Japan’s Most Popular Sports for Betting – 2024 Guide

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Japan is one of the countries that do not actively encourage gambling, by limiting certain forms of it and allowing others. If you follow the Japanese gambling and betting scenes, you probably already know what games can be enjoyed; Pachinko being the most famous. A slot like game, where you bet on spinning balls. The next on the list is Mahjong, a.k.a Maajan, which is Japan’s version of poker. It is not an official form of gambling, but like poker, players prefer to place bets.

Betting for sports is not so common in Japan, but various organisations run sportsbook businesses. It is also possible and probably easier to place bets in NetBet Sport. Players will bet on major games but also minor, local ones. Following is a list of popular sports for betting in Japan:


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Soccer is one of the most popular sports for everyone, not only Japanese to bet on. The moment the timetables for big matches become public, gamblers are already ready to place their bets. Japanese have also their own nationwide organization that administers the successful J.League, that they love to bet on.

The popularity of the sport itself is one of the reasons, but also the vast quantity of betting forms provided are what makes it so entertaining to place a bet. You can bet on which team will win, who will score the most goals or the overall scores of a team. The options are limitless.


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Japanese love soccer, but baseball is the one closest to their hearts. It is their passion. Japanese also believe that it is easier to place bets on baseball. It is said that anyone, even a beginner, can easily make a baseball gambling prediction. By just comparing the different levels between the starting pitchers of each team can help you predict the most possible winner of the match.

Many spectators are crazy about baseball gambling, where they spend money by predicting the outcome of a match and the difference in points. Among them, bookmakers are highly safe and legal, so gamblers use them with peace of mind. Bookmakers focus also on protecting the gamblers’ personal information, so it is a comfortable way to bet.

Horse racing

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In other countries horse racing is enjoyed by the higher class; it is a place for social gathering. That is not the case in Japan. Horse racing tracks are just for gambling. The most popular racecourse is located in the capital of Tokyo with a total length of 2.4 km. Whenever there is an event being held, the entire track is packed with locals and tourists alike.

The sport is so popular in Japan that everyone has a different betting system. One of the most popular to follow is the so-called double bet. What does that mean? It is a betting method in which you start by buying a 100-yen betting ticket and if you lose, you buy a 200-yen one, and if you lose that one then a 400-yen. You continue purchasing tickets until you win. With this method you will not make a great fortune, but you need to win only once in 10 games, and you can make profit. Basically, the moment you win you stop playing.


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Is this your first-time hearing about kyoutei? That is not unlikely, since it is popular mostly in Asian countries as Japan or Korea. The word means boat racing and it is one of the few sports events where parimutuel betting is legal in Japan. The sport is enjoyed by all genders because of its unique quality. In kyoutei men and women can compete against each other in a racecourse built at the sea or on a lake or river. Six boats race against each other by going around the course three times.

Currently there are 24 boat racing stadiums in the country with more getting build following its popularity. The most popular ones are located in Tokyo: Edogawa, Heiwajima and Tama River.

Auto Race

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Auto Race is a version of a motorcycle race. 8 riders will compete on an 500m oval asphalt course for six laps. In the past there were also auto races with cars, but they were not as popular as motorcycles. All riders have an alias or nickname they go by and are being trained in official training schools, having to pass a qualifying examination before they are allowed to race. This sport offers a great dose of adrenaline, which just increases when the rider you bet on wins!

If you ever find your way to Japan, the following race circuits are a must visit: Fuji International Speedway, is located in Shizuoka prefecture and as the name suggests, is only a few miles away from Mount Fuji. The mountain makes for a breath-taking background. Twin Ring Motegi, located in Tochigi prefecture, has two racetracks. Build by Honda in the 90s, this circuit is one of the fans favourites. Ibaraki prefecture’s Tsukuba circuit is not as grand as the other two, but since it is the closest to Tokyo and has been around since the 70s, it has amassed a great amount of fans.


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Last but not least on our list is keirin, in other words a type of bicycle racing. When the races began only men were able to compete, but after 2012 races for women were also established. So, what happens in this sport? There are usually nine riders who cycle with brakeless fixed-gear bicycles at an average speed of 60km/h. The finishing speed of the winner can even exceed 70km/h. The racers try to keep up with the speed of a motorcycle driving in front of them for three laps on a 250m track. The motorcycle is not of course driving at full speed, it starts at 30km/h and by its final round will increase the speed to 50km/h.

The races last 3 days, so there is plenty of time to try different bets that can be made. How about trying to guess the winner? Or the three racers at the top?