There was a palpable sense of excitement and energy within the chandeliered halls and corridors of the Palace Hotel in Tokyo on Friday (October 10). Stern, watchful men in dark suits, heeding instructions arriving via electronic earpieces, testified to the fact that some very important people had gathered for a unique moment of celebration within Japanese sport, as the nation both reflected upon the 50th anniversary of the Tokyo 1964 Games, and outlined its aspirations for the Olympics which the city will host again in 2020.
One of several exhibitions in the city of memorabilia from those first Asian Olympic Games is located just inside the entrance to the Marunouchimoru building near to the gardens of the Imperial Palace. Among items including a red Japanese team blazer, a panelled leather football, the kind of lighter one used to require to start gas cookers (just in case the torch required some persuasion on its journey, presumably) and banks of fading programmes, one of the prize exhibits is a replica of the cauldron that held the Olympic flame during that fortnight of competition in October 1964.
The death a month before these Anniversary celebrations of Yoshinori Sakai, who lit that Olympic cauldron on October 10, robbed this occasion of a guest of honour. His passing was widely mourned in Japan.
The lean young 19-year-old who ran up the steps of the National Stadium, which is now awaiting demolition and replacement by what will be the centrepiece of the Tokyo 2020 Games, was a living image of Japan's renaissance after the terrible destruction of the Second World War.
He had been born on in Miyoshi, Hiroshima on August 6, 1945 - the day an atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima.
Such was the weight and significance of those Games of the XVIII Olympiad to its Japanese hosts.
Earlier in the week, at the Sport Event Management and Organisation Seminar hosted by the Tsukuba International Academy for Sport Studies (TIAS) with the assistance of the International Academy of Sport Science and Technology (AISTS) Mastering Sport group, the University of Tsukuba's Professor Satoshi Shimizu offered a lecture on one of his prime research areas - Tokyo and the 1964 Olympics.
He told insidethegames how the first Olympics for which Japan bid were intended to serve as a point of renewal following an earlier devastation - that of the Great Kantō earthquake of 1923, which devastated Tokyo and many surrounding cities and areas, leaving almost 150,000 dead or missing.
"Tokyo wanted the Olympics in order to build the reconstruction of the city after the 1923 earthquake," Shimizu said, adding that the year for which the bid was won, 1940, had special significance as the 2,600th anniversary of Japanese imperial rule.
Those 1940 Games were to have been coupled with the World Fair in a massive initiative to stimulate and rehabilitate Tokyo. But the continuing Sino-Japanese War eventually forced the plans to be dropped.
"After the Second World War was over, almost all of the east side of Tokyo was destroyed by bombs," Shimizu said. "And so when the Games of 1964 were awarded by the International Olympic Committee in 1959, the next five years were devoted to an intense effort of regeneration in those areas."
Once work was done, Tokyo was left with a set of Olympic venues, a Metropolitan Expressway running through the centre of the city, and two new rail services in the form of the Tokyo monorail system and the exciting new "bullet trains" - the high speed Tōkaidō Shinkansen. Thus the Tokyo Olympics of 1964 generated the construction of the city's current urban infrastructure.
The Shinkansen bullet train service between Osaka and Tokyo began on October 1, nine days before the Games started. Haneda Airport was also modernised.
A total of 30 venues were used in the 1964 Games, including new, renovated and temporary ones, in Tokyo and four other prefectures. Some of these, including Yoyogi National Gymnasium, where the swimming and basketball events were held, are planned to be used again, a factor which has contributed to the Tokyo 2020 Games intention of being among the cheapest in recent times, undercutting Beijing 2008 on $40 billion (£25 billion/€32 billion), London 2012 on $14 billion (£8 billion/€11 billion) and the estimated cost of $14.4 billion (£8.9 billion/€11.4 billion) of the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Games, according to ratings agency Standard and Poor's. The estimated costs of the 2020 Games would be ¥773 billion (£7.7 billion/$12.6 billion/€9.9 billion), less than one per cent of the national budget.
"There was a big change to the city," Shimizu said. "The landscape was changed. And the pace of life changed too. Before the 1960s, it was quite slow. After, it is all hurry, hurry."
Shimizu pointed out that, of the total budget employed for the Tokyo 1964 Games, 97 per cent was directed towards "related work expenses" - that is, civic infrastructure. Forty years or so before the phrase became such regular coinage,Tokyo achieved a massive Olympic legacy.
Now the gaze of those preparing a second renewal of the city is centring upon the islands and harbours of its waterfront site.
On the 50th anniversary day, athletes of the 1964 Games, including Australia's triple Olympic 100 metres freestyle swimming champion Dawn Fraser and Poland's triple Olympic gold medallist Irena Szewińska, were shown some of the venues at which their Games had taken place.
The tour included the volleyball arena, shortly to be demolished, at which the home nation's women - nicknamed the Witches of the Orient produced one of Japan's high points of the Games as they defeated the Soviet Union to win gold. Sadly for these celebrations, Masae Nakamura (maiden name Kasai), captain of that team, died last October.
Those great athletes of the past were also taken to look at the city's waterfront area where the Olympic Village and multiple Games venues will be sited. For them, literally, it was a vision of the future.
Later, at the city's chamber of commerce, the Japanese Olympic Committee organised a commemorative event which was open to the public and involved home athletes past - such as Kiyoko Ono, a gymnastics team bronze medallist in 1964 - and Mami Sato, who competed at the last three Paralympics in the women's long jump.
Those Games of half a century ago also included a hugely significant version of the Paralympics, or Paralympic Tokyo 1964 as the 13th running of the International Stoke Mandeville Games were also known.
This would be the last time the Olympic and Paralympic Games would take place in the same city until the 1988 Seoul Games, where the two tracks came together again to create the powerful double act which worked so superbly in London two years ago and at Sochi earlier this year.
At the Tokyo Games of 2020, a total of 205 countries will be involved, 10,500 athletes, 28 sports, 303 medals.
Back in 1964, the Olympics involved the participation of 93 countries and National Olympic Committees, with 5,700 athletes taking part in 19 sports and contesting 163 medals.
Judo and women's volleyball, both hugely popular in Japan, where the former - meaning "gentle way" - was created in 1882 by Kanō Jigorō, Japan's pioneer IOC member, made their first appearance in the Olympics.
While the home nation revelled in the gold won by their women's volleyball players, with the final being broadcast live in television, they also gloried in three judo golds, albeit that the Open category went to Dutchman Anton Geesink.
Japanese fans also derived huge satisfaction from the performance in the freestyle wrestling of their world champion, Osamu Watanabe, who concluded his career with gold, surrendering no points and retiring as the only undefeated Olympic champion to date, with 189 straight wins.
Tokyo was the last Summer Olympics to use a cinder running track, and many who saw Bob Hayes of the United States offer his own personal imitation of a Shinkansen in winning the 100m title from lane one, which had been mashed up by previous day's 20 kilometres walkers, in borrowed spikes, in what was a world record-equalling time of 10.06sec, regard it as one of the supreme athletics performances of all time.
Hayes later won a Super Bowl ring as a wide receiver for the Dallas Cowboys and was the second Olympic gold medallist elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame after Jim Thorpe.
Abebe Bikila of Ethiopia retained the marathon title he had won barefoot in the heat of Rome four years earlier, although this time he wore shoes as he finished so full of energy he seemed ready to start all over again.
Peter Snell of New Zealand also excelled in taking the 800m and 1500m double, while in the pool American Don Schollander ensured that Fraser didn't get all the headlines as he won four golds.
Billy Mills of the US came from nowhere to take gold in a men's 10,000m in which that distinction was expected to fall to Australia's multiple world record holder Ron Clarke.
British runner Ann Packer set a world record in becoming the surprise winner of the 800m, having never run the distance at international level before the Games.
The other legacy of those Games, along with the city's infrastructure, was the rich fund of stories it added to sporting history.
Now Tokyo is turning towards another chapter. For its own part, the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee marked this special day by holding its first Athletics Commission and Advisory Meetings at the Palace Hotel.
The Commission is composed of 21 successful athletes, all of whom are eager to play their part in helping Tokyo to achieve its "athletes first" commitment for the Games.
Tokyo 2020 sports director Koji Murofushi, the former Olympic and world hammer throw champion, said after the Athletes Commission meeting: "During the bid, we promised the world to put the athletes first. Now we are preparing to deliver on this promise. Athletes know the best what they need to give their best performances.
"This Commission will assist the Organising Committee to ensure that athletes are given the foremost priority in every area of the Games. It is a task force that will play a key role in our efforts to organise a superb Olympic and Paralympic Games."
Speaking earlier in the week at the TIAS/AISTS seminar at Tsukuba University's Tokyo campus, Murofushi had set out a series of possible challenges, including spreading the Olympic legacy to older and well as younger generations, and using sport to help mend communities broken by disasters such as the earthquake and tsunami that struck the east coast of Japan three years ago.
"We want to build on the London 2012 legacy idea," he said. "Legacy must find special ways of touching the lives of young people, and that is really important to me.
"But I wonder whether in Tokyo 2020 we can reach a bit wider and touch not just one generation but every generation.
"At the Tokyo 1964 Games Japan provided some of the youngest competitors, but those Games were the first for an athlete who has since become the oldest Olympian at 71, Hiroshi Hoketsu, who competed at the equestrian events in London 2012.
"Other countries around the world all share the challenges that come with having an ageing population. I hope one part of the Tokyo 2020 legacy will be to encourage people of every age to lead healthier, more active lives."
Murofushi addressed the promise made to the IOC, that Tokyo 2020 "would be about discovering tomorrow", adding: "That why we have announced our Sports for Tomorrow project, a Government-backed plan to reach out to 10 million people in 100 countries between now and 2020.
"We aim to create a new generation of coaches and sports officials in developing countries, and we will do that by setting up a sports academy to transfer those skills to countries who need it most.
"We intend to transfer those skills, and we are also committed to sharing Japan's know-how and experience in the field of anti-doping."
Murofushi added that he wanted Tokyo 2020 to give "a new generation in our country the same buzz about opening up to the world that their grandparents had 50 years ago at the 1964 Games."
That kind of buzz is unmistakeable. It was in London as the 2012 Games approached. It was present in Tokyo on one of Japanese sport's historic days.
Mike Rowbottom, one of Britain's most talented sportswriters, covered the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics as chief feature writer for insidethegames, having covered the previous five summer Games, and four winter Games, for The Independent. He has worked for the Daily Mail, The Times, The Observer, The Sunday Correspondent and The Guardian. His latest book Foul Play - the Dark Arts of Cheating in Sport (Bloomsbury £8.99) is available at the insidethegames.biz shop. To follow him on Twitter click here.