The Rugby World Cup 2019: What to see, eat and do in the host cities of Japan (part 1)

The top 20 rugby squads in the world will duke it out over 6 weeks in Japan, from the opening match in Tokyo on Sept 20th to the final in Yokohama on Nov 2nd. There are some notes when you are in Japan’s host cities for the Rugby World Cup 2019.

1. Japan has a relaxed attitude to drinking with thousands of gastro-pubs called izakaya. Rugby World Cup organisers fret that some might dry up before half time amid reports of Olympian feats of drinking by Irish, English, and Australian fans. Therefore, pub owners have been warned to stock up.

2. Be well prepared for natural disasters. Earthquakes are an unlucky feature of life in Japan. Few countries in the world are better equipped to deal with them; however, last year, foreign tourists found themselves struggling and isolated after a quake in Hokkaido, main northern island of Japan.

So, spend a bit of time before you leave to familiarize yourself with the place where you are going to and what to do if the worst thing happens. Make sure to always carry some cash and a fully charged mobile phone with you so the folks back home can reach you.

3. Bring plenty of yen. In spite of its high-tech prowess, Japan remains a cash-based society. Although hotels and larger service businesses accept Visa and MasterCard, many smaller bars and restaurants won’t. You can find foreign-friendly ATMs in 7-Eleven convenience stores, post offices, some department stores, airports, and train stations.

4. Leave your stash at home as Japan takes a very dim attitude to drugs. Possession of marijuana is punishable with up to 5 years in prison. Cocaine can be even more frowned upon while tiny pot busts can still ruin celebrity careers.

5. From being one of the more obscure tourism destinations, Japan has become the world’s fastest growing tourist market. More than 31 million people visited last year, triple the 2013 figure; the government believes 40 million might come in 2020. Although some venues moan that they are being overrun by badly behaved gaijin, one result of the tourist growing is that English use is now widespread.