The Olympics opening ceremony is always worth a gander. 

Michael Kappeler/picture alliance via Getty Images

The Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony is just hours away now, kicking off early morning US time.

What can we expect? The Olympics opening ceremony tends to feature the pageantry of national teams and flags and traditional outfits, but it also tends to be a celebration of the host country’s culture. Since the Olympics is being held in Tokyo, that could mean something more traditional and historical, but signs point to the opening ceremony celebrating Japan’s contribution to technology, video games and anime. If you remember, previous Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe turned up to the handover ceremony in Rio, Brazil dressed as Mario.

Reports say the opening ceremony will be scaled back thanks to the spectre of COVID-19, but it’ll still be must see TV. Expect the unexpected, that’s all we’re saying.

When does the Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony start?

The Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony takes place at Friday, July 23 at 7 a.m. EDT (4 a.m. PDT).

In the UK, that time translates to 12 noon BST on Friday, July 23. 

In Australia it’s 9 p.m. AEST on Friday, July 23. 

How to watch the Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony?

In the US

NBC is broadcasting a huge amount of day one Olympics coverage, including the opening ceremony. You’ll be able to watch it live coast-to-coast. NBC will be broadcasting across all US time zones starting at 6:55 a.m. EDT (3:55 a.m. PDT) for the very first time.

NBC will also re-broadcast the event at 7:30 p.m. EDT (4:30 p.m. PDT).

US residents don’t need a cable or satellite TV subscription in order to watch the Opening Ceremonies. All of the major live TV streaming services include NBC. If you live in an area with good reception, you can watch the Opening Ceremonies on NBC for free just by attaching an affordable (under $30) indoor antenna to nearly any TV.

The Opening Ceremony and the replay will also stream in 4K HDR on two services, FuboTV and YouTube TV. See below for details.

Read more: Tokyo Olympics: Watch in 4K HDR with FuboTV, YouTube TV or broadcast

YouTube TV costs $65 a month and includes NBC. Plug in your ZIP code on its welcome page to see which local networks are available in your area. Read our YouTube TV review.

To watch in 4K HDR you’ll need to subscribe to be signed up for the company’s new 4K option that costs an extra $20 per month on top of the $65 regular monthly rate — although there’s a 30-day free trial that’s long enough to last through the entire Olympics. The 4K feed isn’t available in every market however; here’s the full list.

FuboTV costs $65 per month and includes the five NBC channels. Click here to see which local channels you get. Read our FuboTV review.

Unlike YouTube TV, Fubo’s 4K coverage of the Olympics doesn’t cost anything extra. Unfortunately it’s only available in five markets: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas-Fort Worth and Boston.

Peacock offers three tiers: a limited free plan and two Premium plans. The ad-supported Premium plan costs $5 a month, and the ad-free Premium plan costs $10 a month. Peacock won’t show the Opening Ceremonies live but you’ll be able to watch the replay on either of the Premium plans. Read our Peacock review.

All of the live TV streaming services above offer free trials (except Peacock, which just has a free tier), and all allow you to cancel anytime and require a solid internet connection. Looking for more information? Check out our live-TV streaming services guide.

In the UK

In the UK the BBC and Eurosport have the rights to the Tokyo Olympics. Since the everyone in the UK has access to the BBC, that will most likely be the easiest way to watch. It’ll be broadcast live on BBC One and available to stream on BBC iPlayer and the BBC Sport website.

In Australia

Much like in the UK, the Tokyo Olympics is available to watch on free to air TV. The opening ceremony will be available to watch live on Channel 7 or via the 7plus streaming service.

How to watch other international broadcasts

Want to watch the Olympics via a streaming service from another country, or in another language? Try a VPN to change your IP address. See the best VPNs currently recommended by Throneofgadget editors.

Where is the Tokyo Olympics Opening Ceremony taking place?

The opening ceremony will take place at the Japan National Stadium, aka the Olympic Stadium.

What can we expect at the opening ceremony?


Shinzo Abe, wearing a Mario hat at the Rio Olympics closing ceremony.


Typically Olympics opening ceremonies celebrate the culture of the host country, augmented by some theme. During the 2008 Beijing Olympics, for example, the theme was unity. These events can be expensive, often costing upwards of $100 million.

Japanese opening ceremonies have traditionally celebrated ancient Japanese culture, but previous Prime Minister Shinzo Abe dressed up as Mario during the handover at the Rio Olympics closing ceremony, so many expect Nintendo’s mascot to show up in an opening ceremony more dedicated to Japan’s impact on technology and popular culture. 

Could we finally see Naruto at an Olympics opening ceremony? We can dream…

Producer Marco Balich has also said that COVID-19 will somehow be referenced during the event.


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