Japanese Grand Prix
8th – 10th October, 2021
The circuit in the town of Suzuka is situated in Mie Prefecture on Japan’s main island of Honshu. For most fans, going to the Japanese Grand Prix will mean being based in Japan’s fourth city Nagoya, and taking the train to the circuit 50km away.
Arrival in Nagoya at the Chubu Centrair International Airport (NGO)
Nagoya’s main airport and Japan’s third, the Chubu Centrair International Airport (NGO) is about a 30 minute connection to the city centre by the Meitetsu Airport Line. There’s a train in either direction every half an hour and costs ¥1200.
Kiwi.com lets you search for the lowest cost flights and shows you route combinations that often don’t show up on other search engines. If you miss a connecting flight due to delay the Kiwi guarantee means you can take the next available flight at no extra cost.
Travel in Japan – getting to Nagoya from Tokyo, Kansai or elsewhere
If you’re not arriving at the Chubu Centrair International Airport, Nagoya is roughly 320km from Tokyo’s Narita Airport and 150km from Kansai Airport and the trip to Nagoya is best covered by train for speed and convenience, or bus if you’re on a budget.
English is not widely spoken in Japan, though in most JR railway stations there will be at least one staff member who can speak English and ticket machines have an English language option so getting around is not usually an issue.
Even if you have trouble with the language barrier in Japan the all round helpfulness of Japanese people towards visitors more than makes up for it and if you have just a few words in Japanese too you’ll find getting around there as easy as anywhere else.
Trains in Japan are efficient, punctual and in the case of the shinkansen (bullet train), fast. Check schedules at HyperDia online or using the app. You can book tickets for mainline routes such as from Tokyo to Nagoya at Voyagin but for local lines such as those from Nagoya to Suzuka just book tickets at the station, either at the machines or the ticket office.
If you’ll be travelling in Japan for a while, the JR pass could be a good investment allowing almost unlimited rail travel around Japan (see boxed text).
For getting around by bus the Willer Express offers affordable and efficient services between key cities that can be easily booked online.
JR also operate a number of bus routes. They tend to be a little pricier but if you have a JR Pass it’s all included and worth trying if there’s no train to where you want to go.
Every gaijin (foreigner) you bump into in Japan seems to have a JR Pass and when you consider that a round trip from Tokyo to Nagoya costs almost as much as a 7 day, go anywhere pass, it’s not surprising.
Passes can bought for 7, 14 and 21 days and allow for unlimited travel on nearly all of JR’s extensive train (including shinkansen), bus and ferry networks as well as discounts on some hotels. The JR pass can be only be bought from outside Japan and is available from JRailPass
Getting Around in Nagoya
For most purposes getting around on the subway and on foot will be fine, though for groups, using a taxi might be preferable and more cost effective. Subway rides are ¥200 to ¥320 with day passes available for ¥740.
Getting to Suzuka for the Japanese Grand Prix by Train
From Nagoya there are 3 ways to get to Suzuka circuit by train and it takes from 1 to 2 hours. As ever in Japan, trains are very punctual. Remember these are local lines so just buy your tickets at the station and make sure to get a return to avoid any unnecessary queuing at ticket machines later.
If you’ve picked up a JR Pass prior to arriving in the country one of the first two options will be more or less a no-brainer, and have (most of) the cost of the otherwise quite expensive journey covered by the pass. There is both a regular service on this route as well as a special service put on over the race weekend called ‘Suzuka Grand Prix’ limited express.
These first 2 options mean you’ll be arriving at Suzuka Ino (Suzukashi) station, the closest train station to Suzuka circuit, and one stop after Suzuka station. If you miss the announcement or the platform signs it should be obvious from the mass exodus of Formula 1 fans and you might just spot a familiar Ferris wheel. Follow your F1 brethren out of the station and it’s about a 20 minute walk up a slight hill to the circuit gates.
Option 1: JR and Ise Tetsudo Regular Train
This is a normal train route that takes about 90 minutes and requires one change. The cost without a JR Pass is ¥1060 but with a pass you’ll just need to pay the JP¥300 supplement ticket for the part of the journey on the Ise Tetsudu line.
Where you change trains will depend on where your train is destined for when leaving Nagoya. Some are bound for Toba, so you should change at Suzuka station and others are heading for Kameyama or Yokkaichi so you should change at Yokkaichi.Guaranteed seat, cheaper if you have a JR Pass.
20 minute walk, need to change trains.
Option 2: JR ‘Suzuka Grand Prix’ limited express
The other train from Nagoya to Suzuka Ino station is the ‘Suzuka Grand Prix’ limited express, operated by JR. This is the fastest way to get to Suzuka by train, taking about 60 minutes. It’s also direct so there’s no need to change trains.
The seat reservation is mandatory for these trains but with the JR Pass the cost of the reservation is already covered. Tickets cost ¥2500 without the pass but only ¥600 for just the supplement.Guaranteed seat, cheaper if you have a JR Pass, no need to transfer.
20 minute walk, expensive without the pass.
Option 3: Kintetsu
The third option is with Kintetsu and arrives at Shiroko train station, from where a short shuttle bus service connects you to the circuit.
Book your return tickets to Shiroko station at the Kintetsu ticket office in the east side of Nagoya station. It’s 40 or 50 minutes journey depending on whether it’s an express train (¥820) and the more expensive, faster, limited express train (¥1720).
There may not be an announcement in English so be aware of roughly what time you should arrive and keep an eye out the window at the station names (which are in English and Japanese). Or just keep your eyes on the little blue dot.
When you exit the station you’ll see a small counter where you can buy your tickets for the shuttle. These usually cost ¥400. This is about a 15 minute bus ride which leaves you with another 5-10 minute walk to the main entrance to the circuit.Less walking, cheapest direct train if you have no JR Pass.
Need to transfer to a shuttle bus, long queues waiting for the shuttle bus in the evening, could be standing room only on the train.