Ariake Arena dedication ceremony

Ariake Arena, Tokyo 2020 Olympic venue for volleyball and Paralympic wheelchair basketball. Koto Ward, Tokyo.

Ariake Arena in Koto Ward, Tokyo was completed in December 2019 and I attended the dedication ceremony held on Feb. 2, 2020. It will be the venue for Olympic volleyball and Paralympic wheelchair basketball. Arena capacity is about 15,000. They allowed only about 4,000 people to attend the ceremony that started at 10 am and ended at 12 noon.

The building is very modern looking and uses lots of wood (made in Japan) on the inside. It’s like the Olympic Stadium with so much wood. After the ceremony, we were allowed to tour the arena. We could go down to the courtside and also see the warm-up courts. The building has a concave roof to reduce space (and air-conditioning costs). After the Olympics, the arena will be used for concerts and a variety of events. 有明アリーナ完成披露式典

Ariake Arena is a short walk from Shin-Toyosu Station (Yurikamome Line). There are also buses from Tokyo Station Marunouchi South Exit (bound for Tokyo Big Sight) and from Monzen-Nakacho Station (Tozai subway line) bound for Tokyo Teleport station, get off at Ariake Shochu Gakko-mae bus stop. Note that buses might not run during the Games.

This is the back of the building where the green wall has 30 species of plants growing. There’s still some construction going on around the arena.
Wheelchair ramp going to the front entrance. For VIPs, there is a separate side entrance.
Entrance hall with the entrance on the left. The ceiling has wood beams from western Tokyo.
Inside the arena, the 2nd floor concourse wall with wood. Like the Olympic Stadium, wood is Ariake Arena’s main design theme.
2nd floor concourse with wheelchair spaces.
Lots of wood on the ceiling too.
The arena before the ceremony started.
Wheelchair space. The arena has 150 wheelchair spaces and another 150 priority spaces (look the same as wheelchair spaces) for disabled people other than wheelchair users. Not all wheelchair spaces have a power outlet.
Spectator seats are all black.
Seat row numbers are large, smaller numbers are seat numbers.
Seat numbers are on the seat backs, not on the edge. Might be hard to see when people are sitting.
The seats are arranged with the person in front being directly in front of you. I prefer a position between two people in front for a better view. No problem seeing the court, but the courtside was hard to see with heads in the way. No seat number on the edges.
Opening act before the start of the ceremony was a local festival music and lion dance (Sunamura hayashi). 砂村囃子
The arena dedication ceremony started with dignitaries seated on the left and right of the podium in the center. Twin video monitors in the back.

In the front row from right to left: Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike, Takashi Yamamoto (TOCOG deputy secretary), Yasuhiro Yamashita (Japanese Olympic Committee Chairman and Olympic judo gold medalist at 1984 Los Angeles), Mitsunori Torihara (Japan Paralympic Committee Chairman), and Koto Ward Mayor Takaaki Yamazaki. The others are local Tokyo politicians.

Left to right: Seiko Hashimoto (Minister for the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games), Daichi Suzuki (Japan Sports Agency Commissioner), Yusaku Morioka (Japan Sport Association Managing Director), Kenji Shimaoka (Japan Volleyball Association Chairman), and Toshihiko Tamagawa (Japan Wheelchair Basketball Federation Chairman).

Speech by Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike.
Speech by Seiko Hashimoto, Minister for the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Speech by Koto Ward Mayor Takaaki Yamazaki.
Ribbon-cutting ceremony for Ariake Arena. The MC said “Dozo!” (Go ahead!) and they all cut the ribbon.
After the ceremonies, sports demo sessions. First, Japan’s national volleyball team practiced.
Star player Ai Kurogo spiking. She’s very popular. 黒後愛

After their volleyball demo (only by the women’s team), a short speech. Men’s coach on the left and women’s coach on the right. In the middle is Kenji Shimaoka, Japan Volleyball Association Chairman and Olympic volleyball gold medalist at the 1972 Munich Olympics.
The volleyball coach has to choose only 12 players for the Olympics. Such a hard decision, must be nerve-racking for the player candidates.

They removed the volleyball net and Japan’s national wheelchair basketball team played a demonstration game for a few minutes.
Japan’s national wheelchair team members play in Ariake Arena.

Backed by the national wheelchair basketball team, Toshihiko Tamagawa (Japan Wheelchair Basketball Federation Chairman) gives a short speech. Yes, wheelchair basketball will be held here during the Paralympics. I’m sure the national teams will do whatever is necessary to make it to Tokyo 2020.

Governor Koike said hello to other guests before she left the building.

Some entertainment by AKB48 Team 8, a Japanese pop idol group. I wonder why Team 8 have only six members. The arena’s sound system for them was pretty terrible. Maybe it was a makeshift sound system. After the Olympics, they plan to use the arena for concerts too, so I hope they will have a good sound system.

Seat numbers on the steps. After the ceremony was over at noon, we could tour the arena.
View from the arena’s windows, looking toward Shinonome. Toyosu is toward the left.
Restrooms with visible signs.
The arena also has a warm-up volleyball court.
The arena also has a warm-up basketball court next to the warm-up volleyball court.
Mascots Someity and Miraitowa in the entrance hall just when we were leaving.

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