Sapporo racetrack is the northernmost racetrack managed by the Japan Racing Association, and has been in operation for more than a century, since 1907. Hokkaido has a strong horse racing culture, as many of Japan’s most successful racehorses are bred here, particularly in the Shizunai region.
The track is quite popular, especially amongst retired Japanese men, and it’s a common sight to see them spending the day there with their grandchildren in tow. In summer children can enjoy pony-cart rides, which helps keep them occupied while their fathers and grandfathers are watching the races, and in actuality the Sapporo racetrack is an attraction where the whole family can enjoy spending a day out. The major annual races here are the Sapporo Kinen (G2), the Queen Stakes (G3), the Keeneland Cup (G3), the Sapporo Nisai Stakes and the Elm Stakes (G3).
The track is about a 10 minute drive from Sapporo Station and paid parking is available on site. On public transit you can take Japan Rail from Sapporo Station to JR Soen Station, just one stop away. From there it’s about a 10 minute walk. Alternately you can take the Sapporo Subway Tozai Line (orange line) from Odori Station to Nijyuyonken Station, and from there the JR Hokkaido Bus Number 52 to the Keibajoseimon-mae bus stop. Also on weekends during races there is a free shuttle bus that runs from JR Soen Station and Nijyuyonken Subway Stations to the racetrack.
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