The great thing about a Rugby World Cup 2019 experience in Japan is the huge number of things to do for travelling fans.
Whether it’s wonderful culture, breath-taking history, fun for food and drink lovers and much more, there is something for everyone.
And to make it easy we have picked some of the best things to do under your own steam during your holiday in Japan, from Tokyo and beyond.
A full-on Sado tea ceremony involves a very formal order of progression, including how and when to pass the cup, rotate it, sip, and eat the accompanying traditional sweets so you will need to pay attention!
The whole process is not really about drinking tea, but is about aesthetics, how preparing a bowl of tea is from the heart. The host of the tea ceremony always considers the guests with every movement and gesture. Even the placement of the utensils used in the ceremony is considered from the guests point of view.
While it’s typically seen as more of a Kyoto thing, there are still many places where you can experience a tea ceremony in Tokyo, such as Komaba Warakuan two stops west of Shibuya Station, and Chazen in Ginza.
Wear a kimono
Kawagoe is actually in Saitama Prefecture, but it can be accessed in about 30 minutes from Ikebukuro Station. If you want to combine your cultural activities, you’ll also find some tea ceremony courses that incorporate kimono into the experience.
Roam a castle as a samuri
While you can see castle walls at the Tokyo Imperial Palace, if you want to see a castle keep, the nearest to Tokyo is in Odawara City, Kanagawa Prefecture. While there, you can pay to wander the grounds (but not enter the keep) in some fairly satisfying samurai armour. Ninja and princess options are also available for really expressive travelling rugby fan.
And in Japan, it is an essential part of the cultural landscape along with the kimono and tea ceremony. While you can get karaoke in small bars, the typical experience (especially for younger people) is in a dedicated karaoke box with tambourines, maracas and multiple rounds of drinks brought up to your room. You'll find karaoke just about anywhere nightlife is found in Japan, with common hotspots around Tokyo including Ikebukuro, Shinjuku, Shibuya, Roppongi, Shinbashi, Ginza and Akihabara.
Most places will offer a nomihodai (all-you-can-drink) deal, which can work to your advantage depending on how much you plan to imbibe – and how good your singing is!.
Play a shamisen
It is a three-stringed instrument played with a plectrum called a bachi. Once every month, Arts Council Tokyo runs three free shamisen workshops on a single day at the Asakusa Culture Tourist Information Centre right across the street from Senso-ji’s Kaminarimon gate. Check the schedule and just show up for a truly unique experience!
Soak in a hot spring
There is just one thing to be ready for, um, and that’s getting naked in front of total strangers. But don’t let that put you off.
If you really want an authentic onsen experience around Tokyo, you should probably head 90 minutes south west to the mountains of Hakone, Tokyo’s premier hot spring resort destination. There you can try your onsen and have a look around a ryokan (Japanese-style inn), another big Japan experience!
After passing the famous entrance gate, Kaminarimon and its large red lantern, you’ll reach Nakamise Dori – the oldest shopping street in Japan! Browse the traditional Japanese craft items as you make your way to the Temple’s main hall. And once inside don’t forget to look up! The incredible paintings on the ceiling are a sight to behold.
This site is also home to the 5-storied pagoda which stands an incredible 53 metres tall. There aren’t many of these in Japan so don’t forget your camera!
This is an essential addition to any Japanese experience and you can try it out for yourself. Taiko-Lab has two classrooms in Tokyo, with more spread across some of Japan's other major cities. Head to either the Asakusa or Aoyama branch for a one-shot taster lesson (reservation required) and channel your inner Phil!
It’s basically the craziest floor show you can possibly imagine - and tons of fun! It’s like being served dinner by C3P0.
Watch Japan play rugby
You can see them and the Opening Ceremony in our Packages AA and AB or see them against Scotland in Tour AA, AB, AF, AH, AI, CA, CC, CF, CI, CJ, CK, ED, SA, SB or PB. For atmosphere, sporting history and a new chapter in rugby’s great history, the chance to see Japan play in Asia’s first Rugby World Cup is something not to be missed.