Cover Here's your first look at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic athletes' village (Photo: Courtesy of Tokyo 2020)

The athletes’ village spans 44-hectares and includes a 24-hours dining hall, fitness centre, multi-function complex for athletes to relax, and more

This story was first published on June 29, 2021, and updated on July 23, 2021.

The Tokyo 2020 Olympics has officially kicked off as of July 23 and one of the things the world has been most interested in is the newly built Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Village in Harumi, Chuo.

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It's surrounded by the sea on three sides, allowing views of Tokyo Bay. The village isn't open to the public but started hosting athletes on July 13, just 10 days before the Opening Ceremony.

The sprawling village is divided into different areas. The Residental Zone is where athletes will reside during the Games and includes the main dining hall. The Operational Zone is where the main functions required for the operations of the village is. The Village Plaza is a facility that supports the daily needs of the athletes including a cafe, store, media centre and more.

In the residential buildings, there are around 3,800 units and 18,000 beds for the Olympic athletes as well as 8,000 beds for the Paralympic athletes.

All bedrooms are equipped with windows or doors to enable bidirectional ventilation. The bed frames are made of cardboard and are 100 per cent recyclable. In fact, when athletes began arriving in the village, the cardboard beds were the subject of much talk because of how interesting they were. 

The cardboard beds can hold up to 441 pounds and come with bedding from a Japanese bedding company called Airweave which provided all 18,000 beds and mattresses made of polyethene for the Olympic Games.

The beds are meant to be recycled into paper products after the Olympic Games while the mattress components will be recycled into new plastic products.

There are also blackout curtains in the room, allowing athletes to sleep and rest at any time. The closet design and height design takes into consideration the needs of wheelchair users, while the outer corridors have a width that allows two wheelchair users to pass by each other.

Every single room is around 9 metres or more while a twin room is 12 metres or more. There will be 21 buildings in total, each with 14 to 18 floors.

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The main dining hall is where athletes will be served nutritious meals to get ready for the Olympic Games.

Opened for 24 hours, there will be about 45,000 meals offered per day. The dining hall has about 2,100 seats for the Olympic athletes and 1,700 seats for the Paralympic athletes.

They can pick up dishes that have been portioned in advance by the staff. Health protocols will also be in place with hand sanitisers installed at the entrance and in meal service lines. Droplet prevention shields and footprint signs for social distancing have also been implemented.

There will be 700 food options available, offering a wide selection of meals corresponding with various eating habits, cultures and religions of athletes from all over the world.

A display of nutritional components per serving amount is available to allow an easy understanding of dietary intake. There will also be a nutritional help desk staffed by certified dieticians to provide more details of each meal.

Over at the multi-function complex which serves as a space for athletes to relax, there will be medical care, casual dining, recreation and fitness services available.

The fitness centre on the third floor has about 600 pieces of equipment installed including aerobic machines and weight machines. Saunas in changing rooms can also be used by judokas and boxers in weight class competitions to lose weight.

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The casual dining area is a place for eating, drinking and relaxation, which gives athletes an opportunity to try Japanese dishes made with ingredients from across the country.

The menu offers not only traditional Japanese cuisine but also modern dishes popular in daily life such as rice balls, noodles and teppanyaki, skewers (yakitori) and Japanese savoury pancake (okonomiyaki). There will be about 3,000 meals offered a day.

Meanwhile, the recreation centre provides a space for athletes to relax. It has activity and recreation booths and services such as boccia projection mapping game, table tennis, massage chairs, air massagers, AR filming booth, bicycle simulators, game consoles and more.

For the first time in Olympic history, a dedicated treatment programme that provides comprehensive medical care for female athletes is available at the clinic complex (polyclinic).

The physical therapy department will also provide services in conjunction with the conditioning area in the fitness centre.

In addition, nine ice baths equipped with water quality and temperature management systems have been installed. Two MRIs and X-ray machines are also provided. Other services including emergency care, internal medicine, dentistry, orthopaedics, ophthalmology and clinical examinations.

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Because of the pandemic, a fever clinic is also available for diagnosis and testing of athletes showing symptoms such as fever.

Other facilities include a services centre where athletes can get more information about the competition as well as service desks for each department.

For transportation, there will be a dedicated bus between the Olympic and Paralympic Village and competition venues. Near the village is the Harumi Port Park, a relaxing space overlooking the Rainbow Bridge and Tokyo Day and Harumi Greenway, a promenade flourishing with greenery.

And finally, the Village Plaza is another area for athletes to stroll around and unwind. It's constructed from timber donated from local municipalities throughout Japan in an expression of diversity and harmony.

There will be numerous services available to support the daily needs of athletes including a hair salon, dry cleaner, courier counter, bank, photo studio and more.

Once the Olympic Games finish, the village will be converted into a residential neighbourhood. The Olympic Games takes place from July 23 till August 8 while the Paralympics takes place from August 24 to September 5.

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