Introduction to BOAT RACE (KYOTEI) in Japan: An Exciting Water Racing Experience

March 26, 2024

Are you searching for a thrilling gambling establishment to visit in Japan? Look no further than ボートレース or 競艇! In this article, we will guide you through the exciting world of BOAT RACE (KYOTEI), a popular water racing sport in Japan.


In BOAT RACE, six boats equipped with powerful engines and piloted by skilled boat racers compete in a three-lap race, covering a total distance of 1,800 meters. Each lap is 600 meters long, and the boats reach speeds of up to 80 kilometers per hour, while the racers themselves can reach speeds of up to 120 kilometers per hour. In fast races, the winner can be determined in as little as 1 minute and 42 seconds.

Unlike other racing sports such as HORSE RACING (KEIBA) and KEIRIN, where the lap direction and race distance vary depending on the event and location, BOAT RACE always follows a left-handed direction at all 24 boat racecourses across Japan. Interestingly, BOAT RACE is not limited to male racers only. Female racers make up approximately 10% of the total 1,600 boat racers in Japan, with around 160 talented women participating in high-level races under almost identical conditions as their male counterparts.

BOAT RACE is also notable for its diverse age range among racers. You'll be surprised to find racers ranging from newly turned professional teenagers to experienced veterans in their seventies! In fact, the record for the highest victory in BOAT RACE is held by Seiichi Takatsuka, who won a race at the Toda Racecourse at the age of 74. Even Jiro Takahashi, who finished third in that same race, was 72 years old. These inspiring racers prove that age is just a number in the world of BOAT RACE.

However, despite the accessibility of becoming a boat racer, it remains a challenging and high-risk competition where racers put their lives on the line. To become a professional boat racer, one must undergo rigorous training at a boat racer training school and pass a demanding one-year program. Every year, around 1,000 aspiring racers take the test, but only about 50 are admitted, demonstrating the level of dedication and skill required to excel in this exhilarating sport.

Attractions of BOAT RACE

1. Overwhelmingly Easy to Guess

One of the most appealing aspects of BOAT RACE is its simplicity, making it easy to win. Compared to other forms of gambling, such as HORSE RACING (KEIBA), which can have up to 18 horses, KEIRIN with up to nine cyclists, or AUTO RACE with up to eight cars, BOAT RACE involves only six boats competing for the order of finish. This reduced number of competitors significantly increases your chances of winning.

Consider the "trifecta" ticket, which offers the highest payout. The number of possible ways to buy a trifecta ticket differs depending on the sport:

HORSE RACING (KEIBA): With a maximum of 18 horses, there are 4,896 possible ways to buy a trifecta.

KEIRIN: With a maximum of 8 cyclists, there are 504 possible ways to buy a trifecta.

AUTO RACE: With a maximum of 8 cars, there are 336 possible ways to buy a trifecta.

BOAT RACE: With a maximum of 6 boats, there are 120 possible ways to buy a trifecta.

Notably, in BOAT RACE, you can purchase all possible patterns for only 1/40th of the cost compared to HORSE RACING (KEIBA). With ticket prices starting as low as 100 yen, even if you decide to buy all the possible patterns, you would only need to spend 12,000 Japanese yen. While BOAT RACE may not offer the same level of payouts as other gambling sports, such as KEIRIN or HORSE RACING (KEIBA), where winnings can reach millions or tens of millions of Japanese yen, it still provides an opportunity to win a substantial amount.

In fact, the highest payout ever recorded in BOAT RACE was 682,760 Japanese yen on May 22, 2011, at the Tokuyama Racecourse. Although this amount may not seem significant when compared to other sports, it still represents a considerable sum that could bring excitement and rewards to passionate gamblers.

2. Classification

BOAT RACE has a classification system that divides racers into four classes based on their performance and skills: A1, A2, B1, and B2. Approximately 20% of racers fall into the A1 and A2 classes, while 50% belong to the B1 class. The remaining racers are placed in the B2 class.

The most prestigious races, offering the highest prize money, are exclusively open to A1 racers. As the class level increases, racers gain more opportunities to compete and showcase their skills. This classification system plays a crucial role in predicting race outcomes since races sometimes include participants from different classes.

3. Keep an Eye on the Start

BOAT RACE employs a starting system called the flying start. Each racecourse is equipped with a clock, commonly known as the "big clock," positioned within the racers' line of sight. Racers must start their race precisely according to the movement of the big clock.

Crossing the starting line too early, even by 0 seconds, is considered a foul called "flying." On the other hand, crossing the line one second late means missing the race altogether. Therefore, closely monitoring the start is essential for racers to have a fair and successful race.

How to Participate in BOAT RACE

If you're interested in experiencing the excitement of BOAT RACE, there are several ways to participate:

1. Purchase Boat Tickets at the Racecourse

With 24 boat racecourses located across Japan, you can visit any of them to purchase boat tickets using cash. Automatic ticket machines are available at these venues, often accompanied by mark sheets for voting. Don't forget to collect the boat ticket that comes out in exchange for the mark sheet, and be mindful of the cutoff time. It's advisable to purchase tickets well in advance, as the cutoff time for ticket sales has been reduced to one minute before the race time.

2. Purchase Boat Tickets at an Off-site Ticket Office

Over 70 off-site boat ticket offices, commonly known as "BOAT PIER," are scattered throughout Japan. These facilities are designed specifically for the purchase of boat tickets outside of racecourses. The process of buying tickets at off-site offices follows the same mark sheet system used at racecourses. If you have any questions or need assistance, don't hesitate to ask the staff for guidance.

3. Purchase Boat Tickets Online

Similar to HORSE RACING (KEIBA) and KEIRIN, BOAT RACE offers the convenience of online voting. By registering for free with a service called "TELEBOAT," you can easily participate in BOAT RACE from the comfort of your own home. This online platform supports various banks and ensures a user-friendly experience for enthusiasts.

Types of Boat Tickets

To make informed bets in BOAT RACE, it's essential to understand the different types of boat tickets available. There are seven types to consider:

1. Quinella

This ticket involves predicting the boat that will come in first. With six boats competing, the chances of winning a quinella bet are naturally 1/6.

2. Place

A place ticket requires guessing the boat that will finish in the top two positions. The odds of winning are approximately 1/3 or 33%. While place bets are easier to predict, they offer lower payouts.

3. Quinella Place

This ticket predicts the combination of two boats that will finish in the top three positions. There are three possible combinations: "first and second," "second and third," and "first and third."

4. Quinella

Similar to the quinella place ticket, this bet involves predicting the boats that will finish in first and second place. It's important to note that even if the boats finish in the opposite order, the bet is still considered a winner. The odds of winning a quinella are approximately 6.6%.

5. Exacta

The exacta ticket is comparable to the quinella, as it requires predicting the boats that will finish in first and second place. However, unlike the quinella, the exacta ticket only wins if the boats finish in the exact order predicted. The odds of winning an exacta bet are approximately 3.3%.

6. Trio

The trio ticket involves guessing the combination of boats that will finish in the top three positions. Similar to the quinella and quinella place bets, the trio bet disregards the specific order of the top three finishers.

7. Trifecta

This ticket is the most challenging to win, as it requires predicting the top three finishers in the correct order. Due to the precise order requirement, the trifecta bet offers higher payouts but is significantly more difficult to achieve.

How to Predict BOAT RACE

To enhance your chances of success in predicting BOAT RACE outcomes, consider the following strategies:

1. Check the Frame Number

The frame number plays a crucial role in a boat race. Each of the six boats participating in a race is assigned a frame number from 1 to 6, starting with the boat closest to the corner. The boat assigned to the first frame enjoys a significant advantage. Being closer to the corner reduces the distance the boat needs to travel and minimizes concerns about pace distribution, particularly in motor-driven boat races. Typically, taking the lead at the first corner sets the tone for the entire race. So, keep in mind that the first boat holds a significant advantage.

2. Explore Racecourse Features

Although BOAT RACE follows a standardized distance of 1,800 meters across all racecourses, each venue has its own characteristics. Understanding these unique features can improve the accuracy of your predictions. While it's impossible to cover all 24 racecourses in this article, let's examine the distinct attributes of the three most renowned venues, along with key points to consider when making predictions.

Toda Racecourse: This racecourse has the lowest win rate for the first boat among all the venues in Japan. The narrower course width at Toda Racecourse poses a challenge for racers, as it limits the physical space available for maneuvering during corners.

Edogawa Racecourse: The most distinctive feature of Edogawa Racecourse is its utilization of a river, making it the only racecourse of its kind in the country. Besides considering predictions similar to other racecourses, you must also account for the river's current. Additionally, strong winds and the geographical location, close to the ocean, can complicate forecasts due to potential surface roughness caused by the interaction of tides and wind.

Fukuoka Racecourse: At Fukuoka Racecourse, it is crucial to monitor weather conditions and consider the influence of nature on the race outcome. This venue is particularly sensitive to factors like tides and wind direction and strength. A unique swell affects races at Fukuoka Racecourse, making turns challenging, especially for racers on the center course. Therefore, the in-course becomes even more advantageous in such conditions.

3. Assess the Motor

In BOAT RACE, the motor that drives the boat is often regarded as having a more significant impact on the winner than the racers' skills themselves. While the same motor manufacturers supply all racers, regular use causes motors to deteriorate and wear out, creating differences in performance between good and bad motors.

Naturally, every racer desires a good motor. However, the motor assignment is determined by lottery, and racers have the opportunity to service their motors before the race. Skilled mechanics can restore a motor to optimal conditions, increasing the chances of a racer's success. Nevertheless, drawing a good motor initially remains the best outcome. To identify racers with good motors, you can easily access this information on the "BOAT RACE Official Site."

Who is Suited for BOAT RACE?

BOAT RACE appeals to a diverse range of individuals. Here are some characteristics of those suited for BOAT RACE:

  • Boat enthusiasts who appreciate water racing.
  • Individuals seeking an immersive experience at a boat racecourse.
  • Gambling enthusiasts who enjoy the thrill of wagering.
  • Those looking to potentially win substantial amounts of money while enjoying BOAT RACE's excitement.
  • People interested in the convenience of online betting and the opportunity to make money effortlessly.
  • Individuals eager to meet fellow enthusiasts, including women who share a passion for BOAT RACE.
  • Those interested in forging new connections and friendships through BOAT RACE.

On the other hand, BOAT RACE may not be suitable for individuals who:

  • Lack interest in BOAT RACE's unique offerings.
  • Dislike gambling in general.
  • Struggle to maintain self-control while engaging in gambling activities.
  • Lack the financial means to purchase boat tickets.
  • Prefer not to associate with women who enjoy BOAT RACE.


We hope this article has piqued your interest in BOAT RACE. Among all the public gambling events in Japan, BOAT RACE offers the highest likelihood of success. Its simplicity and the range of betting options available make it an exciting experience worth exploring. From the bottom of our hearts, we wish you all the best in your BOAT RACE endeavors! Thank you for joining us today. Until next time!

PIJ Writer
PIJ Writer
PIJ Writer, a seasoned connoisseur in his 40s based in Japan, boasts an unparalleled depth of knowledge and experience within the vibrant landscapes of both drinking and gambling, alongside his well-documented ventures into various red-light districts. This extensive exploration encompasses not just the nocturnal delights of Japan's red-light areas but also its myriad of bars, horse racing, pachinko, and many others. Drawing on his firsthand experiences, he conveys the appeal and characteristics of Japan's diverse adult entertainment districts and his enjoyment of the nightlife scene through his writing for PIJ.

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