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5 Things I Wish I Knew Before Attending The Japanese GP

Logan Fung
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I attended the Japanese Grand Prix in Suzuka as a female solo traveler - These are the 5 things I wish I knew beforehand!

Before we get started! Planning also includes buying tickets to the actual race! Check out our Japanese Grand Prix Seating Guide, so you can best choose where to sit.

AND when you’re ready, head over to P1 Travel to see what’s available!

What makes the Japanese GP so special?

The Japanese Grand Prix is one of the most exciting races on the Formula 1 calendar. Suzuka is known to be a very popular circuit amongst the drivers... and the fans are renowned for being some of the most passionate in the world! The circuit was initially used as a test track but after a redesign and revamp of certain parts, it was added back to the Formula 1 Calendar in 1987. Suzuka is the only figure-eight track to be a part of the F1 season and it has played a part in some very significant moments in Formula 1 history. 

One of the most famous controversies seen at Suzuka was the ongoing rivalry between the McLaren teammates, Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna. Between 1988 and 1990, the World Drivers Championship had ultimately been decided by the events that took place at Suzuka. In 1988, Senna won the race with Prost finishing second, thus securing Senna’s championship. In 1989, the two drivers had an incident on the track which ended Prost’s race early. Senna was able to continue on, but was later disqualified for cutting the chicane and allegedly gaining an advantage. This helped cement Prost’s ‘89 Championship. Lastly, in 1990, Prost and Senna once again took each other out in Suzuka. The retirement of Prost had secured Senna’s second world championship, further fueling the rivalry between the two drivers.

Suzuka is a very special addition to the F1 season and the atmosphere at the race was exceptional. Not only is there incredible racing, but there is also so much to do and see around the circuit. Since this was my first time attending the Japanese Grand Prix, I wanted to share some of the things I wish I knew before going so that you can be sure to maximize your Grand Prix experience!

#1. Where to stay & getting to Suzuka

The Japanese Grand Prix is the second race I’ve had the chance to attend, so I didn’t have much to compare it to. When I attended the race in Imola back in 2022, it was very simple and straightforward getting to the circuit. Depending on where you were staying, it was one or two trains and then a 15-20 minute walk to the circuit. Getting to the Suzuka Circuit wasn’t necessarily difficult, but I didn’t plan out my departure and return times to the best of my ability so I ended up being surprised by the high demand for the train when it came time to head to the circuit.

I stayed very close to the Nagoya train station, which I would recommend to anybody heading to Suzuka for the race. Most attendees will stay in Nagoya as it is the biggest city near the circuit and there are lots of accommodation options to choose from. I stayed in a capsule hotel that was only a ten minute walk from the station. For a girl traveling alone, I found this to be the best option for myself as I was placed on a girls only floor, it was close to the train station, and it was affordable since I booked it months in advance. I almost opted for a cheaper option that was located further from the station, but I was very glad I didn’t because getting to and from the circuit would have taken roughly 30-60 more minutes which would make the total transportation to the circuit upwards of 2 hours. 

9h nine hours Nagoya Station Capsule Hotel
9h nine hours Nagoya Station Capsule Hotel

The Nagoya station itself was slightly confusing to navigate and can be daunting to someone who has never experienced transportation in a foreign country. In order to get to the circuit from Nagoya station, you have to take the Kintetsu line (Kintetsu-Nagoya Station) to Shiroko Station and either book tickets for the Limited Express train or take the local train. I had no idea which way to go, but I ultimately followed the large group of merch-clad people to the ticket booth which was decorated top to bottom in posters of the drivers. 

Kintetsu Nagoya Station
Kintetsu-Nagoya Station 

This was where I made my first mistake. Unlike many other race goers, I had not pre-booked my trains before the race weekend which made it slightly more stressful when arriving to the station. On Friday, I got to the station at 8:30 AM thinking I could get on the next train scheduled for 8:45 AM. Unfortunately, it had been fully booked as people reserved their spots in advance which then forced me to get the next train which departed 1 hour later! As somebody who loves getting to the circuit as soon as possible, this was not the best way to begin my race weekend. I could have taken the local train to the circuit, but it took about 1.5 hours whereas the Limited Express Train took 45 minutes. Keep in mind that the Limited Express Train was more expensive, but to save time it was definitely worth it. 

To ensure I didn’t have the same problem for the next two days, I pre-booked my trains online and had done so just in time because they were filling up quickly and there were limited seats to choose from. Keep in mind, when you pre-book your limited express train, you will still have to purchase the base fare at the station. When booking online, it is possible to change the time of the train ticket up to three times (for example, if you want to stay at the circuit later than you expected, you can change your ticket to a later train). 

Price Breakdowns

Base Fare: ¥1,000 yen - one-way

Limited Express Train Ticket (standard): ¥920 - one-way

When purchasing, you can pay with cash or credit card. There are options to purchase return trip tickets which makes it very convenient so you don’t have to worry about buying tickets after a long day at the circuit. You can check the fare prices from other stations here.


This definitely was something I knew and had heard of before arriving at the track, but I still didn’t bring enough. When you arrive to the circuit, the first thing you need to do is pay for the shuttle bus tickets that get you to the circuit. You can pay for these with cash or with a Suica card, but a lot of the tourists only had cash on hand. 

When paying with cash, you have the option to purchase return tickets for the whole weekend. I didn’t have enough cash on me, so I was only able to pay for the return ticket on Friday. The next day, I made sure to bring enough cash so that I could pay for my shuttle return ticket for Saturday and Sunday which made it quicker and more convenient leaving the track when it was busier.

Shuttle Bus Price Breakdown (paying in cash)

Adult One-way: ¥450

Adult Return: ¥900

Adult 3-day return: ¥2,700

Child One-way: ¥230

Child Return: ¥460

Child 3-day return: ¥1,380

Shuttle Bus ticket prices & information
Shuttle Bus ticket prices & information

All of the food stands at the circuit usually only take cash as well, except for a couple that have the option for a card payment. When I got to the Shiroko train station on Friday, I had to purchase my base fare ticket but I didn’t have enough cash because I had used it all for the shuttle tickets. I had to source out a 7/11 which was a couple blocks away from the station. It wasn’t hard to figure out, but it added time at the end of an already long day, and it was an easily avoidable mistake. 

Besides the circuit, most places in Japan take credit cards, which was very helpful. Smaller street vendors or certain cafes/shops only take cash, so it is best to always have some on hand. Purchasing metro tickets is usually only available with cash as well, so try and be prepared so as to not run into trouble!

Where you can take out cash / other payment options

  • Almost all of the 7/11 ATMS work with foreign cards and the ATM fee was not too expensive. This is the best option if you have to take out more cash when traveling through Japan
  • Tourists can purchase IC cards which are rechargeable cards used to pay fares at different shops, restaurants, and on public transportation throughout Japansome text
    • There are ten different cards available to purchase and each one is used for different regions or transit lines in Japan
    • The Welcome Suica card is the best option for foreign tourists. Special cards are valid for four weeks and don’t have a deposit fee, but there are no refunds allowed
    • You can purchase these at the Narita Airport, Tokyo Station, Shinagawa Station, Shibuya Station, Shinjuku Station, Ikebukuro Station and lastly Ueno Station

If you really are stuck, the Japanese people are some of the kindest people in the world and will help you out of your bind. When I was unable to pay for my ticket at the station, a nice gentleman walked me to the 7/11 ATM to make sure that I wouldn’t get stuck. Not only did he go out of his way to take me to the ATM after already purchasing his ticket, but he waited with me until my train arrived and wrote out the stop that I had to get off at to make sure I wouldn’t get lost. 

#3. Merch sells out FAST

Merch stands by the G Stage
Merch stands by the G Stage

The Japanese Grand Prix is special in comparison to other tracks as 3-day ticket holders are allowed to go to the track on Thursday to participate in a pit lane walk. This means that lots of the merchandise stalls will be open on Thursday, thus selling a large portion of their products before the weekend even begins. When I arrived at 10 AM on Friday morning, lots of the items had already been sold out. 

Team gear (hats, shirts, jackets, lanyards, etc.) was stocked really well but some of the special Suzuka merchandise had most of its sizes sold within the first day. There was a limited edition Suzuka shirt that I was hoping to purchase, but by the time I got to the vendor, there was only XL left! I checked on Saturday and Sunday but they never restocked it.

By Sunday, almost all the sizes were sold out and even the hats were hard to find. If purchasing merchandise at a race is something on your to-do list, then I would say to go as early as possible the first day you get to the circuit! This definitely surprised me more because when I was at the Grand Prix in Imola, it seemed like they had restocked the merchandise for the following days and had more size options as well.

Another thing to keep in mind is that the lines for buying the merch can get REALLY long! I waited 20 minutes on Friday to buy my hat, which wasn’t too bad but it was cutting it close to the start of FP1. I would recommend getting merch as soon as you get to the circuit to avoid waiting in ridiculous lines and missing out on any sizes / options that you want!

You could purchase the merchandise with cash or credit card, which was very convenient. Keep in mind that most vendors will require a physical card, tap is not always an option. This is consistent all throughout Japan, not just at the circuit. 

#4. It’s easy to meet other solo race attendees!

Meeting people at the circuit
Meeting people at the circuit

As a solo traveler, I was definitely nervous to be navigating the entire race weekend by myself, but that was far from the case! Within the first few minutes of me boarding my train on Friday, I had met some great new people who were also attending the race solo. It was so much fun chatting about our favorite teams and drivers and recapping all of the recent Formula 1 news. I was tentative to start chatting with people since sometimes it can be awkward, but we were all in the same situation of attending solo and just wanting to share the experience with other fans. We had different tickets for the weekend which prevented us from sitting together, but after sharing phone numbers and social media accounts, we were all able to stay in contact throughout the race weekend to chat post-session and recap the events of the day. It was definitely a special experience to meet someone from a completely different country who had also traveled to Japan solely for the race.

I also met new people on the Saturday and Sunday of the race weekend which was very exciting because I got to hear new opinions and stories from total strangers. The most special part is being able to stay in touch with everyone I’ve met even after the race weekend concludes.

FanAmp X Grand Prix Travel Meetup

FanAmp X GPT Meetup at Shooters Sports Bar and Grill
FanAmp X GPT Meetup at Shooters Sports Bar and Grill

If you are tentative to meet new people at the race FanAmp and Grand Prix Travel hosts different meetups at certain tracks and it is an amazing way to meet like-minded people who share the passion for Formula 1 or motorsports in general. This was the first meetup I was able to attend and I had such a great time!

Everyone had different stories of past races they’ve traveled to, who they are cheering for and how they got into the sport. The great thing too was that the majority of people who came for the meetup were traveling alone, so it was such an amazing environment filled with people who were eager to meet other fans. Many of us shared contact information and have been keeping in touch even after the race weekend ended and some people are planning to meet up at future races!

Meeting up with fans from the FanAmp x GPT meetup
Meeting up with fans from the FanAmp x GPT meetup

After the race ended on Sunday, I was walking the main straight and ran into two people who I had met at the meetup on Friday night. It was so much fun because we helped each other take pictures and recapped the whole race as well as the events of the weekend in general.

Meeting new people at the race really enhanced my experience and I would highly recommend making the effort to put yourself out there if you are planning on heading to a race solo. 

#5. Make the most of the events at the track

The Japanese Grand Prix is renowned for being situated within an amusement park with all the rides being free of charge for anyone who has purchased a race ticket for the weekend. This is one of the unique things about the Suzuka circuit and it helps to fill the long wait times in between the sessions on track.

I really wish I knew what the circuit had to offer before I arrived, because I felt like I could have planned my day around incorporating the different activities rather than showing up and hoping the line wouldn’t be too long. This was a lack of planning on my part, but to make sure that this doesn’t happen to you, here are the main things I would try and do at the circuit besides just watching the race sessions!

Ferris Wheel

View from the Ferris Wheel
View from the Ferris Wheel

The Ferris Wheel is one of the most famous and popular activities race goers are able to do when attending the Japanese Grand Prix. It is so popular that it’s important to strategically plan when to go up. I decided to do it on Friday as it is significantly less busy in comparison to how many people attend on Saturday and Sunday.

I went at around 1:00 PM on Friday which I thought was pretty good timing because it was after FP1 and right before the Porsche Carrera cars were getting on track. I waited for around 30 minutes, which went by pretty fast but half way through, I realized I could have been waiting for a much shorter time.

There are two lines for the Ferris Wheel: one line for the driver covered cars and then one for the plain cars. I was waiting in the line for the diver covered cars which I didn't realize was significantly longer until it was too late. This line is much more popular because many people want to get a picture with the driver-decorated car, yet when you’re actually in the ferris wheel it makes no difference. You can only see the driver from the outside yet the wait time is almost double for this. 

I HIGHLY recommend just waiting in the regular car line because you’ll still be able to get a decent picture of the driver covered cars but the line will be significantly shorter for the exact same experience. I definitely would try and time going up in the ferris wheel with a session on track. For example, I was able to watch a portion of the Porsche Carrera practice while being up in the Ferris Wheel. The view is great as you can basically see around the entire circuit and get a birds-eye view of the main straight. You definitely can do this for the Formula 1 sessions, but it would require you getting in line nice and early so as to not miss any of the action on track. 

Again, the Ferris Wheel is free for all race ticket holders which is great! 

Pit Lane Walk

Pit Lane Walk on Saturday Night
Pit Lane Walk on Saturday Night

The Japanese Grand Prix offers ticket holders two different days to participate in a main straight and pit lane walk which was such a great experience! I wasn’t able to attend the walk on Thursday, but I heard that it was much less busy than the one on Saturday. If your schedule allows it, I would highly recommend attending on Thursday because it will be less busy and you will have the option to get first pick from the merchandise stands!

The Saturday walk was still amazing but it definitely was overcrowded. Qualifying ended at 4:00 PM that day and the pit lane walk was supposed to start at 7:15 PM but it was delayed by about thirty minutes. The wait didn’t feel too long and as soon as they opened the gates, the line moved very fast to get in. People started lining up for it right after qualifying ended, but I would recommend getting in line at about 6:30. The line started right at the entrance to the V1 grandstand but it reached all the way down to the first corner, which looked very intimidating! As mentioned, once they opened the gates, all the fans were on the track within 20 minutes so waiting in line really only ensured about a five minute period where there would be less people on track but it didn’t change the wait time necessarily.

Once you get on the track, you’re allowed to walk the main straight and take pictures of the grid positions and really anything in sight. You can also walk down the pitlane which was  such a great experience being able to see into the garages. The cars were all covered and there were a couple teams who had shut their garage doors, but the overall atmosphere was very exciting. If your schedule permits it, I would definitely try and stay for the walk because I felt that it was a very unique and exciting opportunity. 

One thing to keep in mind is when the last shuttle bus leaves. For us it was at 8:45 PM, so we aimed to be in line by 8:30 PM. If we had missed the last shuttle, we would most likely have to walk as there aren’t too many available taxis in the area. A lot of racegoers opted to walk (it took about one hour) as they wanted to stay at the circuit longer, but I definitely wanted to take the shuttle. This is definitely a personal preference but it is something to keep in mind to make sure that you can get the most out of the pit walk!

General Fan Zone

G Stage and Fan Zone at Suzuka
G Stage and Fan Zone at Suzuka

The general Fan Zone and G Stage area of the track is always quite busy but it is where many of the fan activations are located. The G Stage has driver and team personnel appearances all weekend long, so it is definitely worth checking the schedule and planning to see anybody that piques your interest.

F1 drivers will make appearances on the stage on Friday evening and Saturday in the morning and sometimes in the evening. The Japanese crowds are very respectful in comparison to North American crowds. Everyone stays seated for the entirety of the interview and nobody pushes or stands. It was such an enjoyable experience and I, personally, didn’t feel like I needed to get there incredibly early for a good spot. Even if you’re not that close to the stage, you still get a very good view as there is a large screen projected the entire interview.

Throughout the day as there are sessions on track, there will be other special guests making appearances on the stage such as F2 drivers or different personnel for the F1 teams. It was interesting to hear different people speak and learn more about their respective roles. 

In the same area as the G Stage, there were different stands that were either selling merchandise or food and beverages. There was also a poster shop and a simulator area where fans could test their abilities. All of these had ridiculously long lines in between the session, so if you are really hoping to either purchase something, test your skills on the simulator, or get a good spot at the G Stage, I would recommend leaving your seat a couple minutes before a session ends. This goes for the Ferris Wheel as well.

Another thing to note is that bathroom lines are long at almost every point in the day. If you really want to avoid a ridiculously long line, try and go just as the session has started or just before it ends to try and beat the crowds leaving their seats. This is also the rule of thumb for the food vendors as many people will try and get refreshments before a session or right after it.

Everything at the track is basically first come first serve except for the Honda Gallery. I tried going in there but learned that you had to book a reservation time which I didn’t know. If this is something you are hoping to experience, I would recommend checking the website for the availability and for booking a reservation time.

Summary and Tips

  1. If you can, go to the track on Thursday for the pit lane walk and to check out the merch before it sells out!
  2. Stick around after the podium celebration on Sunday as the main straight opens for grandstand ticket holders and the first corner opens up for all other ticket holders.
  3. Make sure you are prepared for the weather! The weather was sunny and then cloudy and then rainy for me on two of the days I went. Even if it looks like it is going to be full sun, I would recommend bringing a light jacket or cardigan just to be safe.
  4. As mentioned, lines are long for everything during the breaks in between sessions! This is somewhat unavoidable but if you can, try and time it right at the start or end of a session.
  5.  If you are looking to spot some drivers, get to the track at around 7:30 AM and wait on the side of the street right before the main gate entrance. Most drivers have to drive that particular road to get to their parking spot, so many fans will make signs and wait along the road to get a glimpse of their favorite driver!
  6. Bring some of your own snacks. There are numerous food options at the circuit but I would recommend grabbing some snacks or drinks at the 7 Eleven just to ensure you have something to fuel you since the days can be quite long. This is helpful if you want to avoid waiting in long food lines as well. 

Want more information about the race directly from other fans? Join the community discussion on the app!

If you are looking to purchase tickets for the 2025 Japanese Grand Prix, check out P1 travel as they have the best seats and prices for all of the grandstands and seating options. If you are trying to figure out a section to purchase tickets in check out our Japanese Grand Prix Seating Guide!

For more information on all things Formula 1, download FanAmp so you don’t miss out on any upcoming events!

Be sure to check out our other Japanese Grand Prix articles to ensure you maximize your trip to Suzuka!

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