Tokyo marked 1,000 days to go until the opening ceremony of the 2020 Olympics on Saturday, with countdown events held to set the mood for the games.
Tokyo's second Olympics will feature a record 33 sports and 339 events. The capital hosted the Olympics in 1964.
On Saturday, Olympians and Kabuki actor Ichikawa Ebizo led the way for four festival floats in the capital's Nihombashi district in heavy rain, aiming to build up the excitement for the Olympics being held in less than three years.
Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike and Olympics minister Shunichi Suzuki joined Ebizo and the athletes, including swimmer Ryosuke Irie and weightlifter Hiromi Miyake to reveal a countdown board that will be placed in the metropolitan government building.
"It's finally 1,000 days until the Olympics," Koike said. "I want everyone to become excited and become engaged."
Suzuki also emphasized the importance of the public's support towards the 2020 Games.
"The key to success of the Tokyo Games is for people from all over Japan to be interested and become willing to be involved in them," said Suzuki, who took the job as Olympics minister in August.
"With 1,000 days to go, the Japanese government, Tokyo and the games' organizing committee will work together as one to make the Olympics a success," Suzuki said.
Players of 3-on-3 basketball, which was added to the 2020 Olympics, demonstrated their sport, and the Olympians and Ebizo experienced shooting hoops.
Miyake, whose uncle, Yoshinobu won gold at the 1964 Tokyo Games, said she hopes to follow his steps.
"Since he won gold, many people in his generation remember him for it," said Miyake, who won bronze in the women's 48-kilogram category at last year's Rio de Janeiro Olympics and silver in London.
"It's the second Olympics that Tokyo will host, so I'm excited and I want to do my best to prepare," she said.
Irie, who missed out on a medal at the men's swimming in the Rio Olympics despite winning two silvers and a bronze at the 2012 London Games, said, "I'm really motivated to get a medal in Tokyo, and I think the Japanese people will give me a boost towards it."
"Today, there are still 1,000 days until the games, but tomorrow, it's going to be just 999 days. It's soon going to be double digits," Irie said. "I have to make use of every single day to do my best at the Olympics."
Events and ceremonial decorations were seen in other parts of the country to build up excitement towards the games.
At Narita airport, east of Tokyo, an event was hosted to introduce sports such as fencing and wrestling, which will take place in a venue in the prefecture. Audiences experienced surfing and wheelchair athletics through virtual reality technology.
Tokyo Tower, one of the cityscapes of the capital, was lit in the five colors that represent the Olympic rings -- blue, yellow, black, green and red-- on Friday night, and the number "1000" was marked on the observatory of the 333-meter tower.
Four-time swimming Olympic medalist Kosuke Hagino will also take part in an event held in Kodaira, Tokyo, on Sunday and in Koriyama, Fukushima Prefecture, on Nov. 18, to boost enthusiasm ahead of the Olympics.