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Our guide to Japan during the Rugby World Cup

This Autumn, Japan will host the Rugby World Cup for the first time. There has never been a better opportunity to witness the greatest spectacle in world rugby and to explore this fascinating country. There are many cities within Japan to discover; from the street food capital of Osaka to the mysterious Kyoto filled with beautiful palaces, gardens and mysterious geisha. The bustling metropolis of Tokyo is an amalgam of old and new, trend and tradition and its people are the masters of hospitality.

Explore the Japanese Alps

Escape from the bustling city for a day and visit the foothills of the Japanese Alps to explore the UNESCO listed shrines of Nikko. Visit the Toshogu Shrine, which is one of the most luxuriously decorated shrines in the country. There are charming walking trails nearby, such as the Kegon Waterfall and Ryuza Waterfall trails.

Admire Japanese temples

Visit Saiho-ji, a temple famed for its moss garden in Kyoto, it is not fully open to the public and a written letter is required to be sent two months before your visit. Before being permitted access, visitors must partake in an activity such as meditation and chanting sutras. It is not only a UNESCO World Heritage Site but home to over 120 species of moss. The garden is spectacular and has influenced subsequent Japanese garden design.

Experience traditional temple lodging

Experience the temples of Mount Koyasan before staying overnight in a shukubo, which is a traditional temple lodging. Here you will get a glimpse into a monk’s life and be able to attend the evening prayer ceremonies.

Hike through ancient trade routes

Hike through the ancient trade route of the Nakasendo Way, where you will hike through the picturesque valleys and quaint towns where the modern world hasn’t yet managed to change. Stay in Minshuku’s to experience daily life, where families will host you until you set off to continue your journey.

Izakaya

With an experienced guide by your side, you can find the best Izakayas the city has to offer. Visiting an Izakaya will make sure you get a taste of traditional Japan. They are small and intimate bars that only hold a few customers at a time and are a great place to try some small dishes and drinks with the locals.

Restaurants

Tokyo has the highest density of Michelin starred restaurants in the world, but it is also a city that serves some of the best street food. Toyosu Market is the place to watch the famous tuna auctions during the early morning and try some of the delicious dishes the restaurants have to offer. We recommend you arrive early as it is a first come first served basis and operates until each restaurant has sold out for the day.

Sake

These days Sake is well known throughout the world. Visit the old town of Takayama to take a tour of the infamous breweries. They say it produces some of the best sake thanks to the cold climate of the Japanese Alps and the usage of the locally produced Hida-Homare rice.

Street food

Don’t miss out on trying the famous street food of Osaka. Locals have a term called Kuidaore, simply meaning “eat until you drop”. Try the Takoyaki, which are deep-fried Japanese snacks of squid or octopus, and Okonomiyaki, a savoury cabbage pancake loaded with delicious toppings.

Take advantage of Japan’s incredible rail network

Nowhere is further than a couple of hours away. We recommend our clients to book Point to Point train tickets, as you do not need to queue for trains as your tickets are booked in advance. The Green Car, which is only marginally more expensive, offers greater comfort and more space.

Pasmo Pass

For navigating through the Tokyo underground get yourself a pasmo pass (think Leap card). Tokyo underground is run by two different companies, but the pasmo pass will allow you to connect through any station with great ease, not having to worry about having the correct ticket for each line.

Portable Wifi Device

All signs on the public transport systems in Japan are translated into English, which will allow for greater ease of getting around. OROKO provides clients with a portable Wi-Fi device to allow you to access Google Maps for free, helping you get to your destination.

Airlines that fly to Haneda, Narita and Kansai

Cathay Pacific, Finnair, ANA, British Airways, Emirates, Qatar and Turkish Airlines (Narita Airport only).

We always advise our clients to fly to Tokyo, Haneda. However, if you plan on seeing some of Japan before attending your first match, then flying into Kansai International on the outskirts of Osaka is a great option.

Rugby World Cup Fixtures

We have put together a list of the official fixtures for the Rugby World Cup in Japan to help you plan your holiday. We can create an incredible trip for you to Japan and now is a good time to speak to us. Email our Japan Specialist mark@orokotravel.ie or call us on 01 2600 240.

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