Tokyo 2020 will proudly play host to over 15,000 athletes from 205 nations, with hundreds of thousands of spectators expected to touch down in Tokyo. If you’re thinking of visiting Japan next year, you couldn’t ask for a better reason to go.
- Olympic games begin Friday 24th July (opening ceremony) and end Sunday 9th August
- Paralympic games begin Tuesday 25th August and end Sunday 6th September
- Most innovative, inclusive, inspiring games yet
- 33 Olympic sports and 22 Paralympic sports held over 43 venues across Japan
- 7 sports making debut/return
- Events to be held in two different ‘zones’ in Tokyo
- A number of venues hosting events outside of Tokyo
- Games to be held at the height of summer
- Venues and cities effortlessly connected via public transport
An historical event
The 2020 games mark a momentous moment in Olympic history, having been held here over fifty years ago in 1964. In addition, Tokyo will be the first city to host the Paralympic Games twice. It’s something the country takes great pride in, with continued efforts to be more inclusive of those with disabilities.
Many of the venues used in the 1964 Tokyo games will be ‘upcycled’ next year as legacy venues. The flagship Olympic Stadium, for instance, will be brand new but will sit on the same ground as the original 1964 venue.
The first city to host a second Paralympics
Commencing shortly after the Olympic Games, the 12 days of action-packed sporting events will see over 4,000 athletes compete in the biggest Paralympics yet. The first city to host the Paralympics for a second time, it’s aiming to use this opportunity to create an urban environment that is accessible to everyone and set an example for all future endeavours.
The Paralympic events will be held in many of the same venues as the Olympic events. Travelling between them will be slightly easier, however, as the only sports that will take place in venues outside of the two main Heritage and Tokyo Bay zones are shooting and cycling. The shooting events will be hosted in the Asaka Shooting Range, while track cyclists will compete in the Izu Velodrome (Shizuoka).
7 new sports
In addition to the 33 Olympic sports on the roster, there will be five events making their debut or return to the games:
- Baseball (men)/softball (women)
- Sport climbing
The Paralympics will also see two new sports added to its roster — taekwondo and badminton.
Venues for ‘infinite excitement’
The majority of the events are located in one of two different themed “zones”; the Heritage Zone and the Tokyo Bay Zone.
Many of the iconic Olympic locations from the 1964 Games lie within the inner-city Heritage Zone. The Olympic Stadium is in this zone and the venue will host the opening and closing ceremonies as well as the athletics events. Also in the Heritage Zone are the multi-purpose Tokyo Stadium, which will host a range of events including rugby and modern pentathlon, as well as the Kokugikan Arena, a venue usually for sumo wrestling, but repurposed for boxing.
The second zone is the Tokyo Bay Zone, which will consist of mostly new venues including the Olympic BMX Course and Aomi Urban Sports Venue.
The layout of the two zones is intended to resemble an infinity symbol, with the Olympic Village located where they intersect.
In addition to the two main zones, there are a number of outlying venues that will host Olympic events. The furthest are Sendai’s Miyagi Stadium, Fukushima’s Azuma Baseball Stadium and Hokkaido’s massive Sapporo Dome, which will host some baseball, softball and soccer matches. Spectators of the newly-added Olympic surfing events will also have to travel a little outside Tokyo to the beautiful Tsurigasaki Beach in Chiba Prefecture.
Although far, these events allow you to explore parts of Japan many spectators won’t.
Travel between venues and the two distinct zones is an effortless exercise thanks to the country’s extremely convenient subway, bus and train networks. To avoid having to buy tickets every time you hop on, consider getting a prepaid IC card. You can purchase these at almost any station.
For long distance travel, shinkansen (the bullet train) is the way to go, but can be expensive. The Japan Rail Pass (also known as the JR Pass) can be a great money saver. It gives overseas tourists unlimited travel on Japan Rail trains for seven, 14 or 21 consecutive days (except for the fastest Nozomi or Mizuho shinkansen trains).
Fun under the sun
The games will be lit with plenty of sun, with high temperatures forecast for the entire length of both games. Don’t forget to slip, slop, slap!
Staying in any of Tokyo’s inner suburbs —Asakusa, Shibuya, Ginza — will give you easy access to the venues as well as everything you plan to enjoy between events.
Tokyo has a wide variety of great hotels, from traditional Japanese-style inns (ryokan) to more luxury hotels. Capsule hotels or hostels are also a great budget option for singles or couples who aren’t staying for a long period of time. Airbnb is also a popular option among visitors, often offering better value-for-money accommodation than hotels. (However, it is worth mentioning is that recent government regulations have reduced the amount of Airbnb listings.)
The key to getting your ideal accommodation is booking early!
You can purchase tickets for the Olympic Games via CoSport.
Tickets for the Paralympics can be purchased via Kingdom Sports Group.
If you miss out on getting the tickets you want, you can still catch an event for free. Certain sections of the marathon, road cycling and triathlon present perfect vantage points. What’s more, ‘live sites’ will be scattered across the city, offering spectators without tickets the chance to watch the Games live on the big screen.
World-class sport and a world-class travel destination? Plan your Olympic Games trip of a lifetime today!