Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch Relay 

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch Relay Concept

The concept for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch Relay across Japan will be "Hope Lights Our Way", uniting the Japanese people around messages of supporting, accepting and encouraging one another.

The Olympic flame is often associated with a message of peace and hope, as it is carried around the host nation, and as such has become one of the most powerful symbols of the Olympic Movement. In 2020, the Olympic flame will not only symbolise the sunrise of a new era spreading the hope that will light our way, but will also serve to spread the joy and passion of the Japanese around the Olympic movement as the Games approach.

Upon its arrival in Japan, the Olympic flame will initially be put on display at various locations in the Tohoku region, to help underscore this message of hope in the areas affected by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

“Hope Lights Our Way” from Fukushima for 121 Days Journey

The Relay will travel to all 47 prefectures in Japan, showcasing the varied cultural and scenic attractions of each region.

The Relay will commence on 26 March 2020 in Fukushima Prefecture, and start its journey southwards. The torch is likely to traverse the inland prefectures of central Japan against the backdrop of Japan's famous cherry blossoms, which typically bloom there in early April.

The Relay will then proceed southwest until it reaches the islands of Okinawa, the southernmost prefecture of Japan, in early May. It will make its way back up to the north of the country, passing through Kyoto in late May, all the way up to Hokkaido, where it will arrive in mid-June. The Relay will then turn southwards again and complete its long journey in Tokyo after spending three days in each of the four prefectures outside of the capital that are hosting events during the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.

The torch will traverse Japan for a total of 121 days. In addition to building excitement across the country ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Games and promoting the Olympic values, the Torch Relay is aimed at showcasing solidarity with the regions still recovering from the 2011 earthquake and tsunami under its slogan “Hope Lights Our Way.”

The precise route of the Relay will be firmed up during the coming months and announced in 2019, following approval by the IOC.

Schedule of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch Relay

12 March Lighting Ceremony in Olympia, Greece
12-19 March Greek leg of the Tokyo 2020 Torch Relay
19 March Handover Ceremony in Athens, Greece
20 March Flame arrives at Matsushima Airfield, Miyagi, Japan
20-21 March Flame on display in Miyagi Prefecture
22-23 March Flame on display in Iwate Prefecture
24-25 March Flame on display in Fukushima Prefecture
26 March Japanese leg of the Tokyo 2020 Torch Relay starts from Fukushima, taking in all 47 prefectures of Japan
All dates are in local time

Lighting Ceremony in Olympia, Greece

Handover Ceremony in Athens, Greece

The order of the prefecture for Tokyo 2020 OTR

Prefecture Date
1 Fukushima 26-28 Mar. 2020
2 Tochigi 29-30 Mar. 2020
3 Gunma 31 Mar.-1 Apr. 2020
4 Nagano 2-3 Apr. 2020
5 Gifu 4-5 Apr. 2020
6 Aichi 6-7 Apr. 2020
7 Mie 8-9 Apr. 2020
8 Wakayama 10-11 Apr. 2020
9 Nara 12-13 Apr. 2020
10 Osaka 14-15 Apr. 2020
11 Tokushima 16-17 Apr. 2020
12 Kagawa 18-19 Apr. 2020
13 Kochi 20-21 Apr. 2020
14 Ehime 22-23 Apr. 2020
15 Oita 24-25 Apr. 2020
16 Miyazaki 26-27 Apr. 2020
17 Kagoshima 28-29 Apr. 2020
18 Okinawa 2-3 May 2020
19 Kumamoto 6-7 May 2020
20 Nagasaki 8-9 May 2020
21 Saga 10-11 May 2020
22 Fukuoka 12-13 May 2020
23 Yamaguchi 14-15 May 2020
24 Shimane 16-17 May 2020
25 Hiroshima 18-19 May 2020
26 Okayama 20-21 May 2020
27 Tottori 22-23 May 2020
28 Hyogo 24-25 May 2020
29 Kyoto 26-27 May 2020
30 Shiga 28-29 May 2020
31 Fukui 30-31 May 2020
32 Ishikawa 1-2 Jun. 2020
33 Toyama 3-4 Jun. 2020
34 Niigata 5-6 Jun. 2020
35 Yamagata 7-8 Jun. 2020
36 Akita 9-10 Jun. 2020
37 Aomori 11-12 Jun. 2020
38 Hokkaido 14-15 Jun. 2020
39 Iwate 17-19 Jun. 2020
40 Miyagi 20-22 Jun. 2020
41 Shizuoka 24-26 Jun. 2020
42 Yamanashi 27-28 Jun. 2020
43 Kanagawa 29 Jun.-1 Jul. 2020
44 Chiba 2-4 Jul. 2020
45 Ibaraki 5-6 Jul. 2020
46 Saitama 7-9 Jul. 2020
47 Tokyo 10-24 Jul. 2020

Number of days in each prefecture

  • Three days in each of the three prefectures most affected by the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami
    (Fukushima, Iwate and Miyagi)
  • Three days in each of the four prefectures hosting multiple competitions during the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 (Chiba, Kanagawa, Saitama and Shizuoka)
  • 15 days in the Tokyo Metropolitan area
  • Two days in each of the other 39 prefectures of Japan

Tokyo 2020 has formulated various criteria that will govern the starting point and precise route of the Olympic Torch Relay, which are themselves yet to be announced. The route will allow for as many people as possible to view the Olympic Torch Relay and will include regional and national landmarks. It will additionally help showcase the recovery of Japan's disaster-affected areas and the indomitable spirit of the people living there.

The flame will be carried along its route to Tokyo by many thousands of torch-bearers, with guidelines for the selection of these to be finalised at a future date.

The Olympic Torch Relay

The Olympic Torch Relay begins with the kindling of the Olympic flame by the rays of the sun in Olympia, Greece, and is followed by a relay around Greece. The Olympic flame is then transported to the host country where a Torch Relay is conducted until the Opening Ceremony of the Games.

The Olympic flame is a globally-recognised symbol of the Olympics, and the parading of the flame represents the Olympic ideals of peace, unity and friendship. Through the Torch Relay the Olympic values are disseminated across the entire host country, and the relay serves to raise interest in and expectations for the Games.

Actually, there was no Olympic flame at the modern Olympics until the Amsterdam 1928 Games, when a cauldron was erected outside the main stadium. A proposal was made to continue this practice, which has continued until the present day.

The lighting of the Olympic flame is held several months before the beginning of the Olympics at the sacred site of ancient Olympia, near the temple of Hera. Hundreds of people then take their turn to carry the torch a short distance until it reaches the main site of the Games on the day of the Opening Ceremony. The final runners carry the torch into the stadium and the Olympic cauldron is then lit. The cauldron stays alight until the conclusion of the Games.


Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch Relay Presenting Partner