YOUR VA­CA­TION IN JA­PAN COULD IN­CLUDE THE OLYMPICS

The Fresno Bee (Sunday) - - Insight - BY AL­LAN RICHARZ

In less than a year, the sport­ing world will de­scend on Tokyo for the 2020 Sum­mer Olympics and Par­a­lympic Games. An es­ti­mated 600,000 over­seas vis­i­tors are ex­pected to flock to the Ja­panese cap­i­tal and sur­round­ing re­gions, and the games – as they are ev­ery four years – will be an en­durance test of plan­ning and lo­gis­tics for or­ga­niz­ers and at­ten­dees alike.

But in­ter­na­tional guests can make the most of their stay in Tokyo and help en­sure the smooth oper­a­tion of the games. This guide will help. When are the Tokyo Games?

Where are the venues? The 2020 Olympics will of­fi­cially kick off with the open­ing cer­e­mony in Tokyo on July 24, with pre­lim­i­nary soft­ball and soc­cer matches start­ing on July 22, and run through Aug. 9. Fol­low­ing a two-week breather, the Par­a­lympics will be­gin Aug. 25 and con­clude Sept. 6.

The games will be held across nine pre­fec­tures, with the ma­jor­ity tak­ing place in two ar­eas of Tokyo: the Her­itage Zone, us­ing re­vamped build­ings from the 1964 Olympics, and Tokyo Bay Zone, de­signed to serve as a “model for in­no­va­tive ur­ban de­vel­op­ment.”

Venues out­side Tokyo in­clude the Sap­poro Dome on the north­ern is­land of Hokkaido (host­ing soc­cer) and the Fukushima Azuma Base­ball Sta­dium in Fukushima. Is it too late to get tick­ets? As

of this writ­ing, all avail­able tick­ets have been sold, although sub­se­quent rounds of tick­et­ing are ex­pected to take place through 2020, be­fore the start

of the games. The Tokyo Olympics or­ga­niz­ing committee will also host an on­line re­sale site be­gin­ning in the spring, with ticket prices capped at the orig­i­nal face value. Avail­able for both for­eign vis­i­tors and Ja­panese res­i­dents, the of­fi­cial re­sale ser­vice may pro­vide re­lief for those shut out of the ini­tial rounds of tick­et­ing. What hap­pens if I can’t get

tick­ets? Lack of tick­ets does not nec­es­sar­ily mean a lack of Olympics fun in and around Tokyo. The or­ga­niz­ing committee has ap­proved 30 “Live Site” venues across Ja­pan for nontick­ethold­ers, in­clud­ing in ar­eas af­fected by the To­hoku and Ku­mamoto earth­quakes. These sites will fea­ture live tele­vised sports broad­casts, cul­tural events and among other pro­grams, at­ten­dees will have the chance to try out var­i­ous Olympic and Par­a­lympic sports.

Can I post pho­tos of events to

so­cial me­dia? Shortly af­ter the first round of tick­ets went on sale in Ja­pan, con­tro­versy arose over terms and con­di­tions at­tached to the pur­chase of tick­ets, namely, the trans­fer of in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty rights of pho­tos taken by at­ten­dees at Olympic events to the or­ga­niz­ing committee.

Or­ga­niz­ers have clar­i­fied that, while the committee is claim­ing copy­right over pho­tos taken by ticket hold­ers, it will not pre­vent those pho­tos from be­ing posted to so­cial me­dia. Only com­mer­cial re­pro­duc­tion of pho­tos will be dis­al­lowed. Con­tro­ver­sially, how­ever, au­dio and video clips taken by spec­ta­tors are not per­mit­ted to be posted on so­cial me­dia. I can’t get over the price of the

ho­tels! Un­sur­pris­ingly, ho­tels in and around Tokyo will fea­ture some eye-pop­ping prices. Al­ready, “cap­sule” ho­tels that nor­mally run around $20 per night are ad­ver­tis­ing prices ex­ceed­ing $100.

While it’s tempt­ing to split the cost of a sin­gle room across mul­ti­ple guests, it may not work. Un­like many des­ti­na­tions, Ja­panese ho­tels charge on a per-per­son, per-night rate, not sim­ply by the room. If you re­serve a dou­ble room for one adult, but show up to check-in with a travel com­pan­ion, be pre­pared to pay up for the ad­di­tional guest. Fur­ther, to com­ply with safety reg­u­la­tions, ho­tel rooms are lim­ited by type in the num­ber of guests they may have – a room rated as “sin­gle” oc­cu­pancy can only have a sin­gle adult, and so on. What are my other op­tions?

Airbnb stays in Ja­pan have taken off to help meet the coun­try’s tourism boom. Book­ings are go­ing fast, how­ever, and those that re­main are priced at a pre­mium. To com­bat the an­tic­i­pated ho­tel room short­fall, cruise ships are also ex­pected to be pressed into ser­vice to serve as float­ing ho­tels. What are some meals that I ab­so­lutely must try with­out break­ing the bank? For the best bang for the buck, head to Shin­jukukappo Naka­jima, or for ra­men lovers, Nakiryu in Tokyo’s Toshima district – Miche­lin-starred restau­rants where lunch sets start at un­der $10. Be­sides the games, what else should I do? For those look­ing for an authen­tic taste of Ja­pan, a sum­mer “mat­suri” fes­ti­val is a great bet. Head to Takasaki Fire­works Mat­suri in nearby Gunma pre­fec­ture. Held on the first Satur­day in Au­gust, the fes­ti­val fea­tures elab­o­rate dashi floats, live mu­sic and is capped off with an hour­long fire­works dis­play, one of the largest in the re­gion.

For the sports-minded, the famed na­tional high school Koushien base­ball tour­na­ment also runs from early to late Au­gust, with a ticket cost­ing $8 to $20 and grant­ing ac­cess to three to four games daily.

TNS file photo

If you want see more of Ja­pan while vis­it­ing for the Olympics, take a side trip to beau­ti­ful, his­toric Ky­oto. The Heian shrine, a Shinto shrine, is a cul­tural site in Ky­oto.

TNS file photo

A Bud­dha statue sits in a gar­den in Tokyo. The 2020 Olympics are com­ing to the Ja­panese city next sum­mer.

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