It was supposed to all start with a gala send-off at one of Japan's most venerable and majestic Buddhist temples, the 1,400-year-old Zenkoji.
However, Zenkoji Withdrew at the last moment citing security concerns and unease among its monks and supporters over China's treatment of their fellow Buddhists in Tibet.
Adding insult to injury, Zenkoji announced Tuesday that it will co-host a prayer ritual for Tibet on the morning of the relay.
Zenkoji's sudden about face forced organizers to conduct a last-minute search for an alternate site. On such short notice, they found only a vacant lot in a Carpark!
The result the Beijing Olympic torch made its Japan debut in a parking lot.