For about two weeks in 2019, Japan will play host to 20 of the best rugby teams in the world who will compete in the 2019 Rugby World Cup. Rugby fans from all over the world are expected to start flying into the country days before the September 20 opening, and spend a portion of their trip exploring Japan’s top sites and attractions in between games and after the tournament concludes on November 2.
If you are one of these rugby enthusiasts who are looking forward to their Japan trip not only for the 2019 Rugby World Cup, but also for some touring and sightseeing, below are tips on how you can make your visit convenient and enjoyable all throughout:
Get a SIM card.
If you want 24/7 internet access as soon as you land in Japan, you have to order a Japanese SIM card in advance. Prior to your departure, take a look at our range of reliable Japan SIM cards. Once you have found the plan for you, add it to your basket and in a few days, your package should arrive at your doorstep, and be ready for use once you are in Japan.
With a Japanese SIM card, you can use websites and mobile apps to search for directions, bus and train schedules, and other information wherever and whenever you want. You can also update your Instagram and other social media pages daily by posting pictures and videos of your escapades. If you need to get in touch with people back home, you can use Facetime, Skype, and other similar services for calling or video chatting – we even have a plan which includes a Japanese phone number if you need one.
Create a rough itinerary of what you want to see.
If your favorite rugby team is not scheduled to play on certain days, you can make good use of your time by checking out tourist spots nearby. Why waste your time watching TV in your hotel room, when you are in this beautiful country blessed with some of the most important ancient and historic sites, most stunning nature, most delicious cuisine, and most friendly and welcoming people in the world?
Do some research on what temples, shrines, castles, museums, gardens, or parks are close to your hotel. If you have more time, make day trips to adjacent towns to enjoy a dip in natural hot springs or do a nature hike. Make good use of Google Maps by pinning your selected places to see how you can better plan your travel routes.
Get a Japan Rail Pass for your Shinkansen trips.
Once you are done with writing your itinerary, check how many Shinkansen trips you will be doing. If you have at least two long-distance ones, you might save a bit of money if you buy a Japan Rail Pass.
A special kind of rail pass only available to tourists, the Japan Rail Pass allows its holder to enjoy unlimited rides on most Shinkansen, or Japanese bullet trains, and other JR-operated trains across Japan for a specified time period. Depending on how long you will be staying in Japan and how often you will be using the Shinkansen and other JR transportation, you can choose a 7-day, 14-day, or 21-day pass.
To determine if getting one for your trip is worth it, you can use Hyperdia to know how much each train ride costs and input the amounts into any of the JR Pass calculators available online.
To find out more information about the Japan Rail Pass and to book please click here.
Exchange Japanese Yen.
Even though credit cards are becoming more and more accepted at restaurants, hotels, department stores, and other business establishments in Japan, there are still a lot of other ones that only accept cash.
Many temples, shrines, museums, and small family restaurants, food stalls, and shops do not accept credit cards at all, so having some Japanese Yen in coins and bills should be a big lifesaver. Just do not forget to have a small wallet or coin purse with you to keep your money in order and all in one place for easy access.
Get a prepaid IC card.
Different regions of Japan have different prepaid IC cards that are interchangeable and pretty much work on most train lines and many bus services all over the country. If you are in Tokyo, you will find that the two prepaid IC cards available there are the Pasmo and Suica cards. If you are in Osaka or Kyoto, it is the Icoca. If you are in Hokkaido, it is the Kitaca. And, if you are in Kyushu, it is the Sugoca.
Because they are compatible with each other, the Pasmo card that you bought at Narita Airport in Tokyo is also usable on the trains in Kyoto or Sapporo. This is also true for when you get an Icoca card at Kansai International Airport in Osaka, and use it to get around Tokyo or Fukuoka.
So, there is no need to buy a new prepaid IC card every time you visit a new city or region in Japan. With it, you can easily and conveniently ride trains just by tapping it onto the ticket gate sensors when you enter and exit the train platforms. You can also use it like an electronic wallet that you can load with money to pay for your drinks from the vending machines, purchases from many convenience stores, and more.
There are convenience stores and vending machines on almost every street corner.
Convenience stores and vending machines are so common in Japan that it is almost impossible to walk more than a couple of blocks without running into one. They are a god-send because they have a wide variety of food and beverages to offer that you can get access to any time of the day.
For example, if you have an early morning train trip, you do not need to shop the night before for food to take on your journey the next day. You can get a cheap yet tasty egg sandwich or melon pan and a bottle of hot coffee from a convenience store close to your hotel, on your way to the train station. Many train stations around Japan also have multiple convenience stores inside that open real early, so it is not that hard to find quality food to enjoy on your journey.
Some highly recommended food and drink items from convenience stores and vending machines to try are onigiri, sushi, microwaveable bento, chocolates, green tea, flavored soda, and ice cream.
Learn common Japanese phrases.
It is not impossible to get around Japan even if you know zero Japanese, so there is no need to enroll yourself in a Japanese language class before your trip. However, wouldn’t it be nice to be able to say simple phrases like thank you or good morning to locals that you meet during your stay there?
Before you fly out, you can memorize a number of basic Japanese words and phrases that are commonly used day-to-day. Below are some examples:
- Thank you – “Arigatou gozaimasu”
- Good morning – “Ohayou gozaimasu”
- Excuse me – “Sumimasen”
- Hello – “Konnichiwa”
- Good evening – “Konbanwa”
- Yes – “Hai”
- No – “Iie”
- I don’t speak Japanese. – “Nihongo ga wakarimasen.”
Be familiar with basic Japanese etiquette.
The Japanese are known for their politeness. As a visitor, you should do your best to also be polite. Always follow the rules, and be considerate. View our earlier post on Japan Dos and Don’ts: Etiquette For The Rugby World Cup Tourist here
When at any Rugby World Cup venue, watch out for signs that warn about rules regarding taking of photos and videos. When at shrines and temples, refrain from talking loudly, laughing, or being rowdy. Aboard buses and trains, you should put your phone on silent mode. If possible, wait for when you get off at your stop to make or answer calls. Give your seats up to the elderly, pregnant, and injured. During rush hours, place your backpack in front of your or on the overhead luggage rack to free up some space for the other passengers. Do not cut in line. Do not litter.