Next year, Tokyo will host the 2020 Olympic Games. As is often the case when a city hosts a major sporting event, many thousands of visitors are expected to flock to Tokyo. The Tokyo 2020 Olympics will run from Friday 24 July to Sunday 9 August 2020, although there will be a few soccer matches before the Opening Ceremony on 24 July.
Travelling for the Olympic Games can be a unique and exciting experience. But it’s also a logistical nightmare. With so many people crowding into one city at the same time, expect to pay through the nose.
If you are planning to travel for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, it would be a good idea to start planning soon. To help you out, our members have already begun sharing their tips on a dedicated AFF thread started by exceladdict:
Mrs Excel and I have decided to research attending the 2020 Olympic Games and I’m interested as to whether there are others on here hoping to do the same! A few months still to go until the 355-day booking windows open, but I thought that a planning thread could be interesting to see how others are hoping to approach it – and whether anyone has past experiences from Rio, London, or Beijing that might help towards planning too.
Booking flights to Tokyo during the Olympics
As it’s not possible to book flights more than a year in advance, it’s currently too early to book flights to Tokyo during the Olympics. However, be prepared to book once the flights are released in August or September this year.
If you’re planning to pay for tickets, it’s best to book early. It’s extremely unlikely that airlines will run sales on flights to Japan for travel during July or August 2020. And as flights fill up, prices will only increase.
If you wish to use points, try to book as soon as award seats are released by the airlines. Any award seats that are released will sell out quickly. That said, there is no guarantee that award availability won’t be blacked out over these dates – so have a backup plan.
Accommodation in Tokyo during the Olympics
Tokyo hotels will be expensive and many will sell out during the Olympics. So, again, booking early would be wise. That said, it’s not necessary (and in many cases not possible) to book more than a year in advance. There are already a few hotels offering guaranteed rooms for the Tokyo Olympics but the pricing is totally outrageous.
There is currently Priority access packages where people can buy hotel packages early. Be prepared for some eye watering prices.
For example: Aug 5-10 6 days 5 nights $8323 per person twin share (incl breakfast) at Hotel Grand Palace NOT including tickets to events but the package puts you in a priority queue for up to 6 events.= $1664 per person twin share per night at a 4 star hotel. And you have not yet included tickets, and other expenditure. This price is 12x the usual $130-140 per person twin share at this hotel.
If possible, you might consider looking for an alternative to hotel accommodation in Tokyo. However, Airbnb is no longer as widespread in Japan as it once was.
After the laws changed early last year to legally allow AirBNB, the requirements placed on being able to list meant that most listings in Japan disappeared. Most of the Japan listings now on AirBNB are budget hotels using the site as another booking channel.
Securing tickets to Olympic sporting events
AFF members have also shared some interesting insights into which events are worth seeing and which can be missed. For example, our members recommend seeing handball, table tennis and beach volleyball live – but would give fencing and diving a miss. If you wish to attend the opening or closing ceremonies, book well in advance and expect to pay a lot of money.
If you live in Australia, you can purchase Tokyo 2020 tickets from the Australian allocation via the Australian Olympic Committee. For popular events, it could be a good idea to secure tickets in advance. But this is not necessary for less-popular events – many of which are just as entertaining.
Here’s some things I learnt from Barcelona
The early bird will pay through the nose. As the Games get closer several things appear to happen.
AOC will likely only broadscale ticket events in which AUssies excel. Eg swimming….other events they will ticket but like mums and dads crowd level. Sports events that hold no interest for Japanese folk or where Japan while having a team or participant will get a flogging will just not sell out. Likely this to be handball, field hockey. Big stadiums will never sell out because they are just big and who likes triple jump or …. you get the picture
Join the discussion on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: Travel to 2020 Tokyo Olympics