Kawaguchi Auto Race; Gamble in Nishi-kawaguchi

There is something called Kawaguchi Auto Race (川口オートレース) near Nishi-kawaguchi Station. An auto race is a motor race, the japanese version of a motorcycle speedway and one of a few times gambling accepted in Japan.

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The nearest station to Kawaguchi Auto Race is Nishi-kawaguchi Station on the JR Keihin-Tohoku Line. Around Nishi-kawaguchi Station, there are pachinko parlors (パチンコ, Japanese pinball games) and cheap standing bars. Yes, Nishi-kawaguchi is a heaven for people who like gambling and drinking.

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There are free shuttle buses to the Kawaguchi Auto Race track at the east exit of Nishi-kawaguchi Station. In addition, an entrance fee is free. Let’s get on a free bus with a lot of gamblers!

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In Japan casinos are banned by law and those that are legal gamblings are public sports, pachinko and lottories. The number of betting places of public races are 25 horse races, 43 bicycle races, 24 powerboat races, and 6 motorbicycle races (auto race). There are few Auto race tracks and only Saitama and Fukuoka have all four gamblings. People who like gambling tend to live along the JR Keihin-Tohoku Line, because there are four gamblings along the Keihin-Tohoku Line, Urawa Horse Race near Minami-Urawa Station, Omiya Bicycle Race near Omiya Station, Kawaguchi Auto Race near Nishi-kawaguchi Station, and Toda Powerboat Race near Kawaguchi Station.

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Auto races are held almost every day including off-course betting offices. On-course betting tracks for Kawaguchi Auto Race are held about ten days a month. Twelve races are held a day and riders ride their bikes around six laps (3100 meters).

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When you see races, you can see riders lean their bodies near towards the ground. To become a rider, there are difficult examinations and strict training. Riders are always faced with the mortal danger of an accident. In fact, there is a female rider who died at the age of 27 a half year after beginning as a rider. Bikes for auto races are different from usual bikes and there are no brake to avoid accidents.

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Kawaguchi Auto Race has the largest number of customers and the highest sales since 1952. It is also famous for belonging to an auto racer, Katsuyuki Mori, an ex-member of Japanese idol group SMAP.

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There are about 20 eateries and street stalls at Kawacughi Auto Race.

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Most customers go to eat between races, so there are many meals to eat quickly. Meals are fried fish on skewers, rice balls, oden, soups, and chow mein.

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There are also innards on skewers. These are cow lungs.

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As it gets closer to the end of races, street stalls reduce the price. Rice balls, oden, and chow mein are all 100 yen.

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At Kawaguchi Auto Race, most customers are old men. There are some homeless people and day laborers.

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When gamblers lose their money, there are loan sharks. This signboard says “We lend 30,000 yen to everyone. We don’t ask your age or occupation. Students, housewives, and women of the night are welcome. The money is good to use freely including pachinko or horse racing.”

[How to go] 10 minutes by free bus (every 5-10 minutes) from the East Exit of Nishi-kawaguchi Station (西川口駅) on the JR Keihin Tohoku Line

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