Best moments from the Olympic Torch Relay as the clock ticks down to the Tokyo 2020 Opening Ceremony

A torchbearer shows her palm that reads 'arigatou' ('thank you').
A torchbearer shows her palm that reads 'arigatou' ('thank you').

With the Olympic flame on it's final journey towards Tokyo's Olympic Stadium, let's take a look back at some of the best moments from its 121-day relay across Japan.

It's the last hours of celebration events in Tokyo before the Olympic flame lights the Olympic Cauldron at the Opening Ceremony on Friday, 23 July.

It's been a long journey to this point.

Originally lit at the Panathenaic Stadium in Athens, Greece, on 12 March 2020, the flame arrived into Japan a day later at JASDF Matsushima Air Base in Miyagi Prefecture and put on display in the three prefectures - Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima. These were the areas most affected by the devastating 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

After the announcement of the postponement of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, the flame was kept in a secure location before going on display at the Japan Olympic Museum in Tokyo on 1 September 2020.

On 25 March 2021, the Olympic Torch Relay got underway at from J-Village National Training Center in Fukushima Prefecture, where it begun its 121-day journey across Japan's 47 prefectures.

Olympic Torch Relay wrap up

Since then, the Olympic flame has traversed Japan's most historical and cultural sites, from Hiroshima's Peace Memorial Park to the Horyuji Temple; from Omihachiman, Dewa Sanzan, to the Nikko Toshogu and Aoi Aso shrines.

It's also taken in the beauty of Nachi Falls, Japan's highest uninterrupted drop waterfall, Lake Biwa, the largest freshwater lake in the country and Matsushima Bay, considered to be one of Japan's most beautiful views. As the Torch has made its way from north to south, the seasons changed from the cold snowy winter to the milder temperatures of spring, featuring blooming cherry blossoms, then summer with hydrangeas signalling its arrival into Tokyo.

Not just that, but the Olympic flame has taken many different modes of transport throughout including various types of boats, bicycles and trains.

During the Relay, some 10,000 torchbearers have carried the flame. The torchbearers were from all different backgrounds with amazing, heart-warming and captivating stories to tell.

The Relay also saw torchbearers who had carried the flame during the Olympic Games Tokyo 1964, as well as former Olympic and Paralympic athletes, as well as celebrities, local community heroes and citizens doing their part to make Japan a more welcoming society for all.

Let's look back on some of the best moment from the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch Relay.

A dreamed fulfilled for a 109-year-old grandma

Robot helps carry Olympic flame

The moment Iction - a nine-year-old guide dog - steals the show

Dancing torchbearers

A symbol of hope

Olympic Torch for Tokyo 2020 meets the Torch from Tokyo 1964

HARADA Ruka carries legacy of Tokyo 1964 torchbearer grandpa

It wasn't the first time a member of HARADA Ruka family has participated in an Olympic Torch Relay with his grandfather being a runner during the one at Tokyo 1964.