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In the summer of 2021, the Tokyo Olympics were held without spectators due to COVID-19. However, this edition of the games continues to bring us inspiring stories and courage. You can join a tour of the National Stadium to relive the games until March 2024.
A spectacular view from the observation point
The National Stadium, designed by renowned architect Kengo Kuma, was the main stadium for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics held in the summer of 2021 (postponed due to COVID-19).
The total seating capacity is 68,000. The exterior eaves utilize timber from each of Japan's 47 prefectures, including certified cedarwood and Ryukyu pine from Okinawa.
When entering the facility, you can experience first-hand the charms of one of the largest wooden structures in the world.
Picture courtesy of Japan Sport Council
The National Stadium Tour is a special event that began in April 2022.
During this hands-on tour, participants can get a panoramic view of the stadium from the observation deck. You can even step onto the track lanes where runners competed!
Stepping up to the podium and experiencing the excitement of the Olympics again will definitely become a special memory.
・Reservation Start Date: Begins March 28 (the reservation schedule for the following month is announced in the middle of every month)
・Tour Period: April 1, 2022 - March 31, 2024
・Hours of Operation: 11:00 - 18:00 *changes are possible depending on the period.
・Reservation Site: National Stadium Tour (Japanese)
・Price: Adults 1,400 yen, High School Students and under 800 yen
・Required Time: About 60 minutes
・Access Information: Take the A2 exit at the Kokuritsu-Kyogijo Station (Toei Oedo Line) and walk for about 5 minutes. Enter the stadium through the E Entrance-Gaien Gate.
We recommend reserving your ticket beforehand. However, if there's a seat available at the time of your visit, you can buy a ticket on the spot.
Our writer participated in the tour and will share some of what he saw and experienced.
During this tour, you can stand in one of the lanes where Olympic runners actually sprinted. Participants can enjoy a view that's only visible from this location.
This zone is where players and coaches are interviewed by the media before and after their competitions. It also serves as the area where players wait before entering the stadium grounds.
Special lights—designed by Kengo Kuma and based on the image of an andon, or traditional paper-covered lantern—hang down from the ceiling panels. This area is fittingly known as the ANDON HALL.
These are the changing rooms and waiting area that were initially only open to athletes. The wooden textures create a warm atmosphere.
The room's oval shaped design is unique and attractive. You can also imagine the players that were here and just how nervous they must have been before their match.
Beside this space you'll find the sink area and the other sanitation facilities.
This podium was constructed out of recycled plastic.
Visitors can actually step up to the podium and have a commemorative photo taken!
Here you'll find many selfie stands lined up. Even if you join this tour on your own you'll be able to get a nice picture of yourself taken.
On March 25, 2021, the Olympic torch relay began in Fukushima prefecture. It covered all of Japan's 47 prefectures, and along the way made stops in towns and villages, big and small.
This Olympic torch—carried about here and there throughout Japan—can be seen on display here. When you look at the torch up close, you'll notice the precise and elaborate engraving on its surface. The skills of the artisans who created it are impressive.
This area is actually a driveway that goes around the stadium. Large buses enter here and proceed to drop off and pick up passengers.
The messages and signatures on this wall are courtesy of the track and field athletes after they finished their competitions. Noticeable are the messages of gratitude from athletes who wanted to thank their fans for supporting them.
Can you find a message from one of your country's athletes?
You probably remember the scene where athletes faced the cameras and then signed their name, right? Our writer felt that this was the most interesting experience during this stadium tour.
It takes about 30 seconds to write a message on the camera lens. After the photo is taken, you can use the QR code to download some animation. The whole process will go more smoothly if you decide ahead of time what you're going to write.
The large cauldron standing outside the stadium is the Olympic flame platform from the first Tokyo Olympics, held back in 1964. After the former national stadium was torn down, the cauldron was brought here.
The 2020 Tokyo Olympics featured some of the latest developments in technological innovation. The new Olympic cauldron will also be positioned outside the stadium at a later date. Visitors will be able to take a look at it without having to pay for a stadium admission ticket.
Plans are to run the tour until March 2024. Join this tour and you'll undoubtedly feel that the experience was worth more than the 1,400 yen admission fee.
How about visiting the National Stadium and reliving the excitement of the 2020 Olympics when in Tokyo?