IN PHOTOS: Tokyo 2020 revives 1964 Olympic vibe

Beatrice Go
IN PHOTOS: Tokyo 2020 revives 1964 Olympic vibe

Beatrice Go

Some venues used in the Tokyo 1964 Olympics will be part of history once more in the 2020 edition of the world's biggest sports event


MANILA, Philippines – After 54 years, Tokyo will be hosting the Summer Olympics once again in 2020. 

While there’s no doubt that Japan will be able to pull off the most modern Olympic games –highlighted by robot butlers in airports and facial recognition identification technology – there will still be traces of history and culture in some sporting venues. 

The different sports in the 2020 Olympics have been dispersed across two main zones – the Heritage Zone and the Tokyo Bay Zone – while 16 of the 33 sports will be situated in outlying areas. 

Most of the venues in the Heritage Zone were primarily built and used in the 1964 Olympics, but now most have branched out of the sports scene and held music and art events in Tokyo over the years. 


New Olympic Stadium

Location: Kasumigaoka, Shinjuku 

To prepare for the grand opening ceremonies of the 2020 Olympics, the Olympic Stadium was demolished and reconstructed following the design of Zaha Hadid Architects – a UK-based architecture firm that designed the 2012 London Olympics Aquatic Stadium and the 2022 Qatar FIFA World Cup stadium in Al Wakrah. 

The 80,000-seater venue is expected to hold the 2020 Olympics opening ceremonies on July 24, 2020, the athletics events and the football final. 

Due to major budget cuts, however, the proposed idea of a retractable roof has been shelved. 

The stadium is expected to be ready by March 2019 as it will host the 2019 Rugby World Cup on November 2019. 


Yoyogi National Gymnasium

Location: Yoyogi Park, Shibuya

SUSPENSION ROOF. The Yoyogi National Gymnasium is famous for its suspension roof design by Kenzo Tange. Photo by Beatrice Go/Rappler

CLASSIC. The aquatics events of the 1964 Olympics were held in the main stadium. Photo by Beatrice Go/Rappler

Situated 10 minutes away from the congested Takeshita street of Harajuku, the Yoyogi National Gymnasium certainly won’t be missed as it basks in its structural glory in the quiet side of the Yoyogi neighborhood. 

Originally built to house the aquatics and basketball events of the 1964 Olympics, the grand stadium will just be solely used for handball this time. 

GRANDEUR. Despite its size, the main stadium can only house 13,000 people. Photo by Beatrice Go/Rappler


Over the years, the stadium was mainly used for major indoor sports events such as the Asian Basketball Championships and the Women’s Volleyball World Championships. 

Aside from the main stadium famed for its suspension roof, a separate annex was made for side events and right beside it is a football practice pitch that is frequented by children. 

PRACTICE PITCH. Japanese don't forget their football as kids frequent the pitch beside the Yoyogi National Gymnasium. Photo by Beatrice Go/Rappler


Ryogoku Kokugikan

Location: Yokoami, Sumida

HOUSE OF SUMO. Ryogoku Kokugikan is primarily used for sumo wrestling events in Japan. Photo from Twitter (@getspotit)

Ryogoku Kokugikan wasn’t built for the 1964 Olympics, but it’s part of the country’s sports history as the main venue for Japan’s world-class sumo wrestling events. 

For a change, the timeless venue will be holding boxing events in the 2020 Olympics. 

But following many issues and a protest-marred 2018 Asian Games boxing competition, the sport’s 2020 inclusion remains uncertain as the International Olympic Committee has threatened to pull out boxing from the quadrennial games.  


Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium

Location: Sendagaya, Shibuya 

SPORTS-CENTRIC. The Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium is famous for holding both national and international sports events.  Photo by Beatrice Go/Rappler

One of the oldest sporting complexes in the capital, the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium is still sticking around even in the 2020 Olympics. 

After hosting the WTA Pan Pacific Table Tennis Championships annually until 2008 and the Japan Table Tennis Championships, the arena has earned its right to hold the table tennis events of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. 

In 1964, the gymnasitcs competition was held here. It also served as the venue of the regular NBA season game between the Phoenix Suns and Utah Jazz in 1990.  

The sports complex also includes a training facility with a track oval and weights gym that’s walking distance from the New Olympic Stadium. 


Nippon Budokan

Location: Kitanomarukoen, Chiyoda

MUSIC HUB. Japan's vibrant concert scene has been Nippon Budokan's claim to fame. Photo by Beatrice Go/Rappler

When it comes to sports and music, Nippon Budokan is no stranger to world-class concerts and martial arts. 

Budokan will always be remembered for the Beatles, the first rock group to grace the venue in 1966.

Ten years later, it held the hybrid fight between one of the world’s greatest boxers Muhammad Ali and local wrestling and mixed martial arts icon Antonio Inoki. 

With its historical value, it will be back for the 2020 Olympics to host the Olympic judo and karate events.  


HEART OF TOKYO. It is best to get off at Kudanshita station in order to get to Nippon Budokan. Photo by Beatrice Go/Rappler


Tokyo International Forum

Location: Marunouchi, Chiyoda

MULTI-PURPOSE. It will be the first time for the Tokyo International Forum to hold a major sports event. Photo by Beatrice Go/Rappler

Smack in the middle of Tokyo’s elite business district, the Tokyo International Forum will soon be attracting sports fans as it will be holding its first major sports event – the 2020 Olympics weightlifting competition. 

The multi-purpose exhibition center will hopefully be one of the venues where the Philippines will claim its inaugural Olympic gold with Hidilyn Diaz, the 2016 Rio Olympic silver medalist and 2018 Asian Games gold winner, leading the campaign. 

MODERN LOOK. The Tokyo International Forum maintains its modern interiors since it was opened in 1997. Photo by Beatrice Go/Rappler


The Tokyo 2020 Olympics will run from July 24 to August 9 in 2020. 


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Beatrice Go

More commonly known as Bee, Beatrice Go is a multimedia sports reporter for Rappler, who covers Philippine sports governance, national teams, football, and the UAAP. Stay tuned for her news and features on Philippine sports and videos like the Rappler Athlete’s Corner and Rappler Sports Timeout.