Rugby World Cup 2019
The excitement is building ahead of the opening of the 2019 Rugby World Cup. This time the “World in union” anthem will sound in Tokyo, because for the first time, the tournament will be held outside of the traditional heartland of rugby. The opening match of the 2019 Rugby World Cup will take place at the Ajinomoto Stadium in Chōfu, Tokyo, Japan on 20 September 2019 and sees hosts Japan tackle Russia.
But enough about rugby for now. Japan is a tourist paradise, even apart from the scrummages, lineouts or penalties of the game, and way beyond the beauty of the William Web-Ellis Trophy for an avid rugby fan. It is a magical land full of mystical shrines and spectacular natural riches, a great reason to extend your World Cup visit.
Land of the Rising Sun
The “land of the rising sun” is a place where the past and the future collide with elegance and respect, where you can find ancient buildings and modern amenities living happily as neighbours. It is also a land of contradictions where the finest restaurant is situated in a small shop in a subway station and modern skyscrapers host wooden doors leading to traditional chambers for tea ceremonies.
As with any new country you visit, there are a few tips you need to take note of in order to ensure (relatively) smooth travels. Here are a few about Japan.
The Japanese have a reputation for being a friendly and open people. Most Japanese people have a good comprehension of the English language, but they are not proficient in the grammar part, so a good tip is to speak in single words and not sentences in order to ask questions.
The Metro in Japan is very efficient, but there are two things you should remember. Avoid travelling in rush-hour unless you have fantasies of being a sardine, and note that some of the carriages are “women only” (and they are quite serious about that). The taxis are expensive and there is no Uber in Japan, so rather use the Metro.
Japan is mostly a cash-based society. Credit-card facilities are not readily available. If you need to draw money, the best place to do that would be at a convenience store. The crime rate in Japan is very low, so it is a safe destination to travel to.
The service in Japan is really good, but the concept of tipping is a foreign concept and considered awkward, even rude. To Japanese people, their level of service should always be exceptional and therefore they do not see the need of paying extra for something that should be standard anyway.
Slurping noodles is not bad manners. In Japan, it is a thing and totally normal. Try it. Apparently it makes eating noodles much easier. Also, don’t be surprised to see people smoking in restaurants as it has not been outlawed in Japan as in much of the world.
Many restaurants and public spaces require you to frequently remove your shoes, so make sure that you wear footwear that is easy to take off and put back on.
One of the best places to shop for anything is the 100¥ store.
Win or Loose
So whether your team won the day or broke your heart, all is not lost. The mystery and majesty of Japan will take your mind off sport and colour your senses with beauty.
Have a great trip! Yoi tabi o