Japan awaits. With over 600,000 rugby match tickets in the hands of international fans the preparations have begun. Japan is braced for a massive influx of overseas visitors. But are you ready for what is promised to be the adventure of a lifetime?Here’s a few quick tips that will not only save you time & money- but possibly save you getting blisters too. As recommended by Eddie Jones!
The Short Version
Check out our Man in Japan’s quick rendition of Mobal’s Top 10 Tips for Rugby fans in 2019;
1. You Need a SIM for Japan
That’s why Mobal exist. We provide you with a sim card for Japan before you travel. Alternatively you can avail of a free pick-up in Japan at the main airports or downtown Tokyo/Osaka. Choose from a Voice/Unlimited Data option or Data-only. We also offer tailor-made rugby supporter packs that package your SIM with a Free Beer/Free Headband/Free Rugby Fan Guidebook- Order NOW HERE and get your sim pack delivered!
2. Eddie’s Recommendation: Slip-on Shoes
While your team battles it out on the field you’ll have your own personal battles. The summer heat & humidity usually sticks around in September so you absolutely need comfortable shoes. When you factor in the need in Japan to take your shoes off (often & fast!) then you definitely need to consider slip-on shoes. Best to also invest in your sock wardrobe. If you’ve no time pop into a retail store like Uniqlo or Donki once here and get some anti-odor socks. Let’s be nice to the locals!
3. Japan Rail Pass
This has already been widely written about. Even if you plan a single day trip to Kyoto it almost pays its way so get it. Get an exchange voucher online now- click HERE and knock one item from your To Do List!
4. Cheap Domestic Flights
This hasn’t been widely written about. You only need to reside outside of Japan and have an international flight booked to avail. Choose from ANY route within Japan and get FIXED PRICE & DISCOUNTED FARES ON ANY DOMESTIC FLIGHT!
The maximum price for a flight is set at 10,800 yen so you’ll never pay more than 100 USD approx- and probably less!
5. Get a Suica Card in advance
This handy IC Travel Card is used for everything- local train journeys, buses & subways (where the Rail Pass can’t be used). But not only- it’s also an alternative to carrying cash. Simply top up at any station or 7-11 convenience store ATM and you have a cash card. Swipe for shopping at nationwide convenience stores & vending machines and say goodbye to carrying change. Get your SUICA Card in advance online by clicking HERE!
6. Get Japanese Yen
We’ve mentioned this over & over as we’ve been there. Japan is modern- in parts. In other parts it’s like time stood still. You will need cash. Either get it early or bring currency from home and exchange on arrival at the airport. Every Mobal SIM comes with a discount coupon from Travelex- the largest network of currency exchange booths.
7. The Chopstick Challenge
The Japanese eat curry with a spoon. McDonalds with their hands. I wouldn’t suggest you survive on that diet so learn chopsticks. Grow a pair & get a pair 😉 It will make life so much easier. Of course you could go for the kids menu option- it usually comes with a plastic spoon. Some restaurants will have cutlery but noodle bars and local restaurants may not. Get practicing!
8. Kit Your Smartphone Out with Apps
Your phone already has Google Maps which won’t run offline in Japan- your SIM will fix that issue. To make life easier however we recommend you download a translation app such as Google Translate. Japan Rail Pass holders will also benefit from an additional transit app. We recommend the Japan Transit Planner by Jorudan. It comes with a Japan Rail Pass filter showing only journeys covered under the pass. That can save you a lot of money and U-turns.
Check our blog post: Apps For Rugby Fans
9. Home Comforts
Japan is different in a good way. You won’t miss home but you may miss home comforts. Simple things to consider include packing some breakfast cereal & chocolate snacks from home. It’s not that Japanese don’t eat breakfast cereal- they do- for dessert. Most muesli for example is imported. As for chocolate they have their own take on this staple. Green, non-sweet and tiny & over-wrapped come to mind. If you have a sweet tooth bring some snacks from home to cover the first days. There’s plenty of options in Japan. To find one that works for you however will involve plenty of trial & error!
10. Leave Room For More
Travel light. Always makes sense. Besides there’s so much stuff to bring home so make sure you leave room. September-October is a wonderful time to visit so you won’t need your winter coat. Plan to bring back some of these;
Sushi Socks: Our foot fetish continues. These socks presented like sushi are the ultimate in fish-themed souvenirs!
Chopstick Rest: No doubt you will need a rest from chopsticks when you get home. So how’s about a rest for your chopsticks- small, cute & clever!
A Lucky Cat: No need to corner a Japanese moggy. This cat is porcelain (or plastic) and comes with one moving paw said to bring in the money!
Japanese Sake: Comes in liquid form or immersed in chocolate in another unique Japanese Kit-Kat offering!
For more ideas check our blog post: Souvenir Tour of Japan. Or watch the Video version of this blog post below!