2020 is an Olympic Year for Tokyo. I believe some of you are reading this because you got some Olympic tickets and are planning an exciting trip, aren’t you?
The new Olympic stadium was completed on 30 November, 2019, and opened to common people for the first time for some football matches in January. I got the rugby ticket because I wanted to enter the brand new stadium and report how it is like HERE! Now I’m happily writing the world’s first review of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Stadium from the viewpoint of an independent blogger.
The better you know, the better your trip will be. Let’s enter the Olympic Stadium (virtually) with me!
Prologue – How I Managed to Enter the Stadium
When the Olympic Committee announced that they finished constructing the new stadium last November, people’s attention was on when it’d be open. At the moment the stadium was born, it became a “trending spot” that everyone wants to enter!
Among those locals, I think I was the most enthusiastic person because, you know, I have my own Tokyo Direct Guide project, which is a travel guide from a viewpoint of travel-loving Tokyo local without any support from government’s tourism bureau nor travel agencies. I should go there, see it myself, feel it and write my own opinions. Or I must. And I wanted to, too!
So I decided to buy the ticket for the J-League Football Final that was the very first game held in the new Olympic Stadium. At that time, I had a fantastic plan in my mind; this football match is scheduled on 1 January, so I’ll say Happy New Year to my dearest readers with the world’s newest pics of the place of Tokyo 2020!
…I failed to get all types of tickets in every attempt…
So so many people had the same idea to me! According to the J-League Association, the tickets were sold out in a few minutes when they were released. The J-League Final is popular among football fans every year, but it was too soon for them, too. I was overwhelmed… I admit I’m not an expert to book a popular ticket. It was not a game I can win.
What I’m telling you is that the new Olympic Stadium is such a trending spot now!
But I managed to get the ticket for Inter-University Rugby Tournament Final on 11 January! This is how I finally started to write this article.
When I walked from the station, I found a new, modern and beautiful place – that was the Olympic Stadium and the Olympic Museum. You’ll be amazed to approach the brand new stadium – it was really beautiful!
Since it’s an Olympic Stadium where so many people come from every continent of the world, the concept is set on “Japan”.
Can you see? The design features wood and nature. Wooden plates are “wrapping” the modern architecture.
And plants are surrounding it all, too.
Beautiful! The wood design is unique, but simple and not too touristy at all. I give 5 stars to the outside of the new Olympic Stadium!
The Inside & Roof
When I entered the stadium, I felt so free and open to see the field.
The stadium has 3 layers of seats.
I got a normal seat, but there are some special seats in this stadium, too. These are the box seats with tables (I think so). Who got the Olympic tickets for these seats?
There are VIP seats, too. I looked for them and I think that section is it…
Prime ministers and presidents will take a seat there. Amazingly, tickets for these seats were sold to common people for the rugby match, so I applied for it – it’d be fantastic to report the VIP seats on this blog! But… it was not a game for me to win.
When the stadium was completed last November, I saw some TV reporters saying they felt some good aroma from the wood parts. …I must say that’s a lie. I think they just tried to make people excited by telling a lie to their nose.
I arrived there 1 hour before the rugby match begins. I found a good place to take photos near my seat.
This is taken from the lowest layer. The field is so close, isn’t it? Especially, the tracks are so close to us. I think the 100 meter race final will be SO EXCITING.
Before talking about the roof, you MUST remember the truth of the world – politicians are the kind of people who are always having MONEY problems!
At the beginning of the construction, the Olympic Stadium was meant to be a dome stadium with air conditioners.
But later, politicians suddenly said they wouldn’t be able to complete the roof because they were short of BUDGET! It turned out that their budget estimates were terribly wrong.
Then, Tokyo locals shouted, “WHAT?! No roof?!?!” We locals know so well how extreme summer in Tokyo is, so we know how important the roof would be for a summer Olympic Games held in August. The politicians should build a dome. They must. But… no budget. Could you use some alchemy?
So this is why the stadium has the “hole of donut” above you. That’s all politicians’ fault.
But as far as I see it, the “hole” was smaller and the roof was bigger than I imagined.
I think architects and constructors of the Olympic Stadium did a good job without enough BUDGET. Please give them big hands (not to politicians!)
Do you have a ticket for the field athletics or something at the Olympic Stadium? If so, I advise you that, just in case you get heatstroke on your seat (especially in daytime), go to the shade and take a rest immediately. Have a drink constantly. I understand you flied to Tokyo for the day, but don’t take a risk on your health.
Seats & Aisles
The seats were slightly round, not just a flat plate, so when you sit down on your seat, it will moderately fit you. In case you want a soft seat, I advise you to take a soft cushion. I personally didn’t need it.
So the seats were good enough for me.
But the budget problem may have been lasting when they made seats…
Are you a big guy? Japanese people are small people in general, but I know that there are so many BIG people in the world – Americans, Aussies, Europeans, Africans…
My height is 162 centimeters and my weight is… uh… at least no one says I’m slim. I’m above the average but not so big in Japan. The seat was completely OK for me.
But how will it be for big people coming from the world? I saw some moderately big Japanese guys and I thought they were feeling their seat was a little close for them…
It’s a pity for me to say this, but if you think you are a big guy from the world, it would be bitter for you to expect too much about the seat. (The seat size is unchangeable and we can’t do anything about it…)
Personally, the aisles were a bigger problem than the seat. As far as I read some Japanese newspapers, I’m not the only one who thought the aisles were not very wide (especially in the highest layer).
My seat was in the middle of the line. When I wanted to go out during the half time, all the others next to me had to stand up to let me go. It DOES happen in other stadiums, concert halls, movie theaters, and so on, but I’d be happy if there’d be a wider space in front of the seats. (I wished so especially when the people next to me turned out to be EXCITED SUPPORTERS of the LOSING TEAM!!)
The seats and aisles were not bad, but I wish they’d be bigger and wider. Was it possible for architects and constructors? I’m not sure.
Facilities (Foods, Free Wi-Fi & Restrooms)
When you really go to watch the Olympic Games there, facilities must be important, too.
First, If you want some drinks and snacks, don’t worry, there are food stands inside the stadium. We must go through security check to enter (for terrorism stuff) and bottled drinks always push us to a standstill, so I think it’s a good idea to buy foods inside.
Talking about foods, I saw curry rice plates, soup, takoyaki (octopus fritters, Japanese soul food), etc. If you are looking for snacks, there were ice cream and crepes as well. As far as I see it, it depends on chances what shop is close to you. My advice? I found a takoyaki shop and I know it is a very good takoyaki shop. Wish you’ll find a good food!
The second is our must-have today; free wifi. I had a plan to write a review in this blog, so I wanted to try it to tell you how it was like. According to the leaflet I got at the entrance, we can use the fast Wi-Fi anywhere in the stadium. I’ll find “Nationalstadium_Free_Wi-Fi” in the list…
I wish the free wifi will be developed by the time when the Olympic Games begins.
In case you successfully found Nationalstadium_Free_Wi-Fi, you’ll register by your email address or SNS account. Then, you can use the free wi-fi for 180 minutes 4 times.
I hear some travelers were surprised that they didn’t find any free Wi-Fi when they were traveling in Japan, the country of technology. So some workers in tourism (like the Asakusa tourist information center across from Sensoji Temple) have started providing good free Wi-Fi you can access with super easy steps, but you know, government workers are people who easily become so lazy…
The free Wi-Fi may become better by the Olympic Games because the Japanese government is desperate to appeal how fascinating Japan is to foreign visitors. But I advise you NOT to rely on free Wi-Fi too much when you travel in Japan. I advise you to get a rental portable wi-fi at the airport. It will eliminate your stress completely!
The last is about the restrooms. If you really visit a big event like Olympic Games, you want to avoid the annoying situations that you wait much time in a jammed restroom, don’t you?
I don’t think you need to worry about this! I was one of the 57345 audiences who came to watch the rugby match, but I didn’t have anything annoying. Some international people say Japanese people are experts of QUEUING, but I didn’t need to queue at all! If I have a travel tip for you, don’t cling to the well-known restroom near the entrance gate. There are so many in the underground floor, too.
The stadium is completely barrier-free. If you are on wheelchair, I saw big good spaces and barrier-free restrooms. As far as I see it, it’s perfect.
I conclude the facilities are very good… if you have your own Internet connection.
Screens & Lights
Big screens are musts for Olympic stadiums of today.
In my opinion, the screens were EXCELLENT. There were 2 screens and they are big and clear and beautiful! Someone near me also said, “The screen is great. Crystal clear!”
Not only the game, I personally loves that the cameras shot players going out from the rocker room.
And when someone scores,
The match was held in the afternoon, so I was able to see the lights turned on. No problem. Good.
In my opinion, the screens and lights were perfect. Who got the ticket for this stadium? You can expect much on it!!
Field & Tracks
I don’t think the Inter-University Rugby Tournament Final matters to you, but I’ll talk some about it. It’ll show you how the atmosphere was when the match was ongoing.
The Olympic Stadium is designed for track and field basically. So I heard a rugby fan saying, “The tracks are close, but the field is a little far from us.” It might be so, but I felt the stadium made the match so exciting because voices of the audience echoed so well! For example, in scenes like these,
supporters’ cheers sounded SO WELL! The match was broadcast on TV and the TV commentator said it might be a little hard for the players on the field to communicate. I think we need to keep good manners when silence is necessary for the athletes, but it’s a good place for a new Olympic legend.
Then, how about the ground for athletes? I can’t answer this question since I was just an audience, not a player, but I haven’t heard at all that the tracks and field had a problem from any rugby players and J-League football players. I believe it’s a good stadium for athletes, too.
Today, stadiums must be an exciting place. They must make things exciting. The new Tokyo Olympic Stadium surely has that quality. The opening ceremony will be great!
So how was my review of Tokyo 2020 Olympic Stadium? I hope it was helpful for you!
As far as I see it, the stadium was great. When you get off the train and approach it, I’m sure you’ll be amazed to see the cool place!
Politicians are always having MONEY problems (especially the kind of politicians who seek to host an Olympic Games!) They once disappointed locals, so I strongly wish they’ll get serious immediately (and develop the free wi-fi at least).
We have months to the Olympic Games and several matches are scheduled there. I think things will be even better!
Actually, I’m planning MORE articles about the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. The next will be a practical guide to visit there as I’ve been writing for years. Stay tuned!