News & Topics

2021.07.22

A Must See! The Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Torch Relay is Full of Diversity!

On August 12, four days after the Closing Ceremony of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Torch Relay will begin. The torches are lit differently for the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games. The torch for the Olympic Games is lit from a fire ignited by the sun’s light in Olympia, Greece. In contrast, the torch for the Paralympic Games is lit in Stoke Mandeville, England, which is the birthplace of the Paralympic Games, as well as in multiple locations across the host country.
The Paralympic Torch for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games will be lit in over 880 municipalities across all 47 prefectures in Japan. Each location will feature flame lighting festivals unique to the region, making it all the more exciting to watch. Here, we will explain how the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Torch Relay will unfold.

Three stages of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Torch Relay

1) August 12 – 16: Flame lightings in municipalities across 43 prefectures

Flames will be lit in multiple municipalities, featuring special processes and festivals unique to each region. The flames will visit schools, medical facilities and other locations deeply connected to the Paralympic movement before heading to Tokyo.

2) August 17 – 20: Torch relays in prefectures hosting Paralympic Games events and the Flame Gathering Ceremony

Flame lightings and torch relays will be held in Shizuoka Prefecture, Chiba Prefecture, Saitama Prefecture and Tokyo, where the Paralympic Games events will be hosted.
On August 20, the flames that were lit in all 47 prefectures and the flame brought from Stoke Mandeville will come together at the State Guest House, Akasaka Palace in Tokyo to become a single Paralympic Torch at the Flame Gathering Ceremony.

3) August 21 – 24: Torch relay in the host city, Tokyo

The Paralympic Torch that was lit during the Flame Gathering Ceremony will tour Tokyo until the Opening Ceremony on August 24.

The torch relays held exclusively in the prefectures hosting Paralympic Games events will be carried out by three people. These three flame bearers will meet for the first time to become a team, transcending all individual differences such as age, gender, nationality and whether one has an impairment or not. In this way, the relay will no doubt be an opportunity to create many new connections.


The Paralympic Torch contains recycled aluminum construction materials that were once used for temporary housing following the Great East Japan Earthquake. The Torch Relay is an opportunity to show the world how the disaster-stricken region is recovering and moving forward.
©Tokyo 2020


Five festivals to watch during the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Torch Relay

Featured here are five festivals that will be particularly unique during the torch relays held across Japan.

A fire breathing phoenix?! The “digital flame lighting” ceremony is a must see! (Miyazaki City, Miyazaki Prefecture; August 12)

Para-athletes and many other residents drew feathers that were gathered to create a giant picture of a phoenix. The phoenix is brought to life with visual effects and will breathe fire to light the Paralympic flame. The festival will bring together many people’s hopes and enthusiasm for the Paralympic Games and create a truly unique show that is worth watching.

Creating a flame lighting tower with LED candles! (Komatsushima City, Tokushima Prefecture; August 12)

The flame lighting ceremony will be held in the gym at the Minato School for Special Needs Education. Visitors will stack LED candles with messages of support, and the students of the Minato School for Special Needs Education will complete the flame lighting tower with a final, large LED candle. The tower, carrying all the supportive messages, will no doubt brighten the hearts of the athletes.

Lighting the flame from the “3.11 Light of Hope” with prayers for recovery (City of Rikuzentakata, Iwate Prefecture; August 12)

The Paralympic flame will be lit using the 3.11 Light of Hope at the Kesen Carpentry and Folklore Museum in Rikuzentakata. The 3.11 Light of Hope is a lamp monument that constantly burns as a symbol of recovery. It was created in December 2011 following the Great East Japan Earthquake and was lit from the 1.17 Light of Hope in Kobe (created following the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake in 1995). Rikuzentakata was one of the cities that suffered the most damage during the disaster. Now, the flames carrying the hopes and prayers of its residents will become a part of the Paralympic Torch.

Lighting the flame with a robot made by children! (Shibata City, Niigata Prefecture; August 15)

In Shibata City, Niigata Prefecture, the flame will be lit by a robot, made by elementary and junior high school students at a local robot class, together with the students of a special education school. Watch how the robot, embodying all the children’s efforts, will light the flame.

Sending off the Paralympic Torch with hopes for achieving a “Society Living Together in Harmony”! (City of Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture; August 15)

The most anticipated part of the torch relay in Kanagawa Prefecture will be the flame gathering and departure ceremony. Flames will be lit in various locations across the prefecture, carrying the hopes of all the residents who are striving to achieve the Kanagawa Charter for a Society Living Together in Harmony. The flames will be gathered into one large torch at the Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse. A candle night event will also take place to create a bright, celebratory atmosphere for the flame gathering and departure ceremony, symbolizing Kanagawa’s efforts to create an inclusive society through the Paralympic Games.


Many people carry hopes that the Paralympic Torch Relay will become a bridge toward achieving an inclusive society.
We hope everyone will tune in to enjoy the diversity of the Torch Relay that is unique to the Paralympic Games.

Glossary of Paralympic Torch Relay terms

Flame lighting: The process of lighting a flame for the Paralympic Torch Relay. With hopes of achieving an inclusive society, the flames for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games will be lit in various locations featuring unique events. Each of the municipalities will gather the flames that were lit in multiple locations and create one torch to send off to the host city, Tokyo.

Flame visits: Events where the Paralympic flames will visit schools, medical facilities and other locations deeply connected to the Paralympic movement.
Departure ceremony: Sending off the Paralympic flames that were lit in each prefecture to the host city, Tokyo.

Flame festivals: A general term for the torch relays that will take place in the four prefectures hosting Paralympic Games events, as well as for the flame lighting, flame visits and departure ceremonies that will take place in the other 43 prefectures.

text by Parasapo
photo by Tokyo 2020,Getty Images Sport


↓Official social media accounts with all the latest information about the Tokyo 2020 Torch Relay
Twitter: https://twitter.com/tokyo2020seika
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/tokyo2020seika/

↓Details of the Paralympic Torch Relay (external site: Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games)
https://olympics.com/tokyo-2020/en/paralympics/torch/

Please check the latest updates at https://sports.nhk.or.jp/paralympic/torch/