Tamagawa Speedway, a1.2-km oval course was inaugurated in May 1936 as the first official automotive race track in Japan. The small oval track outside of Tokyo came 26 years before the world-famous Suzuka Circuit opened. Racing had been gaining popularity in Japan since the mid 1920's but never before had a purpose built track been constructed.
|Soichiro Honda crashes at the inaugural race. via The Tamagawa Speedway Society|
Those early races had the pioneers of the Japanese automotive industry including racing driver and founder of Honda Motor Company, Soichiro Honda, behind the wheel. Nissan and Ota as well as other brands faced off on the tarmac from 1936-1938. But with war looming on the horizon auto racing would be put on hold well into the 1950's in any official capacity.
Today the site is a park near the river, a section of the banked track and the built in grandstands still remain. But while it's time was brief, Tamagawa Speedway was the first of it's kind and a major part of Japanese automotive history.