Across 9 different prefectures, the upcoming summer olympic games are planned to be held at 42 venues of which 34 venues are in and around Tokyo. For the first time, climbing, karate, skateboarding, and surfing will be contested while baseball and softball will make a comeback after being dropped from the game in London back in 2012. Here’s a rundown of some of the main sites along with some area guides for those who want to plan the trip early.
Tokyo (Heritage and Tokyo Bay Zone)
Most venues are located in and around Tokyo and are divided into two zones: Heritage Zone and Tokyo Bay Zone. Conveniently, most of the Heritage Zone venues are in central Tokyo, in and around the Yamanote Loop Line. The venues are Musashino Forest Plaza, Musashinomori Park, Equestrian Park and 7 other venues in central Tokyo; Olympic Stadium, Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium, Yoyogi National Stadium, Nippon Budokan, Imperial Palace Garden, Tokyo International Forum and Kokugikan Arena. Most of these venues were also used in the ‘64 games. The main venue, Olympic Stadium is located an easy train ride away from notable places like Shinjuku, Shibuya, Harajuku and Roppongi. So not just for those who came to see the games, but also for anyone, the area in this zone is worthy of exploring.
Olympic Stadium (main venue)
And the other, Tokyo Bay Zone venues are centered in Odaiba, an artificial island in Tokyo Bay. There will be International Broadcast Center and Main Press Center along with Makuhari Messe Hall (Chiba), Oi Hockey Stadium and 13 other venues in Odaiba; Ariake Urban Sports Park, Ariake Tennis Park, Odaiba Marine Park, Shiokaze Park, Yumenoshima Archery Field, Sea Forest Cross Country Course, Sea Forest Waterway, Kasai Canoe Slalom Center, Tokyo Aquatics Center, Tatsumi Water Polo Center, Aomi Urban Sports Park, and Odaiba Marine Park. The Olympic Village will be located at the intersection of the two zones. Since Odaiba is the easiest bay area that can be easily accessed in Tokyo and has a resort-like atmosphere from shopping malls to museums to theaters to even the iconic statue of Gundam, anyone can easily spend a day on this artificial island.
Odaiba and the iconic Statue of Liberty
- Olympic Stadium (Shin National Arena)
- Tokyo Shinjuku-ku
Due to the high summer temperatures in Tokyo, the venue for the marathon has changed and will take place in Sapporo. It has not been announced officially, but many media sources predict that the route of the marathon could follow the same as the Hokkaido Marathon which starts and finishes in Sapporo Odori Park.
Odori Park seen from Sapporo TV Tower
- Odori Park
- Hokkaido Sapporoshi Chuou-ku Odorinishi 1 from 12-chome
Sitting on the Pacific coast of the southern Tohoku Region, Miyagi Prefecture is famous for its natural beauty and unbeatable natural hot springs. It’s also home to Matsushima Bay which was selected as one of the nation’s three most incredible natural views. In such a beautiful prefecture sits the Miyagi Stadium, which is planned to host football matches for the Olympics just like they did for the 2002 FIFA World Cup and the 2012 FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup.
Fukushima is the third largest prefecture in Japan, yet remains one of the least densely populated. Throughout all four seasons, there are a number of scenic spots that draw travelers from all over Japan and the world including the awe-inspiring spots of Bandai-Azuma Skyline, Bentenyama, and Hanamiyama. Located just outisde Fukushima City, Fukushima Azuma Baseball Stadium is planned to host both baseball and softball matches for the upcoming Olympics.
Tsukuba is perhaps the city with which Tokyoites are most familiar, especially since the Tsukuba Express Train which opened in 2005 cuts travel time from Akihabara to Tsukuba to just under an hour. Many also make the trip out to the city to hike Mount Tsukuba. However, Mito, the prefectural capital, has a distinctly different vibe with home to many historical and culture destinations, ranging from one of Japan’s finest old gardens at Kairakuen, Tokiwa Shrine, the ruins of Mito Castle, and Tokugawa Museum to the stunning Art Tower Mito and Ibaraki’s Museum of Modern Art. In such a prefecture with different faces, a stadium, Ibaraki Kashima Stadium is planned to host football matches for the olympics.
Often undermined as ‘that area east of Tokyo,’ Chiba is actually an underrated tourism gold mine; with beautiful beaches, fresh seafood, stunning scenery, history, culture aside from Tokyo Disneyland and Disneysea. The peninsula is surrounded by the Pacific Ocean to the east and Tokyo Bay and Uraga Channel to the west, filled with beaches that attracts many locals and tourists during the summer. It is no surprise that the water activities are a big part of the entertainment options and is a great place to hold surfing tournaments for Olympics. Tsurigasaki Surfing Beach which boasts world class waves has been chosen as one of the venues for Olympics and will host surfing tournaments.
Basketball, football, golf and shooting will be held across Saitama prefecture at 4 different venues, respectively from Saitama Super Arena, Saitama Stadium, Kasumigaseki Country Club and Asaka Shooting Range. Saitama prefecture is a most accessible destination for day trips from Tokyo, whether it be taking a stroll to historic towns in Kawagoe (Little Edo) or rafting in Nagatoro or other for a quick escape from the urban grind.
Saitama Stadium Drone Shot
Much more than just the international port city of Yokohama, Kanagawa is a prefecture located just underneath Tokyo with a diverse landscape from onsen (hot spring) in Hakone to temples and shrines in Kamakura with an iconic huge Buddha statue and beaches as the prefecture sits on the coastline. In such a prefecture, football, baseball, softball and sailing is planned to be held across the prefecture at 3 different venues, respectively from International Stadium Yokohama, Yokohama Baseball Stadium and Enoshima Yacht Harbor.
Yokohama Baseball Stadium
Japan is internationally known for its tea consumption but of all, green tea is the staple in all manner of sweet and savoury Japanese food and drink. Since 1241, approximately 40% of Japan’s green tea has been produced in Shizuoka. Thanks to Shizuoka’s mild climate and the evenness of its plateaus, its tea plantations thrived, resulting in continually large yields of rich tea leaves with a distinct local flavour. In the kingdom of teas, 3 venues have been chosen to host the Olympic games. The indoor facility, Izu Velodrome, an outdoor facility, Izu MTB course and Fuji International Speedway will host cycling competition (Track Race and Mountain Bike).