And so it begins, the ultimate combined sport and Japan experience rolled into one.
During the 2015 Rugby World Cup, relative newcomers to international Rugby, Japan, created what is widely considered the biggest upset in World Cup history by beating South Africa 32-34.
It was a game in which South Africa were firm favorites to take the spoils, but somebody forgot the read the script to Karne Hesketh who crossed the Springboks line in the final minute of normal time, touching down to create a moment that will live long in international sporting history.
From Friday, September 20th to Saturday, November 2nd, Japan will once again play a pivotal role in the Rugby World Cup story when the country will host the twenty best rugby nations from around the globe.
In the twelve stadia across the length and breadth of the country, the atmosphere is sure to be nothing short of amazing as rugby fans from the world over come to immerse themselves in both rugby and all things Japanese.
Welcome to the land of the rising sun
For many, the World Cup will be their first experience of visiting Japan, a country often regarded as being something of an enigma to outsiders. There’s bound to be a lot to learn and a whole host of new experiences to discover right across the twelve host cities.
Whether you’re cheering for Japan, England, Australia or Ireland you’re bound to have time on your hands to experience something more than just rugby.
We know that rugby is central to your visit, but along with the great sporting stories you’ll have to recount for years, think of all the other things that you could enjoy to add to those stories.
That’s why here at Tinggly – the ultimate experience gift company – we’ve compiled a list of our best Japanese attractions and travel experiences for you to sample. It’s so easy to order Tinggly gift experiences, so, why not drop a hint to your family and friends now, and enjoy a lot more than great rugby.
There are so many experiences to have in Japan it would be impossible to provide a complete Japan travel guide, but at least we have some suggestions that just might fill the hours between those vital rugby games.
What to do in Kyoto? In the company of Joe Okada, Japan’s Last Samurai, discover the real secrets of the one-time Japanese capital. Kyoto, known as the City of Ten Thousand Shrines, will be opened up for you in the company of this legendary guide. After visiting Buddist and Shinto shrines, the workshops of wood engravers, brush and ink makers, the beautiful surroundings of Kyoto Imperial Garden Forest, and a traditional Japanese tearoom, your guide will entertain you with a thrilling demonstration of Samurai swordsmanship. Joe might just be the best Japan guide you’re likely to meet on your travels.
If you have a love for Japanese cuisine, taking a Japanese home-cooking class in the heart of Tokyo equips you with the ultimate travel souvenir. Your gastro-experience begins with a trip to the supermarket to source your ingredients. During this shopping trip, you’ll get valuable tips and insights into typical Japanese food items. Then it’s back to the chef’s kitchen to get tucked into preparation, cooking, and finally to the feast that you’ve prepared. And who knows, you might even make a host of new friends into the bargain.
Tokyo – Akihabara tour with your own personal maid
Everyone knows that Japan gave the world the artforms of Anime and Manga. Your tour of Akihabara, one of the most famous areas of Tokyo, will give you an insight into these worlds. This walking tour will help you explore the intricacies of Japan’s cultural scene, including its strange-to-outsiders youth scene. Among a buzzing hive of electronics stores and young people dressed in bizarre cosplay costumes, you will be introduced to one of the district’s famous Maid Cafes, where you will be greeted by a hostess in a French Maid outfit who will pamper you like a Lord or Lady of the Manor returning to your castle. We guess there’s going to be a lot more than rugby stories to tell your friends back home.
Not only will Japan host the 2019 Rugby World Cup, but it will also play host to the 2020 Olympic Games. The best way to see how the city of Tokyo is shaping up for this huge sporting event is from the cockpit of a helicopter. From the air, the sights of the Japanese capital can be spellbinding, add in the opportunity to experience an evening flight and watch the neon signs burst into life like a futuristic Ridley Scott movie set. With the outline of Mount Fuji as a backdrop, you’ll soon realize why this city is so unique and enigmatic.
This is a unique and personal introduction to authentic Japanese culture for him and her. Learn how to make traditional Japanese green tea in a time-honored ceremony, while getting valuable insights into Japanese culture. In addition to the traditional tea ceremony, you will have the opportunity to wander the tearoom’s bonsai garden. You’ll hear about the secrets involved in creating these living works of art and the long years of expert care and attention which goes into making Bonsai art form admired the world over. Have your photo taken while dressed in a traditional Kimono and save these amazing memories for years to come.
This is an experience guaranteed to take you as far as possible from the sight of tries, conversions, mauls, or lineouts. The sea-based experience will take you to the panoramic Japanese coastline where you’ll explore an ocean cave, and snorkel with tropical fish. Paddle your kayak to the interior of the amazing Blue Cave, famed for water clarity and teeming shoals of colorful fish unperturbed by the presence of humans. Enjoy the caves stunning interior both above and below the waves as sunlight streams through the tunnel’s crevices and opening, creating a spectacular marine wonderland.
Situated two hours outside of Tokyo, the roads of Hakone are well-known as some of the best driving roads in Japan. This motoring experience of a lifetime takes you to the world-famous Fuji Speedway, the Formula One racetrack that has been graced by the driving skills of stars of the sport such as Niki Lauda, Lewis Hamilton, James Hunt and many more. Behind the wheel of a classically cool Porsche 911 Turbo you will cruise the landscape of mountains and foothills in the shadow of Mount Fuji. In the company of highly-skilled and expertly-trained professional tour leader, you’ll be in great company to get the most out of this exhilarating experience.
And there’s rugby too
Top tips for visiting the Rugby World Cup Japan 2019
Accommodation – If you haven’t got your accommodation arranged by now, you’re probably in trouble. However, you could try here for a selection of Rugby World Cup 2019 hotels.
Transport – No trip to Japan is complete without experiencing the world-famous Shinkansen bullet trains. However, tickets should be booked well in advance and if possible organize a Japan Rail Pass before you get there. Also, using a prepaid travel card makes getting around the cities and the entire country a lot easier. These cards are available for different regions and can be loaded with credit giving you easy access at ticket barriers. Plus, try to get to your destination city well in advance of the game, transport is expected to be extra heavy on match days.
Visiting sites – While the rugby is sure to be amazing, so is Japanese culture. It would be a shame to visit a country with such a long and varied history without sampling the local sights, sounds, tastes, and smells. Give yourself a little extra time in each city and really get the flavor of the place.
Fanzones – If you haven’t got a ticket to the game organized Fanzones are the next best thing. Each host city will have a Fanzone for rugby aficionados, a great way to meet new friends from right around the world.
Stay safe – Although Japan is one of the safest countries in the world it might be worth your while to visit an official World Cup security website to make sure you’re fully aware of what you can and can’t take with you to the games, along with other safety and security tips.
Mobility concerns – If your mobility is restricted you might be best advised to visit the official World Cup website requesting any assistance you might need. Plus, the website will have all the information regarding accessibility concerns.
Rugby World Cup Fixtures – You’re going to want to know who’s playing who, where, and when. You’ll find it all here.
Finally – Enjoy the rugby, stay safe, look after each other, and bring back a whole library of stories that will last you a lifetime.