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Famed Nippon Budokan arena unveils Olympic overhaul

Tokyo’s Budokan, one of Japan's most celebrated concert venues, has been refurbed ahead of the delayed 2020 Olympic games

By IQ on 04 Aug 2020

Nippon Budokan

image © Nippon Budokan Foundation

Modernisation work on Japan’s Nippon Budokan arena – famously the venue for the Beatles’ only Japanese concerts – has concluded, just under a year before the Tokyo 2020 Olympic games.

Known as the spiritual home of Japanese martial arts, the 14,471-capacity indoor arena, located in Tokyo’s Chiyoda ward, is also one of Japan’s best-known large concert venues. In addition to hosting the Fab Four in 1966, the Budokan was the site of Abba’s last-ever show in 1980, and is also a popular venue for live recordings: celebrated albums Made in Japan (Deep Purple), Cheap Trick at Budokan (Cheap Trick), Live in Japan (the Carpenters), Bob Dylan at Budokan (Bob Dylan) and Live at the Budokan (Blur) were all recorded at the arena.

At the 2020 Olympics, which have been postponed to 23 July–8 August 2021 because of Covid-19, the Budokan will host judo and karate events, according to the Yomiuri Shimbun. Its Olympic capacity will be 11,000.

The Budokan is one of seven central-Tokyo venues being used for the 2020 games

Among the new-for-2020 additions are an earthquake-proof roof, permanent accessible seating with space for wheelchairs, new LED lighting inside and out, and a training hall for athletes.

Images captured by the Asahi Shimbun (via Getty) show the arena’s new roof and decor, as well as a socially distanced completion ceremony held on Wednesday 29 July.

The Budokan is one of seven central-Tokyo venues, many of which (like the Budokan) were built for the 1964 Olympics, being used for the 2020 games, while another 13 – including the new Ariake Arena – are located in the Tokyo Bay area.

The Ariake Arena is one of several large venues being created especially for the Olympics, along with the now-completed 80,000-capacity New National Stadium, 15,000-capacity Oi Hockey Stadium and the 10,000-capacity Musashino Forest Sport Plaza. The 2020 Olympics will take place across 41 venues in total.

 


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