A Guide To Kyoto Racecourse

Kyoto Racecourse is one of the largest horse racing facilities in Japan. Located in the Fushimi ward of Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture in Western Japan, the Kyoto Racecourse is home to flat, and steeplechase racing both and features a myriad of prominent flat and jump races held in the country.

The number of races held at Kyoto Racecourse is the same as any other major racecourse, with a total of five race meets in a year, while the duration of each racing event is six to 12 days. Currently, Kyoto Racecourse is under reconstruction and has been closed since November 2020. The renovation is expected to be complete by March 2023, and races will be resumed accordingly.

Here is a brief account of the history of the Kyoto Racecourse and its facilities.

Kyoto Racecourse History

Also known as Yodo Racecourse due to its proximity to the Yodo Railway Station, Kyoto Racecourse was first opened to the general public on 1st Dec 1925. As racing continued to flourish at the racecourse, it also expanded and incorporated modifications over time.

In 1969, the stables at the racecourse were moved to a new training facility, the Ritto Training Centre. The courses at the site underwent changes in 1990, while the grandstand was also renovated in 1995.

The racecourse suffered damages due to the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake in 1995, and as a result, scheduled races were either postponed or cancelled. The grandstand, now named the Big Swan, was renovated again in 1999.

Kyoto Racecourse Facilities

Kyoto Racecourse grandstand has a capacity of around 120,000 individuals. The Big Swan was last renovated in 1999. It features a fast food plaza, a fan club, a kid’s room, and other facilities.

The Grand Swan was built in 1980. A renovation was planned in 1994 but cancelled, and a glass wall was installed to segregate the reserved and the horses’ owners’ seats. The grandstand had become quite worn out, and as part of Kyoto’s 100th anniversary celebrations due in 2025, a major renovation was planned for the racecourse seating facilities.

It is planned that the existing stand structure will be expanded along with the addition of aesthetic elements to make it look more elegant and welcoming. In addition to the grandstand, renovations are underway for other racecourse features as well, including the stables, clinic, and parade ring.

The parade ring will be modified from its circular shape to a traditional eclipse form, while some areas at the top of the grandstand will be converted into a viewing platform for the parade ring so that the spectators can have an unhindered view.

The renovation project began in February 2020, as a result of which racing was halted at the racecourse. It is expected that work will be finished by March 2024. Until then, Kyoto Racecourse is closed, and its scheduled races are being organised at other racecourses in the vicinity.

The renovation of the turf and dirt course is also in the pipeline. Currently, Kyoto Racecourse has two turf courses, one dirt course, and one jump course. The outer turf course has a length of 1,894.3m, while the inner oval turf track is 1,783m. A straight chute allows races to be run on the turf courses at distances from 1400m to 1800m.

The two turf courses are labelled as “A” courses. There are rails on the site that are used to change the starting position, thereby altering the race length. In such instances, the courses are labelled as “B,” “C,” and “D” courses according to the setting of the rails.

The dirt course measures 1,608m and has a chute of 1,400m. The steeplechase course at Kyoto Racecourse measures 1,414m when ordinary steeplechase races are organised and 1,400m for the great steeplechase. A multi-screen turf vision is close to the finish line, offering a splendid view of races.

Kyoto Racecourse Racing Fixtures & Calendar

The Kyoto Racecourse holds five race meets a year, each of which is 6 to 12 days. The total number of racing days at the Kyoto Racecourse is 40. Two race meetings are held from January to February, one meeting is held from April to May, and two meetings are held from October to November.

Major Races At Kyoto Racecourse

The Kyoto Racecourse holds numerous graded races. Some of the most notable events include the Kikuka Sho, the Shuka Sho, Tenno Sho, Queen Elizabeth II Commemorative Cup, and Mile Championship, among others.


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