2020 Summer Olympics torch relay

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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch Relay Emblem.svg
Host cityTokyo, Japan
Countries visitedGreece, Japan
Distance20,000 kilometres (12,000 mi)
ThemeHope Lights Our Way
Start date12 March 2020 (2020-03-12) (Greece)
25 March 2021 (2021-03-25) (Japan relay)
End date25 March 2020 (2020-03-25) (Japan)
23 July 2021 (2021-07-23) (Japan relay)
Olympic flame Transport aircraft. Japan Airlines Boeing 787-8 (JA837J)
Blue Impulse at the Olympic flame arrival ceremony on March 20, 2020

The 2020 Summer Olympics torch relay is scheduled to run from 12 March 2020 until 23 July 2021. After being lit in Olympia, Greece, the torch was handed over to the Olympic shooting champion Anna Korakaki, who became the first woman to be first Olympic torchbearer.[1] It was then transported to Athens on 19 March by official airliner Japan Airlines. The Japanese leg will begin in Fukushima,[2] and will end in Tokyo's New National Stadium, the main venue of the 2020 Olympics. It will make a tour of Japanese cities, including all 47 prefectural capitals.[3] The torch is even scheduled to go to two remote island groups which are part of Tokyo.[4] The end of the relay will be the finale of the 2020 Summer Olympics opening ceremony. Toyota, NTT, JXTG, Nippon Life, JAL, ANA and Japan Post Holdings are the presenting partners of the relay, with the slogan being "Hope Lights Our Way".[5][6]

The torch relay is subject to change due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The planned relay leg through Greece was cancelled, and both the lighting ceremony in Olympia and the handover ceremony in Athens had no public attendance. The relay was suspended on 25 March 2020, a day before the Japanese relay was due to start, and the torch was moved to Tokyo for exhibition until the planned resumption on 25 March 2021.[7][8]


The Olympic torch was designed by Tokujin Yoshioka and unveiled 19 March 2019; the design is inspired by cherry blossoms, with 5 petal-shaped columns around the tip of the torch, and a rose-gold "sakura gold" color finish. Their construction will incorporate aluminum recycled from unused shelters deployed in the aftermath of the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami.[9][10]

Route in Greece

The traditional lighting ceremony was held on 12 March 2020 at Olympia, Greece, and the torch was handed over to the first torchbearer, Anna Korakaki. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was the first lighting ceremony since 1984 to be held without spectators.[11] The handover ceremony was held at Panathenaic Stadium in Athens on 19 March.[12] The torch was to visit 31 cities and 15 landmarks across Greece,[13][14][15] but due to the coronavirus pandemic, it was cancelled.[16] On 13 March, a small ceremony was held in Sparta, the notable torchbearer was Scottish actor Gerard Butler, known for playing Leonidas in the movie 300 in commemorating with the 2,500th anniversary of the Battle of Thermopylae.[17]

Special display

As the damage from the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami mostly affected three prefectures, Miyagi, Iwate and Fukushima, a special torch display known as "Flame of Recovery" will be held in these three prefectures. The flame first arrived at Matsushima Air Field before being displayed at the locations below.[18]

After the postponement of the Summer Olympics to 2021, the torch display remained in Fukushima for at least a month before subsequently moved to Tokyo. The Olympic Flame would be later placed on display at Japan Olympic Museum from 1 September 2020 until 30 November 2020. With the restart of the relay will take place on 25 March 2021, during the 10th anniversary of the disaster in the rescheduled Olympics.[19]

Route in Japan

The original schedule of the torch relay in Japan was from 26 March to 24 July 2020. After the postponement of the Summer Olympics to 2021, all relays were delayed by 364 days (one day less than a full year to preserve the same days of the week). Although this wasn't announced until 28 September 2020 and this is taken from the original 2020 schedule:[20]

Prefecture Route Map

Tokyo metropolitan leg

9 July 2021 (day 100)
01. Setagaya
02. Komae
03. Inagi
04. Machida
10 July 2021 (day 101)
05. Tama
06. Hino
07. Akishima
08. Hachiōji
11 July 2021 (day 102)
09. Hinohara
010. Okutama
011. Hinode
012. Ōme
013. Mizuho
12 July 2021 (day 103)
014. Hamura
015. Akiruno
016. Fussa
017. Musashimurayama
018. Tachikawa
13 July 2021 (day 104)
019. Kunitachi
020. Kokubunji
021. Kodaira
022. Higashiyamato
023. Higashimurayama
14 July 2021 (day 105)
024. Kiyose
025. Higashikurume
026. Nishitōkyō
027. Koganei
028. Fuchū
15 July 2021 (day 106, previous)
029. Chōfu
17 July 2021 (day 107, continue)
039. Mitaka
040. Musashino
17 July 2021 (day 108)
041. Suginami
042. Nakano
043. Nerima
18 July 2021 (day 109)
044. Toshima
045. Itabashi
046. Kita
047. Adachi
19 July 2021 (day 110)
048. Katsushika
049. Edogawa
050. Sumida
051. Arakawa
20 July 2021 (day 111)
052. Taitō
053. Bunkyō
054. Chiyoda
055. Chūō
21 July 2021 (day 112)
056. Kōtō
057. Ōta
058. Shinagawa
22 July 2021 (day 113)
059. Meguro
060. Shibuya
061. Minato
23 July 2021 (day 114)
062. Shinjuku
063. New National Stadium
15 July 2021 (day 106, continue)
030. Miyake
031. Kōzushima
032. Niijima (Nii-jima and Shikine-jima)
033. To-shima
034. Ōshima
16 July 2021 (day 107, previous)
035. Mikurajima
036. Hachijō
037. Aogashima
038. Ogasawara (Chichijima and Hahajima)

End of torch relay

At the 2020 Summer Olympics opening ceremony, the relay will end with the lighting of the cauldron at the New National Stadium. In December 2018, organizers announced that, similar to what happened at the 2016 Summer Olympics, two cauldrons will be built: one inside the Olympic Stadium and another on the waterfront, near the Dream Bridge. The function of the stadium cauldron will be merely scenographic, to go according to what is established in the Olympic Charter. The Dream Bridge cauldron will be the place where the flame will burn during the 16 days of the Games. It will be lighted right after the end of opening ceremony and will be extinguished a few moments before the closing ceremony starts, when the flame will return to the scenographic cauldron inside the stadium and will be burned for its last few moments. The decision to use a public cauldron came from the fact that it would not be possible to maintain the flame burning inside the stadium during the games.[21]


  1. ^ "Anna Korakaki chosen to be the first torchbearer of the Tokyo 2020 Torch relay - Olympic News". International Olympic Committee. 8 February 2020. Retrieved 4 March 2020.
  2. ^ Osumi, Magdalena (12 July 2018). "Torch relay for 2020 Summer Games to start in Fukushima Prefecture". Retrieved 31 December 2018 – via Japan Times Online.
  3. ^ "2020 Tokyo Olympic torch relay to tour all 47 prefectures of Japan starting from Fukushima". Soranews24.com. 14 July 2018. Retrieved 31 December 2018.
  4. ^ Palmer, Dan (19 December 2018). "Tokyo 2020 Torch Relay to visit remote island groups". inside the games. insidethegames.biz. Retrieved 5 June 2019.
  5. ^ Palmer, Dan (30 November 2018). "Toyota become presenting partner of Tokyo 2020 Torch Relay". inside the game.
  6. ^ Palmer, Dan (10 April 2018). "Tokyo 2020 unveil "Hope Lights Our Way" slogan for Torch Relay". inside the games.
  7. ^ "Olympic torch relay through Greece cancelled due to coronavirus". usatoday.com. 13 March 2020. Retrieved 14 March 2020.
  8. ^ "Olympic flame to be exhibited in Fukushima, Tokyo". NHK News. 28 March 2020. Retrieved 31 March 2020.
  9. ^ Gillen, Nancy (4 January 2019). "Recycled aluminium from temporary housing in Fukushima to be used for Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torches". insidethegames.biz.
  10. ^ "Tokyo Paralympic Games get a cherry blossom torch with new color and braille text". The Japan Times Online. 25 March 2019. ISSN 0447-5763. Retrieved 16 July 2019.
  11. ^ "Tokyo 2020 torch lit behind closed doors in ancient Olympia". Reuters. 12 March 2020. Retrieved 15 March 2020.
  12. ^ "Olympic flame leaves for Japan amid coronavirus fears". Kyodo News. 19 March 2020. Retrieved 20 March 2020.
  13. ^ "Olympics: Tokyo Games flame to pass historic landmarks in Greece". Kyodo News. 24 February 2020. Retrieved 20 March 2020.
  14. ^ Kampouris, Nick (25 February 2020). "Tokyo 2020: Details of Olympic Flame Ceremonies in Greece Revealed". Greek Reporter. Retrieved 12 March 2020.
  15. ^ "Αρχισε το ταξίδι της Ολυμπιακής Φλόγας". hoc.gr. 12 March 2020. Retrieved 20 March 2020.
  16. ^ "Olympic torch relay in Greece suspended due to virus fears". Kyodo News. 14 March 2020. Retrieved 20 March 2020.
  17. ^ El-Mahmoud, Sarah (13 March 2020). "Watch Gerard Butler Go Full On 300 In Sparta". CINEMABLEND. Retrieved 20 March 2020.
  18. ^ "Olympics: Tokyo 2020 torch relay may include Fukushima reactor town". The Mainichi. mainichi.jp. 28 May 2019. Archived from the original on 5 June 2019. Retrieved 5 June 2019.
  19. ^ "OLYMPIC FLAME DISPLAYED AT JAPAN OLYMPIC MUSEUM". International Olympic Committee. 31 August 2020. Retrieved 2 September 2020.
  20. ^ "Tokyo Olympic torch relay to start March 25 in Fukushima Prefecture". The Japan Times. Kyodo News. 28 September 2020. Retrieved 2 October 2020.
  21. ^ Rowbottom, Mike (18 December 2018). "Tokyo 2020 confirms it will use Olympic flame cauldrons in stadium and on the waterfront". inside the games.

External links

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