A Tokyo adventure can take you from spectacular cherry blossom chase to the ultimate foodie trip - and that's what we love about Japan's capital city. If you're looking for more reasons to visit Tokyo, let it be the 2020 Summer Olympics and Paralympic Games!
Fondly known as Tokyo 2020, it's the leading international sporting event and everyone is counting down the months till the Olympic Torch arrives in Japan. As exciting as it is, there are many factors to consider before travelling to Tokyo. From increasing flight ticket prices to the surge of travellers to the city, you might be wondering if you should visit Tokyo before or after the 2020 Olympics? Before booking a ticket, here's what to expect!
What will happen in Tokyo 2020?
Tokyo will host the 2020 Summer Olympics and Paralympics
After receiving the baton from Rio de Janeiro, Tokyo will host the 2020 Summer Olympics and Paralympic Games, commonly known as Tokyo 2020. Set to be the biggest event of the year, the last time Tokyo hosted the Olympics was in 1964! It's been a long time coming but definitely worth the wait. Mark these dates in your calendar! ?
- 2020 Summer Olympics: 24 July - 9 August 2020
- 2020 Paralympic Games: 25 August - 6 September 2020
The opening and closing ceremonies will take place at the National Stadium in Shinjuku, which was redeveloped by Japanese architect Keigo Kuma who drew inspiration from traditional Japanese architecture and nature. It's also said that he sourced a huge amount of timbers from the country's 47 prefectures for the brand new National Stadium.
For Tokyo 2020, there are 33 different Olympic sports (including athletics, badminton, and basketball) and 22 Paralympic sports (including powerlifting, Taekwondo and wheelchair tennis) that you can look forward to, but that's not all! This year, the 2020 Summer Olympics will be introducing 5 new sports featuring baseball or softball, karate, skateboarding, sport climbing and surfing!
How will Tokyo 2020 affect your holiday?
1. Train stations in Tokyo will be more crowded than usual
We're no stranger to the peak-hour crowd in Tokyo's major train stations. After all, it is one of the world's most popular capital cities. However, Tokyo is preparing itself for a massive surge of travellers and high public transport usage. Renovation works at major train stations are currently underway to accommodate a higher number of train passengers in the months leading up to the Summer Olympics and Paralympic Games.
If you're planning to visit Tokyo before the big event, you might face overcrowding in several train stations in the capital city. Last November, East Japan Railway partially suspended some parts of the JR Yamanote Line, which affected 11 stations between Osaka and Ueno stations, to build a new station. During our recent trip to Tokyo, we noticed smaller space on the waiting platforms at Shinjuku and Shibuya train stations due to the current renovation work.
This is no coincidence since the National Stadium, which is set to host 68,000 people during the opening and closing ceremonies, is located in Shinjuku - home to Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden, Hanazono-jinja Shrine, and Tokyo Toy Museum. Besides that, two popular spots namely athletics and football will take place at the stadium.
Fortunately, major sports venues are scattered across Shinjuku, Odaiba, and Koto City. Part of the football matches is strategically located outside of Tokyo such as Sapporo Dome, Miyagi Stadium and International Stadium Yokohama. That includes baseball that'll be held at Fukushima Azuma Baseball Stadium and Yokohama Baseball Stadium. Check out the full list of Olympic and Paralympic venues here.
The renovation work is scheduled for completion before the Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games. If you're visiting Tokyo before the big event, the overcrowding might affect your train travels, especially during the famous cherry blossom season happening end of March till early April.
2. Tokyo Disneyland will be launching new attractions
A family-friendly theme park located in Chiba prefecture, Tokyo Disneyland will be launching new attractions - just in time to welcome Tokyo 2020 and celebrating the park's 37th anniversary!
Opening on 15 April 2020, Tokyo Disneyland will be adding a new expansion called New Fantasyland featuring two exciting attractions: 'Enchanted Tale of Beauty and the Beast' and 'Fantasyland Forest Theatre'.
Disney park lovers can also look forward to the up-and-coming Beauty and the Beast castle! Our co-founders Suzana and Melvin even got a glimpse of the castle's construction during their recent trip to Tokyo (see above)!
Tokyo Disneyland's Tomorrowland may be famous for amazing rides like 'Star Tours: The Adventure Continues', 'Buzz Lightyear's Astro Blasters' and 'Monsters, Inc. Ride & Go Seek!', but there's a new ride that'll be coming your way! Get ready for 'A Happy Ride with Baymax' that's based on the kids-friendly film, 'Big Hero 6'.
Long queues are a norm at Tokyo Disneyland, but prepare for longer waiting times as it's set to draw more visitors than any other days at the theme park. Better yet, stay prepared with our essential (and Muslim-friendly) tips to Tokyo Disneyland!
3. Universal Studios Japan will also be opening a new attraction
In other theme park news, Universal Studios Japan has new major attraction up on their sleeves too. If you're making a day trip to Osaka, look forward to the opening of the world's first Super Nintendo World!
With Peach's Castle and Bowser's Castle towering in the heart of the theme park, Super Nintendo World will feature various attractions including Super Mario Kart and Yoshi's Adventure rides. The launch dates are yet to be confirmed, but it was announced that they'll launch in time for Tokyo 2020!
P.S. If you'll be missing out on Super Nintendo World at Universal Studios Japan, don't worry! Universal Studios Singapore is also expanding the theme park with the same attraction, in stages starting from 2020 ?
4. Expect a year of new stores and museum openings
The buzz surrounding Japan's first Nintendo Flagship store in Shibuya Parco and Shibuya Scramble Square is a strong indication for more new store and museum openings ahead of Tokyo 2020. The newly-opened Snoopy Museum is finally here in Roppongi featuring three floors of Snoopy figurines, short films, comic strips and souvenir workshop.
The opening of Shibuya Pokemon Centre Megastore also drew plenty of excitement from locals and tourists. Step into this store, and you'll find limited edition goods such as graffiti Pikachus and Swarovski bedazzled Pikachu keychain - the perfect stop during the Tokyo 2020 season.
When is the best time to visit Tokyo in 2020?
We're pretty sure the 2020 Summer Olympics and Paralympic Games won't stop you from booking a flight ticket to Tokyo. With many sightseeing spots to visit and delicious halal Japanese food to enjoy, everyone wants to be a part of the Tokyo 2020 experience! As the prices of flight tickets are increasing and hotels beginning to display limited availability in the months leading up to Tokyo 2020, we recommend planning your trip early!
Based on Google Flights and Skyscanner, the cheapest months to travel in 2020 are June, July and September. As the cherry blossom crowd subsides, there are many reasons to enjoy summer and autumn in Tokyo.
Anyone who lives in a tropical climate will probably enjoy the summer heat more than others. This year, the summer temperature started off at 28°C in June and increased to 33°C towards the end of July. In September, the weather remains warm with a temperature between 30°C and 32°C.
Average flight rates for June, July and September 2020
- Singapore: SGD 650 to RM 700
- Malaysia: RM 1,400 to RM 1,500
- Indonesia: IDR 7,000,000 to IDR 7,900,000
Disclaimer: Rates shown are based on a search for a return flight (on a full-service carrier) to and from Narita International Airport for June, July and September 2020. Please note that rates may be subject to fluctuations and availability depending on seasonal and holiday periods. We recommend that you make your bookings in advance for the best price.
Based on Agoda, you can find the cheapest room rates in January and July 2020. With the abundance of hostels and hotels in Tokyo, you'll never be short of hotel options in your desired location.
In January, booking a hostel is still relatively affordable and within the range of RM120 (SGD39) per night, and a standard room in a three-star hotel will only set you back at RM250 (SGD82) per night.
The room rates will increase slightly in July. A night's stay in a hostel is approximately RM150 (SGD49) whereas a hotel will cost you around RM300 (SGD98) to RM400 (SGD131) per night. At the time of writing, there are still plenty of available rooms in Tokyo. Remember to book your accommodations early!
Disclaimer: Rates shown are based on a search for a single capsule or double room (one-week stay) in January and July 2020. Please note that rates may be subject to fluctuations and availability depending on seasonal and holiday periods. We recommend that you make your bookings in advance for the best price.
Whether you're braving the crowd before the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics or waiting patiently for a winter getaway, the choice is up to you! The golden question is, when will you be visiting Tokyo? We'll let you decide, and let's see if everyone else agrees! ?