The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games are now only six weeks away and the countdown has begun! The world’s most famous multi-sport event starts on 23 July and runs through to 8 August, followed by the Paralympics on 24 August.
Although the Summer Olympics has been postponed for a year due to the pandemic and Japan’s vibrant capital city isn’t open for business as usual yet, we’ll be watching the excitement unfold from home, and bringing you some sports-themed, food-focused blog posts to celebrate!
Let’s take a look at some of the sporting events taking place at the Olympics and the tasty snacks you may want to indulge in if you get a chance to visit one of Tokyo’s sports stadiums.
From Sumo to Soccer
Some of Japan’s most popular sports are represented at the Tokyo Olympics including baseball, volleyball, football, golf, rugby, boxing, wrestling, tennis and martial arts such as judo and karate. Check out the full schedule on the Tokyo 2020 website to find out what’s on and when.
Although sumo wrestling isn’t represented in the 2020 Olympics, there’s no doubt that Japan’s most iconic sport will garner attention during the summer, especially as Kokugikan Arena (the spiritual home of sumo) will be the venue for the Olympic boxing matches.
Venues in Tokyo & Beyond
Events will be held in venues scattered all over Tokyo including the impressive Olympic Stadium which will host the Opening and Closing ceremonies, athletics events and football matches. The National Stadium was the main stadium at the Tokyo 1964 Olympic Games and has been rebuilt for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
Olympic events are also being held further afield such as soccer matches at the Sapporo Dome in Hokkaido and baseball at Yokohama Baseball Stadium. For a full list of venues, head to the Tokyo 2020 website. The excitement is building as the Olympic torch makes its way all over Japan, starting in Fukushima back in March. Follow the flame here!
Sports Stadium Snacks
A visit to one of Tokyo’s sport’s stadiums is a great excuse (as if you needed one) to indulge in some delicious fast food. From sweet to savoury, there’s bound to be a dish that will tantalise your tastebuds while you’re cheering on your favourite sport’s team and soaking up the atmosphere.
Here are our Top 5 must-grab stadium snacks. From refreshing shaved ice drenched in syrup, to delicious fried foods, we’re getting hungry just thinking about them!
Kakigori – This shaved ice treat is drizzled with syrup or condensed milk and can be topped with fruit too. Japan is hot and humid during the summer months so there’s nothing better to help you cool down, whether you’re in a hot stadium, at a Tanabata festival or just wandering the streets of Tokyo. If you want to make your own syrups at home then try out some of our recipes on our website here. Choose from matcha, fruit or a boozy umeshu (plum wine) version!
Takoyaki – Otherwise known as octopus balls, these delicious bite-sized dumpling-style snacks are made from pieces of octopus, battered and cooked at high heat in a special griddle to give them a spherical shape. Takoyaki are often topped with various sauces and seasonings such as bonito flakes or mayonnaise and are not only popular at sports events but summer festivals too. Try out our recipe here!
Yakisoba – Another popular summer festival food that goes down a treat at sports games, yakisoba are fried buckwheat (soba) noodles topped with meat such as chicken or seafood. These tasty noodles are covered in a tangy yakisoba sauce (which tastes a bit like Worcestershire sauce) and other toppings such as mayo, shredded pickled ginger, bonito flakes. They’re also often served hot-dog style in a bun! Check out our yakisoba and yakisoba-pan recipes on our website.
Bento – The perfect sports stadium snack if you are looking for something a little healthier, bento boxes are served containing food neatly compartmentalised into different sections. Which is also handy if you are looking for something that is a little less messy than some of the other fast food options! Each section contains a different food which could include rice, pickled vegetables, meat or seafood. If you want to have a go at making bento at home with rice, veggies and mackerel, try out our summer bento recipe here.
Edamame – Healthier still, edamame (soy beans) will be your go-to stadium snack if you want to avoid sugary and fried foods. This Japanese superfood is filled with nutrients, and often sprinkled with salt or a spicy seasoning – the perfect accompaniment to a nice, chilled beer! Edamame beans are served in the pod (squeeze the beans out using your fingers and discard the pod). If you want to cook and serve edamame at home, they make a great starter or side dish and can be prepared in a matter of minutes. Check out our spicy edamame seasoning recipe here.
Over the next month, we’ll be continuing the Olympic theme in some of our blog posts. ‘Eat Like an Athlete’ will highlight how a simple, traditional Japanese diet can help you stay strong and healthy. We’ll also take you on a foodie’s tour of Tokyo, introducing you to some of the city’s incredible Olympic event venues and unique dining experiences. Watch this space!
Have you tried any of these stadium snacks? Let us know in the comments below. You can make many of these recipes in the comfort of your own kitchen using our online recipe section.
Enjoy all this and more by shopping in-store at Japan Centre Leicester Square, Westfield London and Westfield Stratford City. Alternatively you can get fresh produce delivered straight to your door by shopping online at the Japan Centre website.
Tokyo 2020 rings. vicart on Pixabay: https://pixabay.com/users/vicart26-4508513/
Tokyo Stadium. EA Sports FIFA: https://flic.kr/p/ayZUvw