Tokyo 2020 Sea Forest Waterway Completed With More than A Year To Go Until The Olympic Games Open

Sea Forest Waterway: Tokyo Metropolitan Government / Jan. 2019

Preparations for the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 are well in track with the Sunday inauguration of The Sea Forest Waterway, a new permanent venue to be used during the Games.

Rowing and Canoe Sprint competitions

A rowing team participates in the special inauguration race at the Sea Forest Waterway

The venue will host the Rowing and Canoe Sprint competitions at the Olympic Games and the Rowing and Canoe competitions during the Paralympic Games.

Closely located to Tokyo, the venue will offer stunning views of the Tokyo Bay and of the Tokyo Gate Bridge to the athletes, spectators and broadcasters alike.

What are its key features?

Constructed by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government on a waterfront site, the field of play is protected from the effect of waves, currents and tides by wave absorbers and two dams.

The venue also includes:

  • start facilities
  • a finish tower
  • a timing hut
  • a boathouse
  • pontoons
  • 2,000-seat grandstand
A crowd sitting on the grandstand seats

Additional temporary seating and standing areas will be available during the Games so that the Sea Forest Waterway can host a maximum of 16,000 spectators.

Empty grandstand seats
Another area within the venue where spectators can enjoy the Games
The finish tower

Accessibility for all

Following the Tokyo 2020 Accessibility Guidelines, the venue was designed to be accessible to all, including the elderly, people with impairments, parents with infant strollers and those with guide dogs.

Some parked wheelchairs on site
An athlete participates in the special inauguration race

It includes universally-designed toilets and wheelchair-accessible seats in areas designed with enough height difference between the rows of seating - this will ensure that those in wheelchairs can see clearly, even if spectators in front of them stand up.

The venue also has solar panels and other state-of-the-art technology to help reducing the facility's carbon footprint.

The inauguration

An opening ceremony took place with Japanese Paralympians, Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike, the Minister for the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games Shunichi Suzuki, World Rowing President Jean-Christophe Rolland, and Japan Canoe Federation Honorary Chairman Yasuo Fukuda.

The inauguration of The Sea Forest Waterway last Sunday

Said Rolland, “Today we see the efforts of years of hard work come to fruition with the official opening of the Sea Forest Waterway rowing course. This is truly an Olympic-standard regatta venue and I know it will help make for a fabulous rowing regatta at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.”

“It is also designed with sustainability in mind with the Sea Forest Waterway being an asset to local, national and international rowing for years to come. On behalf of FISA I would like to thank you and express my gratitude to all the contributors and specifically to TMG and Governor Koike who have made this fantastic project a reality.”

Special races with Olympians and legacy

To celebrate the opening, the Japan Rowing Association organised special races in which Japanese Olympians, the world-famous Oxford and Cambridge alumni boat teams, some well-known Japanese university rowing teams, and para athletes took part.

Athletes practising for the special inauguration race at the Sea Forest Waterway

The legacy of this new permanent venue has already been planned. Following the Tokyo 2020 Games, the course will be used for international rowing and canoe competitions, and will become one of the premier locations in Asia for water sports, with the aim to host multiple events annually, starting with the 2019 World Rowing Junior Championships in August which will also serve as a test event.

General public access

The Sea Forest Waterway will also be open to the general public, rowing and canoe classes as well as other activities will be organised and it will become a place where Tokyo residents can enjoy water sports and leisure activities.

The opening of yet another venue marks a great achievement and shows the readiness of the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee for the first wave of test events this summer and for hosting the Olympic Games in just 400 days.

Events to be held at the Sea Forest Waterway

Olympic Sports

Paralympic Sports