Tokyo is hosting the 2020 Summer Olympics from July 24 to August 9, 2020, at a variety of venues in and around the city. It’s an exciting time for Tokyo and the rest of the country as construction is in full-swing to get ready for the games (also check out the adorable mascots).
A common question that I have received a lot of lately is “should I visit Japan in 2020?” It’s not a simple yes or no answer in most cases. I’ll break down a variety of scenarios that’ll help you decide if you should wait or come to Japan in 2020. Since we talk about theme parks here, I also include this as a reason when deciding to visit Japan.
Should You Visit in 2020?
The answer to this question depends on what you’d like to experience while in Japan.
If you’re certain you’ll only visit Japan once (and not concerned about what’s happening at the major theme parks), then waiting until 2021 or later is best. This way most of the construction in popular tourist areas (Tokyo, Kyoto, Nikko, and Nara to name a few) is complete and the crowds during the summer games subside (although expect tourism numbers to continue increasing overall based on the trend).
For a list of construction at major tourist spots in Japan, this article is the best one I’ve seen.
If you’re a theme park fan and are only coming to Japan for a once-in-a-lifetime trip then I recommend waiting until 2022. The construction at both Tokyo Disney Resort and Universal Studios Japan (more information below) is set to finish by then and you’ll also have the added benefit of having the chance to visit the Ghibli Theme Park (opening 2022).
For those who visit Japan regularly or plan to, then a trip during 2020 isn’t a bad idea. Unless you’re attending the summer games (July / August), it’s best to avoid that time and visit earlier (April / May) or later in the year (October / November). Keep in mind that April and October are high seasons for tourists for the cherry blossoms and autumn foliage.
You’ll get to experience the country in a more-than-usual pristine condition. Just be mindful that with the increase in tourism over the past few years the crowds look like they’ll continue to increase. Visiting in 2020 also applies to theme park fans who want to experience the newest additions when they first open.
Here’s a graphical representation of the tourism growth in Japan.
Like many tourist attractions around Japan, the major theme parks are under significant construction, preparing new attractions and experiences for guests (most finishing by 2020).
Tokyo Disney Resort
Both Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea are going under heavy construction to increase capacity at both parks to help ease congestion. Here’s a quick rundown of what’s happening (exact dates are not known yet):
- New “Soarin” attraction at Tokyo DisneySea (2019)
- Ticket gate enhancements at Tokyo Disneyland (2019/2020)
- New Beauty and the Beast attraction at Tokyo Disneyland (2020)
- New area (port-of-call) and hotel at Tokyo DisneySea (2022)
Are you planning a trip to Tokyo Disney Resort and unsure where to start? Our 200-page e-book makes your trip planning simple with the most in-depth resource available. Also, if you want to decide on a specific month to visit Disneyland then our extensive free guide helps you choose the best months to avoid the crowds.
Universal Studios Japan
The anticipated Super Nintendo World is set to open in 2020 at Universal Studios Japan. While there is no exact date yet, there’s a good chance it’ll open before the summer games (this is just a guess). If you’re planning a trip to Universal Studios Japan, you’ll want to read our free guide to help you plan!
We also have a full e-book coming out in fall 2018!
In the end, it depends on your situation and how you’d like to experience Japan. If you do decide to visit this wonderful country in 2020, I recommend planning and booking hotels and Airbnb as far in advance as possible. This way you’re not left disappointed or missing out on something because it’s fully booked.
Are you planning on visiting Japan in 2020 for the summer games? Let us know in the comments! If you’re planning a trip to Japan check our extensive list of practical tips and recommendations on things to do in Tokyo.