5 accessible features you'll love at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics

Updated: Mar 25

Note: The Games have been postponed and moved to July 2021.

It’s just February, but a part of me is already thinking about July. Why?

It’s going to be the start of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games. 😊

(The Olympics will be from 24 July to 9 August, while the Paralympics will be from 25 August to 6 September. For schedules, click here.)

Which sport are you cheering for?

Aside from enjoying the games, athletes and visitors will have no problems exploring the sports venues. That’s because the Tokyo Metropolitan Government has built 11 sports facilities for the events – and all of their layouts are based on the Tokyo 2020 Accessibility Guidelines.

According to the Bureau of Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 Preparation, Tokyo Metropolitan Government, “The Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee has formulated the Tokyo 2020 Accessibility Guidelines to provide an enhanced environment that will secure more opportunities for access to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games regardless of any impairment, which has been approved by the International Paralympic Committee.”

What’s more, “We have established the accessibility workshop to consult the opinions of people with impairments and academic experts to construct venues that are friendly to people with impairments.”

And these venues will be useful to everyone, “regardless of impairment”, even when the Games are done.

Top 5

I wanted to discover some of the accessible features that people would be able to look forward to once there, especially for the Paralympics.

(It made me curious – it’s the reason why I’m writing this post. I’ve seen people with disabilities have a tough time because establishments in other places didn’t think enough about their needs.)

Thankfully, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government has listed five for us here. In building the venues, they’ve taken into account the Guidelines – so you’d be glad to know that the following elements would be easy to find and are spread over different areas, like…

#1 Seats for wheelchair users

Wheelchair-accessible seating are installed at locations that are easily accessible from the pathway and securing evacuation routes and sightlines, to ensure that those in wheelchairs can see clearly, even if spectators in front of them stand up,” the Tokyo Metropolitan Government says.

#2 Assistive hearing devices

“Induction loop systems and FM hearing systems are installed in different areas for those needing assistive hearing devices.”

#3 Washrooms with different functions and features

They include:

• A simple multifunction toilet

“This type has some of the features of a multifunction toilet, including handrails, an area where users can move from the wheelchair to the toilet seat, a baby chair, ostomy equipment, and the like.”

• Washrooms equipped with separate features

“These are washrooms with separate features such as handrails, baby chairs, ostomy equipment, and the like.”

#4 Areas of calm-down and cool-down

These sound interesting – and inviting. 😊

“The areas of calm-down and cool-down are constructed for people to calm down when they become panicked because of the unusual environment at the locations far from the first-aid stations,” the Tokyo Metropolitan Government explains.

#5 Guiding blocks for vision-impaired persons

“The guiding blocks for visually-impaired persons are installed at the surroundings of the venues’ main entrance, so that people who have visual impairments can go straight to the venue safely.”

Cool, huh? It will definitely make the Olympic and Paralympic experience more comfortable… and meaningful.

Now where do I find the official ticket sales channels…

For more on the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, plus ticket information, check out their site and social media: @tokyo2020.

If you need more tips, you can also visit Accessible Tokyo, Accessible Japan and Accessible Travel Japan.