2011 Japanese Grand Prix discussion

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This area is for people who are attending or planning to attend the 2011 Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka.

Use the comments below to share your thoughts on the race, where on the track you intend to watch from, how you’ll get to the track and more.

Taken any pictures or video at the race?

If you’ve got any pictures or video from the race weekend you can share them with F1 Fanatic by uploading them to our drop.io, or you can arrange to email them in. Contributions are always welcome.

2011 Japanese Grand Prix

18 comments on 2011 Japanese Grand Prix discussion

  1. Hi all – My wife and I are planning a trip to Japan (from the US )to include the GP. Any tips on the track or places to stay (on a budget!) are appreciated.

    We’ll post anything we learn along the way as our plans firm up.

    • drmikki said on 26th January 2011, 8:48

      Hi Gallo, I am planning a grand prix epic journey for the second half of the year (aiming for everything except Monza from Hungary onwards…) and have booked to stay in Yokkaichi which is about 25 mins by train from Suzuka (490yen each way). You can stay in any of the smaller towns on the way, or stay in the biggest city in the region, Nagoya. If you want budget hotels, avoid the worldwide chains and have a look at Solare, Chisun, Loisir, Washington and Toyoko-inn hotels. (Google them, should all have English versions)
      Note that most Japanese hotels you can only book for 3 months beforehand on their webpages, but I got mine on hotels.com which seemed to work ok.

      Are you planning on visiting other areas of Japan too? If you want any advice, I used to live there so am happy to answer questions.

      • janinec4444 (@janinec4444) said on 13th October 2011, 12:04

        hey planning on f1 there this week and prob 3 weeks beforehand in japan..can you give us info on what the highlights of japan are, where to stay, not budget but not high end either? say 4 star.. is driving difficult or train / public tspt better – not just for f1 but entire hol. camped at spa in belgium, absolutely brillian, dont suppose camping in japan at f1??? love your advice

        • drmikki (@drmikki) said on 16th November 2011, 15:22

          Hi, I’m not sure that I understand your message completely there – since you added it after the race I presume you are talking about 2012, which would probably be better discussed in a separate topic in the forum. You can sort-of camp in Japan, although not quite the same as Belgium! Highlights of Japan depend on your personal interests, but I would recommend Tokyo, Kyoto and Hiroshima as a bare minimum. The hotel names mentioned previously are good value budget hotels – clean and safe but small rooms. If you want big rooms in Japan you will be paying a massive premium for it, and its unnecessary. Toyoko-inn is everywhere and useful on a budget. I would not recommend driving in Japan – expensive, difficult, frustrating and unnecessary due to the excellent public transport system.

          I would advice you to decide what you are looking for from your travels, do some research on travel sites and then come back here if you have specific questions and ask them in the 2012 Japanese Grand Prix thread. Don’t come on here expecting someone to do all the hard work for you – if thats what you want pay a travel agent!
          The Japanese race was great fun, and I thoroughly recommend going.

    • australian (@australian) said on 13th March 2011, 11:21

      Ive been to the Japanese F1 multiple times now.
      The best place to stay will be anywhere around central Nagoya.
      Problem is Hotels are not easy to book well in advance and then when they are available they seem booked out or very expensive.
      If you can find anywhere near Nagoya station for under $ 150. USD,book it..

      Getting to the track is easy, you can catch a train from Nagoya to Shiroko in about 45mins.
      From there they run shuttle buses to the track every 10 mins, or you can catch a cab, cab will cost about $ 20. USD. ( i usually split the fare with some others heading to the track ) …

      Its a great event well worth travelling too.

      For your info you can also stay in Osaka and get a direct train to Shiroko, although its about a 2 hr trip ( each way ) u will find many many more hotels alot cheaper, but factoring in 4 hrs worth of travel each day is pretty extreme.

      Suzuka circuit had a hotel, thats where the drivers stay, cost is a about $ 1,000 USD a night ( yes crazy ) and all the small boutique japanese inns really only cater for japanese ppl, the staff rarely speak english and God help you booking one…

  2. Diana said on 6th May 2011, 3:43

    We went to 2010 Japanese GP and i just want to advise you to get your hotel sorted early and double confirm everything. We had booked a cheap hotel in Nagoya, but when Amex were trying to drop off the tix to our hotel we discovered that a computer glitch meant that we didnt have a hotel booking. We found this out 10 hrs before boarding the plane- after frantic phone calls the web hotel booking found a hotel about two stops out of nagoya central ( 2km out for $250 Au a night with brekky) You can get a direct train to Suzuka track from Nagoya for around $20AU something return. Its about a 15m walk down a narrow path to the track. On friday you can sit in any stand and have a look. Our seats were in stand under the Ferris wheel next to the pit stand.It was uncovered so we cooked in the sun on Friday but the beer was cheap 400 yen and food was great. The Japanese fans are great- they got dressed up in costumes and extremely friendly.I was puzzeled by how many people were buying full wet weather pants and ponchos on such a nice sunny day. I only realised their wisdom on the Saturday when it rained all day- my feet were wet after 5 minutes but it was humid so i didnt care. However after 6 hrs of sitting under umbrellas and in our cheap 200 yen plastic ponchos, with prune like hands we through we were going to die!!The only highlight was watching the safety car skid around the track in the torrential rain.
    On Sunday there were more people going to the race so we had to wait for an hour to a 7.30am train to suzuka track.The suzuka track station only opens for events so its basically two open narrow platforms in the middle of a field.
    It was HOT!!!! Our seats in section s were too hot to endure even with hats and sunscreen.After watching the delayed qualifying we decided to explore the track a bit more.We visited the theme park attached to the track- we saw a great show with ASIMO robot- it was so cute and bizarre at the same time. They also sell extensive array of novelty shaped bisuits:Jensen button cookies, suzuka track shaped biscuits and exhaust shaped dark biscuits.
    We watched the start from the walking path hill behind the main stand that gives you perfect view of the first corner. We saw the bingles and saw Massa being transported on a back of a scooter only meters away. We then walked through the many tunnels to visit the 130 r, then further towards the outer stands ( L). Although they dont have general admission there are many hills and clearings around pathways that offer fantastic views and photo ops between the hoardings. We returned to our seats to watch them cross the start/finish line and cheer Webber finish 2nd. Later we bumped into several other Aussies and headed over to the main grandstand to watch the celebrations. Vettel ran across and threw his steering wheel into the crowd of fans.We watched the celebrations in the Redbull pit but unfortuneatly for us Mark Webber had already left so the team were throwing around a paper cut out of mark.
    At the end of the race you could get access to the track but it was only a section far away from the pits. Most people sat in the stands and watched the replay of the whole race on the tvs. We waited about 2hrs after the race before attempting to catch the train back to Nagoya. the platform had about 3000 people waiting for a 6 carriaged train that could probably only take about 500 people at a time. It was pleasant and polite atmosphere.
    Although I dont speak Japanese- everyone is so polite and helpful that we didnt find it difficult nor expensive to get around and enjoy the whole experience.
    I would love to do it again once things settle in Japan. Enjoy!!

  3. drmikki said on 13th June 2011, 11:58

    Despite all the dramas in Japan, I am still heading to the Japan race, so anyone still planning on going please don’t hesitate to get in touch :-)

  4. My daughter and I are going to the F1 race in Japan (from the US). We couldn’t find hotel in Nagoya so we’re staying in Osaka and taking the train. Any ideas if there is a support race or other events over the weekend?

    • drmikki (@drmikki) said on 1st October 2011, 11:15

      Try here for the most up to date schedule – http://www.formula1.com/races/in_detail/japan_852/event_timetable.html

      There seems to be quite a lot on, and I even spotted somewhere that there might be things on on Monday (Japanese holiday) too, although probably not worth trekking all the way from Osaka for! Most of the teams/drivers will be on their way to Korea, so I think it’s more of a local thing – will post again here once I work out what it is!

      As for Osaka, you will be able to get to and from the track, but I would expect it to take between 2-3 hours each way. As mentioned elsewhere here, in your case a Kintetsu pass could come in handy.

      If you at all have the possibility of changing hotel, I would suggest switching to Nagoya – there are still rooms available, hotelclub has the Hamilton Hotel Black (there is also a Red) for $95 USD a night for a single or 151 for a twin or double. Ignore their writeup – it’s NOT 5km from Nagoya Station, its about 1.8km, and if you don’t want to walk that there’s a subway station 400m from the hotel, not to mention all the taxis at the station for when you arrive with luggage. From Nagoya you shouldn’t have to change trains to get to the circuit and it will be about 40 mins each way.

      Either way I think you’ll have a great time. If it’s your first time here I would recommend a side trip to Kyoto, which can be done on the local trains from Osaka (about half an hour). Good luck!

  5. Hubby and are are heading to Japanese F1 – staying near hotel in Nagoya and would appreciate any help or info on trains, what to wear, what to take etc etc

    • drmikki (@drmikki) said on 1st October 2011, 10:41

      Kate, I will be in Nagoya on Weds night before heading closer to the track for the weekend. If you want we could meet for some dinner or drinks in Nagoya and I can answer any questions you have, otherwise ask away! Depending on where your hotel is relative to Nagoya station there are plenty of train options to get to and from the track, and once you have found where/how/what ticket to buy and where to go it’s easy!

      It’s currently bright and warm in Tokyo, although they warned of rain it doesn’t seem to have eventuated. That said, Mie is a whole other kettle of fish and we could get another typhoon before race weekend! I would suggest carrying only what you need, but within that I would include layers of clothing, a hat, suncream and a raincoat.
      I haven’t been to Suzuka yet, but given you can buy Jenson Button handpuppets here, I think you will struggle to find anything you need that isn’t for sale somewhere around the track. Convenience stores are everywhere – as an example, I went to dinner just down the road last night, and within about 25m of a single intersection there are THREE different FamilyMart convenience stores. Not to mention 2 from other companies….

  6. Will Buxton said on 4th September 2011, 19:18

    Hi Kate

    Myself and a fellow journo stayed in Nagoya last year and found it great for the race. There are regular trains between Nagoya and Shiroko and from Shiroko the track puts on a shuttle bus to the circuit which takes 5-10 minutes. Easy peasy.

    Nagoya is a great place to go out in the evenings. Completely revolutionised our enjoyment of the race. The train only takes about 40 minutes but make sure you buy tickets in one go at the start of the week as the opening hours of the ticket office are a bit random and on Sunday it gets very busy.

    You’ll have a blast.

    Amazing track, Nagoya is brilliant. Seriously good times.

  7. Tom_ec1 (@tom_ec1) said on 5th September 2011, 9:27

    As Will said, there are regular trains to the circuit on all three days.

    Best to arrive early though, as it quickly gets very crowded.

    The endless line of trains to take people home on Sunday afternoon is a sight Silverstone fans can only dream of!

    Last year – when it really poured – a poncho was the only option. They sell official Suzuka ones at the circuit for about £10 which makes a nice souvenir too.

  8. This will be my first time at Suzuka, so take this with a grain of salt. I plan on buying a Kintetsu Rail Pass (www.kintetsu.co.jp/foreign/english/useful/ticket/rpw1-3.html). It costs 3700 yen and gives you unlimited travel on local, rapid and express Kintetsu trains for 5 days, plus tickets for up to 3 limited express trains. A single ltd. exp. ticket from Osaka to Nagoya costs 4150 yen. The express train from Nagoya to Shiroko takes 51 minutes and would cost 800 yen each way, so even for just that it would pay for itself. You should be able to just show the pass to the station attendant at the gate, so it would avoid lines for ticketing as well. For those without (or saving for later) the expensive JR Pass it seems like the best option.

    • drmikki (@drmikki) said on 1st October 2011, 10:27

      Don’t forget that you have to buy these tickets either before arriving in Japan, or on arrival at the airport (Kansai airport only, I think). Also, note that they give you three vouchers for limited express, so that means either paying extra for any other rides, or a veryyyyy slow ride if commuting from Osaka (probably will be 2hours each way, and maybe more depending on where in Osaka). From Nagoya the non-limited express will be no problem. If you want to use those for the race, and know what time you are planning on going each day, I’d book all 3 at the start of the weekend (ie Fri/Sat/Sun morning trips Nagoya-Shiroko) as your return journey will be more irregular – depending on shuttles, red flags, etc. Of course, if you have extra days for sightseeing or have to get to the airport, save the vouchers for those trips instead.

      I don’t know what internet access my hotel will have, but if you have any questions/problems or want to meet up, send me a message :-)

      • Ryan said on 2nd October 2011, 3:41

        I’m flying into Kansai Airport but will be staying in Nagoya during the race, so it should work out alright for me. I’ll probably have a couple spare ltd. exp. tickets, so booking a ride out to the track on Saturday and Sunday early would be a good idea.

        It’d be nice to meet up with some fellow fans either at the race during lulls in the action or at night in Nagoya. I’m not sure how to message through here, but anyone can feel free to email me at unnamable (at) hotmail (dot) com.

        • drmikki (@drmikki) said on 2nd October 2011, 8:35

          Curses, typed out a message and managed to lose it!

          I will email you in a second, Ryan. Anyone else on here coming to Suzuka and up for a fanatics meeting please do get in touch :)

          If you are flying into/out of Kansai you might be better off getting the “wide area” kintetsu pass on arrival, as I think that also includes the train to and from the airport. That said, Kintetsu isn’t ‘my’ railway so not 100% familiar with their products (‘My’ railways are closer to Tokyo area, Nagoya and Mie are one of the few areas I haven’t spent much time in!)

          Oh, and final thing to note – Kansai immigration always takes forever (my record was 2 hours….) – I would recommend you pee before you join the queue! Hope it goes better for you than it always does for me ;-)

  9. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 9th December 2011, 13:58

    This discussion page is closed. If you want to discuss going to the Japanese Grand Prix please go to the new discussion forum here: Going to the Japanese Grand Prix