JAPAN PHOTOS

By Philbert Ono


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On New Year's Day 2020, Emperor's Cup JFA All-Japan Soccer Championship final game was the first sports event to be held at the new Olympic Stadium. Vissel Kobe vs. Kashima Antlers.
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Outside the stadium, a large soccer ball was a popular selfie spot.
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Stadium layout. Top part is the Back Stand, bottom part is the Main Stand. The Side Stands on both ends were the fan stands. The stadium has three seating tiers on five floors. Tier 3 is the cheapest seats.
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Stadium gate directions.
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Gate A1 on the 2nd floor leading to the 2nd tier.
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Turnstile at Gate A1. Barcode scanner lets you in.
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Layout of the North Stand which was the Vissel Kobe fan section.
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2nd tier concourse (3rd floor) does not have any crosswinds.
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LCD screen showing the layout of each concourse. The wheelchair symbol is for the accessible toilets which are always near the wheelchair spaces.
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Comcession stand on 2nd tier concourse (3rd floor).
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Extra space on 2nd tier concourse (3rd floor).
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2nd tier concourse (3rd floor) does not have any crosswinds.
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2nd tier concourse.
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The seats have a random mosaic design in shades of green, brown, and white. It makes it look like there are spectators even when the seats are empty.
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The seats have a random mosaic design in shades of green, brown, and white look like fallen autumn leaves. Ingenious. Sort of like having fake followers/spectators.
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Map of a block of seats on 2nd tier. Each block has two corridors/entrances. Enter the corridor closest to your seat.
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Short corridor to 2nd tier seats.
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Corridor to seats in Blocks 240 and 241.
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Row and seat numbers on steps on 2nd tier steps.
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2nd tier seats, less steep than the 3rd tier.
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Seat numbers (without row number) are on the seat edge, not on the seat back. If there are people sitting, you cannot see the seat number.
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When people are sitting, there's very little room to pass through a row of seats.
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Drink holder is slightly above the floor unlike on the 3rd tier where the drink holder is on the floor.
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Wheelchair space on 2nd tier concourse. Seats are for abled-bodied wheelchair companions. This space also has power outlets for recharging power/electric wheelchairs. Mounted on the ceiling is a cooling fan.
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Wheelchair space on 2nd tier concourse.
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Wheelchair space on 2nd tier concourse (right below the "We came to win" banner).
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It's an oval stadium with a track and field and a partial, fixed roof. Everyone was relieved that the stadium was completed in time for the Olympics after a flubbed initial design.
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Seats with tables on the Main Stand.
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Seats with tables on the Main Stand.
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Seats with lounges.
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Vissel Kobe fans on the North Stand. Loud cheers. The roof overhead carried their cheers very well.
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Vissel Kobe fans on the North Stand. "Vissel" combines the words "victory" and "vessel." "Vessel" because Kobe is a port city.
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Vissel Kobe fans on the North Stand.
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Vissel Kobe fans on the North Stand.
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Vissel Kobe fans on the North Stand.
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Vissel Kobe fans on the North Stand.
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Vissel Kobe fans on the North Stand.
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Vissel Kobe fans. "1995 to 2020, Kobe"
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Kashima Antlers fans on the opposite end. Kashima, a city in Ibaraki Prefecture, literally means "deer island." That's where the "Antlers" come from.
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Kashima Antlers fans
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Kashima Antlers fans
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Kashima Antlers fans
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Kashima Antlers fans unfurl large banners.
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Kashima Antlers fans
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At the halfway line from the Back Stand's Tier 2 concourse with a long row of guys on the bottom edge.
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This huge banner was unfurled on the pitch. Looks upside down on my side of the stadium, but it reads "Battle for the Pinnacle." 頂上決戦
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Players entered the pitch.
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Vissel Kobe before the kickoff at 2:35 pm.
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Vissel Kobe in maroon, Kashima Antlers in white.
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Vissel Kobe scores their first goal.
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Vissel Kobe celebrate their first goal.
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Vissel Kobe celebrate their first goal.
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Current score and player roster.
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Ball boy.
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Vissel Kobe scores again.
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"Goal"
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Lots of afternoon sun on this part of the Back Stand.
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Watering the field (natural grass) during halftime.
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The sun finally went down.
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Andrés Iniesta, Spanish professional footballer.
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Andrés Iniesta, Spanish professional footballer.
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Andrés Iniesta, Spanish professional footballer.
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Game attendance of 57,597. (sold out).
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On Tier 2, view from the Back Stand, Block 241, nearer to the North Stand.
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Vissel Kobe won 2-0.
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Vissel Kobe celebrate their first ever championship.
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Final score.
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Vissel Kobe fans go wild.
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Awards ceremony had Princess Takamado (in white) giving the trophy. She is an Honorary Patron of the Japan Football Association.
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Awards ceremony
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Princess Takamado during the Awards ceremony.
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Awards ceremony
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After the awards ceremony, Vissel Kobe walked around the stadium and posed for photos.
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They are in front of the Back Stand.
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The man waving is Hiroshi Mikitani, the founder of Rakuten that owns Kobe Vissel.
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This football/soccer match was also an Olympic test event for the new Olymoic Stadium and officials observed the crowd flow.
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One thing they need to fix is trash collection. On the 2nd floor concourse.
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Trash collection at the exit.
   
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