June 07, 13 | Takako Chiba
"Hokkaido Monbetsu Horse Racing Track" - A racetrack located in the heart of Hokkaido's horse heartland.
The heart of Hokkaido's horseland lies in a western Hokkaido region, sandwiched between the coast and the Hidaka mountain range. It is here that you will find the Monbetsu Racetrack, supported by local horse ranchers and host to "Hokkaido Horse" races.
Throughout the Hidaka area you can find many race horse ranches, as well as horse retirement homes where famous Ginza thoroughbreds live out their remaining days in peace. These ranches attract many thoroughbred fans from across the world to the area each year.
These fans are visiting not only to see their favorite horses in person, but also to stop by the wonderful Monbetsu Racetrack. For Hokkaido Likers who are hesitant to visit because they don't know anything about horse races or the betting system, fear not! Even for first timers the Monbetsu Racetrack is a great time.
▲Horse-shaped flower beds.
▲There are ponies here too!
"Hokkaido Horse" races are held at the track, every week on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, through mid-November. These races are all held at night, and have affectionately been nicknamed the "Grand Chariot Nighters"
▲The "Grand Chariot" is the French name for the Big Dipper.
The first race begins at 3:00 p.m., so be sure to fill up on some delicious Genghis Khan before it begins! If the weather is nice you can enjoy a delicious meal in the outdoor "Tonekko Plaza." If it's raining, you can always eat in the indoor grill house.
▲One of the most popular foods at the track, the tender and juicy "Genghis Khan Bucket."
▲Nothing goes better with Genghis Khan than a tasty beer!
At the sweets shop "Patisseria Pasapa," located on the grounds, you can enjoy an array of original treats. One unique cookie you can only find here is the "Hokkaido Horse Jockey" cookie, made in the fashion of a jockeys uniform. Each jockey who participated has their own unique cookie!
▲These delicious treats are only 350 Yen each! Each promotes a different jockey, so they make great souvenirs.
Also available is the delicious "Ramen Pudding Madeleine." A delicious Madeleine crafted to look just like the popular ramen pudding available. Don't worry though, the taste is pure Madeleine.
▲Plain and chocolate flavors are available. 150 Yen each.
Once the races begin be sure to head over to t track to catch a glimpse of the beautifully illuminated grounds! It's quite a romantic feel to the area.
The excitement felt in the stands as the horses round the final corner to the finish line is like nothing else! Even if you know nothing about horse racing, the excitement is sure to get your heart pounding!
※Photographs provided by 中地広大.
Watching the beautiful thoroughbreds cross the lit up finish line is quite an uplifting sight. Just a short glimpse is enough to make the whole night worth it, so be sure to take a trip and visit the Monbetsu Racetrack the next time you're in the area!
Also, don't miss out on this uniquely designed limited edition Sapporo Classic can. The Grand Chariot design was just recently released, on June 4th, and makes a wonderful souvenir!
■門別競馬場 (Monbetsu Racetrack)
(76-1 Tomikawakomaoka, Hidaka-cho, Saru-gun)
■Free shuttle bus from Sapporo to the Monbetsu Racecourse.
■Hokkaido Horse Racing
※Information on races across Hokkaido, visit the homepage for more information.
■パティスリーパサパ (Patisserie Pasapa)
(Hokkaido Likers Writer - Tako Chiba)