JAPAN PHOTOS by Philbert Ono

*Be sure to wear a mask when traveling.

Image search results - "racing"
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Entrance road to JRA (Japan Racing Association) Ritto Training Center. MAP
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Kachidoki (Victory) Bridge with race horse motif.
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Bridge sidewalk.
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Kachidoki Bridge
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Map of Ritto Training Center. Horse stables dominate the area.
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Welcome to the JRA office, where the free 90 min. (1 pm - 2:30 pm) tour starts. (Reservations by phone required.)
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24-hour strict security in place. Since 1969, the government-run Japan Racing Association (JRA) has trained jockeys and race horses in Ritto. It offers free tours of this large, impressive facility on Sunday afternoons and early Wednesday mornings.
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Starting gate training ground.
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Starting gates. The left gate has the largest width for beginner horses until they can get used to the narrow gates on the right. Some horses refuse to leave the gate.
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What the horse sees inside the narrow starting gate.
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Practice track
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Practice horse track at JRA Ritto Training Center in Ritto.
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The training track consists of several different tracks with grass, dirt, or wood chips.
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Horse stable model
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Horse feed, mainly grain. No meats.
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Swimming pool for horses. There is a circular pool and straight and narrow pools.
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Horse stables, newly constructed.
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Horse stables.
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Unloaded a horse after a race. Horse trucks often arrived. One truck usually holds up to four horses.
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Uphill training course with wood chips. 坂路調教馬場
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Uphill training course with observation building. The wood chips are soft, making the horse less prone to injury.
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Inside the observation building's press room.
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Nice view of uphill training course. The wood chips, which eventually wear out, are replaced once a year.
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View of track from press room.
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Starting gate on training track.
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The tour includes a ride on a retired race horse.
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This one is named Meisho Ittetsu. メイショウ イッテツ
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Hoof marks on sand.
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Horse ride.
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Horse ride with a guide guiding the horse.
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No need to say giddy-up.
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Washing a horse with warrm water.
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Horse stables.
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Horse stables.
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Horse stables.
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Horses in stable.
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Unusual horse with a white face.
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The left profile is brown.
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Hi horsey!
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Staff living quarters
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Free gift given at the end of the tour: Pen, stapler, and ruler set. Very interesting tour even though you don't see any horses running on the track. (That's Wednesday's early morning tour.)
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Biwako Motorboat Race Course. Biwako Kyotei びわこ競艇場
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Find some gamblers here inside the Biwako Kyotei stands. It's a modern and comfortable indoor facility.
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Place your bets.
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A lot of older women were also there.
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Biwako motorboat race in Otsu.
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You can also watch the motorboat races outside.
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Start line. Note that you will need to apply for and obtain a permit to photograph the motor boat races. Otherwise, they will stop you from shooting.
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Go!
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Biwako Motorboat race
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Scoreboard
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Different boats on Lake Biwa.
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The Tokyo Racecourse is near two train stations. This is one of them, Fuchu Keiba Seimon-mae Station on the Keio Keibajo Line that shoots off from Higashi Fuchu Station (a Jun-tokkyu stop on race days) on the Keio Line from Shinjuku. 府中競馬正門前
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A pedestrian overpass connects the Fuchu Keiba Seimon-mae Station directly to the Tokyo Race Course's Fuji View Stand.
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Horse statue
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Sign at overpass entrance.
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A pedestrian overpass connects the Fuchu Keiba Seimon-mae Station directly to the Tokyo Race Course's Fuji View Stand.
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Entrance to Tokyo Racecourse. Admission is only 200 yen.
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From the overpass, there's this on the left side.
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On the right is the paddock. (More paddock photos later.)
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Fuji View Stand from behind. The overpass from the train station can be seen. This building was built in April 2007.
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Memorial Stand is next to the Fuji View Stand.
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Inside Fuji View Stand. Very spacious and modern, the Tokyo Race Course is a huge facility not only for horse racing and betting, but also for family recreation and amusement.
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he Japan Racing Association's flagship horse-racing course in Fuchu, Tokyo got a makeover in April 2007 with a spanking new grandstand called Fuji View Stand. Very impressive, and entertaining even for non-gamblers.
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Inside Fuji View Stand.
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Betting windows
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Betting windows
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You can also watch the race inside on a large monitor.
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There are a several floors in the Fuji View Stand.
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Food court
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Fuji View Stand, so named because Mt. Fuji can be seen on clear days.
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Map of Tokyo Race Course. There are also amusement facilities within the race course oval itself, accessible through an underground tunnel.
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View from Fuji View Stand. The place is huge, enough to host a small airport. These photos were taken on June 14, 2009 when the Grade III Epsom Cup races were held.
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View from Fuji View Stand.
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If it rains, you can sit here. On this day on June 14, 2009, the Grade III Epsom Cup horse races were held.
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Right behind the Fuji View Stand is the paddock where you can view the horses before the race.
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Tokyo Racecourse paddock.
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There were 12 races this day, and before each race the horses were paraded around the paddock for all to see.
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Paddock
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Also see my YouTube video here.
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Jockeys later got on the horses in the paddock.
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The Japan Racing Association (JRA) runs the Tokyo Race Course.
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Horse named "Hurry Up" to be ridden by famous jockey Take Yutaka.
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Another place where you can preview horses is here, after a race. This is the basement of the Fuji View Stand. No flash photography allowed.
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Horse preview in the Fuji View Stand basement. The jockeys are returning after a race.
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Now let's see how a race is conducted. After displaying the horses in the paddock, they appear on the race course.
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They do a few practice gallops. This is Take Yutaka on Hurry Up.
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These practice gallops are a good photo op, especially if the jockey is famous.
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The horses then gather here and walk in a circle.
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The horses then move near the starting gate and do more circular walks.
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Finally they enter the starting gate. A tractor will pull the gate off the course after they start.
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Ready, set...
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GO!! And there're off!!
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The starting gate is not really visible from the viewing stand unless you're on the upper levels (extra cost).
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They are running on the dirt track.
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The starting gate changes depending on the race. This starting gate is on the grass track in front of the viewing stand. This guy is there to signal.
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The guy runs off after the race starts. Also see my YouTube video here.
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This is one of the best vantage points to shoot a race if you're not a press photographer.
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Coming around the turn.
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See how the jockeys try to float above the horse. They don't sit on the horse at all.
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Press photographers
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Being near the finish line is the worst place to shoot unless you're one of these press photographers.
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From the Fuji View Stand. These are the free seats.
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Quite full
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Finish line at Tokyo Racecourse. Also see my YouTube video here.
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One tunnel that goes to the inside of the racecourse track.
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Inside the race track oval are amusement facilities for kids as well as betting windows and picnic areas. They are making it a place for family recreation.
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Free train rides even.
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Inside the Tokyo Racecourse track oval.
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Lawn inside the track oval.
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Tokyo Racecourse Finish line as seen from inside the track oval.
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Horses reach the finish line.
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After each race, these people scour the entire course and pick up trash and patch holes with dirt.
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For the dirt track, trucks smooth the track.
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Large monitor. They also showed races from the Chukyo Racecourse held on the same day in Aichi.
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Weather.
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Fuji View Stand. The upper levels are reserved seating which cost extra. Most people sat on the free, lower level.
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Winner's circle.
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Fujioka Yusuke, winning jockey
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The winning horse's trainer, owner, and jockey receive a trophy during a ceremony.
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Horse statue
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JRA Keiba Museum is also within the Tokyo Racecourse. Open on Wed., Thu., Sat., and Sun. from 10 am to 4 pm (or 5 pm on race days). Free admission (except for the 200 yen admission to the racecourse). JRA競馬博物館
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Inside JRA Keiba Museum's Takarazuka Cup exhibit
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History of horse racing.
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A life-size mock-up of the starting gate. Press a button while sitting on the mannequin horse and the gate will open. Also see my YouTube video here.
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Video simulation and horse ride during a race. Neat ride for kids.
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Horse racing by foreign residents.
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Hoofs
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Horse exhibit.
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Narita Brian, a famous racehorse.
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Deep Impact
   
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