On Saturday night in Japan, a 7.3-magnitude earthquake rocked the coast of the Fukushima Prefecture. The earthquake left over 100 people injured and caused massive infrastructure damage. One of the areas hit hard was the Ebisu Circuit, a beloved circuit for drift fans.
Pictures and videos are circulating around social media showing the incredible damage caused to the complex by the quake. It looks extensive and repairs will most certainly be expensive. Check out this Instagram post by SAMMIT:
The earthquake triggered landslides around the area and almost a million homes are without power. The event came just short of the 10th anniversary of the 2011 9.0-magnitude quake that caused a disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant and took some 18,000 lives. As Reuters reports, the Japan Meteorological Agency said this earthquake was likely an aftershock of the 2011 quake. Thankfully, no deaths have been reported at this time.
Nestled about four hours from Tokyo in mountains, the Ebisu Circuit is not just a singular track, but a complex consisting of seven circuit tracks and two skipads. The damage you see here was caused to the Drift Land circuit.
Ebisu is the brainchild of famed drifter Nobushige Kumakubo. The complex may be known best for drifting, but it’s also home to all sorts of motorsport events from kart racing to open-wheel car racing.
One of the many events hosted by the complex is the Drift Matsuri (festival). Held three times a year, the Drift Matsuri is a massive festival where drifters of all kinds can get their rides sideways for some serious fun. Ebisu even features a drift taxi so you and your two besties can get sideways with an experienced drifter. The complex is combined with the Tōhoku Safari Park, a drive-through safari park with a bunch of exotic animals caged nearby the tracks.
Sadly, this isn’t the first time the Ebisu Circuit has had to dig itself out from an earthquake. The aforementioned 2011 quake left the complex in even worse shape.
Thankfully, it looks like the complex will have a helping hand as drift fans want to help bring the Ebisu back to life. SAMMIT notes that when the time is right, a GoFundMe will be set up by Ebisu’s owners to hopefully help cover the repair costs.
Update 11:57 a.m. Nobushige Kumakubo also issued a statement a couple of days ago:
Ebisu Circuit Co., Ltd. has been affected by the 6.0 magnitude earthquake that struck Fukushima and Miyagi prefectures at 23:08 on 13 February. A large landslide occurred in the circuit, causing the collapse of several racetracks and surrounding facilities. The earthquake has also caused cracks on tarmac of racetracks, rock falls and damage to the circuit’s service roads and facilities. Currently, there is no timetable for recovery. Fortunately, there were no injuries to employees or residents in the area as a result of this disaster.
We would like to take this opportunity to inform all our customers and business partners that we will not be open for business for the foreseeable future and thank all our customers and business partners for their understanding.
In the meantime, we will continue our efforts to prevent secondary disasters, giving top priority to the prevention of human casualties and any inconvenience to others.
We would also like to thank you for all the encouragement and support you have given us since the disaster. We will keep in mind that the Ebisu Circuit is loved by many people and look forward to continuing to build this much-loved circuit.
All information regarding the reopening of the racetrack and other facilities will be announced as soon as it is available.
Nobushige Kumakubo Chief Executive Officer Ebisu Circuit Co., Ltd