The Fukuoka Now team is always discovering new things to do in Fukuoka. Recently, Yanina (Germany) and Léo (France) found another “only in Japan” experience: Peraboat Fukuoka. Peraboat Fukuoka is a convenient and comfortable place to enjoy Boat Race. But what is Boat Race, you ask? Fair enough, here’s a quick introduction.
Boat Race – the Basics
Boat Race is unique to Japan with a 60 year history and one of the very few sports in Japan to allow legalized betting.
Fast-speeds, tight corners and daring competitors make for an adrenalin fuelled day out that is located conveniently inside the City’s harbor, only ten minutes walk from Tenjin Subway Station.
Entrance to the stadium is just ¥100 and for this price you can access both the indoor and outdoor stands or watch from the race-side railing. There are six boats in each race, easily distinguishable by color and number. The boats are owned by the stadium and are assigned to each racer by lottery before racing. It is then up to the racer to fine-tune the engine for racing. A practice race precedes the main event along with timed 150m runs that allow pundits to assess both competitor and machine; some spectators say they can judge a boat’s chances by sound alone.
The boats are small and aerodynamic. Racers lie on their stomachs for the majority of the race though stand to lean into the corners to create tighter turns (not dissimilar to motorbike racing). This technique has become known to spectators as a “monkey turn”, as the pose struck by the racers resembles that of a monkey. The race circuit consists of three 600m counterclockwise laps for a total course length of 1,800m and, at top speeds of 80km/h, the races are short at around two minutes each
Boat Race use a running start system. The boats must be at full speed by the time they reach the starting line, and they must pass it within a second after the starting clock reaches zero. Timing here is essential; if a boat passes the line too early (flying start) or too late (late start), it is disqualified.
Betting starts at a very affordable ¥100 and there are a variety of bets that can be made based on finishing order, from the exact combination of the top two or three winners; any combination of the top two or three winners; or even on two of the top three winners in any order. In Fukuoka there are 12 races a day, between 10:00 and 16:30, but that’s not all…
Peraboat Fukuoka – Another Way to Enjoy Boat Race
Watching a live race at the stadium was a thrill, but Yanina and Léo were also there to check out the Peraboat Fukuoka facility located next to the stadium. Here, not only can you place bets and watch the races from the stadium next door, but you can watch and place bets on races taking place at all of the other stadiums across Japan.
The ground floor is open to the general public and has several large screens displaying the races conveniently located next to automated betting machines. A staff member gave Yanina a special English language template so she could fill in the the betting cards easily and off she was to the races!
However, the second floor is where the Peraboat experience becomes special. For ¥2,000 (¥1,000 after 17:00) you can enjoy the Perabo Seats with your own screen (76 seats plus space for two wheelchairs). Headsets are provided and used by most people meaning this area was surprisingly quiet and peaceful.
Extra comforts include complimentary drinks from the vending machine and extremely helpful staff.
For those who want even more comfort and privacy, the other half of the second floor is filled with executive booths available for ¥3,000 (¥2,000 after 17:00). They feature extremely comfortable individual seats (32 in total), all the same services as the Perabo Seats as well as the use of a lounge corner, an attendant call system, sport newspapers and foot massage machines. After all this luxury, Léo didn’t want to return to the office!
Our two reporters agreed, Peraboat Fukuoka was the most enjoyable and comfortable way to watch Boat Race from across Japan. Curious about this sport? Be sure to visit Peraboat Fukuoka and enjoy it in style!
• Open: 350 days/year
• Fees: Use of facilities on 1F are free!
• Perabo Seat (pair seating): ¥2,000/person (¥1,000/person from 17:00)
• Executive box: ¥3,000/person (¥2,000/person from 17:00)
• Tel.: 092-771-6061
• 1-7-5 Nanotsu, Chuo-ku, Fukuoka