Last Saturday, for the first time I saw some "live" Keirin ( = Cycling Race). I remember I went one time to the velodrome of Le Havre when I was a kid but it was nothing like this place.

Keirin in Kagetsuen Mae near Yokohama

This stadium is called Kagetsu Keirin Jô (花月競輪場 = Cycling Race Stadium of Kagetsu ), it is near the Kagetsuen-Mae station, 15mn from Yokohama. Getting out of the station, a shuttle bus was waiting for people to go to the Keirin Jô, so I jumped in, the bus started and then about 20 sec after, it stopped... because we arrived ! 0_0 It's definitely the shortest bus shuttle I ever used! Anyway...

Keirin in Kagetsuen Mae near Yokohama

Keirin in Kagetsuen Mae near Yokohama

Keirin in Kagetsuen Mae near Yokohama

These afternoon races were part of the 150th anniversary of Yokohama's "opening to the world" events. I could hear from some usual Ojisans something like : "There is lots of people today, it reminds me the old days of Keirin". The mood was quite similar to what it is in an hippodrome : first of all, Keirin is about money. It's one of the rare gambling game allowed in Japan. The average user is an 50 y.o Ojisan but we can see any kind of people.

Keirin in Kagetsuen Mae near Yokohama

Inside the stadium, Obasans prepare some "home style" curry and you can eat sushi in a standing bar (立ち食い寿司 = tachiguizushi) which I did :)

Keirin in Kagetsuen Mae near Yokohama

Keirin in Kagetsuen Mae near Yokohama

Then it's time for the races. Riders warm up...

Keirin in Kagetsuen Mae near Yokohama

Oops not these ones : judges take place and check the track using mama chari (= Mama's bicycle)

Here are the riders, imagine American footballers on bikes!

Keirin in Kagetsuen Mae near Yokohama

Keirin in Kagetsuen Mae near Yokohama

Well not exactly but it is the image that first came to me (or the movie Rollerball). The average rider is about 85/100Kg nothing compare with the 60 kg climbers of the Tour de France... It's a totally different sport. In the last lap of each race, they reach some incredible speed.

Keirin in Kagetsuen Mae near Yokohama

It's really impressive, as much as there legs. For more about the rules etc, you can check the keirin wiki page.

First race I saw, 2 guys testing each other, the audience loved it!

Keirin in Kagetsuen Mae near Yokohama

Keirin in Kagetsuen Mae near Yokohama

Photo finish to check who's the winner :

Keirin in Kagetsuen Mae near Yokohama

Cool down lap to eliminate lactic acid :

Keirin in Kagetsuen Mae near Yokohama

Keirin in Kagetsuen Mae near Yokohama

And then, one of the Ojisans came to me, asked me if I could speak Japanese... and explained me that it was forbidden to take pictures of the race and of the audience, privacy matters it seems ...

So all I can show you from the gamblers is this :

Keirin in Kagetsuen Mae near Yokohama

(The avatar comes from this Keirin site :

I stopped taking pictures as Ojisan told me and felt quite frustrated... For the next time I will try to get a license to shoot from the field with these guys.

Keirin in Kagetsuen Mae near Yokohama

(Thanks to cyclist, @KankiKnight ( from twitter ) who told me it was possible).

To finish with, here is a commercial for Keirin :

It's the 2007 version, the 2009 is quite similar. There's a lot of them on youtube.

Posted on : by Keirin in Yokohama

Tags : Keirin Fixed gear Yokohama

Add a Comment - Ask a Question

By peteheller At 2009-06-03 23:58:45
from shin-Yokahama

How can I find the racing schedule for Yokahama Keirin?

By Jérome At 2009-06-04 01:19:38
from Shibuya ,Coding

You can check this page which is the page for the velodrome I talked about in the article and the calendar here : event calendar. The yellow ones are the races taking place in this velodrome, if I dont mistake... no source in english I am affraid.

By Pervis At 2010-04-23 03:42:58


Mon fere, Francois Pervis vient de commencer la saison de Keirin au Japon. Connais-tu un site web sur lequel je pourais suivre ses resultats ? En anglais si possible...


By Jerome At 2010-04-23 11:16:36


Malheureusement je n'ai rien trouvé en Anglais... Cependant j'ai tout de même
trouvé sa page profil :

Aussi depuis cette page :

En cliquant sue le bouton rouge tu arriveras ici :

ou sont répertoriées ses statistiques et son calendrier.

Evidemment cela ne t'avances pas trop. Si tu utilises le navigateur Firefox, je te conseille de
télécharger le plug-in "rikaichan" :

En survolant les mots japonais avec la souris tu auras une traduction. Ca peut aider. Aussi le
"meilleur" traducteur gratuit en ligne est la :

[japonais <-> anglais fonctionne pas "trop mal". Par contre la version
japonais<-> français est assez exotique :)]

Sais-tu jusqu'ā quand il reste au Japon? Si il vient faire un course autour de Tokyo/Yokohama,
j'essaierai d'y aller (si ça tombe en week-end...).

By François At 2010-06-19 13:36:24
from Shuzenji, Shizuoka, Japan ,Du Keirin ;-)

Salut Jérôme!

Je viens de tomber sur le message laissé par mon frère. Je vois que tu es du côté de Shibuya!! Excellente place!!

Ma prochaine course est à Hiratsuka (Kanagawa Pref.) Je crois savoir que c'est proche de Tokyo. Je cours du 25 au 27 juin si cela t'intéresse.

Si tu veux en savoir plus, tu possède mon mail maintenant ou alors il y a facebook.

Bonne continuation dans tes projets.



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