Japan is having a sporty couple of years, as host of the Rugby World Cup this year and the Olympics next year.
The Olympics will be based around the Tokyo Prefecture and will run from 24 July to 9 August, when summer is at its height, with an average temperature of 26.4 °C (79.5 °F).
2020 will be the second time Tokyo has hosted the Olympics, the last time being 56 years ago in 1964, when the event was credited with radically transforming the country.
The Olympics will be a good time to see some of the original Olympic venues as many are to be used in 2020 also. These include the Nippon Budokkan for judo, the Baji Koen Park for equestrian events, and the Yoyogi National Gymnasium for handball. The main Tokyo National Stadium, , where the Opening and Closing Ceremonies and athletics competitions will be staged, will be completely revamped and replaced by a new arena.
According to the official Olympics 2020 website: “The Venue Plan for the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 consists predominantly of two thematic and operational zones: the “Heritage Zone” which houses several iconic venues used at the Tokyo 1964 Games and further sustains the enduring legacy of Tokyo 1964; and the “Tokyo Bay Zone” which serves as a model for innovative urban development and symbolises the exciting future of the city.”
But this is an area with a long and illustrious heritage since its days as a fishing village, called Edo. Since becoming the seat of the Meiji dynasty in 1868 it has grown to become one of the world’s largest metropolitan areas.
However, the Tokyo prefecture also incorporates a string of offshore islands and is 36% green, containing several extensive parks, including the Ogasawara National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Within an hour’s travel from Tokyo are two must-see areas, Kamakura and the Fuji Five-Lakes.
Kamakura is a small coastal town containing numerous temples, shrines and other historical monuments as well as being blessed with sandy beaches.
The Fuji Five Lakes region lies at the northern base of Mount Fuji about 1000 meters above sea level around the lakes Kawaguchiko, Saiko, Yamanakako, Shojiko and Motosuko. It is one of the best places to view Mount Fuji from a close distance and a good base for climbing the mountain.
It offers opportunities for climbing, hiking and fishing as well as having plenty of hot springs and museums to explore.
So if you have been thinking of a once in a lifetime trip with the family, perhaps Japan 2020 is the place to go.