Next year, Japan will become the first Asian nation to host the Rugby World Cup. From September 20 to November 2, it will welcome teams from 20 countries that will battle for the much-coveted Webb Ellis Cup.
Matches are to be held at different venues across the country, such as the Tokyo Stadium in Chofu, the Sapporo Dome in Sapporo, the Kobe Misaki Stadium in Kobe, and the Fukuoka Hakatanomori Stadium in Fukuoka, and are expected to be filled with tens of thousands of rugby fans from all over Japan and the world throughout the two-week sporting event.
In addition to getting the opportunity to cheer for your favorite rugby team, flying to Japan for the 2019 World Cup also gives you the chance to enjoy the following uniquely Japan experiences:
1. Feast on authentic Japanese cuisine.
Japan is world-renowned for some of the best tasting dishes in the world. From as far north as Hokkaido to as far south as Kyushu, it has an abundance of fine-dining places and affordable family restaurants that offer a wide selection of delicious food — from ramen and udon to sushi and curry rice. Throughout your trip, whether you are on a limited budget or are willing to splurge, expect to only have good quality meals.
2. Ride the world-famous Shinkansen or Japanese bullet train.
One of the greatest and most fascinating things about Japan is its public transportation system. It is popular for its efficiency and punctuality, and is an excellent way to get around the country. It also looks real cool and sleek. If you are traveling between two cities, it is often the fastest and most convenient option. For example, if you are in Tokyo and want to watch a rugby match in Kobe the next day, you can catch an early morning Shinkansen and enjoy a comfortable train ride that should only take about two hours and 45 minutes.
3. See world heritage structures.
Japan is home to a long list of centuries old natural and man-made structures. Near Tokyo, you can easily access some of them, most notably the Mount Fuji and Fuji Five Lakes region. In Kyoto, you can find 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, such as the Kiyomizu-dera Temple, Nijo Castle, Kinkaku-ji Temple, and the Ginkaku-ji Temple. In Hiroshima, there are the Hiroshima Peace Memorial and the Itsukushima Shrine, which is most famous for its large torii gate that appears to float in water.
4. Buy cheap food at konbini or Japanese convenience stores.
There are about 50,000 konbini or Japanese convenience stores in Japan, and, in Tokyo alone, there are 7,000 that are found at almost every street corner. If you need an early morning coffee or some late night snacks, you can just walk to one close to your hotel and purchase what you need. These places sell a varied selection of goods that range from food and drinks to personal hygiene products and even museum/theme park/concert/bus tickets.
5. Grab a drink from the vending machines.
Did you know that there are about 5.5 million vending machines found all over Japan? As soon as you land at the airport, you will spot these things right away. They offer different kinds of products, like beverages, toys, cigarettes, ice cream, and SIM cards. In some places, you can even find ones that sell fruits and vegetables, bouquets of flowers, underwear, cup noodles, and rice.
6. Bathe in natural hot spring waters.
Hot springs or onsen are quite common in Japan. They are a popular destination any time of the year. They offer natural waters that provide therapeutic and health benefits. After a long day, you can go visit one to relax your tired and sore muscles for an hour or so. Some of the best-rated hot spring towns and resorts in the country are Kusatsu Onsen, which is near Tokyo; Noboribetsu Onsen and Toyako Onsen in the Hokkaido region; Ginzan Onsen in Yamagata; Kinosaki Onsen and Kurama Onsen in Kansai; and Beppu Onsen in Kyushu.
7. Enjoy nightlife.
Even at night, Japan has a lot of fun things to offer to tourists. In Tokyo, there are several areas known for their vibrant nightlife. Shinjuku, Ginza, Roppongi, and Shibuya have countless pubs, clubs, karaoke bars, and restaurants that are open til the morning.
8. Dress up in kimono.
If you want to do your sightseeing wearing traditional Japanese clothing, you can find many kimono rental shops in popular tourist cities nationwide. In Tokyo’s Asakusa district, for instance, you can rent a kimono from one of these places, and tour the Sensoji Temple complex and surroundings like you are from an era several centuries back. You can also do this in Kyoto, and visit historic sites around Arashiyama and Gion.
9. Visit the countryside.
Japan is blessed with gorgeous and stunning natural scenery. It has mountains, valleys, plains, waterfalls, rivers, seas, and lakes. It also has vast, well-protected, and well-preserved natural parks where many different species of flora and fauna thrive. It really has endless options for anyone looking to partake in nature hiking, mountain climbing, and other outdoor activities to experience the quiet and tranquil atmosphere of rural Japan, far from the urban chaos.
10. Experience the magic of the Japanese toilets.
The Japanese bathroom experience is something that many tourists consider as one of the highlights of their trips. Unlike the toilets in other parts of the world, the Japanese toilets are far more advanced and interesting. They possess features that make going to the bathroom much more pleasant. They have heated seats, which are a god-send during the cold months. They have bidet cleansing functions that help you clean up and refresh. They also have other quirky options like a noisemaker to drown out sounds that you do not want others to hear while you are doing your business, and a power deodorizer that emits a nice scent with just a push of a button.