National Olympic Stadium (Tokyo)

National Stadium
Kokuritsu Kyōgijō
Location 10-2, Kasumigaoka-machi, Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan
Owner Japan Sport Council
Capacity 48,000 (original seated)
68,000 (2019 Athletics)
60,000 (2020 Summer Olympics)
Record attendance 80,000
L'Arc-en-Ciel, at 21–22 March 2014
Field size 105 × 68 m
Surface Grass
Opened 1958
Closed 2014 (renovations)
Construction cost 1.26 billion (2019 reconstruction)
Architect Mitsuo Katayama
Kengo Kuma (2019 reconstruction)

National Stadium (国立霞ヶ丘陸上競技場 Kokuritsu Kasumigaoka Rikujō Kyogijō) was a stadium in Kasumigaoka, Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan. The stadium served as the main stadium for the opening and closing ceremonies, as well as being the venue for track and field events at the 1964 Summer Olympic Games. The Japan national football team's home matches and major football club cup finals were held at the stadium. The stadium's official capacity was 57,363, but the real capacity was only 48,000 seats.

Demolition was completed in May 2015, and the site will be redeveloped with a new larger-capacity National Olympic Stadium.[1] The new stadium is set to be the main venue for the 2020 Summer Olympics and Paralympic Games.

The original plans for the new stadium were scrapped in July 2015 by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who announced a rebid after a public outcry because of increased building costs. As a result, the new design will not be ready for the 2019 Rugby World Cup, as originally intended.[2] A new design created by architect Kengo Kuma was chosen in December 2015 to replace the original design and is to be completed in November 2019.


The stadium was completed in 1958 as the Japanese National Stadium on the site of the former Meiji Shrine Outer Park Stadium. Its first major event was the 1958 Asian Games.

The venue was unscathed by the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami. Yasuhiro Nakamori, international relations director for the Japanese Olympic Committee, told Around the Rings he attributed the lack of damage to Japan's stringent building codes.[3]

New stadium

After Tokyo submitted their bid for the 2020 Summer Olympics, there was talk of possibly renovating or reconstructing the National Olympic Stadium. The stadium would host the opening and closing ceremonies as well as track and field events.[4]

It was confirmed in February 2012 that the stadium would be demolished and reconstructed, and receive a £1 billion upgrade. In November 2012, renderings of the new national stadium were revealed based on a design by architect Zaha Hadid. The stadium was demolished in 2015 and the new one is scheduled to be completed in March 2019.[5] The new stadium will be the Tokyo 2020 venue for athletics, rugby and certain football finals, as well as the opening and closing ceremonies.[6]

Due to budget constraints, the Japanese government announced several changes to Hadid's design in May 2015, including cancelling plans to build a retractable roof and converting some permanent seating to temporary seating.[7] The site area was also reduced from 71 to 52 acres. Several prominent Japanese architects, including Toyo Ito and Fumihiko Maki, criticized Hadid's design, with Ito comparing it to a turtle and Maki calling it a white elephant; others have criticized the stadium's encroachment on the outer gardens of the Meiji Shrine. Arata Isozaki, on the other hand, commented that he was “shocked to see that the dynamism present in the original had gone” in the redesign of Hadid's original plan.[8] The roof of the new stadium has been particularly problematic from an engineering perspective, as it requires the construction of two steel arches 370 meters long. Even after design changes, the stadium was estimated to cost over 300 billion yen, more than three times the cost of the Olympic stadium in London and more than five times the cost of the Olympic stadium in Beijing.[9]

The Japanese government reached an agreement in June 2015 with Taisei Corporation and Takenaka Corporation to complete the stadium for a total cost of around 250 billion yen. The final agreed plan maintained the steel arch design while reducing the permanent capacity of the stadium to 65,000 in track mode with an additional 15,000 simple temporary seats available, allowing for an 80,000 capacity for football and the 2019 Rugby World Cup.[10][11]

On July 17, 2015, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced that plans to build the new National Stadium would be scrapped and rebid on amid public discontent over the stadium's building costs. As a result, Abe said that a replacement venue would have to be selected for the 2019 Rugby World Cup, as the new stadium would not be ready until the 2020 Olympics.[2]

As of August 28, 2015, the Japanese Government released new standards for the National Stadium's reconstruction. The fixed capacity would be 68,000 and be expandable to 80,000 through the use of temporary seats over the athletics track. The government also abandoned the retractable roof, instead a permanent roof will be constructed over the spectator seating only. Additionally, a sports museum and sky walkway that were part of the scrapped design were eliminated while VIP lounges and seats were reduced, along with reduced underground parking facilities. These reductions result in a site of 198,500 square meters, 13% less than originally planned. Air conditioning for the stadium was also abandoned upon request of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, and when asked about the abandonment Minister for the Olympics Toshiaki Endo stated that, "Air conditioners are installed in only two stadiums around the world, and they can only cool temperatures by 2 C or 3 C".[12]

The government has slated a decision on contractors and a design by December 2015, with construction to begin at its latest in December 2016.[12] Designers must partner with contractors to submit a design alongside construction cost and timing estimates. It has also been revealed that the athletics track will be a permanent feature not to be demolished for the additional 12,000 seats for any future World Cup bid.[13] As of 18 September 2015, two contractors have reportedly submitted bids for the process: the Taisei Corporation working with architect Kengo Kuma and a consortium of several major Japanese contractors including the Takenaka, Shimizu, and Obayashi corporations working with architect Toyo Ito. Former winning architect Zaha Hadid was unable to find a contractor willing to work with her design, and was therefore forced to abandon efforts to resubmit her revised design in the new competition.[14]

On December 21, 2015, the Japan Sports Council announced that Kuma and the Taisei Corporation had been selected to design and construct the National Olympic Stadium.[15] The stadium is set to begin construction in October 2016, running until November 30, 2019 where the stadium will be handed over to the IOC for necessary games and ceremony preparations, including test events. The new design will hold 68,089 in athletics mode with the ability to construct temporary seating over the permanent track to create an increased capacity of 80,016.[16] Capacity during the Olympic Games will be 60,102 taking into account press and executive seating areas. This capacity is further lessened for the Paralympics to 57,750 to add more handicap accessible seating.


In addition to the 1964 Summer Olympics, the stadium held many other significant events, most notably the 1991 World Athletics Championships, where Mike Powell broke Bob Beamon's men's long jump record; the Mirage Bowl games from 1976–1993; and the Intercontinental Cup (Toyota Cup) from 1980–2001. As the National Stadium of Japan, the Japan national football team held home games at the venue, which also hosted the final game of the Emperor's Cup on New Year's Day, and the J. League Cup in November, as well as the Fuji Xerox Cup in the end of February or early March, every year. It was also the venue, every year in early January, for the semifinals and final of the All Japan High School Soccer Tournament, which is commonly known as Winter Kokuritsu.

Rugby games were also played at this venue, including the annual university rugby semi-finals and finals, as the nearby Chichibunomiya Rugby Stadium's capacity is insufficient for the number of student fans the event attracts. It was also regularly used for running events including ekidens.

As of 2014, many groups have held concerts at the National Stadium. By order of appearance they are: SMAP, Dreams Come True, Arashi,[17] L'Arc-en-Ciel,[18][19] Momoiro Clover Z, and AKB48.

With the pending demolition of the stadium, a special farewell concert "Sayonara National Olympic Stadium Final Week Japan Night" consisting of 13 acts was held on May 28 and 29, 2014.[20] Artists performing on the 28th ("Yell for Japan") included Ikimono-gakari, Ukasukaj (Kazutoshi Sakurai & GAKU-MC, Kaori Kishitani, The Gospellers, Kazuyoshi Saito, Sukima Switch, Naoto Inti Raymi, Funky Kato and Yuzu; artists performing on the 29th ("JAPAN to the World") included Sekai no Owari, Perfume, Man with a Mission and L'Arc〜en〜Ciel.


Access to the stadium was from Sendagaya or Shinanomachi stations along the JR Chūō-Sōbu Line; from Kokuritsu Kyogijo Station on the Toei Oedo Line; and from Gaienmae Station on the Tokyo Metro Ginza Line.


  1. "Demolition of Tokyo's old Olympic stadium completed, clearing way for new 2020 Olympic venue". ESPN. 2015-05-13. Retrieved 2015-09-26.
  2. 1 2 Himmer, Alastair (17 July 2015). "Japan rips up 2020 Olympic stadium plans to start anew". AFP. Retrieved 17 July 2015.
  3. "Tokyo Olympic Venues Escape Earthquake Damage". 2011-03-11. Retrieved 2015-09-26.
  4. "Tokyo 2020 Bid Venue Could Be Renovated". 2011-09-21. Archived from the original on 2014-02-03.
  5. Dazzling re-design for 2019 World Cup final venue
  6. "Venue Plan". Tokyo 2020 Bid Committee. Retrieved 8 July 2013.
  7. "Japan plans to scale back stadium for 2020 Tokyo Olympics". AP. 18 May 2015. Retrieved 10 June 2015.
  8. Qin, Amy (4 January 2015). "National Pride at a Steep Price: Olympic Stadium in Tokyo Is Dogged by Controversy". The New York Times. Retrieved 10 June 2015.
  9. "新国立、迫る契約期限 国とゼネコンの調整難航 屋根の巨大アーチ、斬新ゆえ「難工事」". Nihon Keizai Shimbun. 22 June 2015. Retrieved 22 June 2015.
  10. "新国立、整備費2500億円 従来デザイン維持で決着". Nihon Keizai Shimbun. 24 June 2015. Retrieved 27 June 2015.
  11. "国立競技場将来構想有識者会議". 日本スポーツ振興センター. Retrieved 11 July 2015.
  12. 1 2 "The Japan News". The Japan News. Archived from the original on September 26, 2015.
  13. "入札・公募情報 | 調達情報 | JAPAN SPORT COUNCIL". Japan Sport Council. (Japanese)
  14. NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation) (18 September 2015). "2 groups enter bids to build Tokyo Olympic Stadium". NHK World News. Retrieved 26 September 2015.
  17. "Arashi celebrates 10 years with best album, tour". Tokyograph. 2009-06-25. Retrieved 2010-04-11.
  18. "L'Arc~en~Ciel : [Live report] L'Arc~en~Ciel's light and fire spectacle at Japan's National Stadium". BARKS News. 2014-04-06. Retrieved 2015-09-26.
  19. "L'Arc-en-Ciel国立初日であの曲の"リベンジ"果たす". Natalie. 2012-05-28.
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Coordinates: 35°40′41″N 139°42′53″E / 35.67806°N 139.71472°E / 35.67806; 139.71472

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