Athletics day

Athletics day

The season for “Athletics day” has arrived!

We have a saying in Japan, “Autumn is the season for Athletics.” It suggests that autumn’s climate is suitable for any kind of sporting activities. During this season, every school holds an “Athletics day”. Most Japanese people have experienced this event during their elementary and high school days. Do you have similar events in your country? During athletics day, students team up into white and red teams and compete against each other in relay races, tug of war, ball tossing games, and various other activities.
When I was in high school, we teamed up during spring, summer, fall, and winter according to each student’s birth month.

What do students play during athletics day?

The events of athletics differed in each locale and school, but I tried to list the most popular ones.

The ball toss game

【The ball toss game】
Students compete in tossing as many balls into the basket as they can. The balls are placed on the ground and each team picks up their color and throws them into their colored basket.

Group Gymnastics

【Group Gymnastics】
This event is performed mainly by upper grade students. Two groups of students are teamed up to make beautiful poses. The completion of this event is the most important.

Tug o war

【Tug o war】
This event is known worldwide, so most of you probably know it. The team that can pull the center of the rope to their side wins.


【Dance (Oyugi)】
This event is performed by students of each grade in school. The dance can be performed with a popular idol song, or with traditional local music. I wasn’t very good at it…

The Relay Race

The climax of athletics day is the relay race! The quickest runners of the class are chosen and everybody cheers for them!

Lunch box

Eating lunch with your family.

Athletics day is not only for students, but also for local people and parents who come down and cheer them on. The origin of athletics day dates back about 130 years. The minister at the time suggested to have an athletics day throughout Japan, but there wasn’t enough space for it. School’s started to use shrine and temple grounds for their events. This gained support from local people who were also encouraged to come and watch. Some schools even have a relay race that includes the children’s fathers’.

The most exciting thing about sports day is Bento or “Packed lunch”. This is also different according to each locale, but students will usually eat lunch with their family in the spectator area. Mothers will usually prepare lunch for the family the night before, or earlier that morning. It’s very nice to have lunch all together under a clear blue sky!

If you hear very cheerful voices of children on a sunny day in October, “Athletics Day” might be taking place.

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Editor / Writer

“My dream is that Tadaima Japan will make more people want to come to Japan. I want to introduce the beautiful Japan in which I was born. I like fingernail art!”