Highlights from the Olympic Torch Relay in Mie

Mie, JAPAN - 8 April 2021 : The Olympic Torch Relay section 2 in Nabari City, Mie prefecture, Japan.
Mie, JAPAN - 8 April 2021 : The Olympic Torch Relay section 2 in Nabari City, Mie prefecture, Japan.

The Olympic Torch Relay is underway in Mie! You can watch every moment of the flame's historic journey to the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games on 23 July 2021 via the dedicated Tokyo 2020 live stream, as well as following the highlights as they happen via our blog, below.

08 April, 19:55 (JST): Feast your eyes on the latest photos from Mie!

The flame has been making its way across Mie today on its final stop before tomorrow's relay in Wakayama. Check out some of the best shots of today's action.

08 April, 18:30 (JST): Flashback to the flame on a ferry!

In case you missed it yesterday, the Olympic flame took to the open waters on its way to the towns of Toba and Tōshijima in Mie.

The Toba region is famous for its pearls, with a short bridge connecting the mainland to the alluringly-named Mikimoto Pearl Island. Tōshijima, for its part, is a beautiful bay area with a centuries-old tradition of fishing that still continues to this day.

Keep an eye out for any other unusual forms of transport the flame rides on as it makes its way across Japan.

08 April, 17:50 (JST): Endless beauty and sacred shrines

Today's Olympic Torch Relay has been nothing short of breathtaking, with beauty to be found along every step of the journey. But one of the most stunning - not to mention historic - sites has been the journey of the flame across the Iseji route, a trail that winds its way between the Ise-jingu shrine and the Kumano Sanzan temples.

ISHIKURA Yuichi carried the torch up the broken cobblestones of the famous route. A fisherman from Kihoku Town, Ishikura was a talented athlete as a youngster, breaking the Mie high school record for the 800m. As well as wanting to promote the Japanese fishing industry to the world, he also welcomed the opportunity to swap life on the sea for some time on land!

Olympic Torch Relay travels on scared site
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During the Olympic flame's journey in Mie Prefecture, it travelled along one of the oldest surviving sacred sites in Japan, Kumano Kodo’s Iseji trail.

08 April, 15:45 (JST): Photo check in

As the relay heads to Taiki town from 15:45, first check out these photos from Iga City, Nabari City and Matsusaka City.

08 April, 15:00 (JST): Designer of Olympic medals

It's another surprising afternoon with the appearance of KAWANISHI Junichi at the Castle Ruins in Matsusaka City, Mie Prefecture. The Osaka native is the designer of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic medals - which will be awarded to some of the best athletes in the world come Games-time.

Kawanishi designed these medals to reflect themes diversity, harmony and friendship around the world - all part of the spirit of the Olympics. These medals are the first in history of the Olympic Games to be produced sustainably - created from electronic devices collected by people all over Japan

Mie, JAPAN - 8 April 2021 : The Olympic Torch Relay section 3 in Matsusaka City, Mie prefecture, Japan.
Mie, JAPAN - 8 April 2021 : The Olympic Torch Relay section 3 in Matsusaka City, Mie prefecture, Japan.
Tokyo 2020

The torch relay is a unique event that connects friendships around the world and expresses peace of humankind through the Olympics.

08 April, 12:30 (JST): Inspiring people with impairment

TAKAYUKI Onoe will always remember his time at the 2013 Special Olympics World Winter Games in Pyeongchang, Republic of Korea where he won gold in the 5,000m snowshoe event and fourth place in the 1,600m.

As an avid marathon runner, Takayuki wants to tackle the Kobe Marathon in November and the Tokyo Marathon next year, and will boost his bid in these two events by first carrying the flame in his hometown Nabari City.

Mie, JAPAN - 8 April 2021 : The Olympic Torch Relay section 2 in Nabari City, Mie prefecture, Japan.
Mie, JAPAN - 8 April 2021 : The Olympic Torch Relay section 2 in Nabari City, Mie prefecture, Japan.
Tokyo 2020

08 April, 12:00 (JST): The spectacular Akame 48 waterfalls

In Nabari City's Akame Valley lie numerous waterfalls known as the Akame 48 waterfalls, which is also the birthplace of the Iga-ryu ninjas, warriors from the Iga region.

From this mystical spot, torchbearer YUTAKA Kajitani carries the flame with the hope that local people could preserve these natural hidden wonders for future generations.

Olympic flame reaches stunning Akame 48 waterfalls
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Check out the Olympic Torch Relay's journey through the mysterious Akame 48 waterfalls

08 April, 10:40 (JST): Wheelchair basketball player HATTA Yuka makes an appearance

After participating in wheelchair basketball for Japan at the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games, HATTA Yuka returns to her sporting roots today in Iga City.

Hatta remembers how the Games have helped her overcome her impairment and to restart her life as a nurse in wheelchair. Today she carries the flame as a way to thank those who have supported her throughout her journey.

Beijing 2008 Paralympian carries flame
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During the Olympic flame's journey in Mie Prefecture, Beijing 2008 Paralympian HATTA Yuka, who represented Japan in wheelchair basketball, carried the torch.

08 April, 09:45 (JST): It's as legendary as legendary gets

Day 2 of the torch relay in Mie Prefecture kicks off from Iga City's famous landmark, Iga Ueno Castle, which was the seat of power for the local lords in the late 1500s during the height of the Edo Period. It is located inside Ueno Park which hosts many cultural events throughout the year including ninja-themed festivals.

With an impressive background of the castle tower standing atop, legendary singer Ichiro Toba, who is famous for his Enka songs (ballad songs) in Japan, makes his way through the Ueno Park grounds as the day's first torchbearer.

Japanese singer takes Olympic flame from Iga Ueno Castle
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Japanese singer Ichiro Toba began Day 2 of the Olympic Torch Relay in Mie Prefecture with the stunning Iga Ueno Castle in the backdrop.

08 April, 09:30 (JST): A prefecture with a rich history of sporting greatness

Mie is the birthplace of many a famous Japanese athlete, including wrestling legend YOSHIDA Saori (gold medallist at Athens 2004, Beijing 2008 and London 2012) and 2004 marathon gold medallist, NOGUCHI Mizuki.

One other standout star from the region is Rio 2016 Olympic wrestling title holder, DOSHO Sara, who is aiming to use her signature tackle to triumph once again at Tokyo 2020.

Rio 2016 gold medallist DOSHO Sara aims to repeat her feat at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020
Rio 2016 gold medallist DOSHO Sara aims to repeat her feat at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020
2016 Getty Images

08 April, 09:25 (JST): Welcome to Iga City!

Welcome to the second day of the Olympic Torch Relay in Mie! Today's journey begins in Iga City, home of the Iga-ryu ninja. This legendary location is the historical breeding ground of Japanese ninjas who studied at the Iga-ryu school. From there, the flame will make its way across Nabari City, Matsusaka City, Taiki Town and Kihoku Town, before ending the day in Kumano City - a lush land of forests, rock-strewn landscapes and shrines.

You can watch all of the day's action unfold live right here on Tokyo 2020.

07 April, 20:40 (JST): Flashback to Aichi - ANDO Miki swapped the ice rink for the relay

The torch may be making its way across Mie, but former world champion figure skater Ando Miki has expressed her delight at taking part in the Aichi leg of the Olympic Torch Relay earlier this week.

Ando, who hails from Aichi, is a two-time Olympian having competed at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino and the 2010 edition in Vancouver.

07 April, 20:00 (JST): An Olympic silver medallist carrying the flame!

Following the excitement generated by Yoshida, three-time Olympian TAKEDA Miho kept up the momentum of Olympic Torch Relay in Tsu City.

Takeda and her partner TACHIBANA Miya were the silver medallists in the duet event at Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004.

TAKEDA Miho runs with the flame in Mie Prefecture.
TAKEDA Miho runs with the flame in Mie Prefecture.
Tokyo 2020

07 April, 16:30 (JST): Relive the highlights of the day

With the torch relay set to continue its exciting journey to Toba City and Ise City, let's take a look at today’s highlights so far.

07 April, 15:50 (JST): Here we have YOSHIDA Saori!

Check out who is our next torchbearer on the road!

Three-time Olympic wrestling champion Yoshida Saori is leading a small group of children to kick off the torch relay in Tsu City.

Over a year ago, YOSHIDA along with triple judo gold medallist NOMURA Tadahiro were part of the Olympic Flame arrival ceremony at Matsushima Base in Miyagi.

This afternoon she runs at a sports complex that was named after her. And guess who the next torchbearer is? Yoshida’s dear mother YOSHIDA Yukiyo!

What a memorable moment!

Three-time Olympic champion YOSHIDA Saori runs in Mie Prefecture
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Three-time Olympic wrestling champion YOSHIDA Saori runs with the Olympic flame in her hometown of Tsu City, Mie Prefecture.

07 April, 14:30 (JST): To return the kindness

OIKAWA Harumi, who was was diagnosed with cancer in 2015, ran in Suzuka City.

After several operations, she is now in follow-up observation and has restarted marathon training.

Looking to return the kindness and care she received from her family and friends, she became a consultant who provides information and support to cancer patients and their family.

Oikawa hopes her relay can prove that even with cancer, one can still take on various challenges.

Mie, JAPAN - 7 April 2021 : The Olympic Torch Relay section 2 in Suzuka City, Mie prefecture, Japan.
Mie, JAPAN - 7 April 2021 : The Olympic Torch Relay section 2 in Suzuka City, Mie prefecture, Japan.
Tokyo 2020

07 April, 11:20 (JST): Cheer for the pioneering wheelchair tennis player

It’s not not an exaggeration to say that SAIDA Satoshi is the biggest star in Yokkaichi City’s relay.

Seen as a pioneer among Japanese wheelchair tennis players, Saida has competed in six Paralympic Games since Atlanta 1996 and won Men’s doubles gold medal at Athens 2004. His partner back then is now world No.1 KUNIEDA Shingo.

Six-time Paralympian SAIDA Satoshi passes on hope
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Six-time Paralympian SAIDA Satoshi attends the relay in Mie

07 April, 10:30 (JST): “Boccia changed me”

AOKI Kenta wears a proud smile as he starts his relay.

After suffering paralysis below the neck due to a spinal cord injury at high school, Aoki used to feel lost in life. But it was boccia which gave him hope and he has a dream of becoming a Paralympian someday.

It’s the meeting with boccia two years ago that changed me.

I firmly believe that doing the relay while sitting in a wheelchair will give various people courage and hope.

Mie, JAPAN - 7 April 2021 : The Olympic Torch Relay section 1 in Yokkaichi City, Mie prefecture, Japan.
Mie, JAPAN - 7 April 2021 : The Olympic Torch Relay section 1 in Yokkaichi City, Mie prefecture, Japan.
Tokyo 2020

07 April, 10:00 (JST): Two-time Olympian kicks off the relay in Mie

Former long-distance runner SEKO Toshihiko is on the road again!

Seko competed in Los Angeles 1984 and Seoul 1988. He also won the Boston Marathon and London Marathon.

Today he not only runs with his own Olympic spirit, but also with the memory of SAKAI Yoshinori, who lit the Olympic cauldron at Tokyo 1964.

Two-time Olympian begins Olympic Torch Relay in Mie
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The Olympic flame has hit its sixth prefecture. Today SEKO Toshihiko, who competed at Los Angeles 1984 and Seoul 1988, got the Olympic Torch Relay underway in Mie.

07 April, 09:30 (JST): Discover the story of a Mie shellfish diver - overwise known as an ama

One of the torchbearers in Mie will be Ms. Mitsuhashi, an ama diver who for the past 38 years has fished in the seas off of Shima City. Amas use no scuba diving equipment, relying only on their bodies and experience to propel themselves to the bottom of the bay. Ms. Mitsuhashi has a particularly important role in the ama tradition, as she is the Shima Chairperson of the Ama Preservation Society.

Discover more of her story and the history of the ama fishing tradition here.

07 April, 09:20 (JST): Welcome to Yokkaichi City!

Welcome to the first day of the Olympic Torch Relay in Mie! Today's journey begins in Yokkaichi City, a location that was built on an old market town, leading to the name Yokkaichi, which roughly translates as "the market on the 4th day". From there, the flame will make its way to Suzuka City, Kameyama City, Tsu City and Toba City, before ending the day in Ise City.

Ise City is the home of Japan's two most sacred shrines, the Ise Shrines, and over 100 other smaller shrines that are scattered across the region. So settle in - this day is set to be one of the most beautiful of the Olympic Torch Relay so far.

You can watch all of the day's action unfold live right here on Tokyo 2020.