How the 2020 Tokyo Olympics will affect your study in Japan

Whether you’ve got ringside seats or are watching the action from your local bar, being in an Olympic host country during the games is an unforgettable experience. With national pride at its height, visitors streaming in to support their teams and plenty of events to see, it can provide a unique insight into your new home.

With the 2020 Olympics looming in Tokyo, the impact it will have on long-term visitors depends mainly on location. While the capital will take the main brunt of the crowds and disruption, overall tourism numbers are expected to peak throughout the country as sports fans take the chance to travel during their stay. If you’re living elsewhere in Japan during the games, you will no doubt see a few more visitors than usual, even if you’re staying in quieter areas. 

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In Tokyo and popular tourist areas, accommodation prices are expected to soar, and while plenty of new hotels are being built in preparation there is still expected to be a shortage of space which could affect your travel plans. Transport will also be heavily impacted, with trains, domestic flights and highway buses all booked up in advance, commanding higher prices on the latter two (as Japanese trains have fixed ticket costs). 

While the disruption and crowding during the games is expected, the run up can also be a hectic time. Renovations to train stations, public areas and even historic sites are taking place in order for Japan to look its best for the 2020 Olympics. With major hubs like Shibuya undergoing extensive work for years beforehand, it can cause daily disruption - although these inconveniences are mainly limited to the Tokyo area. 

However, not everything is negative - the 2020 Games also offer a host of benefits for visitors. With improved infrastructure being long-awaited in many stations and transport hubs you’ll soon be appreciating the improved designs on your commute. Foreign language support will be boosted across the country, with additional signs, leaflets and training to provide help to visitors. Furthermore, you’ll have the chance to see the country at its best - filled with excitement, welcoming newcomers and as efficient as ever. Offering countless opportunities to speak to locals about the games, the possibility to see your own country compete or join the home fans, it’s a rare chance to experience a national event as a newcomer. 

Whether you want to live in the heart of the action in Tokyo or minimise the impact by living rurally, you’ll be able to join the locals and experience the 2020 Olympics in a way that suits you best. 

By: Lily Crossley-Baxter