The world of sports travels to Tokyo, Japan for the 2020 Summer Olympics and Paralympics Games. An estimated 600,000 overseas visitors are expected to visit its shores, that’s a lot of planning right there. If you want to experience this momentous event…we have your ultimate go-to guide for planning. Here is what you need to know about the upcoming Japan Olympics 2020:
The Basics: Olympics 101
When are the games?
Opening ceremony will take place in Tokyo on 24 July. Preliminary softball and soccer matches start on 22 July till 9 August. After a two-week break, the Paralympics will kickstart on 25 August – 6 September.
Where are the games held?
The Games will take place across a series of locations in two parts of Tokyo namely The Heritage Zone using revamped buildings from the 1964 Olympics and Tokyo Bay Zone serving as a “model for innovative urban development”.
What are the new sporting games?
This year’s Olympics will see 6 new sporting events, to the existing 33 ones. The new ones are Skateboarding, “sports climbing”, surfing, baseball and softball, and karate. Sporting events are aimed at increasing gender equality as well.
How can I get Olympic tickets? Is it too late?
About 30% of an estimated 7.8 million tickets have been allotted for overseas visitors. Unfortunately, all available tickets are now sold out. Although more rounds of ticketing are likely to take place before the Games. Get updates here.
The Olympics organizing committee is said to also host an online resale beginning in spring. These tickets are available for foreign visitors and Japanese residents.
What happens if I can’t get any tickets?
If you are unable to get hold of tickets does not mean totally missing out on the Olympics. The organizing committee has approved 30 “Live Site” venues that will be telecast the Games in real time.
A controversy broke out after the first round of tickets went on sale in Japan. The issue was revolving terms and conditions of ticket purchases; the transfer of intellectual property rights of photos taken by attendees at the Olympic events.
So, the organizers will have rights to my photos? Essentially, yes, as they are claiming copyright over photos taken by ticket holders, but it does not prevent one from posting on their social media. Contrastingly, audio or video clips by spectators will not be allowed for posting on social media. Organizers will be working closely with social media networks to keep a close watch for any breaches.
Where should I stay?
As you probably know, accommodation will be full due to such a momentous event taking place in the country. This also means that prices will spike to such a great demand. We recommend trying out some “capsule” hotels, they’re simple, relatively affordable, and fuss-free.
Alternatively, there’s Airbnb but it’s selling quickly. Do note however, the rates are different. If you’re going in a group, and you guys are hoping to all bunk in, you may need to have other options. Japan hotels charge on a per-person, per-night rate, not just the room.
What are my last resorts?
There are 24-hour internet cafes that come with cheap, comfortable, albeit tight accommodation. You can walk-in and enquire about the rates and they do offer overnight charges for unplanned stays.
Japan also has a huge variety of “love hotels” that are a little more expensive but are safer and more comfortable than the internet cafes. They have “rest” rates which are about 2-3 hours and “stay” rates for overnight.
How should I commute daily?
The subway and metro system in Japan are efficient. You can explore Tokyo by train with its variety of train lines that cover many attractions. We recommend getting yourself an IC card upon arrival. IC card is a pre-paid smart cards that act as debit cards, thefore payment is seamless for public transportation and small retail purchases. Check out Suica Card or Pasmo Card.
Okay, trains. What times do they operate?
Most subway systems in Japan start around 0500 hours and the last train departs around midnight. Services are less frequent on weekends and public holidays.
Any tips for a smooth ride?
Avoid rush hour or busy periods, if possible. Public transport staff known as ‘pushers’ are responsible for fitting everyone on board carriages to decongest busy platforms. If you’re travelling with a group of girls, do note that some train lines have women-only carriages especially during the rush hour which is normally from 0700-0900 hours.
A handy resource is the Tokyo Subway Navigation free app. It provides information on the Tokyo Subway network, available in English. Although you can make use of Google Maps, do take note that it will be intense on your mobile data.
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