More than 7,000 people joined a tour of the National Stadium in Tokyo on Sunday, one of the Golden Week holidays, before the stadium is set to be demolished in July to make way for the construction of the main venue for the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
According to the Japan Sport Council, which manages the stadium, only 50 people per day initially participated in tours that started in January. But interest grew and tour participants have reached 10,000 as of Friday.
During the tours, participants not only were allowed onto the field, but also visited the locker rooms and had a close look at the Olympic cauldron, used for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, from the top step of the rear stand.
A first-year high school student from Tokorozawa, Saitama Prefecture, was impressed when he touched the grass on the field. "It's fluffy and soft," the student said. "I wish I could have played football at the stadium."
A 52-year-old man who has watched the national football team play at the stadium said with a smile, "I was as excited as a national team member facing a big match."
The remaining tours will be conducted on Wednesday and May 22. The new National Stadium is scheduled to be completed in 2019.