The Japanese Grand Prix is one of the highlights of the F1 calendar and some of the most exiting races in the sport’s history have been held there. Suzuka has hosted the Japanese GP since 2009 and will be doing so again this year. The circuit also hosted the event for 20 straight years from 1987 onwards.
Whether you are a new fan or an old timer, the Japanese Grand Prix is an excellent event to attend. It not only features some great racing, but also excellent views and some of the most enthusiastic fans around. The food is also great and there are loads of extra activates to do around the circuit.
In this guide and review we are going to give you all the information you need to know about the 2020 Japanese Formula 1 Grand Prix.
Best Tickets & Seating for the Japanese GP
Unlike some other circuits on the calendar, there aren’t too many bad choices when it comes to tickets and grandstands at Suzuka. However, if you are going to spend all that time and money getting to the Japanese Grand Prix, you will want to purchase the best tickets you can.
Some grandstands and viewing areas will give you a better view of the action, while others will give you a view of multiple sections of the circuit. It can be hard to choose the right ticket based on the information and pictures given by the circuit, so we are going to tell you everything you need to know below:
Japanese Grand Prix Tickets
Tickets are currently not available for the Japanese GP, but we expect them to go on sale sometime around April/May. This guide will be fully updated when tickets go on say. However, the information below is still relevant and you should definitely check out the seating advice before tickets become available.
The Japanese Grand Prix has a great selection of tickets for all budget ranges. On the Friday all grandstands have open seating. This means that even if you purchase a cheap ticket, you can still try out some of the more expensive Grandstands, which is great for first timers.
If you plan to purchase tickets for the Japanese GP, we recommend that you try to purchase them soon after they become available. The Japanese fans are extremely enthusiastic, and the best tickets quickly sell out.
Unlike some other circuits (Singapore for example), Suzuka does not have zones. This means that you can walk anywhere around the circuit (within limits of course). There are some great viewing areas around Suzuka and we recommend that you check them out.
Grandstands and Viewing Areas
There are a number of different grandstands and viewing areas. Many grandstands around Suzuka have at least one large TV, so you can keep up to date with the on-track action. However not all grandstands have access to a TV, and it can be hard to keep up with the on-track action if you can’t see one. This is especially so if you cannot speak Japanese.
As with most circuits we recommend that you try to get a seat in the highest row possible. This will give you a better view of the circuit and the on-track action. Check out the different grandstands below:
Pit Straight Grandstands (V1-2)
Like most other Grand Prix, the pit or main straight grandstands are some of the most expensive and sought after. They are excellent places to sit if you want to see the race start, race preparations, podium and pit action.
The large permanent grandstand opposite the pits is comprised of two sections, V1 and V2. V1 tickets are cheaper and occupy the lower sections of the grandstand. Note, Grandstand V is one of the only covered grandstands around Suzuka.
- Why we would choose Grandstand V – For those looking to see action in the pits, the pre-race shenanigans and the race start, Grandstand V is the best option (especially V2). Additionally, the grandstand is covered which can be a godsend if the weather turns (which it can easily do at Suzuka).
- Why we wouldn’t choose the Grandstand V – On-track action along the pit lane isn’t that exciting from this grandstand and the seats are expensive compared to some other options. Suzuka has some of the best corners of any Formula 1 track and you will miss out seeing the cars go around them if you sit in this grandstand.
Pit Straight Grandstand (A1-2)
Moving along from Grandstand V we find Grandstand A. Like the other pit straight grandstand this one features two sections, A1 and A2. A1 tickets are slightly cheaper but provide a slightly worse view of the on-track action. Seats closer to Turn 1/2 will provide a better view of the first corner action, while you will want to get a seat on the other side of the grandstand if you want to get a better view of the race.
- Why we would choose Grandstand A – Turn 1 is always one of the most exciting corners on any circuit. Watching all the cars go into the first corner together is spectacular and you will get some great shots if you have a good camera. You will also be able to see some of the action in the pits and the race start. Grandstand A is a mid-priced option, so if you are looking for a pitlane seat without breaking the bank, this is it.
- Why we wouldn’t choose Grandstand A – If you want to have a really good view of the pitlane this Grandstand isn’t for you. While you do get a view of the pitlane, it isn’t nearly as good as Grandstand V. Additionally if you are on a really tight budget there are other ticket options that provide a great view at a lower cost. Still, this is one of the best ticket options available.
Grandstand B (B1-2)
Grandstand B is a popular option as it offers great views for mid-priced option. It features an upper and lower section that provide views of the end of the pit straight, Turn 1/2 and the start of the S Curves. The upper section is more expensive but does provide better views. Seats book out quickly in this Grandstand and B2 sections are more expensive than those found in Grandstand A.
- Why we would choose Grandstand B – Like we mentioned above, Turn 1/2 provides some of the best action during a race. Grandstand B is right on the corners, so you will get some excellent views of the cars entering Turn 1 before they slingshot around and head into the S Curves following the exit of Turn 2.
- Why we wouldn’t choose Grandstand B – There’s not much to complain about Grandstand B, but we probably wouldn’t purchase tickets in the lower section. Grandstand C also provides similar (although not as good views) at a cheaper price. Additionally, if you want to see the cars hurtle through the S Curves there are betters seats.
Grandstand C is located right next to Grandstand B, on the exit of Turn 2. Like Grandstand B it features a lower section and a more expensive higher section that provides better views. From this grandstand you will get a great view of the exit of Turn 1 and a bit of a view of the start of the S curves. Again, this grandstand is extremely popular and will sell out quickly.
- Why we would choose Grandstand C – If you want to see the action at Turn 1/2 but want the cheapest option this is it. It is one of the most popular grandstands at Suzuka and for good reason. Seats on the left of the grandstand also offer a great view of the cars entering the S Curves, however we would probably choose ones closer to the right as they offer better views of Turn 1 and of the TV.
- Why we wouldn’t choose Grandstand C – Like Grandstand B, there really isn’t a lot to complain about, especially if you are higher up. We wouldn’t personally sit here if we had to sit in the lower seats and in some positions, it can be hard to see the TV screens. Additionally, most of the overtaking happens on the entry of Turn 1, so if you sit on the far left of the grandstand you may miss a bit.
Grandstand D is probably my personal favourite grandstand as I love to watch the cars hurtling through the S Curves. It also provides an excellent panoramic view of the first section of the circuit, so you can see the cars going through Turn 1/2 as well. It is divided up into five different zones, with the best seats being high up in Zone 4 and 5. Zones 1, 2 and 3 are quite cheap options, while Zones 4 and 5 are in the mid-price bracket.
- Why we would choose Grandstand D – The S Curves is one of the most impressive series of corners on any F1 circuit, an if you want to see just how fast a Formula 1 car is, this is the place to sit. Additionally, you get to see the action at Turn 1/2 and if you are high enough you can see the end of the main straight. Zones 4 and 5 aren’t too badly priced and if you are on a budget the other three zones are good value.
- Why we wouldn’t choose Grandstand D – Overtaking is minimal through the S Curves, so if you want to some passing action there are better seats. However, you still get a view (although further away) of Turn 1 where lots of overtaking occurs. Zones 1, 2 and 3 don’t provide a great view, but they are well priced.
Compared to the other grandstands we have already listed, this one is probably the worst. Not much happens in-front of Grandstand E and you won’t be able to see the first section of the track. Still, it is a low-priced option if you want to see the cars go through the S Curves. It is broken up into two zones with the first being a lower priced option and the second being a higher priced option that provides better views.
- Why we would choose Grandstand E – If you are on a budget this can be an okay grandstand. Zone 1 Grandstand E tickets are some of the cheapest tickets available for the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka, so if you don’t want a general admission ticket this is your next step up.
- Why we wouldn’t choose Grandstand E – If you are looking for some on-track action this really isn’t the place to sit. You won’t see much happen at all and the grandstand is located at the end of the S Curves
This grandstand is a mid-priced option and is located on Turn 11, a low speed hairpin corner. There is always overtaking here and as such it always sells out quickly. Being closer to Turn 11 is better as you will be nearer the action. You will also get a view of the cars coming out from under the bridge and also a glimpse of the cars going into 130R (although this depends on what seat you have and it is pretty far away).
- Why we would choose Grandstand I – If you are looking for some overtaking action this is one of the best places to sit. There is a TV so you can keep up with the on-track action and you can also get a glimpse of the cars going over the bridge into 130R. It is also well priced for a mid-range option. An excellent place to sit for the race.
- Why we wouldn’t choose Grandstand I – If you want to see the race start action look elsewhere. Additionally, this is not a high-speed corner and one of the most impressive things at Suzuka is watching the cars slingshot around sections like the S Curves. While we feel this area if excellent for the race, it is not as good for qualifying. Still, it’s a great mid-priced option and we are just nitpicking.
Located on the inside of the circuit near Turn 12, a high-speed corner. From here you will really just see Turn 12 and a bit of a view of the cars coming out of Turn 11.
- Why we would choose Grandstand J – Like Padang A, B is a fairly budget friendly option that offer that is worth considering due to its proximity to the Padang stage. The backdrop of the National Gallery and surrounding buildings is excellent and watching the cars go into Turn 10 is great. Choose this grandstand if you are more interested in the music rather than the F1.
- Why we wouldn’t choose Grandstand J – There’s really not much to see here. Yes, watching the cars go through Turn 12 is cool and there have been some daredevil overtakes through here, but most of the time not much happens. You are also quite far away from some of the facilities at the circuit. We would personally choose a different area to sit in (but go for a look on Free Friday if you are interested).
Grandstand Q (Q1- 2)
This is one of the most popular grandstands and for good reason. It is located by Turns 16 and 17 where some of the best overtaking action occurs during the race. Over the years so much has occurred at these two corners, so you are guaranteed some good viewing if you sit here during the race. It is broken up into two sections and a number of different zones. Q1 is lower down and cheaper, but still offers great views of the action and sells out quickly. Q2 is a higher priced option and offers even better views.
- Why we would choose Grandstand Q – You can’t really go wrong with Grandstand Q, especially if you want to see some of the best overtaking action around the circuit. The lower section is well priced if you are on a slightly tighter budget and if you have the money Q2 offers some excellent views. You will also get a view of the cars entering the pits and a view down the pit straight as well.
- Why we wouldn’t choose Grandstand Q – There isn’t much to complain about with this grandstand. If you want to see first corner action you should pick grandstands closer to Turn 1, but that’s about it. Additionally, Turns 16 and 17 aren’t really high speed corners, so you will miss out on that as well.
Another popular mid-priced grandstand is R. Grandstand R is a little bit cheaper than the upper section of Grandstand Q. It is located on the outside Turn 18 and provides views of the main/pit straight, Turn 18 and a little bit of Turn 16 & 17.
- Why we would choose Grandstand R – Watching the cars go into the pits is fantastic and you also get a pretty good view of the back of the grid and the pre-race shenanigans. You can also see the exit of Turn 16/17 so you may get to see some overtaking action.
- Why we wouldn’t choose Grandstand R – We feel that the upper section of Grandstand Q is better and for not much more money we would pick that instead of this seat. Grandstand Q offers a better view of Turn 16 & 17, so you will be able to see overtakes much better. Still, Grandstand R is a great mid-range option.
The last Grandstand around the circuit is Grandstand S. This is located on the exit of Turn 18, opposite the pit entry and the first garages. It offers views of the main straight and the garages, so you can see the pre-race goings on and the race start.
- Why we would choose Grandstand S – If you want to watch the race start or action in the pits for a cheaper price than Grandstand V, this isn’t a bad option. You also get a view of the cars coming out of Turn 18 and hurtling down the main straight.
- Why we wouldn’t choose Grandstand S – We have only sat here for a Free Practice session and didn’t think too much of it. Yes, it would be better on race or qualifying day, but we feel Grandstand R or Q are better options at this part of the track.
General Admission Walkabout Tickets
Unlike some other circuits (especially street circuits), Suzuka offers some great viewing for those who wish to purchase General Admission tickets.
What is a General Admission Ticket?
A General Admission ticket is usually the cheapest option if you want to go to a Formula 1 Grand Prix. Unlike grandstand tickets, General Admission tickets do not have reserved seats. This means that you can sit or stand pretty much anywhere in the General Admission areas (note Grandstand ticket holders can usually also sit or stand in these places as well).
General Admission areas at Suzuka do not have seating (there is a tiny bit), so you will have to bring a mat or simply sit on the grass. They also fill up on race day or during qualifying, so you will need to find a good spot early and stay there.
While we are going to give you information on the different viewing areas below, we recommend that you use the Free Practice sessions to find the place you like the most.
General Admission Viewing Areas
Below we have listed all the official viewing areas around the circuit. There are plenty of unofficial areas between grandstands as well, but you will see these if you walk around the circuit (however, you will have to look through a fence). Note, most of the areas don’t have access to a TV, so it may be difficult to follow the on-track action.
Viewing Area L – This is the first viewing area for General Admission ticket holders and is located at the start of Turn 13 (the Spoon Curve). It is truly impressive watching how fast the cars come into this corner and we definitely recommend checking it out if you are a general or grandstand ticket holder. Spots further to the left of the viewing area will be further away from the action and some trees/a fence may block your view.
Viewing Area M – Like L above, this viewing area is large and offers some great views of the cars hurtling around Turn 13. If you sit higher up the hill you will get a better view. Viewing Area M is also a bit closer to the action than L as you occasionally see an overtake here.
Viewing Area N – On the exit of Spoon you will find Viewing Area N. Another great place to sit as you can watch the cars slingshot their way around Spoon before they head off down towards 130R.
Viewing Area O – Is located between Spoon (Turns 13, 14) and 130R (Turn 15) and gives a view along the straight. Occasionally you may see an overtake here as it is a DRS activation zone, but most of the time you will just see the cars fly by. Not a bad spot to check out if you are that way, but there are better places to view the race from.
Viewing Area G – We quite like this area as it is central and offers pretty good views. You can either sit along the exit of 130R and watch the cars go through 130R and down to Turn 16, or you can sit on the right side (still can view the cars going through 130R) and watch the cars go under the bridge and down to Turn 10. There are also plenty of places to get a bite and a drink behind this viewing area. Note: the best place to sit here is right on the corner where you can see the cars go down to Turn 16 and to Turn 10 as well (this place fills up fast!).
Other Places to Watch From
Now that we have got the official viewing areas out the way, let’s quickly talk about some of the other places you can watch from. As you walk from Turn 12 to Turn 13 you can get quite close to the cars. You have to watch through the fence, but we recommend checking it out during a practice session or if you are walking that way.
You will also find as you walk around the circuit that there are other places to view as well. Opposite Grandstand I you can usually find a little spot to view from and as you walk past Grandstand E you will also be able to see a little bit.
Japanese Formula 1 Packages
There are a number of different package options for the Japanese Grand Prix, which we have listed below. The hospitality packages offer a range of different benefits and they come at different prices.
|Red Bull Racing Paddock Club||758,700|
Hero – This package option gives you seats in the upper section of Grandstand V2 for all three days. You will also get the opportunity to do a pit lane walk, a guided track tour, a photo op with the World Championship trophies, a look behind the scenes (cool down room, safety car, etc.) and a podium photo opportunity. You also get an invitation to a reception in the Formula 1 Paddock Club with refreshments and a guest appearance by an F1 driver.
Trophy – Package holders will have access to the upper section of Grandstand B2, which is located by Turn 1 and 2. Much of the package is the same as the Hero option listed above, but you won’t get to do a podium photoshoot and Grandstand B seats are less expensive than V.
Starter – This is the most basic package option and offers seating in the lower section of Grandstand C (located between Turns 2 and 3). With this package option you will get a exclusive pit lane walk, a guided track tour, a photo with the World Championship trophies and a few other benefits. It is the cheapest package option available.
Champions Club – Package holders will have access to Champions Club Seating on both the Saturday and Sunday. This is located above the Team Garages along the main straight and is covered. You will also have access to gourmet food and beverages throughout the race weekend. Other additional benefits and activities include; an appearance by a member of the Sky Sports Formula 1 team, an executive F1 Q&A session, guided paddock access, and a World Championship trophy photo op.
Premier – On the Friday you will be sitting above the Team Garages on the main straight, while on the Saturday and Sunday you will sit in the upper section of the B2 Grandstand. You will also get to do a pit lane walk (Thursday), guided track tour, Championship Trophy photo op and Paddock Club pit lane walk (Friday). You will also receive the Formula 1 Paddock Club Hospitality and Guided Paddock Access on the Friday as well.
Paddock Club – Available at every race on the calendar, the Formula 1 Paddock Club option is one of the most exclusive packages available. For all three days of the event you will sit in the Paddock Club Seating, just above the Team Garages and main straight. Your will also receive gourmet hospitality and drinks courtesy of the F1 Paddock Club as well. Guest appearances from drivers, pit lane walks, guided paddock access and more extras are available to Paddock Club holders.
Legend – For those wanting a bit more than what is on offer for Paddock Club holders, the Legend package option could be for you. It includes everything that the Paddock Club has, but also features a one-day Paddock Access and access to the Podium Ceremony.
Aston Martin Red Bull Racing Paddock Club – For either two or three days you can sit in the Aston Martin Red Bull Racing Paddock Suite and watch the action from there. You will also get access to Aston Martin Red Bull Racing’s hospitality package, a pit lane walk, a behind the scenes look at Red Bull’s garage, guest appearances from Red Bull team members and an Aston Martin Red Bull Racing gift bag.
All these package options can be viewed here.
Food & Drink at the Japanese Grand Prix
Luckily, Suzuka is one of the best circuits for food and drink on the F1 calendar. There is an abundance of food and drink options to choose from (Western, Japanese, etc.) and almost all of them are exceptionally good. Food and drink stools and restaurants are located behind most of the big grandstands, so you should be close wherever you sit. There are also some smaller
Prices are a little bit higher (but still not too bad) than what you would find outside the circuit, but this is to be expected. If you are on a really tight budget, we suggest you go to one of the many convenience stores in Japan before you head to the circuit. For those travelling from Nagoya, you should be able to find plenty of convenience stores no matter where you stay.
Many circuits have rules about what you can and can’t bring in. We have never had a problem at Suzuka bringing food and drinks in, but we can’t guarantee this will always be the case.
Off-Track Activities at the Japanese Grand Prix
There are numerous different events, activities and more to see and do at the Japanese GP. We have listed these below.
Ferris Wheel – Taking a ride on the iconic Suzuka Circuit Ferris Wheel is a must. Three-day ticket holders get free rides on the Ferris Wheel, so it is definitely worth checking out. If you do plan to go, Thursday followed by Friday are the least busy days. The lines can get pretty long on race day, so try to go before then.
Amusement Park – Suzuka circuit features a permanent amusement park that has a number of different rides and experiences. Try some go-karting or check out the Aqua Adventure area. The amusement park can get very busy, so we recommend that you check this out on either Thursday or Friday.
F1 Game Stations – Test your driving skills with the official F1 game. These gaming stations are great fun but the line can sometimes be quite long.
Pit Stop Challenge – Ever fancied yourself as one of the pit-crew? The Pit Stop Challenge lets you have a go at changing the wheels on a Formula 1 car. You need a team of three people and the fastest teams go head-to-head on the Sunday. The fastest team usually wins something like 3 Paddock Passes, so it is definitely worth giving this fun challenge a go.
Main Stage & GP Square – Suzuka has a big main stage where you can often see guest appearances from past and present F1 drivers or team members. This is a popular area and there is almost always something going on. Unfortunately, there are no really big music events unlike at Singapore for example. The Square around the stage always has something going and there are loads of great places to get food and drink.
Kur Garden Onsen – This is a natural hot spring in the Suzuka Circuit Park. Trying an onsen is a must in Japan and you could check this one out before or after racing events.
Bowling – If you are looking for something to do before or after racing, try bowling at Suzuka. While not directly in the circuit grounds it is very close to it.
How to Get to the Japanese Grand Prix
Getting to Suzuka Circuit is probably going to be the most difficult part of your weekend. It isn’t as accessible as some of the other circuits on the calendar and unless you stay at Suzuka you will have to do a bit of travelling.
The majority of those attending the Japanese Grand Prix will need to stay in Nagoya, so most of the advice below is tailored to staying there.
There are loads of different airports in Japan, but the ones that most people will fly into for the Formula 1 include; Narita, Haneda and Kansai. Narita and Haneda are located in/next to Tokyo, while Kansai is located next to Osaka.
If you are flying into one of these places, you are going to have to make your way down to Suzuka/Nagoya. Nagoya has a domestic airport so you can fly into there. Other alternatives include taking the Shinkansen (bullet train), taking local trains (will take forever and isn’t recommend), taking a bus, or driving (again we wouldn’t recommend this).
Flying from Europe – Many major airlines fly direct from Europe. The flight usually takes anywhere from around 10 to 13 hours. Prices usually range from around £500 (€590) to around £850 (€1,000) for Economy class.
Flying from the USA and Canada – Several American and Japanese airlines fly between Japan and the United States and Canada. Some flights will require two stops, but you should be able to find plenty of direct flights as well. Prices can range from around US$700 to $1500 in economy class.
Flying from Australia – There are a number of direct flight options from Australia to Japan, as well as one-stop flights that stop somewhere in Asia before heading to Japan. Travel time can be anywhere from around 9 hours to 14 hours for a two-legged journey. Prices can range from around AU$600 to $1400 in economy class.
Flying from New Zealand – Auckland is the only airport that offers direct flights to Japan aboard Air New Zealand. Other options usually include stopping in Australia or in Asia (Singapore for example). Prices can range from around NZ$800 to $1700 in economy class.
Flying from Asia – Flying in from different parts of Southeast Asia is easy and won’t take you long you too long, especially if you are coming from Korea, China or Taiwan. Travelling from South East Asia takes a bit longer, but the flight time still isn’t too bad.
How to get to Nagoya
Domestic Flights – You can take a one/one-and-a-half-hour flight from most airports in Japan to Nagoya’s Chubu International Airport. Japan Airlines and ANA (All Nippon Airways) run must of the flights to Nagoya, but there are some other options as well.
Trains – Taking the Shinkansen is probably going to be your best bet. You can either buy the tickets individually or get yourself a Japan Rail Pass (JR Pass). A JR pass will cover the total journey on the Shinkansen from somewhere like Tokyo but won’t cover the total cost to get to Suzuka. If you are in Japan for a holiday we definitely recommend getting a rail pass. We don’t recommend using local trains. Getting from Tokyo Station to Nagoya Station on the Shinkansen is about ¥11,000 one way.
Buses – Buses are much slower than the Shinkansen, but they are also much cheaper. You can get overnight buses that take roughly 5-6 hours or you can travel during the day as well.
Getting to Suzuka Circuit
While there are some hotels at Suzuka, most people will need to stay in Nagoya. Suzuka Circuit is located in Inou, Mie Prefecture, which is about 50km (30 miles) south of Nagoya. It is an isolated, mainly industrial area where many companies have their factories.
It can seem a bit daunting getting from Nagoya to the Suzuka Circuit, but in reality, it is quite easy. If you are unsure you can always ask some staff at the train stations or check google. Alternatively, you can just follow everyone with their supporter’s kit on.
There are a couple of options if you want to travel by train. Kintetsu Railways offers services from both Nagoya and Osaka to Shiroko Station. From Shiroko Station you will either have to walk or take a shuttle bus. The walk isn’t too bad are there is plenty of signage to tell you where to go. The fare is about ¥1,760 from Kintetsu Nagoya Station to Shiroko Station (not including the bus/shuttle fare to the circuit).
If you travel from Osaka there are a few options you can do. Travelling from Osaka Namba Station to Shiroko Station will set you back about ¥3,200 and will take the you best part of a couple of hours. There is a faster train a couple of times a day, but it is more expensive (¥5,000) and there is a slower train that will save you a bit but take at least 2.5 hours.
You can also use Japan Railways & Ise Tetsudo trains to the circuit. This option will take you to Suzuka Circuit Inou Station. This station is a bit further away than Shiroko (expect about a 30-minute walk) and there are a few more connections to make. We recommend travelling to Shiroko station as the walk is much shorter. However, travelling to Inou Station from Nagoya Station is a bit cheaper at ¥1,070.
Note: the JR pass will not cover the full fare for these train lines.
If you don’t feel like taking the train you can try your luck with a bus. Local buses will be way to confusing and you will probably miss the race by the time you get there, so you will have to reserve a seat in a private bus.
There is a convenient bus service from Nagoya Station to Suzuka Station that costs ¥3,000 per person, one way. If you purchase a round trip the overall price is ¥5,000. This bus leaves Nagoya Station and Suzuka Circuit at the following times:
- From Nagoya Station to Suzuka Circuit: 8:00/9:00
- From Suzuka Circuit to Nagoya Station: 16:30-17:30 (will depart when the bus is full)
- From Nagoya Station to Suzuka Circuit: 8:00/9:00/10:00
- From Suzuka Circuit to Nagoya Station: After the race-18:00 (will depart when the bus is full)
The trip takes around two hours one way and you can purchase tickets at Nagoya Station and Suzuka Circuit’s Bus Reception. Find out more here.
If you are brave you can rent a car and drive to the circuit. While we advise against this, it may be a better option if you have a large group of people. This is because it may be cheaper for everyone to put their money together and pay for the parking/rental car than pay for individual train fares. Still, for most people we wouldn’t recommend this.
Japanese streets and roads can be quite confusing to navigate, even if you have a GPS. Additionally, the congestion is insane leaving the Circuit. If you do want to drive, parking further away from the circuit will be cheaper.
Taxes are very good in Japan. They are safe, easily accessible, and efficient. They can be expensive in the main centres such as Tokyo or Osaka, but in more rural areas they are quite a bit cheaper. If you stay at the circuit until late (around midnight) you will have to take a taxi to get back to your accommodation (unless you have a car of course). Most taxi drivers will give you an estimate before you go, so make sure you have your address ready. If the meter goes over the estimate, they usually wave the extra fair.
Accomodation for the Japanese GP
Like we wrote earlier, there isn’t much accommodation around Suzuka Circuit and the accommodation that is there will probably require some sort of Japanese to book. There are hotels at the circuit, but these book up quickly as many of the teams, drivers and staff take them. If you want to stay at the circuit you need to book very, very early.
We recommend that you stay in Nagoya, which is located North of the circuit. There is accommodation south of the circuit, but once again it will probably require some level of Japanese to book and there is not much there. Still, if you can book south of the circuit you won’t have to deal with the busy trains.
Nagoya Prince Hotel Sky Tower – Located 13-minutes from Nagoya Station, Nagoya Prince Hotel Sky Tower is one of the best high-end hotels in the city. It features some of the biggest rooms of any hotel in the area and upgraded rooms have access to a private lounge serving food and drinks.
Hilton Nagoya Hotel – Hilton is one of the biggest luxury hotel brands in the world and the one in Nagoya is no different. This 5-star hotel features some of the best facilities in the city and is just a 5-minute drive/taxi ride from Nagoya Station. The Hotel features excellent rooms, a state-of-the-art fitness room, a 15 m pool and much, much more.
Suzuka Circuit Hotel – While Suzuka Circuit Hotel isn’t as flash as the other two we have already listed, it does offer some good facilities. It is close to Suzuka Circuit, so you won’t have to travel far. This hotel books up extremely quickly and prices go up for the F1 weekend (so that’s why we have included it in the high-end list).
Osaka Marriott Miyako Hotel – Opened in March 2014, Osaka Marriott Miyako Hotel is located on the high floors of Abeno Harukas building featuring direct access to Tennoji Station. The spacious air-conditioned rooms feature Sealy beds, a coffee machine, an electric kettle and a minibar. Ironing facilities, a safety deposit box and an en suite bathroom are included in each. Located above the 38th floor, all rooms offer stunning city views.
Nishitetsu Hotel Croom Nagoya – Attractively situated in the Naka Ward district of Nagoya, Nishitetsu Hotel Croom Nagoya is close to the JR line and many other major stations. Guests at the hotel can enjoy a buffet or American breakfast.
Kyoya Ryokan – A 5-minute drive from JR Nagoya Train Station, Kyoya Ryokan is an adult only property that offers simple Japanese-style accommodation with free WiFi. Guests can enjoy Japanese meals and relax in the public bath. Note: children under 12 are not permitted to stay at this accommodation.
Red Planet Nagoya Nishiki – Open from November 2017, Red Planet Nishiki Nagoya offers accommodation in Nagoya, set a 4-minute walk from Marunouchi Subway Station. The stylish and air-conditioned rooms feature a Springmaid mattress. The hotel is equipped with a flat-screen TV, an electric kettle and USB port.
Nishitetsu Inn Nagoya Nishiki – Nishitetsu Inn Nagoya Nishiki is a 4-minute walk from Fushimi Subway Station and has stylish rooms with an LCD TV. Breakfast is available at the restaurant, and free WiFi is available throughout the hotel. This property has been awarded the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence in 2014.
Hostel Ann – An 8-minute walk from JR Kanayama Train Station, Hostel Ann offers a homelike environment with free Wi-Fi. Guesthouse Ann Hostel features Japanese-style private rooms and dormitory rooms with bunk beds.
There are lots more hotels, hostels and apartments in Nagoya, Osaka and the surrounding area. This is just a quick example of some of the best reviewed at various different price points.
Top Tips for the Japanese Grand Prix
Book your tickets and accommodation early. The best tickets sell out pretty quick, so make sure you don’t miss out on the ones you want. In addition to this you need to book your accommodation early as well. Hotels, Airbnb places and hostels were booked up very quickly. We booked about two and a half months in advance and had to settle with Nagoya Travellers Hostel (which was good for the price).
Check out the different seats and viewing areas on the Friday. As you sit pretty much anywhere on the Friday, we recommend that you take a look around. It is great to be able to see all the different parts of the circuit.
Stay in Nagoya. Nagoya is where most people stay for the Formula 1 and for good reason. It is about one hour from Nagoya to the circuit and the rail company puts on special direct services for the event. There are other places to stay, but Nagoya is probably the easiest place for travellers.
Buy food and drinks before you get to the circuit. If you are on a budget, we recommend that you purchase food and drinks at a convenience store in Nagoya. This will save you money and time, as the lines can get pretty long.
Purchase your supporters gear early. Japanese fans go wild for their supporter’s gear and if you wait until the Sunday, you will probably find that it is all sold out. Buy everything you want on the first day you are there.
Book your tickets through the Suzuka circuit website. We found that the tickets on the Suzuka circuit’s website were slightly cheaper than the official Formula One website.
Take lots of photos! Photographing F1 cars is fairly tricky as they move pretty quickly. We suggest that you check out this article from RaceFans. While taking photos and videos is important, remember to enjoy the event from your own eyes as well.
Other Motoring Activities You Can Do in Japan
Whether you are coming to Japan for just the Formula 1 or are staying a bit longer, here are some extra motoring related activities you can do. Some of these are located in Nagoya and some are located in other parts of Japan.
Megaweb Toyota City Showcase
For those in Tokyo, we recommend you head to Odaiba and check out Toyota’s Megaweb showcase. It is essentially a car dealer, theme park and museum all rolled into one.
Go on a Toyota Factory Tour
Toyota has its headquarters and many of its domestic production plants in the region around Nagoya. The meeting point for tours is the Kaikan Museum and they are offered in both English and Japanese. If you want to go on one of these free tours, you need to book in advance. Tours run once a day from Monday to Friday.
Check Out Nissan’s Nismo Omori Factory Museum
If you are a fan of Nissan (or just a motoring fan in general) we recommend that you check out the Nismo factory museum in Omori. This place has some of the rarest Nissan cars ever produced, along with some of their most famous race machines.
Go to the Mazda Museum in Hiroshima
If you make your way down to Hiroshima (and we recommend that you do), you should check out the Mazda Museum. You do have to book in advance, but you may be lucky if you just turn up.
Nissan HQ in Yokohama
We recommend that you check out Nissan’s HQ if you are visiting Yokohama. In the lobby they usually have a range of interesting cars you can check out.
2018 Japanese Grand Prix Review
Now that we have covered the guide section of this article, let’s look at the best and worst bits about the 2018 Japanse Formula One Grand Prix. We will be focusing on how the event was run, what the viewing was like and more. Read on below to find out our thoughts!
- The Fans – We thought we would start of with this because the fans at Suzuka are really something special. Everyone is well behaved, and some fans go to extremes with their supporters gear. There really is nothing quite like it at another F1 event.
- The cars were great – Seeing the old Formula 1 cars go around the circuit was incredible.
- Plenty of staff – There was an abundance of staff that were always happy to answer any questions.
- Lots of extra activities to do – Whether you go on the Ferris Wheel or go to the amusement park, there are lots of extra things to do at Suzuka.
- Seats and viewing areas were excellent – Unlike many other circuits, we found that we could find plenty of places to watch without having to look through fencing. Additionally, good seats let you view a wide portion of the circuit.
- Very well organized – Overall, the event was extremely well organized (apart from a few things which we will to soon). Lines moved quickly and everything seemed very efficient. All the events started on time and everything was well sign posted/labelled.
- We could bring in food and drink – We are not sure if this is officially allowed, but we never had any problem bringing in food and drink.
- Easy to move around the circuit – While the circuit is large, it is easy to move from one area to the next. You can also still see a lot of the track, so that is a bonus as well.
- Good facilities – All the facilities at Suzuka seemed to be in good order (for how many people were at the event) and were regularly cleaned. There were toilets behind all the grandstands as well.
- Plenty of places to eat and drink and they are good – One of the best things about Japan is the food and the food and drink stools at the Japanese Grand Prix are no exception. The Japanese Grand Prix arguably has the best food and drink available at any circuit on the F1 calendar.
- Supporting races were pretty poor – Apart from some Porsche races, there were no other supporting races. This was a bit disappointing as we would love to see a bit more racing.
- The train back to Nagoya is busy – Everyone charges to the train station after the day’s events are finished. The train gets extremely busy and you may have to wait a long time to get a train back to Nagoya.
- Suzuka Circuit is far away – This sort of ties in with the above and is common for many racing circuits around the world. However, it is annoying having to travel for an hour to get to the circuit each day.
The Japanese Grand Prix is an excellent race to attend, whether it is your first Formula One event or you have been to plenty before. This guide should give you most of what you need to know about attending the event. We will continue to update this article with fresh information.