GO GB Features and Articles

What’s the Pre-Games camps?

A behind the scenes tour around Kawasaki Todoroki Stadium! We take you everywhere, from the pitch to the VIP room

Kawasaki Todoroki Stadium and supplementary stadiums Culttz Kawasaki and Fujitsu Stadium Kawasaki are due to be used as facilities for the pre-Games preparation camps of the British Olympic and Paralympic teams for the Tokyo 2020 Games.

So, in this issue, we are going to be shown around Kawasaki Todoroki Stadium, one of these stadiums, and find out about the kinds of facilities in place here and the stadium’s main features. Our guides for today are Mr. Takeuchi of the Athletic Stadium Development Section, Todoroki Greenery Development Department, Construction and Greenery Development Bureau, Kawasaki City; Mr. Hara of the Management Division, Nakahara Ward Roads and Parks Center; and Mr. Ashino, greenkeeper at Kawasaki Todoroki Stadium.
While Kawasaki Todoroki Stadium is widely known as being the home stadium of soccer team Kawasaki Frontale, here we hope you enjoy learning trivia about the stadium as well as a virtual tour of areas that are usually not accessible to the public, such as the pitch and VIP room.

Let’s find out a little trivia on Kawasaki Todoroki Stadium!

Kawasaki Todoroki Stadium plays host to a range of tournaments and matches, such as a different kinds of athletic tournaments and soccer tournaments, not to mention the home games of Kawasaki Frontale. However, let us find out a little more about the features of this stadium.

Mr. Hara:

In Kanagawa Prefecture, there are several athletics stadiums accredited by the Japan Association of Athletics Federations. Kawasaki Todoroki Stadium currently has Category 3 certification, but is due to acquire Category 1 in the future. In addition, it has also acquired Class 2 certification from the International Association of Athletics Federations. Within Kanagawa Prefecture, only Nissan Stadium and Kawasaki Todoroki Stadium have attained this level of certification.

Many world famous athletes have visited Kawasaki Todoroki Stadium, such as Usain Bolt and Oliver Kahn

Mr. Takeuchi:

In 2008, the Super Track and Field Meet was held at Kawasaki Todoroki Stadium. On this occasion, Usain Bolt visited the stadium as a special guest. This was also the venue where Japanese former athlete Nobuharu Asahara ran his last race. In terms of soccer, in 2018 Oliver Kahn, a German former goalkeeper who appeared for the German national team, was invited as a guest to a home game of Kawasaki Frontale. In addition, the stadium is also famous as the place where Japanese former soccer player Homare Sawa played her final match.

Kawasaki Todoroki Stadium will be reborn as an athletics track in anticipation of its use as a pre-Games preparation camp of the British Olympic and Paralympic teams. Furthermore, new rugby goal posts are also being installed.

Mr. Takeuchi:
At present, renovation work is taking place at Kawasaki Todoroki Stadium in anticipation of its use as a pre-Games preparation camp of the British Olympic and Paralympic teams. The track’s color will change from the current brick red to blue. In recent years, an increasing number of stadiums which host major athletics tournaments are also putting in place blue tracks. The athletic tracks at the previous Rio Olympics and Paralympics were also blue.

In addition, new rugby goal posts are also being installed to accommodate rugby, one of the accepted events in the camp. Both the number of people playing rugby and rugby fans have increased over the past 4 years since the last Rugby World Cup. 13 m high goal posts are due to be installed at Kawasaki Todoroki Stadium.

The grass on Kawasaki Todoroki Stadium’s pitch is one of the shortest in Japan!

We would like to ask you a question about the condition of the pitch at Kawasaki Todoroki Stadium, which is used for soccer and other sports. How do you keep the grass in good shape throughout the year?

Mr. Ashino:

The pitch consists of two types of grass. There is summer grass which is green in summer and withers in winter, and winter grass which is green in winter and withers in spring. This combination of two kinds of grass enables us to maintain a green pitch all year round. Kawasaki Todoroki Stadium is known for having short grass. We will take great care in maintaining the pitch in excellent condition in preparation for the pre-Games preparation camp, allowing both rugby and soccer players to train in comfort.

Messages for the British Olympic and Paralympic teams

Mr. Takeuchi:
We are asking for advice during inspection tours of the stadium on what we can do to provide athletes in the British Olympic and Paralympic teams with a satisfactory stay. We will cooperate with the Kawasaki City Olympic and Paralympic Promotion Office to ensure that everything is in place to ensure a comfortable pre-Games preparation camp for everyone.

Mr. Hara:
Routes have been put in place at Kawasaki Todoroki Stadium to assist all Paralympians. The stadium will be used as a pre-Games preparation camp, so in many cases this will involve different forms of use than usual. Therefore, we are ready to adapt our arrangements as needed, and to ensure that a safe and comfortable environment is in place to enable everyone to focus on their training.

Mr. Ashino:
There are differences in the British teams’ desired grass height, as well as grass conditions suited to each event, so we would like to ensure that the pitch condition is such that athletes from all events can train in comfort.

Thank you for your precious time, Mr. Takeuchi, Mr. Hara and Mr. Ashino.

Virtual tour of Kawasaki Todoroki Stadium

Next, we would like to take you on a virtual tour of Kawasaki Todoroki Stadium.

We will start from the 1F. Once you pass through the entrance, you will see the rear stand with the letters “KAWASAKI” emblazoned across the seats. During J.League games, the players enter the pitch through here.

At present, work is currently being conducted to put in place tracks on the field.

Next, we will take a look at the player dressing rooms. The home team dressing room is mainly used by Kawasaki Todoroki players, so it has a blue color scheme, but the away team dressing room is based on material colors like white and black. The dressing rooms are used not only for soccer but also for athletics and rugby matches.

The training room is indoors, but a pitch environment is recreated through the use of artificial grass. In the case of soccer, it is used as a warming up room prior to matches, but it can also be used for all accepted events.

Press conferences etc. are held in this media room.

We were also shown around the doping screening room, which is not usually open to public viewing. We were only there to look around, but somehow felt a little nervous.

The shower room doors are transparent.

Next, we will move up to the 3F.
The 3F features box seats used by VIP guests.

The 6F also features the same box seats.

In addition, there is a sky terrace on the 6F, which is used to hold events, etc. From the sky terrace, you can walk to the seats.

From here, you can enjoy a view of Tokyo Tower and Tokyo Skytree.

The sky terrace is used for hosting those with invitation tickets for soccer matches and as a venue for events on the day.

So, how was the tour?

Even those who go to the stadium for soccer matches, official rugby and athletics tournaments and athletics practice should have found it interesting, given that this was a rare chance to see what goes on behind the scenes.
Renovation work is due to commence from 2021 on Kawasaki Todoroki Stadium’s rear stand. The stadium’s current capacity is 27,000 people, but renovation work aiming to increase the stadium’s capacity to 35,000 people is currently under consideration. So look forward to some big changes at Kawasaki Todoroki Stadium, one of Kawasaki City’s landmarks.
In addition, we hope that all Kawasaki citizens will get into the spirit of GOGB2020, allowing the athletes to train in comfort at Kawasaki Todoroki Stadium.

Text: Mie Hirao, GOGB column writer
Photography: Osamu Sueyoshi, GOGB cameraman