Tokyo 2020 Olympics
Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics organising committee test artificial snowfall to cool down spectators during a canoe event at Sea Forest Waterway in Tokyo, Japan September 13, 2019. Image Credit: Reuters

Flurries of snow fell on Tokyo on Friday - not an example of extreme global weather but part of a heat-busting experiment by Olympics officials.

A machine created fake snowflakes that showered down on volunteers in a trial to combat the high temperatures expected at next summer's games in the Japanese capital.

"The organising committee want to try all we can to mitigate the heat, and this is one of the ideas we came up with," Taka Okamura, a senior director of the Tokyo 2020 organising committee, told Reuters.

"It isn't going to lower the air temperature, but hopefully the ice will make the people it hits feel cooler."

The trial took place at a canoeing event at the Sea Forest Waterway, with staff feeding blocks of ice into a snow machine mounted on a truck.

The machine dispensed around 660lb of snow over 150 volunteers seated in the stands during the initial five-minute experiment.

Tokyo has a record of searingly hot summers: last year, there were more than 60 heat-related deaths in a week, prompting the government to declare a national emergency; and this summer, at least 5,000 people sought hospital treatment during a heatwave.

One of the more surreal solutions put forward for the games is an umbrella hat, which spectators attach to their heads to protect their faces from the sun - as ceremoniously unveiled at a press conference by Yuriko Koike, governor of Tokyo, earlier this year.