Many tourists may not notice, but lurking within the quiet and peaceful natural landscapes of Japan are kilometers of asphalt-laid race courses home to motorsport activities such as Formula 1 and the Super GT championships. For all you racing junkies, here are the top 8 racing circuits you must visit while in East Japan.
One of the most popular racing courses not only in Japan but throughout the world, Fuji Speedway is located in Shizuoka prefecture, only a few kilometres from Mount Fuji. This course is known for having one of the longest straights (1.5km) in motorsports tracks, but it is also known for having Mount Fuji as a breathtaking backdrop. Although the track was established in 1963, it has seen numerous renovations. Now in its 5th configuration, the track is 4.563km long and has a total of 16 turns. Major race events include World Endurance Championships, Super GT, Super Formula, Super Taikyu, and the circuit has also been host to Formula 1.
Located in Tochigi prefecture, Twin Ring Motegi, as the name suggests, is home to two race tracks. One is a 2.493km oval track and the other is a 4.8km road course. It was built by Honda in 1997, as part of the company’s effort to bring the IndyCar Series, an American open-wheel racing series, to Japan. Since then, oval track has been host to CART and the Indy Racing League, as well as an exhibition race for NASCAR in 1998. The more popular road course is home to MotoGP, Super GT, Super Formula, Super Taikyu, among others. Within the facility is also Honda’s Collection Hall and a hotel for those who want to experience Motegi in its entirety.
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Tsukuba Circuit may not be as large as some of the circuits on this list, but it is definitely one of the more popular ones. Located in Ibaraki prefecture, it is one of the closest tracks from Tokyo as well. Opened in 1970 to attract young people to motorsports, the track is only 2.045km long and has 14 turns. The track may not hold large racing events, but can be seen gathering numerous crowds with popular events for tuners and racing fans alike.
Tsukuba Circuit*Automatic translation
Opened in 1975, this motorsports facility located in Miyagi prefecture has a total area of 2.1 million m². Alongside a road racing course, there is also a motocross course, a trials course, and a go-kart course. Its current owner is Yamaha Motor Co., which manufactures a line of motorcycles, boats, snowmobiles, and other motorised vehicles. Races such as Super GT, MFJ Superbikes, Super Formula, and Super Taikyu can be spectated at this 3.737km long race course.
A rather new stretch of tarmac located in the village of Sarabetsu in Hokkaido. Tokachi offers two configurations for racing; the Grand Prix Course which will offer racers to lap a maximum of 5.091km, and the Clubman Course which will be 3.405km a lap. The circuit was opened in 1993 and has been host to races such as Formula Nippon and the Japan GT Championship (now known as Super GT). Although relatively a flat course, those in Hokkaido will have plenty of fun driving flat out here.
Tokachi International Speedway*Automatic translation
A motorsport race track located in Ino, Suzuka City of the Mie Prefecture with a capacity of 155,000, the Suzuka Circuit has a lot to offer: from Amusement Parks, restaurants, hotels to Motorsport events and the best figure eight layout circuits ! The one who decided to develop a permanent circuit in the area was Soichiro Honda (in the late 1950s) and in 1962, the Dutchman John “Hans” Hugenholtz designed it as a Honda test track. During time, it has been modified 4 times and it can be used in 5 configurations: the motorcycle full circuit, car full circuit, “Suzuka East”, “Suzuka West car”
and “Suzuka West Motorcycle”.
The circuit represents one of the oldest remaining tracks of the Formula One World Championship since 1987; it has a long history of races as a venue of the Japanese Grand Prix and countless world championships have been decided at the track
Okayama International Circuit was known under the name TI Circuit Aida until December 31, 2004. With a 3.7km. Motorsport race track , not only does it hold race events, but also offers rental services for bikes and go karts!
Formula V6 Asia, FIA World Touring Car Championship are some of the main events that were held on the circuit.
Okayama Circuit Website *Japanese Only
The international circuit , Autopolis is located in Oita Prefecture, near the Kamitsue Village(30km N-E of Kumamoto) and it was opened in 1990.
The circuit is located in Aso Kujiyu National Park and was designed by the project leader of the Honda F1 team(1960s), Yoshitoshi Sakurai.
1991 World Sportscar Championship season final race is the most known race held at Autopolis and the circuit currently holds events for the Super Formula, the Super GT, MFJ Superbike and Super Taikyu!
Autopolis Website *Japanese Only