The 2020 Summer Olympics—officially called the Games of the XXXII Olympiad, colloquially known as Tokyo 2020—were originally scheduled to occur from July 24 to August 9, 2020, in Tokyo, Japan. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the International Olympic Committee announced in March 2020 that the games would be postponed for the first time in Olympic history. They have since been rescheduled for Friday, July 23, to Sunday, August 8, 2021. Official websites still refer to the games as “Tokyo 2020.”
Tokyo has hosted the Summer Olympic Games once before in 1964. More than 11,000 athletes from 206 nations around the world are expected to compete; there will be 339 individual events in 33 sports. More than 600,000 overseas visitors are expected to attend the Games. If you're one of them, or if you plan to be, make sure to purchase travel health insurance or travel protection insurance to protect yourself financially against any mishaps that may occur during such a crowded, busy event.
The Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee has announced that all tickets bought for the Tokyo 2020 games will be honored in 2021 and that ticketholders who cannot attend in 2021 will be reimbursed. The IOC has stated that they cannot comment on accommodations or refunds for additional travel arrangements like flights and lodging that were purchased through third parties. They recommend that attendees speak to the organizations they booked with.
The Olympic Games are an athletic tradition dating back to Ancient Greece. From the 8th century BC to the 4th century AD, athletes from all over the world would gather every four years in Olympia, Greece, to compete in sports like boxing, chariot racing, wrestling, and discus throwing. The ancient games were held in honor of Zeus, king of the gods, and over time, they gained a mythological and religious importance. The modern incarnation of the Olympics began in 1896. The summer and winter games were held in the same year every four years until the 1990s, following a 1986 vote by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to alternate them every two years, leaving four years between each set of games.
The Tokyo Games
The Tokyo 2020 games will feature four new sports. Skateboarding debuts with park and street competitions for men and women. The surfing competition will take place 40 miles outside Tokyo on Shidashita Beach; as surfing conditions depend on weather, the competitions will have a 16-day window to allow for optimal waves. Karate, native to Japan, will hold events in two disciplines, kata (forms) and kumite (sparring). Sport climbing will feature events in three disciplines, speed climbing, bouldering, and lead climbing. Additionally, baseball (for men) and softball (for women) will return to the lineup for the first time since 2008.
Within Tokyo, the majority of the games will take place in two zones: the Heritage Zone, which will use revamped facilities from the 1964 Olympics, and the Tokyo Bay Zone, which "serves as a model for innovative urban development and symbolizes the exciting future of the city." The two oval-shaped zones were designed to form an infinity symbol, with the Athlete's Village at the point of intersection, the "physical and spiritual heart of the Games."
The official mascot of Tokyo 2020 is Miraitowa, a humanoid figure with large ears and a checkered pattern reminiscent of the interlocked rings of the Olympic logo. According to his fictional biography, Miraitowa has a strong sense of justice, is very athletic, and he has the ability to teleport. His name is based on the Japanese words mirai ("future") and towa ("eternity").
After the Olympics, the Paralympic Games are scheduled to occur from August 24 to September 5, 2021. The games will use many of the same facilities and preparations as the Olympics. New sports debuting include badminton and taekwondo. The mascot of the Paralympics is Someity, named after someiyoshino, a type of cherry blossom.
Tickets and Lodging
Tickets for Japanese fans were awarded via lotteries in May and August of 2019. According to the Olympic Channel website, about 30 percent of the 7.8 million Games tickets are reserved for international spectators. These tickets are being sold by Authorised Ticket Resellers (ATRs). Each National Olympic Committee was assigned an ATR, and interested parties are required to purchase tickets through their nation's ATR. For more information about purchasing tickets in your country of residence, see this list of vendors.
As far as lodging, hotels in the area are filling up fast. Many of them are already booking rooms at rates up to five times the standard price. Be aware that Japanese hotels charge on a per-person, per-night basis, not per-room. If your plan was to cram four people into a single-occupancy room, you might be out of luck. Other options include Airbnb, cruise ships docked as floating hotels, "capsule" hotels (more like a pod with a bed and minor amenities), 24-hour Internet cafes offering overnight packages for walk-ins, and "love hotels" borne out of necessity based on cultural traditions of multigenerational households and thin walls.
Due to its location in the Ring of Fire, Japan has a high propensity for being affected by natural disasters. The 1995 Great Hanshin earthquake and the March 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami alone caused a combined $181 billion in damage. Other recent natural disasters in Japan have included floods, typhoons, volcanic eruptions, and mudslides. Tropical cyclone (typhoon) season in particular tends to run from June to December, with most of the activity between July and September. In case the worst should happen, travel insurance can protect you from the worst of financial losses that the damage might cause.
As always before any international trip, make sure you purchase travel insurance and travel medical insurance. Travel insurance provides coverage for prepaid, non-refundable expenses and covers situations like emergency medical care, trip interruption, lost luggage, emergency cash transfers, rental car coverage, and flight accidents. Travel health insurance provides medical insurance while you're traveling abroad; standard benefits include coverage of trip interruption, emergency medical evacuation / repatriation, return of mortal remains, accidental death & dismemberment, and ancillary benefits like ID theft assistance, terrorism, and natural disaster relief. Make sure to check the fine print on your plan for details.
Perhaps you're unsure whether to purchase visitors insurance or travel insurance. Maybe you don't know what to look for when choosing a plan. Or maybe you're traveling on a budget and aren't sure you can spare the expense. Whatever issues you might be facing, our licensed, experienced representatives will be happy to help you pick the plan that best fits your individual needs.