It won’t be news to anyone that the Tokyo Olympics have been postponed (and if it is, where have you been?). For ticket holders, there are lots of questions remain about what to do next.

If you were planning on attending, you’ll be glad to know your 2020 Tokyo Olympics tickets will carry over to the rescheduled games, but we know it isn’t as simple as that. Flights, hotels and tours all require rescheduling or canceling, but we’ll start with the tickets themselves. While residents of Japan have been able to purchase tickets directly from the Tokyo 2020 site, those abroad have had to purchase through authorized ticket resellers. If that’s you, you will have to contact them directly for re-arrangements.

The new Olympic dates

Desktop calendar 2020
Photo by

Originally scheduled to take place in the summer of 2020, the Olympic games will now take place from July 23 to August 8, 2021 while the Paralympic Games will start on August 24 and finish on September 5, 2021.

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Aside from all the accompanying problems—like what to do if your flights to Japan have been canceled (or if you decide to cancel them)—the first thing to figure out is what’s the deal with your tickets.

If you already have 2020 Tokyo Olympics tickets

The basics: in theory, all tickets already purchased will be valid for the same session on the new date. Pretty simple, right? There are a few more things to know though:

  • If you cannot attend, you will be refunded.
  • If you cannot be given a new space due to a change in venue or other reasons, you will be refunded.
  • If you purchased a ticket through the National Olympic Committee (NOC)/National Paralympic Commitee (NPC) or another authorized seller, you must contact them directly.

Future ticket sales

Given the uncertainty of the current situation, the following future ticket sales have been postponed:

  • Spring sales: These include the in-person sales in Tokyo’s Yurakucho office and the opening of the official re-sale service.
  • Postcard lotteries: Entries for the initial in-person sales of the Paralympic Games have taken place, but future dates have not yet been confirmed.

Buying tickets for 2021

This is on hold for a bit; while the dates have been announced, little else has. The uncertainty facing world travel, so while those cheap flights might be tempting, keep in mind that things can still change. Be sure that all new flight purchases are insured and that you only buy Olympic tickets from authorized resellers. There are expected to be some ticket touts taking advantage of the confusion, so stay vigilant.

The marathon anomaly

sapporo view over odori park
Odori Park – the new Marathon Sapporo, Hokkaido | Photo by

Back in the halcyon days of winter 2019 before the world went to hell in a handcart, the men’s and women’s marathon was moved from Tokyo to Hokkaido to avoid the treacherous summer heat. While we long for the days when heat exhaustion was our main concern, we also know many people are going through the refund process related to this event.

As the new venue—Sapporo Odori Park—is a public space, the event will no longer be ticketed, so those with tickets can apply for a refund (full or partial for the women’s marathon, full for the men’s). If you have done so or still need to get around to it, then the process is the same as above, with full details available here.

While we do our best to ensure it’s correct, information is subject to change.

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