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Guide to the Tokyo, Japan 2021 Olympics

Tokyo Japan Olympics

What an exciting 17 days of competition the Olympics will be! Planning your trip can take a while, but it’s all worth it to see top athletes competing at the top of their profession.

The location of the Games this year is magical, as there’s so much to see and do in the Land of the Rising Sun. Take your time to soak up the culture, the food and the ambiance, as well as watch some of the best sporting events in the world.

We hope that the following information will get you excited to visit Japan for the Games! To enter the country, check our page about Japan’s e-Visa.

So, in brief, welcome to the Japan Olympics 2021 or, as they say there, ‘Nihon orinpikku e yōkoso’! Here are some important questions about the Games answered in our guide.

How to Get Tokyo Olympics Tickets

If you are fortunate enough to be based in Japan, or have friends or relatives living there, you can purchase tickets through a range of stores and official agencies. If you live abroad, keep an eye out online on a regular basis, as tickets have not yet been released at the time of writing. You can also purchase them from appointed resellers in your country.

Other than those allotted to official sponsors, Tokyo 2021 tickets will be sold on a first come, first served basis. A list of authorised ticket agencies for your location can be found here. This list will be updated regularly and not all resellers have yet been appointed. That said, be prepared for agency fees of up to 20%.

How Much Do Tokyo 2021 Olympics Tickets Cost?

Currently, ticket sales are under review and have been temporarily suspended. The cost of tickets when first sold and now refunded had a low price of 800 JPY (approximately 44 USD, according to the TOOC, the Tokyo Olympics Organising Committee).

Tickets for the opening ceremony will range from 15,000 JPY to 300,000 JPY (about 220 USD to 2,680 USD). Average ticket prices for around half of the events will cost from 2,500 JPY to 130,000 JPY (about 60 USD to 1160 USD).

The remaining half of the tickets will cost less than 8,000 JPY (about 44 USD). Obviously, you get what you pay for! A postal lottery is also being considered to assign tickets.

Can I Get Tickets for the Opening Ceremony?

This may be a challenge, but it’s definitely possible. Once again, you must refer to your local country’s authorised resellers. Some resellers are offering priority access passes which you purchase in advance of the tickets going on sale.

This can be costly, as priority passes cost around 275 USD (depending on the exchange rate) per person. That said, they will give you a better chance of being able to get tickets for the opening and closing ceremonies, as well as other benefits.

If you like the idea of this, you can find information on your home nation’s Olympics website. If you purchase a pass and don’t travel, you will be given a full refund.

How Do I Get Baseball Tickets for the Olympics in Japan?

Baseball/softball tickets are mainly allotted to the countries that will be participating in this new addition to the games, along with the other new sports – karate, skateboarding, sport climbing and surfing. You have a better chance if you buy a packaged trip via a reseller.

Reminder of the Tokyo Summer Olympic Dates

The Tokyo Summer Olympics begin on Friday 23rd July and finish on Sunday 8th August 2021, lasting a total of 17 days, including the opening and closing ceremonies. However, football and softball commence on Wednesday 21st July, so prepare your trip accordingly.

Is There a Schedule Yet for the Japan Summer Olympics?

The Japan Summer Olympics schedule has been published, although there may still be some small amendments if there are any unforeseen circumstances. Below is the schedule as it currently is.

If you buy a package from a tour operator, they will keep you informed of any changes. If you buy tickets only (rather than a package), the tickets will be valid for entry. It is not expected for these dates to change.

Full Tokyo Olympics Schedule for 2021

Sport Discipline Dates
Aquatics Swimming July 24th (Saturday) – August 1st (Sunday)
Diving July 25th (Sunday) – 28th (Wednesday), July 30th (Friday) – August 7th (Saturday)
Artistic Swimming August 2nd (Monday) – 4th (Wednesday), 6th (Friday) – 7th (Saturday)
Water Polo July 24th (Saturday) – August 8th (Sunday)
Marathon Swimming August 4th (Wednesday) – 5th (Thursday)
Archery   July 23nd (Friday) – 31st (Saturday)
Athletics Track & Field / Marathon July 30th (Friday) – August 8th (Sunday)
Race Walk July 30th (Friday), August 6th (Friday) – 7th (Saturday)
Badminton   July 24th (Saturday) – August 2nd (Monday)
Baseball/Softball Baseball July 28th (Wednesday) – August 5th (Thursday), August 7th (Saturday)
Softball July 21st (Wednesday) – 22nd (Tuesday), 24th (Saturday) – 27th (Tuesday)
Basketball 3×3 Basketball July 24th (Saturday) – 28th (Wednesday)
Basketball July 25th (Sunday) – August 8th (Sunday)
Boxing *   July 24th (Saturday) – August 1st (Sunday), August 3rd (Tuesday) – 8th (Sunday)
Canoe Slalom July 25th (Sunday) – 30th (Friday)
Sprint August 2nd (Monday) – 7th (Saturday)
Cycling BMX Freestyle July 31st (Saturday) – August 1st (Sunday)
BMX Racing July 29th (Thursday) – 30th (Friday)
Mountain Bike July 26th (Monday) – 29th (Thursday)
Road July 26th (Monday) – 27th (Tuesday), 28th (Wednesday)
Track August 2nd (Monday) – 8th (Sunday)
Equestrian Dressage July 24th (Saturday) – 25th (Sunday), 27th (Tuesday) – 28th (Wednesday)
Eventing July 30th (Friday) – August 2nd (Monday)
Jumping August 3rd (Tuesday), 4th (Wednesday), 6th (Friday) – 7th (Saturday)
Fencing   July 24th (Saturday) – August 1st (Sunday)
Football   July 21st (Wednesday) – 22nd (Thursday), 24th (Saturday) – 25th (Sunday), 27th (Tuesday) – 28th (Wednesday), 30th (Friday) – 31st (Saturday), August 2nd (Monday) – 3rd (Tuesday), 5th (Thursday) – 7th (Saturday)
Golf   July 29th (Thursday) – August 1st (Sunday), 4th (Wednesday) – 7th (Saturday)
Gymnastics Artistic July 24th (Saturday) – 29th (Thursday), August 1st (Sunday) – 3rd (Tuesday)
Rhythmic August 6th (Friday) – 8th (Sunday)
Trampoline July 30th (Friday) – 31st (Saturday)
Handball   July 24th (Saturday) – August 8th (Sunday)
Hockey   July 24th (Saturday) – August 6th (Friday)
Judo   July 24th (Saturday) – 31st (Saturday)
Karate Kata, Kumite August 5th (Thursday) – August 7th (Saturday)
Modern Pentathlon   August 5th (Thursday) – August 7th (Saturday)
Rowing   July 23rd (Friday) – 30th (Friday)
Rugby   July 26th (Monday) – 31st (Saturday)
Sailing   July 25th (Sunday) – August 4th (Wednesday)
Shooting Rifle and Pistol July 24th (Saturday) – 25th (Sunday), 27th (Tuesday), July 29th (Thursday) – August 2nd (Monday)
Shotgun July 25th (Sunday) – 26th (Monday), 28th (Wednesday) – 29th (Thursday), 31st (Saturday)
Skateboarding Park August 4th (Wednesday) – 5th (Thursday)
  Street July 25th (Sunday) – 26th (Monday)
Sport Climbing   August 3rd (Tuesday) – 6th (Friday)
Surfing   July 25th (Sunday) – August 1st (Sunday)
Table Tennis   July 24th (Saturday) – 30th (Friday), August 1st (Sunday) – 6th (Friday)
Taekwondo   July 24th (Saturday) – 27th (Tuesday)
Tennis   July 24th (Saturday) – August 1st (Sunday)
Triathlon   July 26th (Monday) – 27th (Tuesday), 31st (Saturday)
Volleyball Beach Volleyball July 24th (Saturday) – August 7th (Saturday)
Volleyball July 24th (Saturday) – August 8th (Sunday)

List of Tokyo 2021 Olympic Venues and Relevant Sports

Most of the Japan 2021 Olympics are held in and around Tokyo, but the ones involving water or distance events are held in other cities, such as Yokohama, Sapporo and Saitama. Excellent rail connections within Japan make this as convenient as possible.

There are 2 main zones for the Games – The Heritage Zone and The Tokyo Bay Zone. The Tokyo Bay Zone is mainly newly innovated and somewhat more about the future of Japan and sport.

Even though the venues have been wonderfully designed as a destination for the Olympics, some of the venues can be quite far apart, even those in Tokyo itself. If you want to use rail for your connections, information is available online. Buying a Japan Rail Pass is an excellent idea, and more economical than buying separate rail tickets every time you travel.

Here is the full list of venues and their events:

Olympic Stadium  Opening/Closing Ceremonies, Athletics, Football
Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium Table Tennis
Yoyogi National Stadium Handball
Nippon Budokan Judo, Karate
Imperial Palace Garden Athletics (Race Walk)
Tokyo International Forum Weightlifting
Kokugikan Arena Boxing
Equestrian Park Dressage, Eventing, Jumping
Musashino Forest Sport Plaza Badminton, Modern Pentathlon (Fencing)
Tokyo Stadium Football, Rugby
Modern Pentathlon Swimming, Fencing, Riding, Laser Run
Musashinonomori Park Cycling (Road Race)
Ariake Arena Volleyball
Ariake Gymnastics Centre Gymnastics
Ariake Urban Sports Park Cycling (BMX Freestyle, BMX Racing), Skateboarding
Ariake Tennis Park Tennis
Odaiba Marine Park Aquatics (Marathon Swimming), Triathlon
Shiokaze Park  Beach Volleyball
Aomi Urban Sports Park 3×3 Basketball, Sport Climbing
Oi Hockey Stadium Hockey
Sea Forest Cross Country Equestrian (Eventing, Cross Country)
Sea Forest Waterway Canoe (Sprint), Rowing
Kasai Canoe Slalom Centre Canoe (Slalom)
Yumenoshima Park Archery
Tokyo Aquatics Centre Aquatics (Swimming, Diving, Artistic Swimming)
Tatsumi Water Polo Centre Aquatics (Water Polo)
Makuhari Messe Hall A Taekwondo, Wrestling
Makuhari Messe Hall B Fencing
Tsurigasaki Surfing Beach Surfing
Saitama Super Arena Basketball
Asaka Shooting Range Shooting
Kasumigaseki Country Club Golf
Enoshima Yacht Harbour Sailing
Izu Velodrome Cycling (Track)
Izu MTB Course Cycling (Mountain Bike)
Fuji International Speedway Road Cycling (Road Race: Finish, Ind. Time Trial)
Fukushima Azuma Stadium Baseball/Softball
Yokohama Baseball Stadium Baseball/Softball
Sapporo Dome Football
Miyagi Stadium Football
Ibaraki Kashima Stadium Football
Saitama Stadium Football
International Stadium Yokohama Football

Are There Any Plans for Winter Olympics in Japan?

Winter Olympics are held 2 years after the Summer games, so the next ones will be in 2022 (even though the 2020 Japan Olympics were delayed). They are due to be held in Beijing, China.

How to Volunteer at the Japan Olympics

You can volunteer, but places are taken up quickly by dual-language locals. In order to volunteer at the Tokyo Olympics, you need to apply online on the official site. Be aware that volunteering is both for the 17 days event, plus several days prior and potentially after.

Working as a volunteer at the Japan Olympics will be both an exciting and culturally rewarding experience. Please note that you do not get paid any salary, nor is your accommodation free. Meals are only offered on the days that you work. Around 80,000 volunteers will be required in various positions.

How Much Will It Cost to Spend 2 Weeks in the Country for the Tokyo Olympics?

This depends on many different factors, such as:

  • Whether you buy a package or not.
  • The level of accommodation you are prepared to stay in.
  • What events you want to see.
  • If you want to attend the Opening and Closing Ceremonies.
  • The travel between the destination venues within Japan.

Flights are already busy for the Olympic dates, particularly on direct services such as British Airways and Japan Airlines. As such, if you have secured tickets to the Games, finding an economical flight may involve a stopover at another city en route.

Realistically, you are likely to spend a minimum of 4,000 USD to be in Japan for the 2 weeks of the Olympics. The average cost of a trip including flights, accommodation and rail travel passes ranges around 6,000 USD, although you can save money by booking budget hotels and eating in. Some packages including tickets can be as much as 60,000 USD – but what an experience!

Remember that you have to eat and keep hydrated as well. Unless you intend to eat from street stalls all the time, food in Japan can be expensive, as are beverages. You can cut your costs by purchasing food and drink from your local supermarket while you’re there.


So far we’ve given you the key information about this amazing sports event. Read on to learn the answers to some frequently asked questions!

What Is the Tokyo 2021 Official Olympics Mascot?

‘Miraitowa’ is the name of this athletic character! It is named after two Japanese words ‘mirai’ meaning ‘future’ and ‘towa’ translated as ‘eternity’. It is a really cute action mascot! Meanwhile, Dragon Ball Z’s ‘Goku’ is the official ambassador of the Games!

What’s Super Mario Doing at the Olympics?

Sad to say that Mario will not be appearing in his normal capacity, but there may be some lookalikes showing respect to the former Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, who has stepped down due to ill health. Sad, as Mario was a major hit at the Rio Olympics in 2016!

Will Pokemon Appear at the Japan Olympics?

It is not confirmed that Pokemon will make an appearance at the Games, but rumour has it that some of the Pokemon characters may well be in the closing ceremony. The Games’ organisers feel that other franchises are offering more popular characters.

What Is the Japan Olympics Logo?

The logo has a geometric design and caused some controversy when it was chosen, as the designer was accused of plagiarism. It is also the logo of the Japan Paralympics, but with a slightly different geometric format.

About the New Tokyo Olympic Stadium

The National Stadium of Tokyo was first built in 1964 and is now being reconstructed for the Japan 2021 Olympic Games. It is a quick 1-minute walk from Sendagaya Station (Tokyo Taiikukan) or the Hachiko Bus Jinguno Mori Route from Shibuya Station.

The building will be used for sporting and cultural events after the Olympic games. The stadium has now officially been renamed the National Stadium. Japan is now undergoing a complete resurgence in terms of cultural and sporting events, hence there’s so much development work to prepare for hosting the Games. Depending on which sport is played there, the National Stadium can facilitate up to 80,000 spectators!

Where Can I Watch the Olympics for Free Online?

You can watch for free using the Olympic Channel. This is a subscription-free online service. Some content may not be available in certain areas, so before you set your heart on it, check that the event you want to watch will be available.

How Many Times Has Japan Hosted the Olympics?

Japan has hosted the Summer version twice and the Winter Olympics twice. The last time Japan hosted the Summer Olympics was in 1964 in Tokyo. Winter Games were hosted in Sapporo in 1972 and Nagan in 1998.

How Many Visitors Is Japan Expecting During the Olympic Games?

A resounding 10 million people are expected to attend the Games. With typical Japanese efficiency, every effort will be made to make transport around the cities as stress-free as possible. However, tourist authorities do warn that this influx to the major Olympic venues may cause a bottleneck in popular places before, during and after the Games.

How Is Japan Improving English for the Olympics?

English is taught to children from primary school age, usually 8-9 years old. The subject will be compulsory for at least 7 years to increase the number of English speakers within Japan.

Also, Japan will open an “English Village” for students, boosting the number of English speakers volunteering for the Olympics. It is now believed that Japan will provide several interpreters, including health and medical translators during the Olympics.

How Will the Olympics Change Japan?

Japan’s slogan for this Olympics is ‘be better together, for the planet and the people.’

The country is also looking to make the Olympics 100% recycling-friendly and to contribute to sustainability for years to come. They will be using recycled materials to create the Olympic and Paralympic medals as well as many other plans to encourage sustainability.

The Olympics games are also estimated to generate 150,000 jobs and to be worth 37.9 USD billion to the Japanese economy.

We hope that with all this information in mind you’re now excited to visit Japan for the Games. If you’re interested in visiting this country for longer, check out our articles about Teaching English in Japan and the Cost of Living in Japan too!

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