In late 2019 when Traveller was among the first titles in the world invited to tour Tokyo's new eco-friendly Olympic stadium, never could we have imagined that a pandemic would be declared months later, leaving us among just a rare coterie able to visit it.
While the stadium has appeared to be eerily empty at times thanks to the lack of spectators at the rescheduled 2020 Olympics and Paralympics this month and next, it will have life after the Games - and not only for other large-scale events.
Designed by the Japanese "starchitect" Kengo Kuma, famed for his use of natural timbers, the stadium is clad in certified wood drawn from Japan's 47 prefectures, or provinces. The concourses encircling the stadium are also swathed in greenery.
After this year's Olympic Games the $US1.4 billion stadium will become a virtual sky garden with its 850-metre fifth-floor concourse open to the public for recreation purposes when no events are being staged.
With the stadium rising to about 50 metres, visitors will be able to not only commune with nature from this vantage point but also enjoy spectacular panoramas, including the skyline of Shinjuku, the Tokyo Sky Tree observation tower, and, on a clear day, even Mount Fuji. Traveller can certainly vouch for the striking vistas.
The concourse will also be the perfect place to witness Tokyo's springtime cherry blossoms and the annual display of changing autumn leaves with the stadium also situated close to Omotesando, one of the Japanese capital's most chic shopping avenues, along with the uber cool neighbourhood of Aoyama. See www.japan.travel