Tokyo 2020 announces Olympic Torch Relay route


The Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (Tokyo 2020) today unveiled the Olympic Torch Relay route over which the symbolic Olympic flame will be proudly relayed to a huge number of local areas in Japan in the final 121 days culminating in the Olympic Games, igniting enthusiasm across Japan and around the world. Tokyo 2020 also unveiled the torchbearer uniforms, the Tokyo 2020 Torch Relay Background Music and the application guidelines for members of the public eager to participate as inspirational torchbearers in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch Relay.

Commencing its journey on 26 March 2020 from J-Village National Training Centre in Fukushima Prefecture, the Olympic flame will traverse all 47 prefectures of Japan across a 121 day period, passing by many of the nation's most famous and cherished sights. It will serve as a symbol of the Olympic Games and visit 857 local municipalities along the way.

Sites for the celebrations planned in each prefecture have also been announced. The route has been designed to ensure that large numbers of people across Japan will be able to line the roadsides, cheer on the torchbearers and create a festive atmosphere. Around 98 per cent of Japan's population live within one hour by car or train of the proposed route of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch Relay.

The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch Relay route will take in World Heritage Sites such as Mount Fuji and Itsukushima Shrine and other historic locations and popular places, including favourite local community spots, with the charm of each being showcased during the Relay. The Relay will also take in areas that are continuing to recover from natural disasters, such as the Tohoku region, which was struck by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch Relay route

Applications to become a Tokyo 2020 Olympic torchbearer

Overall, the Olympic Torch Relay will feature around 10,000 torchbearers including men, women and children from a wide range of nationalities, ages and abilities. Members of the public are invited to share directly in the excitement and passion of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch Relay by submitting their application for this once in a lifetime opportunity.

In line with our Relay vision of "Hope Lights Our Way", preference will be given to applicants who embody one of the following three spirits:

  • Those who provide essential support for family members, friends and colleagues on a daily basis, or have demonstrated the ability to overcome great adversity
  • Those who are accepting and tolerant of people from different backgrounds and who lead initiatives to welcome newcomers into their local community
  • Those who are able to engender a sense of togetherness in their local community

Applicants must be born on or before 1 April 2008; the consent of a parent or guardian will be required for those who will be aged 17 or under on 1 March 2020. People residing outside of Japan are also eligible to apply.

Members of the public with the inspiration and passion to be torchbearers can submit up to five applications via the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch Relay Presenting Partners and/or through any local prefecture where they have a personal or family connection. Successful applicants will only be selected to participate once. Each of the 47 prefectures in Japan has set up its own Olympic Torch Relay Taskforce in collaboration with Tokyo 2020.

Applications to prefectures can be made from 1 July.

The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch Relay Presenting Partners are Coca-Cola Japan, Toyota, Nippon Life and NTT Communications. Coca-Cola Japan will start accepting applications on 17 June; Toyota, Nippon Life and NTT from 24 June. Details of how to apply via Presenting Partners and/or prefectures will be provided in due course on our official website. Announcement of the successful applicants will be made after December 2019.

Tokyo 2020 Olympic torchbearer uniform

The torchbearer uniform design, which is based on the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch Relay concept 'Hope Lights Our Way', features the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch Relay emblem on the front and the Olympic symbol on the back, connected by the Games 'ichimatsu moyo' chequered pattern representing different countries, cultures and ways of thinking.

It will incorporate a diagonally-draped sash of the type used in place of batons in Ekiden, Japan's famous long distance relays. As well as introducing an element of Japanese tradition, the design embodies respect for the Olympic Torch Relay and aspirations for the success of the Games.

"I have interpreted the Olympic Torch Relay as being something that connects torchbearers and their thoughts; in other words everyone who will participate in the Torch Relay having various thoughts - including about the Games - and the Flame connecting those thoughts," Commented the uniform designer Daisuke Obana, who supervised its production.

"In Japan, these Games are being referred to as 'the Recovery Games' and so the Olympic flame will start its journey from an area affected by recent natural disasters. I hope that the Olympic flame that is transported to Japan will bring with it the encouragement and thoughts of people from all over the world. The uniform includes a diagonal sash with a design based on a Japanese traditional motif that is often deployed in Ekiden, Japan's famous long distance relays; its origins date back to ancient times, and it will play a major role as "a link that connects the world and people's thoughts."

Thanks to the efforts of Coca-Cola Japan in the collection and recycling of plastic bottles, the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch Relay uniform will be produced in part using recycled materials.

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch Relay Concept Video

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch Relay Special Webpage