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Are you an avid Irish rugby fan? Have you travelled to the rugby in France, New Zealand or maybe the UK in 2015? We are sure you had the time of your life in countries where the culture and customs are relatively similar to Ireland. Travelling for the rugby this year is going to be a very different experience.
If you have been lucky enough to bag match tickets for Japan, you really are in for a trip of a lifetime. This island nation blends ancient tradition with modern life seamlessly. It is becoming an increasingly popular destination for holiday makers with visitor numbers doubling over the last three years. We have some tips for travelling to Japan, whether you are an independent traveler or going as part of a group:
Train is the way to get around in Japan. The world-famous bullet trains are fast and efficient but buying tickets on the day is a costly exercise. For example, a train between Ireland’s fixtures in Shizuoka to Yokohama is only an hour in duration but costs €51. If you are planning to travel around Japan it is much more cost efficient to buy a Japan rail pass. Be forewarned, you need to buy it before you get to the country.
Etiquette and manners are highly valued in Japan. There are lots of great guides available online that cover correct etiquette in Japan. Some of the most basic rugby fans should be aware of include:
Although card is widely accepted in hotels and restaurants. There is no denying that cash is still very important in Japan. Order Japanese Yen from Ireland order it in advance from a bureau de change as demand is likely to be high in the run up to the rugby tournament. Check that your atm card will work in Japan (not all do).
Don’t forget about your health while you are in Japan for this Autumn’s rugby competition. The Tropical Medical Bureau say there are no required or recommended vaccinations for Japan and there is no malaria in Japan so you don’t have to worry about mosquito bites.
Medical treatment in Japan is expensive if you become ill or have an accident. September is also going to be a busy time in Japan, with many thousands of supporters travelling to watch the games. Protect yourself and those travelling with you with a comprehensive global travel insurance.
In September and October, it is autumn in Japan. The weather at this time is between 20 and 30 degrees Celsius but be prepared for some rain too. Like a good Irish summer! The best thing about a visit at this time of year is the stunning foliage which will wash the countryside with shades of red, orange and russet.
Japan is not a cheap country to visit. If you are planning a longer trip work out a budget for each day and try to stick to it. Save money by:
Buying food in Supermarkets
Good quality readymade meals are much cheaper in the supermarket.
Using sushi trains
Sushi in restaurants with table service is expensive. If you want to try some go to one of the many sushi trains where you select your food from a carousel.
Filling and less expensive than other food in Japan, Ramen is a cheap and filling meal.
Saving money on tips:
It is not customary in Japan to tip. Staff may chase you with ‘money you left behind’.
Staying in hostel dorms
If you are travelling with a few friends, this is the cheapest tourist accommodation in Japan.
Trying a capsule hotel
If sharing a dorm doesn’t appeal, try a capsule hotel. You get a tunnel space the size of a single bed to sleep in with a locker nearby for luggage. Bathrooms are still communal. Although capsule hotels are affordable, be aware, they are not a good choice if you are claustrophobic.
Smoking in the street is frowned upon in Japan instead look out for the designated smoking areas. Some restaurants and bars still allow smoking, others have a smoking room or area.
Although it may be a long way from traditional Irish food, Japanese food is delicious. Ramen and sushi are worth a try while you are there.
Take some time away from the rugby to visit some Japanese temples or shrines, many must be seen to be believed. These opulent, peaceful places are a wonderful way to escape rugby fever for a short time.
This might be a challenging one for rugby fans on tour but officially it is rude to speak loudly or shout in public places. We have a feeling some exceptions will be made during the rugby!