The Olympics: Discover Tokyo’s main venues

The rescheduled Tokyo Olympics is upon us - but what do we know about the main competition venues in the Japanese capital?

The Olympics in Tokyo will take place across 33 venues, 11 of which have been built specifically for the event, with Games chiefs hoping a sporting legacy will be left for the city - despite the Olympics been thrown into doubt following the global pandemic.

Here, we've selected five venues with an interesting back-story.

Japan National Stadium

The biggest stadium and symbol of the Games is the new Tokyo National Stadium, built on the site of the former National Stadium, which hosted the 1964 Games and was demolished in 2015. The reconstruction, which cost around US$1.5 billion, modernised the stadium and expanded its capacity from 48,000 to 68,000 seats.

A general view shows the National Stadium (C), the main venue for the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo on June 21, 2021. (Photo by Kazuhiro NOGI / AFP) (Photo by KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP via Getty Images)
The National Stadium is the main venue for the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games (KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP via Getty Images)

The venue was designed by the famous Japanese architect Kengo Kuma and has an external bamboo cladding with a vertical garden on its facade. The stadium will host the opening and closing ceremonies, track and field events, and the women's football finals.

Yoyogi National Gymnasium

Originally built to host the water events during the 1964 Games, the gym will this time play host to handball. Designed by Tange Kenzo, it is a symbol of the city's architecture.

Nippon Budokan

The legendary Budokan was built for the 1964 Games and is known for hosting great musical concerts. Many famous bands have played there, including: Queen, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Kiss, Deep Purple, Bob Dylan, Iron Maiden, Ozzy Osbourne and Oasis. Oh, and a certain group called the Beatles also made their first appearance in Japan there!

This picture shows the Nippon Budokan, venue for the judo and karate events, 100 days till the start of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo on April 14, 2021. (Photo by Kazuhiro NOGI / AFP) (Photo by KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP via Getty Images)
Nippon Budokan, home of judo and karate at the Games (KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP via Getty Images)

In addition to musical events, the stadium also hosted a fight between Muhammad Ali and Antonio Inoki. The Budokan will be the home of judo and will see the debut of karate at the 2021 Olympics.

Yokohama International Stadium

YOKOHAMA, JAPAN - OCTOBER 26: A general view of International Stadium Yokohama during the Rugby World Cup 2019 Semi-Final match between England and New Zealand at International Stadium Yokohama on October 26, 2019 in Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)
Yokohama International Stadium was the venue of the 2002 FIFA World Cup Final and the 2019 Rugby World Cup Final. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

Built in 1998, Yokohama International Stadium became synonymous with the success of Brazilian football. In less than 25 years of existence, the stadium has been the stage of Brazil’s fifth World Cup triumph, when they defeated Germany in 2002, and has seen the triumphs of São Paulo, Internacional and Corinthians in the FIFA Club World Cup. In the 2021 Games, it will be the main stage for football and will host the men’s final. Could there be another title in store for the Brazilians?

The stadium was also the venue for the World Cup Final of another sport, rugby, in 2019, when South Africa beat England to win their third world title.

Tokyo Aquatics Centre

This picture shows a construction site for the Tokyo 2020 venue
Tokyo Aquatics Centre closed during its construction in 2019 (KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP via Getty Images)

Built especially for the 2021 Games, the complex will be home to water sports. Completed on 24 October 2020, the stadium suffered a delay of seven months due to the pandemic. With a capacity of 15,000 spectators, the Aquatics Centre features the latest technology in its pools, giving it incredible flexibility. Both the main and secondary pools are modular, with movable walls and floors. The depth can also be increased or decreased by up to 3 metres.

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