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Olympic circles statue at sunset

Why You Shouldn’t Visit Japan During the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics

It is common knowledge by now that Japan has been selected as the host country for the upcoming 2020 Summer Olympics. The Olympics, as we all know, is a global sporting event that takes place just once every four years and attracts worldwide attention.

As the host of this year’s Summer Olympics, Japan is set to gain a lot of attention and publicity in the coming months. To uphold and exceed people’s expectations, Japan has to make sure it is able to entice people with its country’s charms and unique character. However, a lot has changed since 1964 when the Games last took place in Japan. As Japanophiles are likely to attest, Japan is already recognized as a top tourism destination. The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) estimates that about 28.7 million tourists visited Japan in 2017, with tourism revenue reaching $37 bn USD in December of that year.

The list of Japan’s many appealing qualities is a long one, focussing on its rich culture in particular. A culture that captures both modern and traditional aspects. Notably, it is also known for its world-class public transportation and top-notch cleanliness. Not to mention, its unique cuisine and etiquette.

While these are great reasons to visit Japan, the Olympics may well affect your holiday. For anyone planning a vacation in Japan between July to August 2020, we would advise that a stay in Japan would be more enjoyable at any other time.

To help readers arrive at a decision on whether or not to visit Japan during the Olympics (24 July to 09 August), this article provides four reasons why you should avoid it. A guide to the 2020 Olympics will also give you additional information if you would like to find out more.

Olympic swimming starter block number 6

Reason 1: Extreme crowds

When it comes to enjoying a holiday, most of us would prefer a place where we can roam without feeling suffocated amidst huge crowds. As such, for serenity, Japan would not make the cut as it has seen a huge influx of tourists in the past years, especially during the cherry blossom peak period. We expect it to be even more extreme during the Olympics. Thus, the best time to visit Japan is during the winter season. During the winter, you will better experience the tranquillity, in both the city and countryside.

Zooming into the problem of extreme crowds, moving from place to place while relying on public transport is a big concern. Despite Japan’s ability to handle such problems on a normal basis, we highly doubt that it would be able to overcome the problem when it pertains to the scale of an international event. The overcrowding problem will be particularly complicated at train and bus stations near the Olympic venue.

On the other hand, this will not be a problem for those who can afford private transport. Alternatively, there is also the option of getting there on foot, as long as you can survive the heat in summer!

Reason 2: Limited accommodation

With the number of people visiting Japan, a shortage of accommodation is to be expected. Even during peak periods, it can already be tough to find a place to stay, let alone during the Olympics.

This is because the official organizations, sponsors and broadcasting networks have already booked the majority of the hotel rooms, leaving scant pickings for other visitors.

With the limited supply and high demand for accommodation, places available will hike up their prices to unbelievable heights, making it so much more expensive during the Olympics.

However, for those asking, “Why not just opt for Airbnb?”, we have to relay some unfortunate news. Two years ago, the Japanese government implemented more regulations around Airbnb which have significantly reduced the number of available host places to stay.

Thus, the lack of places to stay while travelling in Japan may impede the enjoyment of your holiday.

Stadium in Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan

Reason 3: Scorching weather

Japan is a country that experiences four seasons, autumn, winter, spring, and summer. Needless to say, summer comes with scorching sunlight and UV rays. Japan is no exception for that and summer over there can get pretty extreme with its humidity and high temperatures. Unfortunately, the 2020 Olympics is held during this exact period of time in Japan.

However, on the bright side, this circumstance can hardly be considered an obstacle if you are determined on visiting Japan in the summer for a wholesome experience. Furthermore, you can easily cool yourself down with iced beverages at a cafe and even have refreshing shaved ice called kakigori.

Also, you can attempt to escape the heat by visiting the mountains and places situated up north where the summer season is more toned down and less extreme. This was a strong supporting basis for why the International Olympic Committee (IOC) made a decision to move the marathon event to Sapporo, located in the northern island of Hokkaido.

While these solutions prove to be applicable, it is ultimately difficult to avoid the heat in the bigger cities like Kyoto and Tokyo and people should take caution of their health as medical conditions can be further worsened in such extreme weather. Visitors should also be aware that Japan will face a shortage of translators due to the Olympics.

Tokyo street lamps at night

Reason 4: Medical challenges

Japan is a friendly destination for tourists as it tries to make things understandable for people from all around the world and this can be seen from the fact that there are many English menus in restaurants and there is the use of roman letters. However, even though the language barrier proves to be not that big of a problem when it comes to eating out, medical issues are a separate case and should not be taken lightly. There is a high probability for cases of heatstroke since the Tokyo stadium is not air-conditioned.

Along with the above arguments, there are also many other reasons why the locals would oppose the event, including the Olympics bringing about increased expenses for locals and the risk that older neighbourhoods would be sacrificed for the construction of newer spaces.

All in all, it’s advisable to visit Japan during the other times of the year, unless, of course, you are really determined to catch the Olympic event. We hope this article has been informative and helped you to reach a decision.

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