The World’s Only Horse Sled Racing

Originally created as the “Draft Horse Festival” to test the value and strength of the draft horses used for logging and farming operations in Hokkaido around 1900, the event is now turned into a regular and unique race throughout the year. Since April 2007, Obihiro in Hokkaido Japan became the only place in the world that holds this type of races.

Ban’ei Horse Racing is not only an entertainment for the adults, the premises aim at creating “Fun for all”. Hence there is a Horse Museum, a Farm Fresh Market, some restaurants and a zoo where children can see and touch the horses.

Races are held on Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays. If you visit Obihiro over the weekend, this is a fun place to check out.

Obihiro Racetrack 帶廣賽馬場
There is a horse statue at the main entrance and the parking lot.
Obihiro Racetrack 帶廣賽馬場
The Horse Museum provides history and information about farm horses and displays some agriculture tools. It’s free.
Obihiro Racetrack 帶廣賽馬場
This Tokachimura Farm fresh market sells all kinds of fresh vegetables and food in Tokachi.
Obihiro Racetrack 帶廣賽馬場
There are quite a few choices of restaurants and cafes in the premises.
Obihiro Racetrack 帶廣賽馬場
The Ban’ei Horse Shrine! Make a wish before you go betting. Nice!
Obihiro Racetrack 帶廣賽馬場
The entrance fee is ¥100 per person.
Obihiro Racetrack 帶廣賽馬場
The grandstand of Obihiro Race Track.
Obihiro Racetrack 帶廣賽馬場
There are TV screens everywhere, you may simply sit on the sofa and watch the race as well as seeing all the betting information.
Obihiro Racetrack 帶廣賽馬場
You may also watch the race through the window.
Obihiro Racetrack 帶廣賽馬場
The betting machines.
Obihiro Racetrack 帶廣賽馬場
Before each race, the horses would be walking around this area. You may take a close up look at the horses.
Obihiro Racetrack 帶廣賽馬場
The close up of horses.
Obihiro Racetrack 帶廣賽馬場
Then the horses would walk to the starting point.
Obihiro Racetrack 帶廣賽馬場
All horses and sleds are set up at the starting point. There are 9 horses in each race.
Obihiro Racetrack 帶廣賽馬場
Each horse has to pull a 1-ton sled over 2 hills on the straight 200 meters race track.
Obihiro Racetrack 帶廣賽馬場
Going downhill.
Obihiro Racetrack 帶廣賽馬場
Because of the heavy sled, even the race on the flat part is tough. This is also the first race I can take photos at the starting point, then run to the second hill to wait for the second shoot of the horse coming.
Obihiro Racetrack 帶廣賽馬場
The second hill is a little higher than the first one. More challenging.
Obihiro Racetrack 帶廣賽馬場
The result board shows the top 5 horses of each race.
Obihiro Racetrack 帶廣賽馬場
Transportation to Obihiro Race Track: there are buses that go to the Race Track from Obihiro JR Station every half hour or so. The alternative is to drive, take a taxi or walk for 20-30 minutes from the JR Station.
往返帶廣賽馬場的交通:在帶廣 JR 站巴士總站有巴士直達,約半小時一班。當然可以自駕、坐的士或徒步20-30分鐘左右。

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