, tracks began to be built in the major cities, and the sport began to gain even more popularity.

Modern Horse Racing in Japan

Today, horse racing is still a popular sport in Japan. There are over 100 tracks in the country, and the sport is broadcast on television and radio. Horse racing also has a strong presence in the media, and there are many magazines devoted to the sport.

The Japan Racing Association (JRA) is the governing body for horse racing in the country, and it is responsible for organizing and regulating the sport. The JRA organizes several major races throughout the year, including the Japan Cup, the Asahi Hai Futurity Stakes, and the Tokyo Yushun. These races attract large crowds and are broadcast on television.

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Reasons for Popularity

There are several reasons why horse racing is still so popular in Japan today. One of the most important reasons is the long history of the sport in the country, which has helped to create a strong sense of tradition and nostalgia.

Another reason for the popularity of horse racing in Japan is the excitement of the races. The races can be quite unpredictable, and the thrill of watching the horses race to the finish line is something that many people find exciting.

Horse racing is also popular because it is a relatively easy sport to understand. While there is a lot of strategy involved in the sport, it is quite easy for people to understand the basics and enjoy the races. This makes it an ideal sport for people of all ages and backgrounds to enjoy.

Finally, horse racing is popular in Japan because it is an opportunity to bet. Betting is an important part of the culture in Japan, and horse racing is one of the most popular forms of betting. This has helped to make horse racing even more popular in the country.


In conclusion, horse racing is still a popular sport in Japan. It has a long and rich history in the country, and it is still a source of excitement and entertainment for many people. Horse racing also provides an opportunity for betting, which is another reason why it is so popular in Japan. While the sport has seen a decline in recent years, it is still one of the most popular sports in the country.