With the Olympic and Paralympic Games taking place in Tokyo 2020, Japan is gearing up for a busy year ahead. Regardless of the games, Japan is a year-round destination with a number of events and new launches taking place in the new year from a welcome new flight route to competitive cycling events to much anticipated Art Triennale’s.

Japan has an overwhelming amount to offer in terms of sightseeing, culture, cuisine, nature and in particular, sports this coming year. It’s been on my bucket list for eternity and below is a list of reasons why I will finally be visiting Japan in 2020.

Ahead of the 2020 Games

First-ever Nintendo Tokyo store 2019

Nintendo Tokyo will be Nintendo’s first-ever store opening on 22 November inside the highly anticipated, brand new Shibuya Parco shopping complex alongside a new Pokémon Centre store. The shop will carry an extensive line of the exclusive game and character merchandise alongside interactive demo stations.

New flight route to Sapporo 19/20

Finnair is launching its new flight route from London to Sapporo via Helsinki which will be operating twice weekly from 15 December 2019 until 27 March 2020. Previously powder hounds have had to change in Tokyo before flying on to Hokkaido Island. This new route will cut costs, as well as travel times by at least two hours. Flights from £534pp.

Around the 2020 Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games

The Olympics will be taking over Japan from 24 July to 9 August and the Paralympics from 25 August to 6 September as the country hosts the Games for a second time since 1964. An estimated 206 nations will be participating in the grand opening ceremony on 24 July 2020 in Tokyo. 33 sports will be participating in the games with five new sports being added to the list this year – baseball/softball, karate, skateboarding, sports climbing and surfing.

Luxury Hotel Openings 2020

With the Aman, Kyoto and new Hoshino Resort, Risonare, in Nasu having opened at the beginning of this month there are many more luxury hotel openings to follow ahead of the 2020 Games. Next year will see the debut of new accommodation such as; the Ace Hotel in Kyoto; Hyatt hotels in Yokohama, Niseko and Kanazawa; Hotel Fauchon in Kyoto; Marriot Hotel in Nara; and Ritz-Carlton properties in Nikko and Niseko 2020, and Fukuoka 2023.

Energizing Tokyo at the Palace Hotel Tokyo

Palace Hotel Tokyo is getting into the spirit of wellness in line with the Olympic and Paralympic Games 2020. The hotel has set up a wellness getaway that comes replete with an à la carte menu of fitness pursuits to refresh the mind and body and allow visitors to experience the city in a very active healthy way. Spa packages start from £1,227.

Nippon 2020 Cultural Olympics

Tokyo 2020 Nippon Festival has been created to build energy around the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The festival welcomes people and cultures from around Japan and beyond to interact and celebrate the Games, events will be organised to encourage diversity and regeneration in the Tohoku region opening new gateways and introducing new possibilities for Japan.

Beyond the 2020 Games

Japan Cup Cycle Road Race, 18 October 2020

The Japan Cup Cycle is a premier cycling race that attracts thousands of fans each year and a host of Tour de France competitor teams taking place in the race. The beautiful circuit goes around Utsunomiya and Mount Kogashiyama, it is the traditional end-of-season event in the sport showcasing unique Japanese landscapes and towns.

Sapporo International Art Festival, 19 December 2020 – 14 February 2021

The Sapporo International Art Festival (SIAF) is an artistic event held in Sapporo every three years. Going into its third year SIAF2020 will be held during the winter months having previously been held between summer and autumn. The theme of the festival is ‘Of Roots and Clouds’ and will promote local creativity via contemporary and media art whilst promoting what the city has to offer other than snow and winter.

Echigo Tsumari Art Triennale 2021, Niigata

Located in Niigata Prefecture, Echigo Tsumari Art Triennale will be taking place again in 2021 during the summer. Between 100 to 200 new art pieces are created and exhibited in addition to the permanent installations throughout the area’s 760 square kilometre rural landscape. The art festival aims to bring people back to the area after the 2004 earthquake and involve the local population in sustainable attractions.

Studio Ghibli Theme Park, 2022

The widely anticipated illustrations of the Studio Ghibli Theme Park have been revealed and look fantastic. Located in EXPO Park in Nagakute City, Nagoya, it is expected to have five themed areas, including Princess Mononoke and Howl’s Moving Castle. Japanese anime film creator Hayao Miyazaki is working on the park’s creative side, his lyrical and allusive works won both critical and popular acclaim resulting in the theme park expected to be a huge hit.

For more information, please visit www.japan.travel.en.uk

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