There are 42 competition venues for this year’s Olympics, and the majority of them are located in the city of Tokyo, though additional events will be held elsewhere in Japan. The Tokyo venues are mostly situated within one of two adjacent clusters — the Heritage Zone and the Tokyo Bay Zone — and the Olympic Village is located at the intersection of those clusters.
The map below shows the location of the two main zones. Note the outlines — together they are meant to form the shape of an infinity sign.
Located in the heart of the city, the Heritage Zone uses many repurposed venues from the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. This cluster has 10 venues total. Olympic Stadium will host the Opening and Closing Cermonies, track and field, and soccer. Nippon Budokan (judo, karate) and the Kokugikan Arena (boxing) have attained cultural significance in Japan as meccas of martial arts and sumo wrestling.
Tokyo Bay Zone
There’s an underlying theme of “tradition meets innovation” with the Tokyo Olympics. So if the Heritage Zone represents traditional Tokyo, then the Tokyo Bay Zone would be its innovative counterpart. This area, which includes several artificial islands, is in the process of undergoing modern, urban development. Among the 16 venues in this cluster are the Ariake Gymnastics Center and the Tokyo Aquatics Center.
Elsewhere in Japan
There are 16 additional competition venues that fall outside of the two main clusters. Most notably, Sapporo (over 500 miles north of Tokyo) will host race walking and marathons after those events were moved out of Tokyo due to concerns about the heat. Sapporo also has one of the seven soccer stadiums spread across the country.
The Tokyo Olympics will use a combination of existing locations, temporary structures, and newly-constructed permanent venues. Below are a few of the most notable sites for these Olympic Games.
Originally built as the centerpiece of the 1964 Games, the stadium (formerly known as National Stadium) was torn down in 2015 and rebuilt to accommodate a larger capacity for these Olympics. It was designed by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma and features multi-layered eaves built using wood from each of Japan's 47 prefectures. The official capacity is 68,000 but can expand to over 80,000 with the addition of temporary seating on top of the track for certain events.
This will be one of the prominent sights of the Tokyo Olympics given that it will host the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, most track and field events, and the gold medal match in women’s soccer.
Tokyo Aquatics Center
This 15,000-capacity venue located in the Tokyo Bay Zone will host swimming, diving and artistic swimming events. Thanks to movable walls and floors, length and depth can be adjusted in both the main pool and the warm-up pool. One of eight new permanent venues built for the Tokyo Games, the aquatics center will host domestic and international competitions after the Olympics, in addition to being open for public use.
Ariake Gymnastics Center
This 12,000-seat temporary venue in the Tokyo Bay Zone will host gymnastics. The surrounding area used to be a timber storage location, which inspired the wooden architecture of this venue. Even the benches inside are made of wood.
This legacy venue was built for the 1964 Games to host judo for the sport’s Olympic debut. It has established itself as a martial arts mecca — as well as a concert venue — since then. In 1970, it hosted the first-ever World Karate Championships. This year will see the Nippon Budokan make more history by staging the first-ever Olympic karate events alongside judo competitions.
This arena will host boxing during the Tokyo Games, but it's a different sport — sumo wrestling — that has made this such an iconic venue. Sumo is considered the national sport of Japan, and the Kokugikan Arena (also known as the Ryogoku Kokugikan) has become its spiritual home.
Ariake Urban Sports Park
A temporary venue located along the waterfront and within the Tokyo Bay Zone, this will be the site of several new Olympic events. Both skateboarding courses (park and street) will be located here, as will the freestyle BMX course. Though it's not a new event, the BMX racing course is here as well.
Located about 24 miles from Tokyo, this 35,000-seat stadium is the home of the Yokohoma DeNA BayStars of the Nippon Professional Baseball league (NPB). All Olympic baseball games, except for the opening game, will be played here. This stadium will also be the site of 11 softball games, including the gold and bronze medal games.
Fukushima Azuma Baseball Stadium
A total of seven games across the baseball and softball competitions will be played at this stadium in Fukushima, which is important for two reasons. First of all, the softball opener between Japan and Australia on July 21 will be the very first event of these Olympics (two days before the Opening Ceremony). But also, that game will hold symbolic importance for Japan because it represents a major step in the recovery of a region that was devastated by an earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster in 2011.
Want more information about any of the Tokyo Olympic venues? Just search the list below (sorted alphabetically by sport) to find out where competition will take place for each sport.
Want to know more about the Tokyo Olympics in general? The rest of the Olympic 101 articles can be found below.