Calligraphy

Relive the Olympics with a tour of the National Stadiums

A new tour gives visitors unprecedented access to Japan’s new National Stadium in Shinjuku, which hosted the world’s top athletes for the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.

View of an athlete at the main Olympic and Paralympic venue

Visitors wishing to relive the thrill of Tokyo 2020 can book a place on a tour of Japan’s new National Stadium, the main venue for the Tokyo Summer Olympics and Paralympics. The tour takes participants to the observation deck on the fourth level of the stadium, which offers a view of the entire venue, and also offers a taste of what it’s like to be an athlete with access to the pitch, track and even locker rooms and interview areas – normally off-limits to members of the public. Other stops on the tour include a display of torches used to carry the Olympic flame, medal podiums, and a wall with autographs of Olympians.

The view from the observation deck on level four of the stadium.

Participants can have their picture taken with hurdles and starting blocks on the athletics track.
Participants can have their picture taken with hurdles and starting blocks on the athletics track.

Podiums and torches are displayed in the interview area as you approach the pitch.
Podiums and torches are displayed in the interview area as you approach the pitch.

A member of the stadium’s publicity team pointed out that with the COVID-19 pandemic forcing the Olympic and Paralympic Games to be held without spectators, only a limited number of people have been able to see inside the stadium so far. “We want people to take this opportunity to see the stands and inside the stadium, and imagine the thrill of being an athlete at the games.”

Tours take place several times a day, with the exception of days when sports competitions or other events are scheduled, and reservations can be booked online. Up to 100 people can participate in each 30-minute session, with the total daily capacity set at around 1,000 people. Visits will take place until the end of March 2024.

Currently, bookings are only open to individuals, but there are plans to expand visits to larger groups, including schools. The tours are expected to be popular with overseas visitors once COVID-19 restrictions on inbound tourism are eased. A public relations officer said that “many people around the world were disappointed that they could not attend the games. We hope foreign visitors will take the opportunity to visit and enjoy the Japanese feel of the stadium with its extensive use of wood.

Visitors can feel the texture of the running track for themselves, which was made by Mondo of Italy.
Visitors can feel the texture of the running track for themselves, which was made by Mondo of Italy.

A wall bearing around 300 autographs, including those of Japanese star sprinters Kiryū Yoshihide and Tada Shūhei.
A wall bearing around 300 autographs, including those of Japanese star sprinters Kiryū Yoshihide and Tada Shūhei.

Visits to the new national stadium

  • Official website (Japanese only): https://kokuritu-tours.jp/
  • Address: 10-1 Kasumigaoka, Shinjuku, Tokyo
  • Access: Five-minute walk from Sendagaya and Shinanomachi stations on the JR Sōbu line, one minute from Kokuritsu-Kyōgijō station on the Toei Ōedo line, or nine minutes from Gaienmae on the Tokyo Metro Ginza line
  • Hours: 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. (start and end times may vary)
  • Admission: ¥1,400 for adults, ¥800 for high school students and younger

Gallery

The National Stadium seen from Gate E, the starting point for stadium tours.
The National Stadium seen from Gate E, the starting point for stadium tours.

The viewing platform is equipped with camera mounts for those wishing to take photos.
The viewing platform is equipped with camera mounts for those wishing to take photos.

Participants have a good view of the wooden detail of the underside of the canopy.
Participants have a good view of the wooden detail of the underside of the canopy.

Feel what it's like to be an Olympian on the track.
Feel what it’s like to be an Olympian on the track.

The area
The “flash interview” area, also known as “Andon Hall”, features lanterns designed by architect Kuma Kengo and calligraphy by Aoyagi Bisen.

The visit allows rare access to the changing rooms.
The visit allows rare access to the changing rooms.

Participants can see the Olympic torches up close.
Participants can see the Olympic torches up close.

A medal podium used in the Olympic Games.
A medal podium used in the Olympic Games.

A concrete wall covered with autographs of Olympic athletes who had just finished their races.
A concrete wall covered with autographs of Olympic athletes who had just finished their races.

Participants are encouraged to walk around the complex after the tour.  There are murals of the legendary sumō wrestler Nomi no Sukune and the Greek goddess Nike that decorated the former national stadium, the site of the 1964 Tokyo Games.
Participants are encouraged to walk around the complex after the tour. There are murals of the legendary sumō wrestler Nomi no Sukune and the Greek goddess Nike that decorated the former national stadium, the site of the 1964 Tokyo Games.

Work is currently underway to expose the Olympic cauldron used at Tokyo 2020 near the location of the old cauldron which was installed in the former National Stadium.
Work is currently underway to expose the Olympic cauldron used at Tokyo 2020 near the location of the old cauldron which was installed in the former National Stadium.

The Sora no Mori walking path around level five of the stadium is open to visitors free of charge.  Notice the Shinjuku skyscrapers in the distance.
The Sora no Mori walking path around level five of the stadium is open to visitors free of charge. Notice the Shinjuku skyscrapers in the distance.

(Originally published in Japanese. Report, text and photos by Nippon.com. Banner photo: A medal podium used at the Paralympic Games.)