Ebisu Circuit – The Home Of Drifting

Ebisu Circuit – The Home Of Drifting

When you think of drifting in Japan, the world-renowned Ebisu circuit located in the highlands of Nihonmatsu city, Fukushima prefecture – about 250 kms north of Tokyo has to be on top of the list.

Ebisu Circuit -The Home Of Drifting

Ebisu circuit is quite literally heaven on earth for drifters. Inside the massive complex, there are 7 race circuits and 2 skid pans – yes SEVEN tracks in one complex!

Four out of the seven tracks are full-time dedicated drift tracks. North course, South course, School course and Touge (mountain pass) course. The two skid pans are named Kuru-kuru land 1 and 2. The other two tracks, West and East track are predominantly for grip/time attack style racing.

Go Drifting Any Time

These tracks are open to the public for use every day, all year round, except for days when there is a competition such as D1GP or Formula D Japan, or when the tracks are closed for maintenance, being rented by a private group.

It’s also important to note that it snows during the winter months (Dec to March) so there is a possibility that some or all the tracks may be closed due to snow cover. I would advise that you check in advance the availability of the track you’re hoping to use before coming.

Anyone can come to Ebisu and drift! There are a ton of options.

  • You can bring your own car.
  • You can buy a car through Powervehicles which is situated inside of the Ebisu circuit.
  • You can buy a car privately through FB groups like Gaijin Ebisu Drift cars where most of the cars are at Ebisu already.
  • You can take a Team Orange drifting lesson from a professional drift driver such as Naoto Suenaga from Team Orange who supply you with a practice drift car and everything else you need for the lesson. I have full information about the drifting lessons here and I can book a lesson on your behalf.
  • If you don’t want to drive, you can experience drifting by taking a ride in the Team Orange drift taxi. You can even share the taxi fare if you go with a couple of your friends.
  • Or if you bring your helmet along, you might even be lucky enough to bum a passenger ride with a driver who is there practicing.

If you just want to come for a look, that’s fine also. There is almost always something to see any day of the week, whether it be locals or foreigners having fun or pro drivers practicing for an up-coming competition or a full blown competition.

Drift Matsuri

During the Drift matsuri events, which occur three times a year in Spring, Summer and Fall – all 7 tracks are open to drifting! This includes the West and East courses which are usually reserved for grip racing only.

These matsuri (Japanese for festival) run over a whole weekend – from Saturday morning right through the night until Sunday afternoon. That’s around 44 hours of non-stop free drifting on all the tracks. These matsuri weekends attract large crowds and you could expect to see 100+ car and driver entries, with a large portion of them being foreigners. I have more info about them on the Drift Matsuri page.

The week leading up to each matsuri is known as ‘drift heaven week’, as there are a ton of people here prepping and practicing for the drift matsuri and also for the foreigner-only drift competition G1Gp which is put on by the Ebisu staff the Friday before each drift matsuri. Read more about G1Gp on this page.

Traveling To Ebisu Circuit

Ebisu circuit has 5 dedicated drift tracks in total nestled in the mountains on North-eastern Japan

As for getting to Ebisu circuit, there are a few options to choose from.

You can hire a car from Narita and drive all the way up the highway to Nihonmatsu.

Every modern hire car in Japan has Sat navigation (but it’s likely to be set to Japanese language) which will make it easy to set the location and drive.

However, you probably also have Google Maps on your smart phone (just make sure you have an internet data plan to use in Japan) so you can follow that to Ebisu. Traveling by car from Narita, expect it to take between 4 to 5 hours to arrive at Ebisu circuit.

Shinkansen (bullet train) – are available from Tokyo station. You want to ride the ‘Touhoku shinkansen’ and get off at Koriyama station (1hr 40-minute). From Koriyama, you should catch a local train to Nihonmatsu station (approx a 30 minute ride). From Nihonmatsu, it’s a 20-minute taxi ride up to the circuit.

Accommodation

Because Ebisu circuit is a fair hike from Tokyo, and there is a lot to see and do there, one day is probably not enough. Many visitors choose to stay for a couple of days to get the most out of their trip. There are several places nearby available for accommodation.

There is Urban Hotel in front of Nihonmatsu train station which is  a good option if coming to Nihonmatsu by train. There is a 7-11 convenience store, bars and restaurants nearby. From Urban Hotel to Ebisu circuit is about a 20 minute taxi ride (which is the most convenient way to get to Ebisu). As for buses, they run about once every hour.

Closer to Ebisu Circuit, there is Mt. Inn hotel in Dake onsen hot spring town – about a 10 minute drive to Ebisu. This is a good option if you have your own rental car, as there are no buses that go directly there and to get a taxi would require you to call and wait for one.

For a very ‘outdoor’ accommodation experience, there is Adatara forest park which has cabins which you can rent out.

It’s easy to see why Ebisu circuit is known as ‘drift heaven’. Hundreds of foreigners visit Ebisu circuit every year and have an experience they will never forget.

– Disco Stu