The Japan Cup is one of the most prestigious horse races in Japan, and one of the richest horse races in the world with close to US$6 million in prize money. A Group 1 invitational event contested over 2400 metres each November, the Japan Cup has established itself as a truly international event with winners from America, Australia, New Zealand, the UK and Europe since its inception in 1981.
Racing in Japan and Australia has been closely linked since 1895 when 14 horses were imported from Australia to increase the local thoroughbred population. Since then, the Japanese breeding industry has consistently sought to produce faster and stronger horses that can successfully compete internationally; wealthy owners are known to buy some of the finest stallions and mares from across the world.
Around 90% of Japan’s horse breeding takes place in Hokkaido, which has a cool, dry climate and plenty of space. In 2016, 59 of the 227 thoroughbred stallions registered at stud in Japan were foreign-bred.
Australian jockeys are becoming increasingly popular as riders at the event. Local jockey Hugh Bowman (best known as Winx’s rider) won the 2017 Japan Cup on Grand Cheval. Caulfield Cup winner Boom Time and rider Corey Parish were also part of last year’s race, while popular Victorian jockey Craig Williams is known to head to Japan to ride following Melbourne’s Spring Racing Carnival most years.
For lovers of world-class racing, a trip to the Japan Cup provides the opportunity to enjoy a celebrated Group 1 race that delivers an entirely different experience to Australian horse racing. In Japan, the focus on race days is the horses themselves. You won’t find the fashion, glitz and glamour of the Melbourne Cup – but what you’ll discover is a fascinating culture rich in history and customs that’s unlike any other in the world.
Plan Japan works with corporate clients to deliver an exclusive Japan Cup experience – including VIP treatment, luxury accommodation and executive door-to-door transfers – that’s further enhanced by money can’t buy food, wine, sightseeing and entertainment adventures. We’re also with you all the way, translating, interpreting and explaining the betting process to ensure you and your clients have an unforgettable day.
Experts at creating intimate tours that shine a light on Japan’s unique culture, Plan Japan creates bespoke itineraries for large and small groups attending major sporting events including the Bledisloe Cup, Rugby World Cup and Olympics.
If you’d like to treat your team or important clients to a Japan Cup tour with the wow factor, we can build three or four-day itineraries that incorporate exclusive Japanese experiences either side of the big race. We can arrange for a round of golf at a top invitation-only course, organise a private sake and whisky tasting at your hotel, or coordinate travel to some of Japan’s finest horse studs.
If a day at the Japan Cup is on your bucket list, we can advise on potential itineraries, inclusions and travel options and work with you to create a truly memorable tour that your clients will never forget.