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Traveling to Tokyo for the 2020 Summer Games FAQ

The Summer Games is one of the biggest and most anticipated sporting events in the world. For most people, getting there is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. We’ve compiled everything you need to know about traveling to Tokyo in 2021 and our best Summer Games tips to help you make the most of your experience at the Summer Games.


When are the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo?

The Summer Games usually take place every four years. The next edition is the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo, which were postponed by a year due to COVID-19 concerns. The rescheduled dates are July 23 – August 8, 2021. Some facts about these Summer Games:

  • Number of days: 17
  • Athletes expected to compete: over 11,000
  • Number of events: 321
  • Number of sports: 33, including 5 new sports
  • Number of countries expected to take part: 206

Future Summer Games dates:
July 26 – August 11, 2024 in Paris, France
July 21 – August 6, 2028 in Los Angeles, USA

What do you get for winning a Summer Games event?

Most people are familiar with the gold, silver and bronze medals athletes receive for finishing first, second, and third respectively. In many cases, that’s not all they’ll receive. Many countries’ competition committees also offer a cash prize to go along with the hardware.

Of course, there’s more to winning than the medal and possible prize money. Winners gain notoriety — especially within their home country — and in some cases, endorsements and sponsorship deals. Some athletes also receive gifts from local or national businesses.

How do athletes qualify for the Summer Games?

The qualification process differs, depending on the event. Each sport is governed by an international sports federation. There are different methods determining who qualifies for the Summer Games. Some sports hold specific trial competitions. Some are based on performance over the period leading up to the Games. For team sports, the team is selected based on athletes’ performance. To encourage global participation, there are limits on the number of athletes that can participate for a country in each event, as well as quotas for certain regions. The hosting country also receives automatic qualification in many events.

What is the weather like in Tokyo during the Summer Games?

Tokyo’s summer weather is typically quite hot and humid, with average daytime highs in the mid 80s fahrenheit. Rain is a possibility so it would be a good idea to bring clothes that work well for rainy weather (ponchos, boots, layered clothing) and to plan to dress in layers so that you can be prepared, regardless of the temperature.

What are the best accommodations for the Summer Games?

We’ve spent lots of time scouting out hotels for the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo and selected our favorites based on their exceptional service, impressive amenities and convenient locations.

Roadtrips is proud to offer some of Tokyo’s best hotels for the Summer Games. The Four Seasons Tokyo at Marunouchi is a gorgeous boutique hotel that provides an intimate experience without sacrificing amenities. Our guests can also enjoy the iconic Park Hyatt Tokyo. This luxe property gained notoriety after being featured in the movie Lost in Translation and is conveniently located.

We’re also big fans of the Hilton Tokyo. Boasting a similar location in Shinjuku, close to many Summer Games venues, guests will enjoy access to wonderful restaurants, fascinating attractions, and plenty of shopping. Check out our blog post on the best places to stay in Tokyo for the 2020 Summer Games.

How can I get tickets to the Summer Games events?

Tickets can be requested directly from the official Tokyo 2020 website –

Where will the 2020 Summer Games be held?

The majority of events will take place at various venues in Tokyo. Additional venues are located in Sendai, Saitama, Ibaraki, Sapporo, and Yokohama. For more details, check out our Summer Games Venues page.

What other countries bid to host the 2020 Summer Games?

Other countries that were interested in hosting the 2020 Summer Games included Istanbul, Turkey; Madrid, Spain; Rome, Italy; Baku, Azerbaijan; and Doha, Qatar. The field was narrowed down to three candidates: Tokyo, Istanbul, and Madrid. Madrid was the first city to be eliminated, followed by Istanbul, after Tokyo won the vote to host the 2020 Summer Games.

How do you get to Tokyo?

The majority of those traveling to Tokyo from abroad will fly into one of Tokyo’s main international airports: Narita or Haneda. Those traveling within Japan can take advantage of the country’s efficient train system.

When you travel with Roadtrips, our team will assist with your transportation to and from the airport as well as to the event venues.

Do I need a visa to visit Japan?

Visitors from the U.S. do not need a visa to visit Japan, Canadian visitors do not either, as well as many European countries. For the most up to date visa information, please visit the Embassy of Japan website.

A valid passport is required for all international travelers. Roadtrips’ personal concierge team is also available to all our clients to assist with more details on entry information into Japan.

How many people will attend the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo?

As host to one of the biggest sporting events in the world, Tokyo will be the place to be in the summer of 2021. 11,000 athletes from 206 countries are expected to compete at the Summer Games. As for spectators, it’s hard to estimate before tickets go on sale. At the last Summer Games in Rio, over a million visitors descended on the city to take in the events.

What merchandise will be available at the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo?

The merchandise at the Summer Games is always a big part of the event. Many want a souvenir of their once-in-a-lifetime experience or gifts for loved ones back at home. You’ll find almost every kind of souvenir and collectible possible, from pins to plush characters to clothing. Much of the merchandise will feature the Summer Games mascots, a yet-to-be-named duo chosen by Japanese school children.

What currency is accepted? Can I pay with credit card?

The currency in Japan is the Japanese Yen. Currently, one US dollar is equal to just over 100 Japanese Yen. Unlike the US and Canada, cash is still king in Japan. However, credit cards are becoming more widely accepted, particularly in Tokyo. You should have no problem using a credit card at hotels and for taxis, though if you’re shopping in smaller shops or purchasing metro tickets, you may find that cash is your only option. At Summer Games venues, Visa is the only credit card accepted. ATMs are available throughout Tokyo, though some will not accept international cards. Your best bet is to look for ATMs from 7 Bank (found in 7-Eleven stores), Postal ATMs (found in Post Offices), and Prestia Bank ATMs. These generally accept international cards and offer an English language option.

What items are prohibited at the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo?

While the official list of prohibited items for the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo has not been released yet, we expect that it will be similar to past Games. Prohibited items are likely to include:

  • Explosives
  • Weapons or anything that could be perceived as such
  • Non-prescribed or illegal drugs
  • Items of an extremist, offensive, or discriminatory nature
  • Flags and banners exceeding 2 meters x 1 meter or flags of non-participating countries
  • Noisemakers
  • Drones
  • Camera lenses exceeding 300mm and tripods

There will likely also be restrictions on food and drink. Roadtrips’ pre-travel documents will include detailed information on what will be permitted and prohibited at venues. Please check the list thoroughly before you go as security standards at the Games are always high.

What venues will the Summer Games be hosted in?

The Summer Games in 2020 will take place in 33 different venues. The majority of these (28) are divided into two zones — the Heritage Zone and the Tokyo Bay Zone. The appropriately named Heritage Zone houses seven venues that were used in the 1964 Summer Games.

What travel documents do I need for my stay in Japan?

Citizens of the U.S. and Canada, as well as many European countries, will not require a visa for entry into Japan for the Summer Games, assuming your stay is not longer than 90 days. You will require a valid passport as well as an onward or return ticket. We recommend checking with the Japanese consulate nearest you for the most up to date entry requirements.

Will it be hard to find a hotel in Tokyo during the Summer Games? What are the best areas to stay?

At major international sporting events, particularly during the Summer Games, it’s extremely difficult to secure a hotel room on your own. In many cases, hotel rooms are never even made available to the public; they’re often allocated years in advance to tour operators, event organizers, sponsors, and media.

Fortunately, we’ve secured rooms at some of Tokyo’s best hotels for our guests in some of our favorite areas: Shinjuku and Ginza. Our comprehensive travel packages take the hassle out of the process and get you access to first-class accommodation.

What is the history of the Summer and Winter Games in Japan?

Japan is certainly no stranger to the Summer and Winter Games. The 2020 Games will mark the second time Tokyo has hosted the Summer Games; they also hosted in 1964 and will use many of the same venues. Japan also hosted the Winter Games in 1972 in Sapporo and in 1998 in Nagano.

What is the population of the Tokyo where the 2020 Summer Games are being held?

The greater Tokyo area is home to over 13 million people. Add in the surrounding prefectures and the number jumps to approximately 38 million people!

What sports will be at the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo?

There will be a total of 33 sports at the 2020 Summer Games, including five new ones that are making their debut (or return):

  • Aquatics
  • Archery
  • Athletics
  • Badminton
  • Baseball/Softball (new)
  • Basketball
  • Boxing
  • Canoe
  • Cycling
  • Equestrian
  • Fencing
  • Football
  • Golf
  • Gymnastics
  • Handballs
  • Hockey
  • Judo
  • Karate (new)
  • Modern Pentathlon
  • Rowing
  • Rugby
  • Sailing
  • Shooting
  • Skateboarding (new)
  • Sport Climbing (new)
  • Surfing (new)
  • Table Tennis
  • Taekwondo
  • Tennis
  • Triathlon
  • Volleyball
  • Weightlifting
  • Wrestling

What will be the best events at the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo?

While the best events are largely a matter of personal preference, there are some events that tend to be more popular than others. Athletics, swimming, gymnastics, beach volleyball, and basketball always seem to be in high demand. Specifically for the Tokyo games, Team Japan often excels in judo and baseball, which would be worth attending to experience the local excitement.

What kind of transportation will be available at the 2020 Summer Games?

Tokyo’s metro system of trains and buses is notoriously efficient and in many cases, will be the best way to travel around the city and between events. Taxis and ride-sharing services like Uber are also plentiful. Renting a car is not recommended due to the traffic and parking challenges.

What other cities should I visit during the 2020 Summer Games?

Japan has so many wonderful cities to visit, it’s hard to narrow it down. A few that are definitely worth checking out:

  • Kyoto – About 2.5 hours from Tokyo via bullet train, Kyoto is a fascinating historic destination. You could spend weeks checking out the numerous temples, palaces, and spectacular gardens.
  • Osaka – Just 35 miles from Kyoto, you’ll find Osaka, Japan’s second largest city. Marvel at its incredible architecture, visit the famed Osaka Castle, and make sure to check out Dotonbori entertainment district.
  • Hiroshima – A city with a somber history, the city has rebuilt and has plenty to offer visitors. The Peace Memorial Park is worth a visit, as is Hiroshima Castle, and the beautiful gardens of Shukkei-en.
  • Fukuoka – Fukuoka is the product of two cities that combined to form one of the country’s largest metropolises. Highlights of the city include Fukuoka Castle and Ohori Park as well as Shofukuji Temple, the country’s first Zen temple.
  • Sapporo – Home to the 1972 Winter Games, Sapporo is located on Hokkaido, the country’s northernmost island. The city is a wonderful urban center full of great restaurants, shopping and nightlife, and is also the perfect base from which to explore the beauty of the rest of the island, including its picturesque mountains and hot springs.

What landmarks, sights, attractions etc. are near the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo?

There’s plenty of things to do in Tokyo and things to see other than the Summer Games (check out our blog post on whether Tokyo is worth a visit!).. Visitors may want to check out Sensoji Temple and Asakusa Shrine in the Asakusa district, go shopping in the fashion mecca of Ginza, experience the sight of Shibuya crossing (known as the busiest intersection in the world), marvel at the views of Mount Fuji, or try out some of the incredible Tokyo food and drink. Our pre-travel concierge team can help you plan an itinerary specific to your interests.

Are there many English speakers in Tokyo?

While English is commonly studied in school and many Japanese citizens will know at least a few English words, the majority will not be fluent in the language. That said, you are more likely to find English speakers in Tokyo than anywhere else in the country. For the 2020 Summer Games, you’re likely to find English signage in and around the venues. Roadtrips’ guests will have access to bilingual local hosts who can assist with any language issues. In addition, English-speaking staff can be found at all our Summer Games hotels.

How is Japanese etiquette different from the West?

Etiquette is very important in the Japanese culture. A few customs to be aware of:

  • Punctuality is valued. If you are going to be late (e.g. a restaurant reservation), it is appreciated if you call to let the other party know.
  • Bowing is the standard way to greet someone, thank them, or say goodbye.
  • When giving or receiving something (e.g. gift, business card) use two hands.
  • Tipping is not customary in Japan.
  • Removing your footwear is expected in private homes, as well as temples and some traditional restaurants.
  • Speaking on your phone on buses or trains is considered rude.

Roadtrips’ local hosts are well-versed in Japanese culture and will keep you up to speed.

What is included in 2020 Summer Games Travel Packages?

Roadtrips’ 2020 Summer Games packages include your choice of first class accommodations, meet and greet service upon arrival, hotel transfers, full breakfast daily, custom event day experiences, a Tokyo welcome kit, a Summer Games Commemorative gift package, personalized itinerary, on-site host services and local assistance, pre-trip travel planning and concierge services, and a number of other extras that can be added to personalize your experience.

When do 2020 Summer Games packages go on sale?

2020 Summer Games packages are available now. Contact one of our Sports Travel Specialists to get started planning your experience.

How do I get to Summer Games events?

There are a number of different options. At events of this magnitude, public transport is often quickest and most efficient way to get to events. Tokyo has a wonderful public transportation system which will offer complimentary service with your event ticket. Taxis and ride-sharing services like Uber are abundant and also good options. Roadtrips can also arrange for private transfers to get you to and from your events at your convenience. Our team can provide information on what options are available and recommended for your specific itinerary.

Summer Games Ticketing Notice

Roadtrips is in no way affiliated or associated with the IOC or the Tokyo Organizing Committee for the 2020 Olympic Games. 2020 Summer Olympics Tickets are limited to the Authorized Ticket Reseller in your country of residence. Roadtrips is not an Authorized Ticket Reseller for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and therefore we do not include tickets in our base travel packages.

The official website for the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Games is Details on ticket categories, event sessions and how to purchase tickets the 2020 Summer Games can be found on the Tokyo 2020 website.

Roadtrips is dedicated to providing high-touch service throughout your experience and we will customize your itinerary to match your chosen 2020 Summer Games events, whether or not you have already purchased your tickets. With over 28 years of experience providing travel packages to the world’s biggest sporting events, you can trust we have the knowledge and expertise to provide a personalized, comprehensive travel package to the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo.

Our Reputation

“Clients raved.”

It was really easy working with Roadtrips. All of the staff that I personally worked with were well informed about all aspects of the trip and I truly appreciated this. Clients raved.

Diane McVicker, Ensemble Travel Agent

2016 Summer Games

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