Tokyo 2020 Venues: Ariake Arena (Volleyball & Wheelchair Basketball)

Shotaro Honda Moore
Ariake Arena. ©ShotaroHondaMoore

One of the areas most heavily under construction in all of Tokyo is Koto, which is in the Tokyo Bay Area of the city. Not all of this construction is related to the Olympics as it is a popular location for high rise apartments and other intriguing architecture. There are however multiple Tokyo 2020 Venues in this area, and one of the newer projects well on its way is Ariake Arena. Let’s take a look at some of the details regarding the events, the venue, location and transportation.


Ariake arena will host events in both The 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The sports will be the volleyball tournaments in the Olympics and Wheelchair Basketball in the Paralympics.

Olympics: Volleyball (July 25th — August 9th)

Olympic Volleyball holds a special place in the hearts of Japanese athletics for a number of reasons and seems fitting to have its very own venue at Tokyo 2020. First of all, volleyball made its official Olympic debut at the last Tokyo Summer Olympics, all the way back in 1964. At these Olympics, the Japanese Women’s National Team would end up making a name for themselves winning the gold medal over The USSR. These women would be one of the focal points of the Olympics, being dubbed “The Witches of the Orient”. This was just one story that helped spring Japan to a nation among the top of the world of athletics.

The standard white walls of Tokyo 2020 venues under construction. This one featuring a variety of volleyball images of previous Olympics. ©ShotaroHondaMoore

Olympic volleyball was originally set up in a round robin point based system where each team would play and be ranked on wins, as well as point differential. The nation with the most points at the end of the round robin would win. This however was changed in 1972 to stir more interest by adding a final round that would be an elimination tournament after the round robin. This style has since been named the Olympic format, and is standard in many tournaments. Twelve teams qualify to compete in both the men’s and women’s events.

There have only been eighteen nations to ever participate in the Olympic volleyball tournament in both the female and male event. Teams that have been historically dominant are Japan (9 medals), Brazil (10), USA (10) and Russian/USSR (18). China has however taken over as the dominant force in East Asian volleyball.

If you would like to learn t he rules of volleyball, click the video below.

The rules of volleyball, explained by Olympic athletes. ©OlympicChannel

Paralympics: Wheelchair Basketball (August 26th-September 6th)

One of the most iconic events of the Paralympic games will be featured out of Ariake Arena. Wheelchair Basketball, a fan favourite and an original sport featured at the first official Paralympics (1960 Rome) will be showcased. Events are organized by the International Wheelchair Basketball Federation established in 1973, as the International Stoke Madeville Games Federation. Winning at the Paralympics for Wheelchair Basketball is considered the highest honor in the sport. Even more so than the World Championships.

A video describing Paralympic Wheelchair Basketball. ©

There will be two separate events in the sport, one for the men’s teams and one for the women’s teams. In the men’s tournament twelve national teams qualify and in women’s ten. The teams are then evenly drawn into two groups. A round robin is then played, with the top four teams from each group proceeding to the knock out stage. They then play each other in a elimination style tournament to decide the outcomes.

Wheelchair basketball has a unique system in place, compared to most other sports. Since it is a team based sport, with such a range of athletes participating with different disabilities, a scoring system has been put in place. Wheelchair basketball players are given 1–4.5 points depending on their class. A team is only allowed to have a maximum of 14 points on the court at one time, making for more strategy involved in creating lineups.

In the men’s division the United States has had the most Paralympic success with thirteen medals, followed by Israel with seven and Canada with three golds and one silver. In the female’s event, the United States also has the most medals with eight, Germany in second with seven and Canada with four. Here is breakdown of the categories for athletes and the points associated with each class.


Ariake Arena overlooking the man made pond. ©ShotaroHondaMoore

Ariake Arena is one of six brand new permanent venues that are being constructed in the Tokyo Bay Area. It began its construction in January of 2017 and is expected to be done in December of this year. There is a small booth near the entrance at the building showing progress pictures of every month. Ariake Arena is a similar sleek, modern, state of the art building that will hold upwards of 12 000 spectators. It fits the atmosphere of the Tokyo Bay Area, much of which is an artificially made island. It overlooks a man made pond with many high-rise apartments in the background.

Below you can see the amount of progress, from the start of the project until now. There are also two pictures displaying the digitally created finished product.

Left: Begining of construction (January 25th 2017) Right: Recent progress photos (February 19 2019). ©ShotaoHondaMoore
The simulated end product. ©ShotaroHondaMoore

The exterior is laden with white boards that give a wooden aesthetic to the structure. The shape of the building stands out, as it features a curved roof giving it a unique shape. This coincides with the desire of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics of blending modernity with tradition.

The layered white boards, giving its unique aesthetic. ©ShotaroHondaMoore

The project has a budget of roughly 320 million USD at its disposal. Ariake will be on of the permanent venues, as it will continue to be in use following Tokyo 2020. There are plans of running a test event in the facility before the opening of the Summer Games. This will be the 2020 International Friendly Games, hosted by Japan Volleyball Association. This event is scheduled April 21–26 in 2020.

Location & Transportation

Address: 1-chome, Ariake, Koto-ku, Tokyo (North District of Ariake

Ariake Arena is located in the Tokyo Bay Area, east of Odaiba and south of the center of Tokyo. It is a district in Koto and is divided into four chome. It has a population of roughly 7000.

The location of Ariake Arena on Google Maps. ©

There are a few methods of getting to Ariake arena ranging from the train, bus and monorail. The easiest method of getting there is the monorail. Ariake-Tennis-no-mori Station (U13), part of the Yurikamome line is no more than a seven minute walk from Ariake arena. There is another monorail station roughly the same distance from Ariake Arena called Shin-Toyosu Station (U15), also on the Yurikamome Line.

Ariake-Tennis-no-mori Station. ©ShotaroHondaMoore

If you prefer to get there via train there are two different stations, both about a fifteen minute walk from the venue. These are Shinonome Station and Kokusai-tenjiro Station, both of which are part of the Rinkai Line. A bus is also available to those traveling from Tokyo Station (Yaesuguchi 16), which will actually take you within four minutes of the venue on foot. This is the closest distance any form of public transit will take you.

There are many things to do in the surrounding area of the of Ariake. The famous district of Odaiba is just east of Ariake, where you can visit things like the Mega Web Showcase, featuring a variety of cars, and a ferris wheel, as well as outstanding shopping. Ariake also holds three other Tokyo 2020 venues in walking distance, such as Ariake Tennis Park, the Olympic BMX Course and the Olympic Gymnastic Centre. In fact you can see the Olympic Gymnastic Centre, in front of Ariake Arena, as they are right across the street from each other.

View of the Olympic Gymnastic Center from the front of Ariake Arena. ©ShotaroHondaMoore

Ariake Arena and the surrounding area are sure to be filled with many fans supporting their favourite athletes. If you get the chance to view some of the sports in the Tokyo Bay Area, you should jump at the opportunity. Not only will there be plenty of sports to take in, but also the atmosphere of Koto is unique, filled with beautiful architecture and contains a relaxing atmosphere surrounded by the water.

If you wish to contact me, you can reach me at

Shotaro Honda Moore

Written by

A writer and photographer living in Hachioji, Japan. Creating articles about the upcoming 2020 Tokyo Olympics, 2022 Beijing Olympics and other interests.

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