As the cherry blossoms begin to bloom in Japan it is fitting that the official Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch, unveiled this week, is designed in the shape of the beloved sakura.

The torch, which will be used during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic torch relay and feature prevalently throughout the duration of the Games, was revealed exactly one year prior to the flame’s arrival at Matsushima Air Base in Miyagi Prefecture.

Courtesy of Tokyo 2020

The torch, forged in the shape of a traditional Sakura-mon cherry blossom emblem, will travel throughout Japan in spring 2020 just as the cherry blossoms reach full bloom.

The torch was designed by Saga Prefecture native Tokujin Yoshioka, internationally acclaimed for his work in design, architecture and contemporary art. His works are part of permanent collections in museums such as Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), Centre Pompidou in Paris and Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

Yoshioka’s torch was shaped using the same aluminum extrusion technology used to manufacture Japan’s bullet trains. Thirty percent of the aluminum material was recycled from former temporary housing units erected in the aftermath of the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami.

The five flames generated from the petal unite at the centre of the torch, and the weight – 1.2kg – and shape of the torch grip is designed to make it easy to handle.

Under the slogan, “Hope Lights Our Way,” after arriving from Greece the Olympic flame will initially be put on display at various locations in the Tohoku region to showcase solidarity with the area still recovering from the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. The Tokyo 2020 Olympic torch relay will officially commence on March 26, 2020.

Feature image courtesy of Tokyo 2020