TOKYO – The route for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic torch relay, which aspires to pass cultural and world heritage sites as well as landmarks from recent natural disasters, was revealed to Kyodo News Friday.
Because the Tokyo Olympics are employing a theme of rebuilding and renewal in the aftermath of Japan’s recent natural disasters, various sites related to the March 11, 2011, northeastern Japan earthquake and tsunami such as Iwate Prefecture’s “Miracle Pine” monument will be included in the route.
The Miracle Pine is a monument to a 27.7-meter tree that withstood the 2011 tsunami when the rest of its 70,000-tree forest was destroyed. Although the tree has since died, it has been restored artificially and remains a symbol of hope for the region.
The route planners also plan a torch to visit Kumamoto Castle in Kumamoto Prefecture. The castle suffered damage in a series of strong earthquakes in 2016 that wreaked havoc on the southwestern main island of Kyushu.
The Atomic Bomb Dome in the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park is among the world heritage sites to be included, while cultural heritage sites on the intended route will include Mie Prefecture’s Ise Shrine.
The torch relay will depart next March 26 from the J-Village, in Fukushima Prefecture. Japan’s national soccer training center, used as a base of operations for cleanup in the wake of the 2011 nuclear disaster, has recently resumed its original function as a sports facility.
The 121-day relay will conclude on July 24, when the Olympic flame makes its entrance at Tokyo’s New National Stadium during the opening ceremony.