Everything you need to know about the Tokyo Olympics
As you know, the momentous Olympic Games takes place every 4 years. First held in Olympia, Greece, the next edition will happen next year in 2020. Preparations are in full swing and Tokyo is all but getting ready for this grand event.
Yet, as a traveller, what can you do if you wish to be part of this highly televised international sporting competition? Fret not, this guide will help answer any questions you might have.
1. About 2020 Olympic Games
It's 2020 - and also the start of the 32nd edition of the Olympic Games. The Olympic torch will be ignited on 24 July (Friday) and the closing ceremony will take place on 9 August (Sunday).
No fewer than 10,500 talented athletes will compete for 962 Olympic medals (wow). Competition is fierce, with 204 countries taking part in the Games in 33 different sports.
The event schedule has been released to the public and naturally, people have already started to book their tickets. In Japan, ticket sales first started in April 2019.
The Olympic flame
The one thing that cannot be absent during the Games - the Olympic flame.
Did you know? The Olympic flame is first ignited in Olympia, near the temple of Hera - signalling the start of the Olympic Torch Relay. The flame is then transported to the host country where the Torch Relay continues. Representing the Olympic ideals of peace, unity and friendship, the flame is a global symbol of the Olympics.
In 2020, the Olympic flame will first arrive in Fukushima and travel to all of Japan's 47 prefectures - before arriving at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo.
2. Where should I go for each sport?
Tokyo is huge, so it is indeed handy to know where you need to be for each sport. Most sports will take place in the heart of Tokyo at both the Heritage Zone (central Tokyo) and Tokyo Bay Zone (islands of Odaiba and Tatsumi).
In the Heritage Zone, you will be at the sporting venues for sports like Gymnastics, Weightlifting, Athleticsng and Equestrian. Travel a little down south and you will reach the Tokyo Bay Zone which will host sports like Canoe, EquestrianHockey, Fencing and Aquatics.
However, for Baseball/ Softball and Football, fans will have to travel out of Tokyo to either Yokohama, Fukushima, Sapporo or Sendai.
Tip: For the full list of sporting venues, do check out the 2020 Tokyo Olympics official page here.
3. Where's the best location to stay?
We want to be as close to the Olympic arenas as possible. Here, the early bird catches the worm as most hotels will fill up fairly quickly. Sadly, you might not find a place in Tokyo anymore but the cities around Tokyo are a good second option as well.
A good example will be Yokohoma - a beautiful city that is certainly worth a visit. The express train will take you to the heart of Tokyo in 15 minutes. Travel a little further and you will reach the city of Kawasaki, full of beautiful hotels. The distance is 25 minutes by express train to the centre of Tokyo.
Hotels in Tokyo
As mentioned, most hotels will likely be fully booked for the dates leading up and during the Tokyo Olympics. However, to those who like to hold on to that ray of hope, here are some of the best hotels to stay at during the Games:
Hostels & capsule hotels
The next affordable option will be to stay at either hostels or capsule hotels that similarly provide tourists with a nice comfy room to return to at the end of the day.
Tip: The Olympic Games' venues are located in the Heritage Zone (central Tokyo) and Tokyo Bay Zone (islands of Odaiba and Tatsumi). Hence, some favoured spots to stay for the Olympics are Tokyo Station, Roppongi, Akasaka, Shinjuku, Ginza and Shibuya.
4. Roaming in Tokyo
Tokyo is one of the top holiday destinations and naturally, the best way to get there will be taking a flight out. Book with Vayama.ie and we guarantee our best deals for you!
What time is it? Summer time!
During the months July and August, Tokyo's summer season will just be hot and humid, with temperatures from 24 - 31 degrees. It will also be their rainy season starting from end July, so do remember your sunscreen and umbrellas while travelling from one Olympic venue to the other.
After spending plenty on your Olympic passes, why not try and save a couple of bucks with our edition of 5 budget travel tips to Japan?
5. What's there besides Tokyo?
Even though the bulk of the Games will take place in Tokyo, other cities in Japan will host this historic event as well. So, if you are a number 1 fan of either Baseball/ Softball or Football, do consider travelling to these other cities to get a slice of the action too:
Yokohama is Japan's 2nd largest city and is easily accessible from Tokyo onboard many Japan Rail (JR) Lines from as low as $3.40 (¥270). You can also make your way there directly from both Narita International Airport and Haneda International Airport.
Yokohama will also be the home for baseball/ softball fans as the sport will be played at Yokohama Baseball Stadium.
Tip: Check out the Yokohama official visitors' guide for ideas and route suggestions.
Although not a major tourist attraction, Fukushima offers visitors natural attractions like hot springs, hiking trails and cherry blossom viewing spots. Despite the unfortunate Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in 2012, the city is now perfectly safe to visit for you to treat yourself to that wonderful onsen experience.
Similarly, Fukushima will also host baseball/ softball games at the Fukushima Azuma Baseball Stadium.
Sapporo is the capital of Hokkaido and is Japan's popular winter holiday destination with multiple ski locations. However, come summer 2020, this city will play host to some of the Olympic's football matches at the Sapporo Dome.
Tip: Hokkaido is known for its many lavender fields that come to bloom during the month of July so why not take some Instagram worthy shots while you are there too?
A city in the Tohoku region, Sendai is accessible from Tokyo via the JR Tohoku Shinkansen (bullet train) and can be used on multiple JR Passes. Nicknamed 'the City of Trees', escape from the hustle and bustle and head on to this green city.
During the Games, some football matches will be held at the Hitomebore Stadium Miyagi.
Ready to go on vacation? Plan your trip to Tokyo now to experience it yourself.
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