Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch Relay

Tokyo 2020 Olympic torch relay emblem and torch

The Olympic flame is an international symbol of peace and hope. It embodies the spirit of the Olympics and in the buildup to the Tokyo 2020 Games, thousands of people will take part in the Olympic Torch Relay, helping inspire millions of people around the world.

The concept for the 2020 Summer Olympics Torch Relay will be “hope lights our way”. Sports fans will get a chance to hold the torch and carry it for small parts of the long route which will take it from Greece to Japan, the host nation.

The Olympic flame has been iconic ever since it was introduced in the 1928 Olympics when a cauldron was erected outside the main stadium. The Torch Relay started in 1936 and has featured in every Olympics ever since.

The 2020 Olympic Torch Relay will not only symbolize hope, but it will also spread the joy and passion of the games throughout Japan. The flame will initially be put on display at various locations in the Tohoku region, to deliver a message of hope, unity, and support to the areas affected by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

Schedule of the 2020 Olympic Torch Relay

The Olympic Torch Relay will start, as always, with the kindling of the Olympic flame by the rays of the sun in Olympia, Greece. After a lap around Greece, the torch will go to Japan in March 2020, where it will pass through every region, and eventually finish at the Opening Ceremony of the games, which will be held in the New National Stadium.

How long is the Torch Relay? There is no specified distance for the Torch Relay. In general, it covers every region of the host nation which means the bigger the country, the longer the distance. The 2020 Torch Relay will cover all 47 Japanese prefectures, so there’s a chance you may catch it!

With the motto “Hope Lights Our Way,” it will travel to Fukushima, Iwate and Miyagi, the prefectures most affected by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, in which more than 18,000 people died or went missing.

Hundreds of people will then take their turn to carry the torch for a small part of the journey. The table below shows the dates and locations of the torch’s route which covers every corner of Japan.

PrefectureDate
Fukushima26-28 March 2020
Tochigi29-30 March 2020
Gunma31 March – 1 April 2020
Nagano2-3 April 2020
Gifu4-5 April 2020
Aichi6-7 April 2020
Mie8-9 April 2020
Wakayama10-11 April 2020
Nara12-13 April 2020
Osaka14-15 April 2020
Tokushima16-17 April 2020
Kagawa18-19 April 2020
Kochi20-21 April 2020
Ehime22-23 April 2020
Oita24-25 April 2020
Miyazaki26-27 April 2020
Kagoshima28-29 April 2020
Okinawa2-3 May 2020
Kumamoto6-7 May 2020
Nagasaki8-9 May 2020
Saga10-11 May 2020
Fukuoka12-13 May 2020
Yamaguchi14-15 May 2020
Shimane16/17 May 2020
Hiroshima18-19 May 2020
Okayama20-21 May 2020
Tottori22-23 May 2020
Hyogo24-25 May 2020
Kyoto26-27 May 2020
Shiga28-29 May 2020
Fukui30-31 May 2020
Ishikawa1-2 June 2020
Toyama3-4 June 2020
Niigata5-6 June 2020
Yamagata7-8 June 2020
Akita9-10 June 2020
Aomori11-12 June 2020
Hokkaido14-15 June 2020
Iwate17-19 June 2020
Miyagi20-22 June 2020
Shizuoka24-26 June 2020
Yamanashi27-28 June 2020
Kanagawa29 June -1 July 2020
Chiba2-4 July 2020
Ibaraki5-6 July 2020
Saitama7-9 July 2020
Tokyo10-24 July 2020

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The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch

The design of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic torch will include a cherry blossom (or sakura) emblem to represent the iconic national flower. To coincide with the cherry blossom season.

The cherry blossom motif has been created using the same manufacturing techniques used for the production of Shinkansen bullet trains. Aluminium extrusion has been used to make seamless pieces from a single metal sheet. The torch emblem will represent the harmony between Japanese traditions and advanced technological capabilities.

History of the Olympic Torch Relay

The first ever modern Olympics were held in 1896 but the Olympic flame didn’t feature until the 1928 Amsterdam games when a cauldron was lit to represent the spirit of the games. However, the modern Torch Relay didn’t feature until the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin.

Ancient Greek drawings and writing inspired Dr. Carl Diem to conceive the idea of the relay. On July 20, 1936, Konstantin Kondylis of Greece became the first ever runner in the event’s history and the idea caught the imagination of sports fans around the world. It has been an iconic, global symbol ever since.

The Torch Relay doesn’t involve passing a singular torch from one person to the next. Instead, the sacred flame is passed from torch to torch. The passing of the flame symbolizes handing the spirit and wisdom of the games to the next generation.

Interesting facts about the Olympic Torch Relay

  • The final torch carrier is kept secret until the final moments of the relay.
  • There is a new torch design for every Olympics.
  • The torch features a dual burner system making it resistant to wind and rain.
  • 2004 was the first time the torch passed through every continent.
  • The Beijing Torch Relay was the longest ever, covering 137,00 km.
  • The relay ends on the day of the Opening Ceremony.