Live updates: Tokyo 2020 Torch Relay highlights from Wakayama

The Olympic Torch Relay section 1 in Shingu City, Wakayama prefecture, Japan.
The Olympic Torch Relay section 1 in Shingu City, Wakayama prefecture, Japan.

The Olympic Torch Relay is underway in Wakayama! You can watch every moment of the flame's historic journey to the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games on 23 July 2021 via the dedicated Tokyo 2020 live stream, as well as following the highlights as they happen via our blog, below.

09 April, 16:00 (JST): Re-live Wakayama Prefecture so far

We have hit prefecture seven of 47 as the Olympic Torch Relay continues its journey around Japan.

This morning in Wakayama the flame made it's way through the city of Shingu, located in the southern part of the prefecture before visiting the famous Nachi Falls then off it was to the beautiful coastal town of Kushimoto.

09 April, 14:00 (JST): "I want to be united with the people of Kushimoto"

Meet Durna Ozkaya, who's originally from the city of Yozgat in Central Anatolia, Turkey. She's been working at Kushimoto Town Hall to deepen the friendship between Japan and Turkey.

I love the people of Kushimoto because they are very kind and welcoming people regardless of their language, religion or colour.

By running in the Olympic Torch Relay, Ozkaya hopes that people can realise that we are all one despite our differences.

Did you know that in 1890 a Turkish ship crashed onto the shore of Oshima? The survivors were cared for by the people of the town until they could return safely to Turkey. It marks the beginning of friendship between the two nations.

09 April, 13:30 (JST): We're at the coast!

It was blue skies and sun as the Olympic flame made it way along the coastal town of Kushimoto on the southern tip of the Kii Peninsula.

09 April, 10:30 (JST): The home of a Shinto deity

In Nachikatsuura Town, as the Olympic flame made its way through the a cobblestone staircase slope of Daimon-zaka, we were met with the roaring beauty of Nachi Falls, Japan's tallest (single-tiered) waterfall.

At 133m tall, the waterfall is much more than just a feat of natural beauty with with the falls also considered the home of a Shinto deity. Nachi Falls also forms part of UNESCO World Heritage site known as the Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range.

Olympic flame visits Japan's tallest waterfall

The Olympic Torch Relay ended its leg in Nachikatsuura Town, Wakayama Prefecture at the 133m tall Nachi Falls

09 April, 09:01 (JST): Tokyo 1964 dual gold medallist kicks of relay

During the Tokyo 1964 Games Men's Gymnastics competition, Japan made a statement when they won 10 Olympic medals - including five gold. One of those gymnasts was HAYATA Takuji, who won two gold medals in the team's event and rings.

This morning, the now 80-year-old got the Olympic Torch Relay underway in his home prefecture of Wakayama.

Read about Japan's Men's Gymnastics Team at Tokyo 1964 here.

Tokyo 1964 gold dual medallist HAYATA Takuji in Wakayama

HAYATA Takuji, who was part Japan's successful men's gymnastics team at Tokyo 1964 winning two gold medals, kicked off the Olympic Torch Relay in Wakayama.

09 April, 09:00 (JST): Wakayama - awash with scenic beauty

The Olympic flame has been travelling to some stunning sites over the past days - and the next two in Wakayama won't buck the trend. Forests, coastline, mountains and waterfalls form the backdrop of the Wakayama leg of the relay, including the breathtaking Nachi Waterfall - one of the tallest falls in Japan.

Nachikatsuura Town・Nachi Waterfall
Nachikatsuura Town・Nachi Waterfall

09 April, 08:45 (JST): The home of a historic gold medal

Wakayama has left an enduring mark on Japanese Olympic history, as the birthplace of the first-ever female Olympic gold medallist from Japan - MAEHATA Hideko. The swimmer triumphed in the 200m breaststroke competition at the Berlin 1936 Games, winning the race by more than a second. She was later awarded with the Purple Ribbon of Merit by the government of Japan.

Another history maker from Wakayama is MIYAMOTO Emiko, who was a member of the famed Japanese women's volleyball team that won gold at the Tokyo 1964 Olympic Games. You can find out more about that legendary Olympic triumph right here.

Tokyo 1964 OG, Volleyball Women - Final, Japan (JPN) 1st - USSR (URS) 2nd.
Tokyo 1964 OG, Volleyball Women - Final, Japan (JPN) 1st - USSR (URS) 2nd.
© 1964 / Kishimoto/IOC

09 April, 08:35 (JST): Welcome to Shingu City!

Welcome to the first day of the Olympic Torch Relay in Wakayama! Today's journey begins in Shingu City, the location of the Kumano Hayatama Taisha Shrine, one of three shrines on the famous Kumano Kodo pilgrimage routes. From there, the flame will make its way to Nachikatsuura Town, Kushimoto Town, Shirahama Town, Tanabe City, Shirahama Town, Gobo City, Arida City and Kainan City, before ending the day in Wakayama City.

Fun fact: In the region around Wakayama City lies a town called Yuasa, which is the birthplace of one of Japan's most famous exports: soy sauce. So settle in for the ride, today's relay is sure to be tasty!

You can watch all of the day's action unfold live right here on Tokyo 2020.