Hatagaya, Olympics, Tokyo 2016

Running with their Olympic torches

I was invited to an event held at the Fukuda kindergarten (福田幼稚園) in Hatagaya, Shibuya, over the weekend and attended with Shane Sakata from The Nihon Sun, a blog with great information on Japan travel.

The kindergarten was established in the year Showa 24 (昭和24年) or 1949 and has a great history including at one time having its own farm (牧場) with cows where the kids could take a cup and get their daily fresh milk straight from the source.

It is hard to imagine today that cows might still be roaming around Shibuya ward.

some of the historical photos of Fukuda Kindergarten

The event at the kindergarten was to celebrate the participation of Tokyo as a bidding city for the 2016 Olympics.

Olympic torches at the ready for the big event

Among those attending were Yoshinori Sakai, who was the torch bearer for the 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo. At the time, Sakai-san was a 19 year old Waseda student. Having been born in Hiroshima on 6th August 1945 Sakai-san had experienced first hand the devastation caused by war, and then grew up during the rapid economic rebuilding period.

Yoshinori Sakai leads the runners into the kindergarten

The event included a relay by the children, a trampoline performance by Yasuhiro Ueyama (2006 trampoline world champion), the planting of a tree, and speeches.

Sakai-san lights the torches for the kids
A message from the children of Nagano, site of the 1998 Winter Olympics

It was great to see the children being made a central part of the event. Although their were some official speeches made and Tokyo2016 was an important theme, the event revolved around the participation of the kids. If Tokyo wins its bid to hold the Games in 2016, these children will be in school playing a variety of sports and perhaps dreaming of one day themselves representing Japan at Olympic level.

The kids really enjoyed the relay event
anchor runners for the relay
Waiting for their turn to take part

The kids were patient during the speeches and seem to appreciate the message delivered by Sakai-san.

Official speeches, Ueyama-san in middle, Sakai-san on right

kids listening intently to the speeches. Parents looking on

To the kids delight, Sakai-san handed them the official Olympic torch. They all took turns at holding it, and had some of the kindergarten staff looking on a bit worried as to what might happen if it broke.

Sakai-san hands the kids the official Olympic torch

Future Olympian in the making. Hold the torch high!
Getting in position for the photos. Nice colored hats
Commemorative photo for all participants

The trampoline event was a highlight for the kids. They got to see some high jumps, back flips, and tumble turns on display before trying some small jumps themselves on the trampoline named “EuroTramp”.

Don't try this at home kids

I wasn't volunteering to take part in this display
This girls delight at the trampoline was great. Just like watching the Olympics for the first time
Some of the kids get a go. not quite as high with those jumps
Onlookers enjoying the trampoline display
Some good Olympic spirit here

Following the relay and trampoline, a tree was planted to mark the occasion. The kids loved the digging for the tree and were a bit disappointed that they didn’t have to make a bigger hole.

digging the hole

The teacher makes sure things are going ok for the tree planting
A quick snapshot to commemorate the event

In the official interview after the events Sakai-san talked about his memories of the 1964 Games saying that all of Japan had come together to show the world how Japan had succeeded in its economic development, and to promote the message of peace.

Interview of athletes and children

The children stole the show talking about their enjoyment of the day and what type of athlete they would like to be in the future.

Giving their views on the Games

A great combination with these three. Very amusing interview

The Fukuda kindergarten was kind enough to give me some souvenirs of the trip, including a copy of their 50th anniversary guide book and a CD produced for the kindergarten with songs written by the Principal. Thank you.

Some souvenirs from Fukuda Kindergarten

I am sure these children will remember the day that the Olympics came to their local kindergarten in Hatagaya. If they are lucky, in 7 years time they may be sitting in a stadium in central Tokyo cheering for their nations athletes competing in the Tokyo2016 Olympic Games.

Tokyo2016 Information
The date to announce the successful bid city will be held by the IOC in Copenhagen, Denmark on 2 October 2009.

The official site for the Tokyo2016 Bid campaign contains a lot more information about the Games.

Here is a promotional video for the Tokyo2016 Games Bid.

Comments (18)
Add Comment
  • Billy

    Very nice photos and terrific write up! Looks like they were having fun.

  • humantrick

    Very nice. I hope Tokyo will get the Olympics 2016!

    • Shibuya246

      The 1964 Olympics gave Japan a chance to show the world what progress they had made in a short period of time. The so called "economic miracle of Japan" was on full display. With the world in difficult economic times, it may be interesting to see what sort of Olympic message they can show for the Games in 2016 if they are successful. 😉

    • Shibuya246

      The 1964 Olympics gave Japan a chance to show the world what progress they had made in a short period of time. The so called "economic miracle of Japan" was on full display. With the world in difficult economic times, it may be interesting to see what sort of Olympic message they can show for the Games in 2016 if they are successful. 🙂

  • whipcracker

    A great bunch of photos. Hope Tokyo gets the bid, tnen the kids will really will have something to remember this time.
    I think Dallas had a bid to host one of the olympics i don't think they got the bid though I'm not really sure. don't the japanese kids get summer vacation? cause right now it's summer vacation for them.
    Only one thing was missing Rilakkuma,lol;) or did he want to stay home and relax? Bet he would have had fun with the kids.

    • Shibuya246

      Rilakkuma probably would have been trampled on by the relay teams. 🙂

  • A+nony+mous

    LOL Colored hats! かわいい Sweet vid, very well made!

  • Shibuya246

    Thanks. They did seem to really enjoy the day. It was hot and humid in the kindergarten grounds, but no-one was complaining.

  • CalgaryGuy

    The Nagano games were in 1998, Calgary was 1988 🙂

    • shibuya246

      thanks. have corrected that. appreciate your comment.

  • Dengke


    • Shibuya246


  • Gweb

    Great photos. Everything looks so festive. Trampoline guy looks amazing.

    • Shibuya246

      Thanks. It sure was festive. The only thing we were missing was a BBQ. Trampoline guy did an excellent job. great to see this sort of thing up close. If Tokyo gets the 2016 Games I'll be going down to check out the trampoline events for sure.

  • Swifty

    Waaaaaaiiii! Sooooo cuuuuuute! (not pedo) Was wondering about the photos of little kids when I was checking your Flickr account yesterday 😀

    • Edmund Yeo

      Oh, forgot I had an IntenseDebate account.

    • Shibuya246

      Thanks. Appreciate the comment. The kids were very cute 🙂