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Comprehensive highlights and news about sporting experiences and tourism in Japan

Highlights

Whether you are interested in sports related highlights and news in Japan or new developments for visitors planning their next trip, here we will keep you posted on all the essential, relevant information and helpful tips so you won't miss a beat.

The Glamor of Ginza

The Glamor of Ginza

When I first moved to Tokyo in 2018, I had never lived in a large city before. Originally from a small country town in England, I still can’t believe my luck that I get to live in the biggest metropolis in the world.

As somebody who enjoys the bustle of the city, I spend a lot of my weekends in Ginza, one of Tokyo’s top shopping districts. On Saturdays and Sundays the main street, Chuo Dori, is free of cars and people can walk freely among the tables and chairs placed in the street. I like to grab a coffee to go and take a seat at one of the tables. This gives me the perfect opportunity to take in the atmosphere of the city, admiring the high-rise buildings towering over me. It’s also a really nice way to get out and enjoy the area without having to worry too much about maintaining social distance in stores, even though Tokyo is now very well adapted to the new normal.

I also make time to walk through the luxury department stores in the area, such as Ginza Mitsukoshi. The iconic department store now takes your temperature on entrance as a protection measure against Covid-19, but once you are in, there is so much to see. One of my favorite things to do is browse the ornately decorated Japanese cakes and sweets—it’s almost like taking a walk through an art museum!

The Glamor of Ginza

Another place to get lost in is Ginza Six, a luxury shopping center designed by architect Yoshio Taniguchi. While the building itself is something to marvel at, it is also home to many stores and restaurants. I regularly go up to the top floor and enjoy some lunch, taking in the views of the streets below. The shopping center has mesmerizing art installations displayed throughout the building, as well as an art museum. They have gone to great lengths to ensure visitors’ safety. People are now required to wear a mask upon entering Ginza Six, and throughout the building, social distancing marks have been placed on the floors and in bathrooms. In addition, hand sanitizing stations have been placed in multiple locations.

As much as I love spending a lazy Saturday morning wandering the streets, the area has a lot to offer in the evening. It’s home to many ritzy bars and upmarket restaurants, so you can always find somewhere impressive to grab a drink.

The Glamor of Ginza

However, If you’re looking for somewhere a little more casual the neighboring district, Yurakucho, offers a more traditional Japanese atmosphere. Located directly underneath the train tracks that run through the neighborhood is a wide variety of izakayas. I love seafood, so my personal favorite is Andy’s Izakaya. This eatery is popular with foreigners and actually owned by an Englishman called—you guessed it—Andy.

The sheer variety of things to see and do is why I love this area so much—in one short walk you can find exactly what you are looking for.

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Digging Deep in Asakusa

Digging Deep in Asakusa

TOKYO mizumachi

Hello, my name is Jody. I am a business professional with a total of eight years work experience in Canada and Japan. Growing up in Canada’s multicultural environment, I have a deep interest in linguistics and culture.

When you think of the Asakusa area, you probably imagine popular sightseeing spots such as Kaminarimon Gate, Tokyo Skytree, and Sensoji Temple , but there’s a new waterfront destination called Tokyo Mizumachi.
This new landmark was opened this year on June 18th, located along the river between Asakusa Station and Skytree Station. In the same way that the shopping mall near the Skytree was named "Soramachi" (named as such from the Japanese words for "sky" and "town"), this new landmark was named "Mizumachi" (from the Japanese words for "water" and "town”).

Many great businesses are packed inside this community-based commercial center.
There is the famous cafe and restaurant "Jack's Wife Freda", as well as the place to be to enjoy some original craft beers, "Nihonbashi Brewery."
That isn't to forget "sumizumi", where you can buy a variety of local goods, or "Ichiya", a famous seller of traditional Japanese sweets, popular with the locals. It's a place full of things to see and do.
Lovers of sport won't want to miss "LATTEST SPORTS", a sports complex that features both a bouldering gym and a cycle shop!

A community hostel is scheduled to open here next year, it will be a fantastic place for both domestic and international tourists to stay as they explore Tokyo!

And, of course, make sure not to forget the more traditional tourist spots!
For those who are interested in art and fashion, the World Bags and Luggage Museum is definitely worth a visit. It showcases 550 rare vintage items from around the world. Not only can you see the stylish trends of each era, but you can also experience the rich history behind each item. Many of these handcrafted pieces feature details that just can’t be reproduced by mass production methods. They’re also taking precautions—such as limiting large groups—to make sure that all guests can have a safe visit in the light of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Digging Deep in Asakusa

Another artsy spot is Glass Factory Sokichi, where you can experience the Japanese traditional glass cutting art of Edo Kiriko. Through the cutting process, I really learned to appreciate two prominent traits in Japanese culture: detail and precision. Just pick a glass and some traditional patterns to create your own original masterpiece in just 90 minutes.

Digging Deep in Asakusa

Along with visiting these trendy spots, the other reason I love Asakusa is definitely the food! Where I come from in Canada, there isn’t really a street food culture other than at festivals or events. Maybe part of the reason is that it’s too cold? There’s a good mix of modern and traditional shops offering both sweet and savory delights. My number one favorite is Kotobuki seian’s yasaka crepe. With rich flavors of mascarpone cheese and matcha, it is essentially a matcha version of a tiramisu wrapped in a crepe. It’s a very good example of how the Japanese food industry has been able to create new sensations by matching foreign and domestic elements.
And if you want to bring back some sweets or souvenirs to take away, my recommendation is the famous melon pan from Kagetudo.

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Sail into Yokohama

Sail into Yokohama

My name is Julian Ryall. I am originaly from England.Even after more than a quarter of a century living in Japan, I never get tired of Yokohama as a day-trip destination.

My office is in central Tokyo and my Saturdays usually start with football training for my seven-year-old son, Harry. As a Briton, football is a big part of my sporting culture and I am delighted that my son has joined a team and loves the sport as much as I do. The activities of my son's team were suspended for a number of months due to the coronavirus, but have recently resumed.
As soon as football practice is over, I like to explore a new part of Yokohama, the port city that is less than 40 minutes from central Tokyo by train.
It's the place where the Springboks beat out the All Blacks and took the title of world champions at RWC2019.

The area around Yokohama’s rebuilt station is busy with department stores and vast shopping complexes. Cafe culture also appears to be catching on.
As a result of the coronavirus, even the newer spots have not attracted much attention. However, activity is just recently starting to return.

Sail into Yokohama

Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse

Just to the south is the redeveloped Minato Mirai district, home to world-famous companies and countless more retail opportunities, but also a large theme park with a towering big wheel. For all its modernity, however, it is Yokohama’s history that keeps bringing me back.

Beyond the skyscrapers of Minato Mirai is the distinctly low-rise Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse complex, a throwback to a century or more ago, when steamships and even trading ships still powered by the wind would dock here to unload their cargoes and take on silk, tea and other commodities to export to the rest of the world.

The waters off Yokohama are largely devoted to pleasure craft and crisscrossed by water taxis. A short walk brings visitors to Yamashita Park, a large expanse of green edging the bay that is dominated by the Hikawa Maru, an ocean liner that was launched in 1929 and plied the Pacific, but is today a floating museum.

Sail into Yokohama

The Bluff District, Yokohama

But nowhere in Yokohama are the city’s historic associations with the outside world more visible than on The Bluff, the ridge to the south of the center that was selected by early foreign residents for their homes as it was cooler in the humid summer months. A number of those properties have been preserved and are open to visitors, along with the first Catholic cathedral to be constructed in Japan and an Anglican church.

And for a fascinating insight into the lives and experiences of some of those earliest arrivals, take a stroll through the Yokohama Foreign General Cemetery, the last resting place of religious leaders and writers, musicians and sailors, teachers, nuns and engineers. It is a place of serenity overlooking the modern metropolis.

It cannot be said that Japan has entirely avoided the threat of the coronavirus. However, within the country, each institution, and also each individual, while doing their best to neither contract nor pass on the virus, are trying to create a new way of living.

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Tokyo’s Wild Side

Tokyo’s Wild Side

Mt.Takao

Originally from California, I now live in the Kanagawa Prefecture city of Sagamihara. I grew up a basketball fan, and I still watch NBA games on weekend mornings when I can, taking the time difference into account.
Sports events including soccer and baseball have been resumed in Japan, and even watching games at stadiums is possible (although with entrance restrictions). We are finally able to enjoy sports again!

But since I moved to Japan nine years ago, one of the things that I have come to treasure is the great outdoors. This country is filled with mountain trails to explore, rivers and lakes for rafting and kayaking, and scenic vistas to marvel at. And many first time visitors to Tokyo would be surprised to learn that much of this natural splendor can be found within city limits.
Being out in nature, even those concerned about their health can have a good time without worrying too much about coming into contact with others.
All you need to do is hop on a train and head to western Tokyo.

Even though it’s one of the most accessible spots in the area, Mt. Takao has always been a favorite of mine and a highly recommended tourist spot for people planning to visit Tokyo after the pandemic has been resolved.With all of the different routes to the summit—and even a cable car!—it’s easy enough for those who aren’t necessarily up for a strenuous hike. However, if you’re looking for a good workout, you can find it there as well. And I love treating myself to some fresh soba after the trip up and back.

Tokyo’s Wild Side

Mt.Mitake

A more rigorous challenge lies farther out west—Mt. Mitake. You can take a cable car part of the way up this mountain as well, but I’ve always gone for the challenge when I’ve visited. The views from the top are incredible, and you should also make sure to pay a visit to the Musashi Mitake Shrine. From there, you can keep hiking and make your way to neighboring Mt. Oake, which is about an hour away. One thing that I’ve always wanted to try at Mitake is staying on the mountain overnight, and there are a number of temples where you can do just that.

Tokyo’s Wild Side

Tama River Rafting

For a different experience, you can visit the Tama River, which takes on many forms—tumbling over rushing waterfalls and through narrow gorges, and opening up to wider stretches of calmer water. During the right times of year, you can try a canyoning excursion if you’re a thrill-seeker. Should you prefer things on the quieter side, you can go for a rafting trip and just go with the flow.

Whatever you decide to do in far western Tokyo, you can be sure it will be a day trip to remember.

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Quality of Life In a “With-Corona” Tokyo

Quality of Life In a “With-Corona” Tokyo

Hi, I’m Mike Kato, a 3rd-generation Japanese American from California. I’ve been living for nearly 35 years in Japan, most of it in Tokyo. I am a consultant and writer- in sustainability, rural revitalization, and health/well-being. I love sports, especially outdoor sports, and keep fit with a healthy diet and lots of walking. 2020 has been difficult because of COVID-19, not only staying and working at home, but because I haven’t been able to travel and work in rural Japan.

Staying Healthy in a With-Corona World
For me, staying healthy means more than just keeping viruses at bay. It means keeping fit and enjoying quality of life. I can’t do this without enjoying the physical world around me like seeing the plant and animal life shift with the seasons.
From round about now, all areas of Tokyo will be covered with the colors of autumn.
It really takes your breath away that you can enjoy the beauty of autumn, and see such unbelievable scenery, in such a great metropolis.

Favorite Spots in a Healthy Tokyo Life
Walking and hiking are one of the most important ways that I keep fit and aware of the natural world in Tokyo. As such, some of my favorite places to walk are some of Tokyo’s great parks. Two such parks are among the less well-traveled in this densely populated metropolis–Shakujii and Zenpukuji Parks.

Both parks are dominated by bodies of water–lakes, ponds, and rivers–giving hints as to what the two areas might have looked like in the distant past. Like many parks in Tokyo, they have playgrounds and in the largest lakes, rental rowboats. But the two also have more interesting and murky sides, too. Both have what are commonly referred to as “kami” and “shimo” lakes. Their meaning, respectively, upper and lower, refer not only to size, but also, it seems, popularity.

Quality of Life In a “With-Corona” Tokyo

Shakujii Koen

Shakujii Koen has two main lakes and one pond. It is also very close to Shakujii River, which probably is the original source of the park’s bodies of water. The larger lake is where most people do their walking, jogging, and play. But the lower lake is home to many birds, local and migrating, and is popular among photographers.

Quality of Life In a “With-Corona” Tokyo

Zenpukuji Koen

Zenpuji Koen, too, is dominated by “kami” and “shimo” lakes. There is also a small waterfall in one corner of the larger lake, which indicates the source of the water. This comes from deep underground and becomes the source of the Zenpukuji River, that flows for around 10 kilometers until it merges with the Kanda River.The lower lake of Zenpukuji Koen is dominated by grassy islands, which make it a home for birds, frog, turtles, and many insects. Here, too, you can find photographers pointing their telephoto lenses into the lush growth, trying to catch great photos of rare birds.
While there are many joggers, rowers, and kids playing in both Shakujii and Zenpukuji Parks, there is a lot of seclusion, too. The lower lakes and other areas in both are much less occupied than the larger main lakes.

When I walk around western Tokyo, in Suginami and Nerima wards, I often visit both of these parks, confident that there is ample physical distancing, even as I encounter other passerby. These places offer not only a place to exercise, but the peace of mind to consider things beyond the day-to-day affairs of city life.

You might not think of Tokyo as a city of green, but if you walk around, you may see a different side to it.

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Get the best of both world!

Get the best of both world!

Akigawa Keikoku Valley

My name is Ben, I am a self-employed photographer based in Tokyo, that specializes mainly in travel photography with a particular focus on the inbound market.
Having been brought up in both the inner-city and the countryside in my home country of England, I find myself attracted to both lifestyles and can see the advantages of living in rural or urban locations alike. The logical choice for me at this stage in my career is to remain in Tokyo where the majority of my clients and work comes from, although I make a concerted effort to live a life that finely balances aspects of both downtown and provincial living with relatively hassle-free access to both worlds. This is easily achieved, even when living in a bustling city like Tokyo, with a bit of research and the will to explore the lesser known reaches of the metropolis. You’ll be surprised what awaits you in the suburbs of Tokyo once you venture off the beaten path!

This is where I would like to introduce the western part of the city, a sprawling rural landscape that has mountains, rivers, waterfalls and a plethora of hiking routes through small towns and villages, vastly different from your preconceived image of Tokyo with its bright lights and neon-clad streets.

There are several places well worth exploring including Ome, Okutama and Takao, but my personal favorite is the town of Itsukaichi and the Akigawa Valley.

Get the best of both world!

Hossawa Falls

Itsukaichi is easily accessed via train on the JR line out of Shinjuku, taking little over an hour to reach. For many who venture out that way for the first time it is hard to believe it’s even part of Tokyo – with ample views of mountains, forests and a raging river.
Arriving at the station you will find a small tourist information booth with info on hiking routes, places to enjoy the river and other recommended local sights including waterfalls and traditional Japanese houses. The further west along the Akigawa Valley you venture from here, the more rural and interesting things get. The furthest you can go without leaving the city limits is Hinohara Village, which is several kilometers from Itsukaichi station. For those that are feeling active rental bicycles can be found nearby at reasonable prices. For those who want to keep their energy for exploring the village itself a local bus will take you almost all the way there. Information on all of the above can be obtained at the station.

Get the best of both world!

Kotokuji Temple

This area is a particularly good place to explore if you are concerned about issues surrounding the current Coronavirus situation. The hiking and cycling routes allow for a good amount of socially distanced activities, with little chance of meeting others along the way. On the few occasions that you do encounter others, for example at cafes or bus stops, remember to mask up, and show a level of respect to those around you. Simple actions like these make all the difference and allow the locals to share their special corner of Tokyo with visitors while feeling comfortable and safe. Enjoy!

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Forever Young

Forever Young

Jiyugaoka

Hello, my name is Alexandra Young. I left France almost fifteen years ago and, after having taught French in several countries, I packed my bags for Tokyo in August 2015. Today, I continue to practice this profession which I am passionate about.
Now, in order to limit the spread of the coronavirus, universities offer online courses that force me to lead a much more sedentary life.
To limit the weight gain linked to my new lifestyle, there's nothing like going for a walk in the great outdoors!

Forever Young

Mt.Takao

With the summer heat, I like to take a sporty walk in Takao Mountain.
Due to coronavirus, I feel like most people are enjoying taking trips outdoors now rather than sightseeing in cities. For people living near Tokyo, I think Mount Takao is a good option as somewhere to spend a day off.
Mount Fuji may be the Japanese mountain best known around the world, but Mount Takao is actually the most-climbed mountain in Japan. A bit surprising, right? Mount Takao is conveniently located just an hour away from the heart of Tokyo and is incredibly easy to access. Along with beautiful nature, there's also the quintessential Japanese scenery of temples and shrines, as well as a beer garden that visitors can enjoy at an altitude of 500 meters. The garden is open from summer to fall every year, and has become a signature feature of summer in Tokyo.

Once the heat of summer is over, I enjoy the urban hike. Personally, I like the Jiyugaoka district.
Jiyugaoka is a very popular spot among Tokyoites, yet still a largely unvisited destination for travelers. There are a number of popular boutiques, modern cafes, and restaurants in the area, and the neighborhood brims with a chic atmosphere. I haven't been able to visit recently, but the latest crazes in Tokyo always concentrate here, and I discover something new every time I walk around, making me want to visit again. Jiyugaoka is also famous for sweets, so it's definitely somewhere that you'll want to check out if you have a sweet tooth!

Forever Young

Todoroki Valley

For those who are eager to enjoy nature, I think Todoroki Valley is the best option. This spot is still in the Jiyugaoka area, but a totally different world from the chic main street can be found here. It's a spot within the city that lets visitors “escape” the city, and with its incredibly beautiful scenery of luscious greenery and a clear-flowing river, it really can be called a city oasis.

Last year, I had the chance to see my favorite team win the rugby world cup in the country where I live. From the first game to the final, the organization of this tournament was a real success. The joy of life was everywhere: in the bars, near the giant screens and in the stadium of course. Such a success is intimately linked to the many visitors who came from all over the world. I am looking forward to welcoming you again and I hope with all my heart that you will be able to discover this magnificent city that is Tokyo.

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Paddling out to Chigasaki, a coastal city in southern Kanagawa

Paddling out to Chigasaki, a coastal city in southern Kanagawa

My name is Kurtis, and I became a resident of Japan in 2010, and since 2015 have lived in Chigasaki City in Kanagawa prefecture, on the "Shonan" coastline, about an hour by train directly south of Tokyo. I grew up in the deep beach culture of San Diego, California, and I feel very much at home here.

Kanagawa has an intimate relationship with Tokyo as they are neighbors.
Several months ago, we were ordered to refrain from traveling between prefectures, but now it is relatively free to travel between borders. Of course, we should still avoid crowds and be careful of infection risks.

I’d like to introduce two of my favorite places for weekend fun!

Paddling out to Chigasaki, a coastal city in southern Kanagawa

Tsujido Beach Park

While Enoshima and Kamakura are very popular for beach-goers and sightseers, the continuing Covid-19 pandemic prompts us to find less crowded areas where we can still have fun. Easily accessible by bus from Tsujido station (or walking if you feel like exploring the shops and cafes!), this park borders the sea, with multiple easy-access points to the sand. The charm is not limited to just the summer. Tsujido Beach Park is expansive and filled with incredible landscape, sports fields, and playground attractions for children. You can spend time relaxing under the vast sky throughout the entire year.
The plethora of food events, flea markets, and concerts usually held will also be put on hold for a bit, but the park is still open to the public for free.

Along the beach is a very famous cycling/walking path, that leads down to Enoshima to the East, and Chigasaki Southern Beach to the west. Take a stroll down the coast and on a clear day enjoy the view of the peninsulas on either side of the bay, and if you're lucky, an amazing view of Mt. Fuji over looking the coast.

Paddling out to Chigasaki, a coastal city in southern Kanagawa

Chigasaki Southern Beach

If you want a purely "sea-centered" experience, "Chigasaki Southern Beach" is the place for you. It's nationally known in Japan through a popular rock group called "The Southern All-Stars" who hail from the area. You might call this the central hub of Chigasaki, with both a thriving surf culture of many shops to rent or buy surfboards, bodyboards, and so on, as well as the nearby fishing port with a variety of restaurants cooking up fresh catches of the day.Aside from the particularly cold season (primarily December through March), you can participate in surfing and paddleboarding lessons along the southern beach.
This beach is easily accessible from the station with buses regularly running, but the street directly connecting it to the train station makes for a nice walk through one of the most well-known "beach towns" in Japan. While it is indeed well-known, you won't encounter the same level of crowds as you would at the beaches of Enoshima or Zushi further east down the coast, so it will be easy to "keep distance" if necessary. Japan truly has some excellent beaches, and with quick access from Tokyo, this area is one of your best options for an easy day trip!

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Travel Local, Discover More!

Travel Local, Discover More!

My name is Tonia David. I am originally from Hamburg, Germany.
Tokyo has been building a series of new commercial facilities and improving its tourist attractions to make 2020 a great year. Unfortunately, we won't be seeing any foreign tourists in those places, but these days we are slowly starting to locals in Japan visiting those places, with good infection control measures in place.

Although Tokyo is a huge city, most of its different districts are surprisingly compact and walkable. It is easy to spend a morning or afternoon exploring just one area. One thing that I like about living in Tokyo is that the city has so many distinct areas. Instead of a quick trip to the most famous sites, I like to explore Tokyo’s neighborhoods on foot. Some of my favorite neighborhoods are Shimokitaza and Asakusa. Shimokitazawa has many small boutiques, second-hand shops, cafes, and venues with live music. Asakusa is full of izakaya pubs, local cafes, and old shops, especially when you walk just a little further than the main tourist attractions.
Almost all stores are taking precautions, such as spraying customers' hands with alcohol-based disinfectant, and checking their temperature before they enter the store.

Travel Local, Discover More!

There are many areas that can easily be combined into a full day of finding new places and revisiting Tokyo favorites. For example, walking from Tokyo Skytree to Asakusa and Kappabashi, visiting Ueno’s museums and Yanaka’s small shops, browsing Shimokitazawa’s boutiques and trying Nakameguro’s restaurants. Besides the most famous sites, there are also a great number of galleries, museums, and local shops to see. These facilities also require us to purchase tickets online or make reservations in advance, so we have to check the information in advance.
Tokyo is always changing and there is always something new to see. And of course, Tokyo is a foodie paradise with endless places to eat, from the tiniest shops to fine dining.

Travel Local, Discover More!

Since more people started working from home this year, more people seem to be out, going out for walks and runs. Some of the best green places for being outside within central Tokyo are the Imperial Palace grounds and Shinjuku Gyoen. The Imperial Palace is also a popular place to go running. Situated on Tokyo Bay, Kasai Rinkai Park is a very different park to visit with many spots for a picnic overlooking the water. For a longer walk or run, a trip up and down along Sumida River is also good. And if travel outside the city is an option again, Tokyo also has many excellent places for hiking.

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Exploring Tokyo's Lesser-Known Locales

Exploring Tokyo's Lesser-Known Locales

TOKYO SKYTREE viewed from Asakusa

My name is Tiernan, and I am a musician living in north-easternmost Tokyo.
I landed at Narita eighteen years ago to record an album for a Japanese label.

Exploring Tokyo's Lesser-Known Locales

Oyokogawa Shinsui Park

In between my apartment in Oshiage and the fabled neighbourhood of Asakusa, lies a hidden gem of a park, named Oyokogawa Shinsui Park. Like a little-known oasis tucked deep in the urban jungle, this haven spans the distance between the SKYTREE and JR Kinshicho station. Almost every morning, in the early months of the pandemic, I strapped on my mask and sneakers as soon as I woke up, then jogged the furthest limits of this park, and then back home. Other mornings, my wife and I would run towards Asakusa, then walk along the scenic banks of the Sumida River. These types of physical activities allowed us both to stay in shape, while practicing social distancing not possible in places like gyms.
This “shitamachi” (or downtown) side of our metropolis - at least from my point of view - holds a lot of the best that this city has to offer; especially for those preferring depth over flair.

Between the SKYTREE, and Asakusa’s Kaminarimon gate alone, one can purchase traditional snacks in shops passed down through generations, browse through this country’s last used English bookstore, and sample the Denki Bran (brandy) once savoured by famed authors.

My favorite though is not the SKYTREE, but the Asahi Sky Room. This is located on the top floor of the Japanese beer maker's building. Although not as high as the SKYTREE, the reason why I like it is I can enjoy drinking tasty Japanese beer while looking over the Sumida river and "shitamachi" view.

A stroll of equal distance down to the south-west, brings you to Ueno and its legendary zoo. This district also houses some world-class museums, and shopping alleys lined with goods; from street foods to combat boots.

Exploring Tokyo's Lesser-Known Locales

I have no advice to share with future visitors; I would just like to dispel all of your fears; Tokyo may be the safest place on Earth. Especially in the era of this global pandemic, the prophylactic practices in place here are first-rate.
For decades now, Tokyoites have worn masks when they felt ill, or when they were afraid that they might become so. Many restaurants serve a wet wipe alongside your meal, and Tokyo’s public toilets stalls often sport cleanser dispensers; to disinfect the toilet seat. There very well may be no safer place than here.

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Kiwi Rugby Fanatic’s Take on Rugby World Cup 2019/ Things to Do in Roppongi

Kiwi Rugby Fanatic’s Take on Rugby World Cup 2019/ Things to Do in Roppongi

By Garreth Stevens

 My first experience at a Rugby World Cup was at home, in Wellington, New Zealand, in 2011. I was in my final year of university and remember it as such an incredible time to live in my city of just 300,000 people. So when I learned that Japan was to be host in 2019, I was elated. I knew immediately I would find a way to go—the details didn’t matter.

Kiwi Rugby Fanatic’s Take on Rugby World Cup 2019/ Things to Do in Roppongi

 It's safe to say that rugby is one of the biggest reasons I decided to relocate to Tokyo at the end of 2017. And Japan pulled off the world’s best Rugby World Cup to date. There were many highlights for me, and these were just a few of them:

・Japan’s jaw-dropping victories over Ireland and Scotland that minted 50 million new rugby fans in just a couple of weeks
・Seeing the semi-final between New Zealand and England with a perfect commanding view at the wonderful Yokohama stadium, and joining in on the haka—from the stands!
・This, unfortunately, was followed by seeing New Zealand get whipped by England from that great vantage point.

In the end, it was all worth it. Here’s hoping that all of that love for rugby in Japan that was sparked by the World Cup continues to go strong!

Kiwi Rugby Fanatic’s Take on Rugby World Cup 2019/ Things to Do in Roppongi

Things to Do
One area that I think is great for hanging out is Roppongi. The neighborhood has lots of interesting restaurants and bars, and it’s a convenient place for meeting up after work. However, since the Covid-19 outbreak, we’ve been working from home and not really going out. I’ve also heard that many restaurants and bars are keeping shorter hours. I’m definitely looking forward to the situation getting better soon!

There are also plenty of other things you can enjoy in Roppongi even if you’re not checking out the nightlife. One spot that I highly recommend is Roppongi Hills. This multi-use complex has it all: shopping, a world-class art museum (Mori Art Museum), and an observation deck located at the top of one of the building’s towers that offers an incredible panoramic view of Tokyo. It also features the Mori Garden, a peaceful oasis with a pond and a beer garden. And if you didn’t get your fill of shopping at Roppongi Hills, you can head over to nearby Tokyo Midtown, which has a number of high-end boutiques.

For art lovers, in addition to the Mori Art Museum I would also suggest The National Art Center, Tokyo and Suntory Museum of Art, which are both in the area. For an even more peaceful experience, I enjoy strolling around the expansive Arisugawa-no-miya Memorial Park in Minami-Azabu. With ponds, waterfalls, and bridges, it makes for a relaxing way to spend an afternoon. I also like Zojoji, one of the most impressive temple complexes in the area. As an added bonus, I can take in great views of Tokyo Tower from there.

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See the Real Japan—by Bicycle

See the Real Japan—by Bicycle

 My name is Miho Yeap and I'm a UK-educated Malaysian living in Meguro, Tokyo. I've worked for two years as the video producer at bilingual media agency. Although Covid-19 has affected my day-to-day life, cycling has been a wonderful way for me to stay active and serves as a great way to get around.

Luckily, Tokyo is a fantastic place to begin your cycling journey. Many city streets are wide and well maintained, with cycle paths clearly marked. Ubiquitous convenience stores ensure you'll have plenty of chances to stock up on water and energy snacks—crucial on a long-distance ride.

See the Real Japan—by Bicycle

 Although city riding is a great way to see urban sights, the real wonder comes when you get off the beaten track. Destinations such as Okutama and Kamakura provide ample opportunities to comfortably and happily ride alongside nature.

Of those, Okutama in particular is rich in nature, and has been designated as part of Japan's national parks. There, you can get away from the hustle and bustle of the city, enjoy the fresh air, and relish in relaxing wonders such as crystal clear rivers, waterfalls and dense forests.

While it's definitely perfect for cycling, you can also enjoy a variety of activities such as trekking, canoeing, and “forest bathing.”

Recently, due to the coronavirus, Okutama has become a popular destination for those who want to spend their holidays surrounded by nature instead of people.

See the Real Japan—by Bicycle

 Riding is a great experience that makes me feel truly connected to Japan. Being on a bike makes you take in your surroundings in a way that simply cannot be done by train or car. It forces you to stop in places you've never heard of, eat local delicacies, and speak to curious bystanders. Long-distance biking has certainly given me a greater appreciation for much of what Japan has to offer. If you're considering a fun new hobby that'll keep you active, healthy, happy and take you all over the nation, consider cycling!

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Tackling Tough Times in Tokyo by Kevin "KJ" Jackson

Tackling Tough Times in Tokyo  by Kevin "KJ" Jackson

 Nice to meet you all. My name is Kevin Jackson, but most people call me KJ for short. I’m originally form the state of California in the US. I’ve been living and working here in Japan for the past 15 years. I have lived in the Chiba prefecture for most of my time here and currently live in Chiba prefecture’s Ichikawa city. I currently work as the International General Manager for the American football club, the Obic Seagulls. Now I’m adhering to a “stay home” policy to help reduce the spread of the Covid-19, but under normal circumstances I love taking long walks while listening to music outside during the week, and I like to travel on my days off.

Tackling Tough Times in Tokyo  by Kevin "KJ" Jackson

Favorite Spots/Things to do in the City
Weather permitting, Tokyo is a very walkable city. I’ve always had a soft spot for historically significant places, and sometimes I like to walk from place to place to reflect or just relax. Some of the landmarks that are on my course are the Sensoji temple complex in Asakusa, the Imperial palace in the center of Tokyo, Zojoji temple in Shiba park, and Meiji Jingu shrine, nestled in between Yoyogi park and Harajuku. Another traditional experience is going to watch a Sumo tournament in the Ryogoku area of town. Sumo is not only a sport, it is culture and art. Many elements of the ancient Japanese religion of Shinto are an integral part of the story of Sumo.

Tackling Tough Times in Tokyo  by Kevin "KJ" Jackson

My favorite Sport
I currently work for an American football club. Prior to my current job, I have both played and coached in some capacity for the past 30 years. I initially came to Japan to play American football. I believe that American football is the ultimate team sport. All eleven guys on the field must execute their individual assignment while working in unison to either advance the ball or stop the opposing team from advancing the ball. It is possible to watch competitive American football in Tokyo! Just head to the Tokyo Dome mid December or early January and you can catch the two biggest games of the year.

 We look forward to everyone being able to come to Japan once we find a way to tackle this global pandemic. Tokyo is a city that never sleeps. There is always something interesting right around the corner. Whether you’re interested in sports, cuisine, architecture, history, culture, or the arts Tokyo has a bit of everything for every type of traveler.

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Tokyo’s SHIMA Area: Land + Sea + Fun!

Tokyo’s SHIMA Area: Land + Sea + Fun!

Sports fans will know Tokyo for it’s world-famous sporting venues, and high-tech, ultra-modern city life, but there’s another face to Tokyo that many people don’t know about! Have you heard of the SHIMA Area in Tokyo? It’s part of the “nature side” of Tokyo and should be a part of your itinerary when you check out Tokyo! The SHIMA, or islands of Tokyo, spread out a vast distance south of the metropolis, and give new faces of sporting excitement and natural beauty to any trip to Tokyo!

Today, we’d like to introduce a thrilling movie gallery where you can experience a variety
of exciting sporting activities in the SHIMA Area.
https://tamashima.tokyo/en/moviegallery/
This site has videos for both the TAMA Area and SHIMA Area, but today, we’re taking a look at the SHIMA Area videos.

TAMA & SHIMA Experience Movies
These immersive 360°VR videos will make you feel as if you are actually there! You’ll want to watch them more than a few times as you take control of the video and look here and there.

Follow us to Aogashima where you can go hiking in a rare, double caldera. You’ll discover hidden spots with mysterious scenery. Nature is beautiful, yet harsh, as can be seen at the shore where the rough seas carve away at the rocks. Even the boats must be lifted to higher ground to keep them safe!

For the adventurous, we recommend Oshima Island - it’s an active volcano! The landscape is covered with lumpy, volcanic rocks. Pass through the torii gate at the top of the island on your way to a huge crater, and then to the otherworldly expanse of the Ura-Sabaku desert where black sands continue on as far as the eye can see.

Chichijima Island and Hahajima Island, also known as the Ogasawara Islands is a world heritage site where you can go kayaking over the beautiful blue waters at Chichijima, and go hiking through the dense forest of Hahajima where you will find remnants of World War II. There is so much to discover!

Or check out Kozushima Island and its beachfront playground where you can enjoy summertime fun diving and jumping into the fantastically clear emerald water!

Visit the many hot springs on Shikinejima Island. Take the stairs through a steep canyon to secluded, open-air hot springs with ocean water mixed in for a unique experience.

Toshima Island is home to camellia flowers that have produced oil used for hair and skin products for more than 200 years - since the Edo Period!! You’ll find many shrines as you walk around this island.

Hachijojima Island takes you back in time to a Jurassic Period type experience - minus the dinosaurs - as you hike through the beautiful forests of giant ferns!

Mikurashima Island is the best place for divers and dolphin lovers! You can interact with the dolphins in their natural environment. They’re so friendly and fun!

And of course we can’t forget Niijima Island - a surfer’s paradise! The beautiful milky blue water is perfect for surfing! Habushiura Longbeach, hosts worldwide surfing championships, and is loved all over the world. And you can do bodyboarding here as well!

Tokyo’s SHIMA Area: Land + Sea + Fun!

TAMA and SHIMA of Tokyo PR Movies
View these exciting mashup videos of the TAMASHIMA areas. See the many beautiful, natural wonders and thrilling activities. Discover the old culture, local food and fantastic ways to relax - all in TAMASHIMA.

Tokyo’s SHIMA Area: Land + Sea + Fun!

TAMA & SHIMA new LUXURY Movies
In the final section, TAMA & SHIMA new LUXURY Movies, you’ll discover a new kind of island luxury in SHIMA ver, whether it’s enjoying the solacious beauty of a seemingly endless beach marked by towering cliffs and milky blue waters, or the otherworldly mystery of a volcanic desert covered in black sand, or a starry sky viewed from a spacious outdoor bath.

All of this beauty and excitement is waiting for you!!

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Tokyo’s TAMA area: Nature + Sports + Excitement!

Tokyo’s TAMA area: Nature + Sports + Excitement!

Everybody knows Tokyo, but have you heard of Tama area in Tokyo? It’s the “nature side” of Tokyo and it’s a MUST-SEE for every active sport enthusiast!! Located directly west of Tokyo City, the Tama area adds a whole new dimension of sports and activities to any visit to Tokyo!

Day trippers from Tokyo visit to walk in wooded hills and riverside parks, and to bathe in the public hot springs at Gokurakuyu Tama Center. In Tama, you can go trail running, trekking, free climbing, kayaking, canyoning, rafting and even do river SUP! There are so many sports to enjoy! Did you ever think you could do those kinds of things in Tokyo?

Today, we’d like to introduce an exciting movie gallery where you can experience all sorts of thrilling sporting activities in Tama area.
https://tamashima.tokyo/en/moviegallery/

This site showcases videos for both the Tama area and the Shima area, but we’ll be focusing on the Tama area videos.
TAMA & SHIMA Experience Movies
The exciting 360°VR videos in the TAMA & SHIMA Experience Movies section! For example, check out the Okutama video. In Okutama, enjoy the autumn colors from a bridge that floats on a lake, or a suspension bridge that spans a river. The path is smooth and gentle - perfect for walking as you enjoy the view!

The “Akiruno” and “Ome” videos also offer great views of more beautiful places to take a nature walk, whether it’s among exotic temples in Akiruno, or along refreshing rivers in Ome.

Jump down to the “Hinode” video. There, you can become a ninja in a traditional style house. You’ll learn fighting skills, and “use” them in a sword battle, or when you try out a blowgun! Top off your experience by becoming a princess - even if for only a short time. You’re sure to enjoy the fun make-believe experience.

For younger, more animal-centered enthusiasts, the third video showcases a child-friendly zoo in Hamura where you can get some hands-on interaction with the animals, big and small!

The “Hinohara” and “Fussa” videos offer outdoor and indoor excitement. In Hinohara Village, cycle through forest and village, and experience a refreshing ride along the river. You’re sure to feel the cool energy flowing through the local power spot at the river! Then, In Fussa, take a tour in a sake brewery constructed over 200 years ago! Here, the collaboration of traditional recipes and modern technology make for delicious sake! There are beautiful gardens around the brewery - perfect for relaxing while enjoying the sake!
In the TAMA & SHIMA PR Movies section, you’ll see an overview for five categories of fun in the TAMA and SHIMA areas: Wonders, Activities, Retro Culture, Local Food and Relaxation.

Tokyo’s TAMA area: Nature + Sports + Excitement!

In the TAMA & SHIMA PR Movies section, you’ll see an overview for five categories of fun in the TAMA and SHIMA areas: Wonders, Activities, Retro Culture, Local Food and Relaxation.

Tokyo’s TAMA area: Nature + Sports + Excitement!

TAMA & SHIMA new LUXURY Movies
The final section, TAMA & SHIMA new LUXURY Movies, introduces SUP Yoga, a new kind of luxurious relaxation. A unique way to relax your mind.

Tokyo is so much more than skyscrapers, nightlife and modern technology. Come to the TAMA area to explore another amazing face of Tokyo!

Sports fans are sure to imagine the world’s largest sporting event when they think of Tokyo, but there is so much more!
Watch these exhilarating videos and feel the excitement of these mountain and river recreational sports!

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Enjoy Extreme Sports From Home!!

Enjoy Extreme Sports From Home!!

 Calling all extreme sports lovers!! Now’s your chance to experience thrilling extreme sports through these exciting 360°VR videos! Cycling, rafting and paragliding! For experienced enthusiasts, this is a new way to try it out. For the beginner you can do these safely from the comfort of your own home! Come visit the CHUGOKU+SHIKOKU x TOKYO website and experience these and more interactive videos!
https://www.chushikokuandtokyo.org/virtualtour/

Enjoy Extreme Sports From Home!!

 We’ve gathered all the videos from each prefecture and listed them on one page for your entertainment and enjoyment. Each video showcases similar activities in Tokyo, but we’re going to focus on CHUGOKU & SHIKOKU! Here are some of the highlights:

 You’ll enjoy the virtual rides on roller coasters and flying swings at Tokyo amusement parks, but come with us to Tottori and fly higher! You’re sure to feel the excitement as you soar through air, paragliding over the Tottori Sand Dunes! This is a thrill that you can experience nowhere else! And follow along as we hike along the cliffs in the mountains. The view from Mitokusan Sanbutuji Temple at the top of the mountain is magnificent!

 Hitch a ride with us as we take a boat ride around Matsue Castle in Shimane. You’re sure to enjoy the awe-inspiring architecture of the long, ancient castle walls, and the great view from the top.
Then we’ll go underwater as we go diving around the Oki Islands. We’ll head out over a beautiful arch bridge, take a boat over the waters and then go diving with the sealife for a truly immersive and SUBmersive experience!
Cycle across bridges extending over several islands as you enjoy beautiful sites and amazing sunsets in Ehime Prefecture! Take on the best rapids in Japan in the Yoshino River in Tokushima Prefecture! Come try the famous Awa Odori dance as you get right in the middle and feel the excitement of the festivals - also in Tokushima! Try out the traditional method of making udon noodles while in Kagawa! It’s almost like Dance Dance Revolution! Go “glamping” and enjoy amazing ocean views while bbq-ing in the day, then sit around the campfire and play with fireworks at night in Kochi Prefecture!

 There are so many more exciting videos to enjoy. Gourmet, culture, nature walks, scenic drives and more! The entire staff of Japan Sports Journey hopes you will enjoy this interactive website and the amazing view available here!

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Your Virtual Escape to Hokuriku

Your Virtual Escape to Hokuriku

Like many sports fans around the world, we here at Japan Sports Journey want to get out and see the world! It looks like things are easing up a bit, but until you can actually go anywhere, we suggest you check out the awesome 360゜VR tours of exciting places in Tokyo and the Hokuriku area of Japan. https://www.hokurikuandtokyo.org/virtualtour/

Your Virtual Escape to Hokuriku

Here, you can enjoy the wondrous beauty of Japan’s cherry blossoms with a personal tour guide! The blossoms are lit up at night for a magical experience as you turn the camera on the video to see the blossoms surrounding you. Vitrually enjoy the blossoms while picnicking, rowing a boat or via open-roof bus tour!
See how visitors enjoy wearing a kimono in the summer as they sip on tapioca tea, stroll through Shibuya, or enjoy shaved ice while dancing at a "bon" festival right in the downtown area! Feel like a part of history as you imagine yourself wearing a kimono in the beautiful, historical neighborhoods in Kanazawa, or dining on delicious food at luxurious hotels.
The long beaches of Ishikawa Prefecture stretch for miles with caves of crystal clear water, and amazing views of thousands of rice fields stretching out in a cascade, down to the ocean.
Autumn is time to enjoy the colorful leaves at Meiji Jingu Gaien and the baths at Spa LaQua, right in Tokyo! Follow along as we head to Fukui Prefecture to see the cliffs of Tojinbo, one of Japan’s powerful scenic spots and natural monuments, where surging waves from the Sea of Japan crash against the cliffs. Eiheiji temple appears as a fairytale land with ancient trees surrounding the more than 700 year-old temple. Luxurious food such as crab, as well as hot springs await the lucky guide in the video at Awara Hot Springs.
For the art lover, the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo is set in a beautiful garden, perfect for walk before or after the museum. And get a thrill as we take you to Katsuyama Dino Park in Fukui, with animatronic dinosaurs all over the forest, and on an immersive dino tour at the Fukui Prefectural Dinosaur Museum.
Winter brings excitement at the Kabukiza Theatre, a symbol of Ginza, and dedicated to the traditional Japanese performing art of kabuki. Shopping in Hibiya at upscale shops and restaurants is the perfect way to round out a visit to Ginza.
A quick ride on the bullet train takes us to Naeba Ski Resort in Niigata for great night skiing, where we can enjoy the magical feeling of ripping it up under the night lights!

All of these exciting adventures are waiting for you in immersive 360゜ video tours!
We here at Japan Sports Journey hope you will enjoy them ! Stay safe and stay sporty!!

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Traveling is the New Sport!!

Traveling is the New Sport!!

Sports is all about challenging yourself and reaching new heights. Come visit the official TOHOKU X TOKYO website and find so many exciting places to explore and discover! You’re sure to experience new challenges and accomplishments as you visit the many places showcased here either in person, or virtually!
https://www.tohokuandtokyo.org/virtualtour/

Traveling is the New Sport!!

That’s right - you can visit many of the best locations in Tokyo, as well as Sendai City and the six prefectures of the Tohoku area right from the comfort of your own home! These virtual tours show you the highlights in a way you might not have seen before. You can navigate 360゜ during the entire video, focusing on the things you want to see!
Our website not only provides 20 VR video tours, but we also showcase several scenic routes and other attractive routes you can use to easily plan out your next visit to Tokyo and the Tohoku region.
Love festivals and fireworks? Check out the video showcasing the Sanno Festival in Tokyo, and the famous Nebuta Festival in Aomori Prefecture and see all the giant glowing floats! And for fireworks, you can view them from the Tokyo Sky Tree, or see a truly dazzling panoramic fireworks display in Akita Prefecture!
Perhaps winter is your season? Feel as if you are ice skating in downtown Tokyo, or skiing and snowboarding in thick powder snow up in Yamagata Prefecture! Take a surreal journey between towering columns of snow in every direction as you float through the air on the ski lift through endless fields of snow giants! Definitely a great way to enjoy winter sports!
Is food your thing? Of course it is! Local dishes from all over Japan will tantalize you as you visit quaint restaurants up and down narrow streets - streets that seem to take you back in time. Virtually warp to Miyagi Prefecture wear visitors enjoy freshly caught oysters, served by the shovel-full and steamed right at the table! An amazing feast that will have your mouth watering!

Be sure to check out all our amazing VR videos for many wonderfully immersive travel experiences!
All of us at Japan Sports Journey wish you the best and pray for your good health and fun sports!

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Calling Sports Fans Everywhere!!

Sports lovers all around the world are looking forward to when they can all get the excitement of sports back in their daily lives!
Any sports fan knows that last year, Rugby World Cup was held in Japan. Some of those matches were held in Kyushu, the southwesternmost of Japan's main islands. About 5 hours by train or 2 hours by plane from Tokyo, Kyushu is famous for its active volcanoes, beaches and natural hot springs.

Calling Sports Fans Everywhere!!

These days, it’s hard to get out and visit places because of the many travel restrictions. And similarly, sporting events are not being held. To any sports fan, that definitely feels like a foul, but now you can enjoy virtual tours all over Kyushu - right from your favorite chair in your living room!
Visit the KYUSHU&TOKYO website (https://www.kyushuandtokyo.org/virtualtour/) and kick off your own awesome virtual tour of several exciting spots in Kyushu! With these interactive VR tours, you can look in any direction while watching the videos simply by dragging your finger across the screen!

Calling Sports Fans Everywhere!!

The KYUSHUTOKYO website not only showcases great sites to visit both virtually and in real life, but you can search for information based on area, category (historical, nature, gourmet, etc.) and recommended routes that will help you make the most of your time! Goal in!!
All of the videos support an exciting 360゜ angle so you can enjoy the historical and natural wonders in all prefectures of Kyushu. With a simple swiping gesture on your smartphone, or a click-and-drag of your mouse when using a computer, the camera angle of the video will change accordingly, allowing you to focus on sights that interest you.
With these immersive tours, you can "travel" all the way to Kyushu, running from one exciting place to another - all from home!! (Dare we call this a “home run”?) We’ve also prepared videos of areas other than Kyushu, so be sure to check them out too!

Everyone at Japan Sports Journey wants to wish all the sports fans good health, and a quick return to a life full of sports!!

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Tokyo has come a long way since the 1964 Summer Games.

Tokyo has come a long way since the 1964 Summer Games.

The Next Summer Games in Tokyo have been rescheduled to start from July 21 of next year.
Although the Coronavirus situation has caused this delay, the people of Japan are each doing their part to prepare, and continue to look forward to next summer when they can finally host athletes and visitors from all around the globe.
As most sporting events around the world have come to a stop, we all are excited for the restart of any sporting occasion.

Tokyo has come a long way since the 1964 Summer Games.

In order to ensure a speedy recovery and return to more normal lives, the people of Tokyo and all of Japan have changed their lifestyles.
Many people are keeping in touch via video conferencing systems that enable them to work from home, and even to hang out with friends as they participate in virtual drinking parties online.
More and more people have forgone dining in at restaurants, and are now enjoying takeout and delivery meals.
Many businesses in the food industry have made sweeping changes to adapt to the new environment and provide new services.

Tokyo has come a long way since the 1964 Summer Games.

We want to give a huge shout out to all the medical workers, delivery personnel and other essential workers! Thank you so much.
There’s no way we could have made it this far without your hard work and efforts!
We pray for your safety and a speedy return to a happier, healthier world.
And we encourage all of you to share your appreciation as well!

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Make sure you don't miss the para-sports competitions either!

Make sure you don't miss the para-sports competitions either!

Among sporting events held this summer, there will be 22 parasport competitions.
In this article, we will showcase three of those!
 
The first sport is Sitting Volleyball.
Sitting Volleyball is, as the name suggests, volleyball played while sitting down.
It is played on a smaller court and with a lower net than volleyball in the Olympics.
The interesting thing about this competition is that if a player's bottom leaves the ground even momentarily, it is judged as a foul. Both the attacking team and the defending team must move about with their bottoms touching the floor.
As each player's ability to move is limited, they must compete as a team.

Make sure you don't miss the para-sports competitions either!

The second sport is Para-Taekwondo, which will be a formal competition from this year's summer tournament.
Taekwondo originated in Korea, and the number of people competing in Para-Taekwondo is growing in Japan.
The rules of Para-Taekwondo are almost identical to Taekwondo at the Olympics. However, while Taekwondo at the Olympics includes attacks using one's hands, people with disabilities in their upper limbs are the participants in Para-Taekwondo, so kicks are the only valid method of attack.
Be sure to watch the playing style of each player according to their disability.

Make sure you don't miss the para-sports competitions either!

The third and final event is Football 5-a-side.
This competition is also known by another name: "Blind Soccer".
Field players consist of visually impaired players.
To remove any unfairness of differences in individual ability to see, all players must wear eye masks.
Only the goalkeeper of both teams is played by someone without any visual disabilities.
As the field players are wearing eye masks, they are unable to see their surroundings.
All the players can count on is the sound of the specially made ball loaded with lead and the voices of the guides outside the field. In other words, sound is very important, so the audience watches silently.
However, they cheer when a goal is made, and the field is enveloped in a wonderful atmosphere.
 
We briefly introduced only three sports in this article, but there are many more exciting points about the other competitions!
Check here to get more details about the events and the host cities!
https://www.sportsjourney.jp/venues

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Are you ready for the world's largest sporting event?

Are you ready for the world's largest sporting event?

 This summer Tokyo will host the world's largest sporting event, which we are all looking forward to! Are you ready for the games? We will introduce you to some sports that are familiar to people in Japan.  

 First, we will introduce table tennis.
It is said that table tennis began as a way for the British upper class to enjoy playing a sport indoors that was similar to tennis on days when it was too rainy to play tennis outside in the 19th century. There are singles and doubles as in tennis, with players facing off on a table only 2.74 meters long by 1.525 meters wide. A rally in a professional table tennis match is so fast that it is difficult to keep up with.
Did you know that in Japan there are often table tennis tables located in places such as hot springs inn? One of the reasons of this is because table tennis is one of the sports that can enjoyed easily by people of all ages. If you are going to stay at a hot springs inn when you visit Japan, playing table tennis while wearing a yukata would make for a wonderful memory.

Are you ready for the world's largest sporting event?

 Next, we will be introducing karate. Of the different events at the world's largest sports tournament, Karate is one of the 5 events that was added starting with the upcoming summer tournament.
Karate is a martial art that originated in the Ryukyu Kingdom (modern-day Okinawa, which is the southernmost prefecture in Japan), and the sport that is familiar to Japanese people, as many Japanese children attend karate classes. Karate is now practiced in over 194200 countries with a following of over 130 million people worldwide.
At the largest international sports tournament of the summer, karate is divided into two separate events, called kata and kumite. Kata refers to the individual demonstration of a fluid sequence of offensive and defensive postures with a hypothetical opponent in mind, while kumite involves two participants competing in a free exchange of thrusts, kicks, and blows to contest their speed and accuracy in landing each move. You will see a wide variety of dynamic kicks when watching karate.

Are you ready for the world's largest sporting event?

 Lastly, we'll be introducing baseball. The sport is contested between two teams of nine players, where the two teams accrue points while taking turns on an offense side and a defense side by getting three outs on the opposition.
Although there was a period when baseball was excluded from the official events of the world's largest international sporting tournament, the sport was added to it again this summer, following a proposal by the host country.
Baseball is one of the most popular sports in Japan. According to an investigation conducted in Japan, baseball ranked 1st as people's favorite sport, and baseball players were ranked 1st and 2nd as people's favorite athletes.
Hearing these results, it should be quite apparent how much the sport is adored in Japan.
There are 12 baseball teams in the professional baseball league, and countless people go to stadiums with their friends and families to watch games.

 There will be countless other events in the upcoming sports tournament to look forward to this summer! And some events are going to be held in venues outside of Tokyo. Check here for more details about the events and the host cities!
https://www.sportsjourney.jp/venues

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Relive Rugby World Cup 2019 Experience

Relive Rugby World Cup 2019 Experience

 Are you missing the excitement of Rugby World Cup 2019? We are too! We have opened the new pages, ‘Rugby Legends Visit Japan’ and ‘Rugby Gallery’ to provide you with a trip down memory lane and showcase the great times that were had during this momentous sporting event.

 Read all about our three rugby legends—Émile Ntamack, Andy Gomarsall MBE, and Justin Harrison—and their exciting adventures around Japan. On the Rugby Legends Visit Japan page, you can learn about the delicious food, beautiful destinations, and cultural experiences that the rugby greats enjoyed during their travels. You can also get some inspiration for a future trip to Japan, or reminisce about your own journeys here.
https://www.sportsjourney.jp/rugby_legends_visit_japan

 But that’s not all— on Rugby Gallery page, we have posted the results of our Rugby World Cup 2019 photo and video contest. The categories were best Japanese food, favorite tourist spots in Japan, most memorable experiences in Japan, and best plays of rugby games. The amount of entries we got were incredible, and our three guest judges—the rugby legends who toured Japan—had a hard time choosing the winners! Now you can have a look at the selected photos on the Rugby Gallery page and marvel at many of the fabulous things to do and see in Japan.
https://www.sportsjourney.jp/rugby_gallery

 Check out the new pages ‘Rugby Legends Visit Japan’ and ‘Rugby Gallery’ to enjoy the wonderful memories that this incredible tournament has created, and look forward to all of the sports events that are to be held in Japan in the near future, as well as this summer’s big event.

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Experience the New and Improved Japan Sports Journey!

Experience the New and Improved Japan Sports Journey!

 We’re proud to announce that the Japan Sports Journey website has been relaunched!

 The Venue page has been updated with information on the venues of the world's largest international sports tournament, that will be held in Tokyo this summer!
Some events will be held in venues outside of Tokyo; the Venue page will show you tourist information on each of the event venues. On the Venue page, you will find the events that will be held at each venue as well as tourist information on the areas where these venues are located. There are many prefectures in Japan and this tournament is a wonderful opportunity for you to learn more about the charms of prefectures that you did not know about previously.
https://www.sportsjourney.jp/venues

 The International Sports Events page has been updated, too!
Many more sporting events will be held in Japan in 2020 and after, and on the International Sports Events page, you can check the details of some of the important events.
https://www.sportsjourney.jp/sports_events

 And if you are planning a trip to Japan—or have already booked one—please visit the 30 Things to Do page. This page will be opened on Monday 3rd February, so please wait for a while! We have compiled a video playlist of "30 things to do in Japan" which can be memorable and exciting for travellers. The videos show the real trials that rugby legends Justin Harrison, Émile Ntamack, Andy Gomarsall MBE experienced. Check out these clips, and start getting excited about the memories you can make in this unforgettable country.

 Japan Sports Journey will continue to share tourist information from around Tokyo and Japan for visitors and sports fans of this year's world class sports event, so stay tuned!

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The National Stadium was transformed for upcoming events

The National Stadium was transformed for upcoming events

 On 30th November, the National Stadium re-opened after being transformed to accommodate future sporting and cultural events including this year’s summer games.
 The original National Stadium was completed in 1958, approximately six years prior to the 1964 Olympics and Paralympics in Tokyo. The new stadium was designed in a joint venture that included Kengo Kuma, a renowned architect from Japan. A professor of architecture at the University of Tokyo, Kuma operates a variety of research projects and designing projects all over the world.
 Rugby World Cup 2019 has come to an exciting and fantastic conclusion. It was a thrilling month and a half of nearly non-stop games, sometimes back to back. Now that it has ended, you might be feeling a little down. Don’t worry. Various events including this year’s summer games are going to be held in Tokyo, so we all have more to look forward to!
(Photo: Courtesy of JAPAN SPORT COUNCIL)

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And The Winners Are…

And The Winners Are…

During the Rugby World Cup 2019, we asked everyone to share their Japan experiences, and they delivered! More than 1000 contestants shared pictures of their journeys in Japan. Our rugby legends—Justin Harrison (Australia), Émile Ntamack (France), and Andy Gomarsall MBE (England)—picked 80 of the very best. The guys had just finished their own tour of Japan—appreciating the sights, food, and culture from Hokkaido to Kyushu—so we thought, “Who better to judge the entries but them?”

Photo categories were best food, favorite tourist spots, most memorable experiences, and best plays from rugby games.

There were various prizes such as original Japanese souvenirs and rugby memorabilia, including lacquered hashi (chopsticks) made exclusively for this campaign by a famous store in Tokyo’s Ginza neighborhood. Other prizes were food replicas specially selected by Émile during his trip, original ukiyo-e art celebrating rugby, and official rugby apparel signed by Justin, Émile, or Andy.

Be sure to head over to the results page to see the best of the best, and also to read a little bit of what fans thought of their trips around Japan. Sharing their favorite moments was a great way for sports fans from all around the world to take part in the excitement of RWC, and if you’re planning a trip to Japan, you can use the photos to help decide where to go and what to do.

https://www.sportsjourney.jp/photo_campaign

Although this campaign is over, Japan Sports Journey doesn’t stop here. We’ll keep sharing the best pictures, and even more sporting events will soon be under way in Japan, so check back often for more details!

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Delving into Tokyo’s Culture

Delving into Tokyo’s Culture

This time we visited Tokyo again, and met up with Émile at Meiji Jingu. It was a bright morning, and the first thing that caught his attention was the massive size of the torii (the gate to a shrine) at Meiji Jingu.

Meiji Jingu
One of the most famous shrines in Japan is Meiji Jingu. It was built to honor the greatly admired Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken. After their deaths, 100,000 trees from all over the country were donated to build the forest that surrounds the shrine. It took many years, but Meiji Jingu was finally completed in 1920.

Émile had already visited several shrines in Kyushu, so he knew the rules and rituals that go into visiting them. The priests at Meiji Jingu were quite surprised by Émile’s knowledge and respect for Japanese tradition. During his visit, he saw brides and grooms in traditional Japanese wedding attire—kimono and hakama (traditional ceremonial clothing)—while making their way through the grounds of the shrine. At the same time, a couple was asking for favor and protection for their newborn during a Shinto rite of passage called hatsumiyamairi.

Émile was touched by just how much Japanese people respected the past while living in a modern world. “It is very important that families pass down these traditions from generation to generation,” he said. “It’s great to see how Japanese people respect their own traditions and culture.”

Harajuku and Shibuya
Near the ancient traditions and holy ceremonies of Meiji Jingu is the heart of contemporary Japanese youth culture—Takeshita Street. It’s packed with colorful shops and stores selling the latest fashions. When a trend sweeps through Japan, it usually starts here. Émile saw people eating rainbow-colored cotton candy twice as big as his head and tasted bubble tea, Japan’s latest food trend.

Also in Harajuku is one of the unique cafes in Japan. The Kawaii Monster Cafe was designed to overwhelm customers with cuteness. The servers are dressed in wild and vibrant clothes and perform wacky dances. The architecture and furniture almost feel alive. The food can only be described as bizarre—rainbow noodles, alien cakes, chocolate chicken, and more. However, the zaniness didn’t faze Émile. “This place is insane,” he exclaimed. “But it’s perfect for kids!”

Delving into Tokyo’s Culture

After the cafe, Émile hopped on the local train to Shibuya—just one station away from Harajuku. Shibuya is Tokyo’s most well-known shopping and entertainment district. It’s home to the famous Hachiko dog statue and iconic Shibuya Scramble Crossing. More than half a million peopl e cross this celebrated intersection every day.

Japan Olympic Museum
Unfortunately, he couldn’t stay long because the newly opened Japan Olympic Museum was waiting for him. Run by Japanese Olympic Committee, the museum, whose concept is ‘Olympic Museum for everyone’, teaches visitors about the history and significance of the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Émile, a former rugby player himself and father of two rugby players, felt very touched by the atmosphere.
Émile said the architecture was beautiful and he thought it was the kind of place where one could build new memories with each visit. Several interactive experiences can be found at the museum that allow visitors to compare their abilities with those of an Olympic athlete.

Delving into Tokyo’s Culture

Akihabara
The next day, Émile visited Akihabara. The neighborhood is Japan’s otaku (geek) district, where videogame and electronic stores line every road, and back alleys are stuffed with shops specializing in fandom, from toys and comic books to posters and animation.

It was the perfect opportunity to shop for souvenirs. The only problem: there was just too much! Émile had no choice but to call up home and ask friends what they wanted.

Speaking of choices, choosing lunch in Akihabara is no simple feat. However, this is Japan, and a proper foodie shouldn’t visit Japan without experiencing kaitenzushi, or conveyor belt sushi. These restaurants have conveyor belts that deliver sushi directly to customers. If you see something you like, you simply take it off the line. It’s a fun and inexpensive way to eat sushi. Émile said he couldn’t believe the efficiency of the restaurant—or the price! His favorite was the maguro (tuna), but he was fortunate enough to visit during autumn to enjoy seasonal fish such as sanma (Pacific saury) and kanburi (Japanese amberjack).

Final Stop
The final destination of Émile’s cultural trip through Tokyo was a tea ceremony at the Imperial Hotel, Tokyo. Although the tradition originated from China, the Japanese tea ceremony evolved over 700 years to develop its own style and rituals. One of the primary concepts behind the tea ceremony is wabi-sabi—a Japanese aesthetic principle based on the beauty of impermanence. Everything, from the movements of the server to the temperature of the water, is a part of the art and the tea ceremony can take years to master. The entire experience is intended to lead you to a peaceful state, and it was a perfect end to Émile’s lively trip around Tokyo.

The culture of Japan is very nuanced. It respects sacred shrines and ancient rites but also emphasizes cuteness and fandom. It’s what makes discovering the country so special. No matter what your interest is, you can find it in Japan.

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Day Trip to Yokohama

Day Trip to Yokohama

Travel just a short way south of Tokyo, and you’ll find Japan’s second most populated city—Yokohama. Long known as a port town, it now offers the perfect blend of tradition and modern convenience. Andy and Émile came through Yokohama on their Japan Sports Journey through Japan to visit a museum dedicated to one of the country’s best-known foods, take in some of the city’s sites, and sample the nightlife.

To get to Yokohama, the pair decided to travel in luxury on Japan’s high-tech bullet train. It was a welcome change after airplanes and buses! Called the Shinkansen in Japanese, the bullet train is a marvel of modern transportation. It quietly glides over its tracks, and can reach a speed of about 300 kilometers per hour. As Andy and Émile left Tokyo Station en route to Shin-Yokohama Station, Andy said it was his first time to ride. He couldn’t believe the entire trip took only 18 minutes. Before they had really settled down, they were already in Yokohama (You can understand how fast it is, considering that it takes at least 45 minutes by taxi to get to Shin-Yokohama Station from Tokyo Station)!

The Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum is a large food court themed to look like a street in the 1950s, jam-packed with ramen shops. Visitors not only learn the history of ramen there, but they get to eat it too. Ramen from every region of Japan is featured. Émile said he was surprised that so many different flavors existed—soy sauce, miso, salt, pork, chicken—and he was amazed by the sheer variety of toppings. There are even different types of noodles, and you can try each one to discover your favorite.

After thinking long and hard, the pair settled on ramen from Kumamoto. The ramen received high praise from Émile. “The taste is good and the presentation is second to none!”. When you see it coming, you say ‘bon appétit!’” Andy said he wasn’t very hungry at first, but once he smelled it, he had to eat it!

Day Trip to Yokohama

After stuffing themselves with noodles, Andy and Émile took a stroll through Yamashita Park. It stretches across Yokohama’s waterfront and offers visitors beautiful views of the bay and passing ocean liners. For an even closer look, the guys purchased tickets for the Sea Bass—one of Yokohama’s ocean buses. The passenger ship gives visitors a unique way to travel from Yokohama Station and see some of the bay’s most popular tourist spots. One of them is Minato Mirai, a seaside area that includes the Yokohama Cosmo World, the Landmark Tower, and a number of shopping malls. The guys took a ride on the Sea Bass to visit Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse—a historical harbor building that now serves as a popular mall and event venue.

Day Trip to Yokohama

After a bit of shopping and sightseeing, the group visited Noge, Yokohama’s famous nightlife district, for a quick nightcap. The riverside hub hasn’t changed much over the last 50 years. There are no skyscrapers or bright lights, just narrow streets and tiny bars and izakayas filled with friends telling stories and sharing drinks—the perfect place to end the journey in Yokohama.

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Rugby World Cup 2019 came to an end!

Rugby World Cup 2019 came to an end!

 After nearly 50 games , Rugby World Cup 2019 came to an end on November 2nd. What a thrilling journey it was! With about six weeks of exciting performances by 20 qualifying teams from around the world, over 600 players, tens of thousands of fans cheering in stadiums around Japan, hundreds of thousands more viewing from home, pubs, sports bars and official “fan zones” set up around Japan, along with millions more around the globe, we were all on the edge of our seats in anticipation of the final game. We were so excited that Japan’s thrilling victory over Scotland set a new record this year for the most-watched live sports event in the Kanto area of Japan at this time! (The Kanto area is the region in which Tokyo is located)

 November 2nd also marked the conclusion of Japan Sports Journey’s Campaign, where we are giving away 80 prizes including original souvenirs and rugby memorabilia. We here at Japan Sports Journey want to say “Thank you SO MUCH for all the applications to this campaign!”

 And remember - later, we will showcase the social media posts made by all 80 of the prize winners, so be sure to check it out!

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Sights and Flavors of Osaka and Kobe

Sights and Flavors of Osaka and Kobe

Osaka and Kobe, Japan’s third- and seventh largest cities, respectively, are part of the Keihanshin region—which also includes Kyoto. The two cities offer a popular and easily doable three- to four-day itinerary for tourists. Andy hit both of them for the kind of food, culture, and fun you can only have in Kobe and Osaka. First stop? Kobe’s very own Chinatown.

Chinatown and a Sake Museum
Kobe’s Nankinmachi is one of the city’s major tourist attractions—and for a good reason! The area is home to more than 100 Chinese restaurants, stores, and even a temple dedicated to Guan Yu—a major figure of China’s Three Kingdom’s Period. Three impressive archways mark the east, west, and south entrances to the neighborhood, while guardian lions watch over its north. A pavilion featuring the 12 signs of the Chinese zodiac highlights the main square. Posing for a picture, Andy said he was born under the sign of the tiger.

Next was a visit to Kobe’s sake district—the largest in Hyogo Prefecture—to see the historic Sawanotsuru Museum. The Sawanotsuru has been brewing sake for more than 300 years, and their museum shares insights about the entire brewing process. But no visit to a sake museum is complete without a tasting, and Andy found the umeshu to be his favorite. It’s made from shochu (distilled liquor), plums, and sugar. He liked it so much that he ordered it whenever he had the chance for the rest of his trip!

Later in the day, the weather turned for the worse—but that just meant everyone got to relax at an onsen earlier than expected.

Hot Springs, Hiking, Kobe Beef
Arima Onsen is—you guessed it—an onsen town located in the city limits of Kobe. Its mountain setting is packed with natural hot springs and ryokan (traditional Japanese inns). Despite about 1,000-year history, the small town is still considered a hidden treasure. There are two kinds of springs you can enjoy there. Kinsen, or gold spring, is enriched with iron and salt and has a yellow hue, while ginsen—or silver spring—contains radium and carbonate that the locals say cures muscle aches. Andy said it was the perfect way to rest after all the walking he had been doing over the past few days.

Refreshed after soaking in the onsen and a good night’s sleep, Andy was ready to take on Mount Rokko, a famous retreat for hikers and nature lovers. The views from the peak give a rewarding panoramic view of the surrounding area. Andy said it was simply beautiful. The entire five-hour journey required crossing over rocky terrain, murky swamps, and steep slopes, but the experience was worth it. Of course, afterwards Andy was ready for another dip in one of Arima Onsen’s soothing hot springs.

For his last night in Kobe, Andy was treated to world-famous Kobe beef at a teppanyaki restaurant, where the chef cooks your meal right in front of you on an iron griddle. During his meal, Andy was able to talk with the chef, learning about the restaurant’s history and the chef’s training, while looking out at Kobe’s night skyline from the restaurant’s windows. He then called it an early night. After all, the trip wasn’t over yet. Osaka was waiting!

Feasting in Osaka
In the morning, Andy visited the Umeda Sky Building—a landmark of Osaka. From the observation deck, he could see the Rokko mountain range and joked that he was still feeling a bit sore from yesterday. It was time to reenergize with one of Osaka’s most famous delicacies.

Takoyaki is a ball-shaped piece of dough with a piece of octopus inside; it is topped with bonito flakes, mayonnaise, a sweet brown sauce, and green onions. While you can find it anywhere in Japan, it was invented in Osaka. The locals put a lot of love and care into the dish, and at the takoyaki restaurant Takonotetsu, you can have the experience of making this dish yourself. Andy was given a crash course on how to cook the perfect takoyaki. He enjoyed it so much he said he might have to take his own takoyaki grill back to England.

Andy took a stroll through Kuromon Market. It’s known as “Osaka’s Kitchen” because everyone—from grandmas to professional chefs—buys their supplies there. The rain was pouring, so the day ended with a trip to the local pub for a few drinks and kushiage—Osaka-style deep-fried meat, veggies, and cheese on skewers.

City with Many Sides
When morning came, Andy started off the day with a visit to Nakanoshima Park. Nestled between the Dojima and Tosabori rivers, it is Osaka’s first public park. It also has an impressive rose garden that features some 4,000 roses. Andy took a picture of a particularly beautiful red rose to show his support for the English rugby team.

Sights and Flavors of Osaka and Kobe

He then toured Osaka Castle, one of the most historic and important buildings in Japan. The castle has stood as an icon for more than 400 years. For Andy, the view from the castle was particularly impressive, as the surrounding foliage had begun to change to its autumn colors. Helmets and armor from the samurai that once manned the castle were on display, and Andy tried on the helmet of the daimyo (ruler) himself—Toyotomi Hideyoshi. He was surprised by the weight of the great ruler’s helmet.

Andy then paid a visit to Taikoen Yodogawa-tei, a garden and restaurant that is more than 100 years old. Its lush greenery and peaceful atmosphere were a complete change of pace from Osaka’s busy streets. It features a beautiful landscape design, serene pond, and stunning architecture that can be enjoyed all year round. Andy remarked that it was exactly what he needed after such a long and exciting tour.

Sights and Flavors of Osaka and Kobe

Next was a change of pace—spending time with students from a local high school known for its rugby team. The kids were thrilled to meet Andy, and although the weather was rough, they were still able to play a bit. At the end of the day, Andy gave the students some words of encouragement. He told them there is always room for improvement, but more importantly, win or lose, they should always enjoy the game.

The trip was coming to an end, but there was still time for one more delicious meal. The Michelin three-starred restaurant Hajime boasts a menu unlike anything else you will find in Japan. Its avant-garde course menu, titled “Dialogue with the Earth 2019,” features culinary delights that represent different aspects of nature such as clouds and earth. Andy described the meal as “absolute magic” and said it was one of the best food experiences of his entire life.

Andy thought that his trip through Kobe and Osaka was unforgettable. He had climbed tall mountains, sported the armor of a Japanese daimyo, and spent the night in a hidden valley surrounded by natural hot springs—all in just a few days. It just goes to show that you can find a wealth of things to do in Kobe and Osaka. What will you discover on your trip?

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A True Tokyo Experience

A True Tokyo Experience

As the nation’s capital, it should come as no surprise that Tokyo offers a wealth of activities to be enjoyed, and our three rugby legends made the most of their time in the city.

Chofu
First, we caught up with Justin, who was visiting Tokyo Tourist Information Counters in Chofu , where he chatted and took pictures with rugby fans and tried his hand at a variety of activities. One of them was making paper models of Tokyo Station or Tokyo Tower. Justin decided to tackle a model of Tokyo Station. Making the models takes a lot of skills, and the 2.01m Justin said, “It definitely would help if I had smaller hands!”

He then tried on a colorful costume and had a few pictures of himself taken, which were turned into a GIF animation that he was able to view on his phone. He also visited a virtual reality (VR) station, which offered panoramic views of locations around Tokyo. For his VR journey, he decided to take a spin around the Tama area, and he couldn’t believe just how immersive the experience was.

Asakusa
Later, we met up with Émile, who is starting off his morning in the Kappabashi area of Asakusa. The area is known for its kitchen products—including plastic replica food. One of the best-known shops that specializes in this is Ganso Shokuhin Sample-ya. After learning about the history and the detailed process that goes into making replica foods, Émile had the chance to make some of his own. He tried his hand at making some plastic ramen and curry and rice. As he said, “It was so real, it looked good enough to eat.”

A True Tokyo Experience

He then moved on to one of Asakusa’s most famous destinations: Kaminarimon. As he looked at the impressive red gate and the shopping streets leading towards the Sensoji Temple, he was pleased to see so many young people wearing kimono and enjoying the fine weather.

Émile then went in for a very different experience at Kawarana, where he took on the challenge of smashing ceramic tiles with his bare hands. After a quick introduction and training session, he put on a karate gi and belt and went at it. He was blown away by the experience: “This is so much fun! I thought it would be quite difficult, but it was rather easy and not painful at all.”

Moving on to a culinary experience, Émile dropped by at Chagohan Tokyo. First, he learned how dashi (Japanese broth) is made. Then, he had the chance to make his own Osaka-style okonomiyaki (savory Japanese pancake), using a variety of ingredients. He was even able to make his own sauce!

A Slow Boat Ride
The next stop was a sake tasting shop in Ryogoku, which is also known as the home of sumo wrestling. At the shop, Émile met up with Andy Gomarsall MBE, who used to play scrum-half for the England national rugby team, Leeds Carnegie, and Gloucester Rugby. The two former players sampled a few varieties of sake, and they both tried warm sake for the first time.

After this, Émile and Andy boarded a yakatabune (a low, barge-style boat with tatami flooring inside the cabin) where they set off on the Sumida River. Andy and Émile enjoyed a delicious meal of sashimi, tempura, and soba. Émile said, “It was fantastic. All of the different fish and vegetables are wonderfully fresh and delicious.” Andy added, “My family loves sashimi, so they would be very jealous of me right now—on a boat, in Tokyo, with tons of sashimi.”

The yakatabune made its way out to the Odaiba area and stopped near Rainbow Bridge. They went out on to the deck of the yakatabune, where they took pictures of the stunning skyline.

As the yakatabune headed back to Asakusa, Andy and Émile were in for a special treat. Joining them in the tatami room of the yakatabune was a musician who played the shamisen, a traditional three-stringed instrument. Both of the rugby greats were impressed by the performance.

Andy said, “It was so unique—powerful and impactful. I feel that music always tells a story, and this really expresses Japan in such a beautiful way.” Émile added, “It was my first time hearing music like this. You had some songs that were melancholic, and other songs that were very dynamic. It was fantastic!” It was a perfect end to a very busy day.

Dropping in on Ginza
Émile began the next morning by picking up some souvenirs for his friends and family at a shop in Ginza.
Later, he visited the celebrated Japanese lacquerware shop, Yamada Heiando. The shop’s customers include the Emperor of Japan and the Imperial Family, and Émile was awestruck by the craftsmanship that was on display there.

Then it was time for a quick lunch at Tempura Abe, a popular tempura restaurant. Émile was surprised by just how popular it was: “It’s small and in a basement, but people are lining up just to get in. Wow, this is amazing!” He was even more amazed by the food, and exclaimed, “The food is light and delicious and freshly served straight from the kitchen by the chef! My culinary experience in Japan is never-ending; I continue to be surprised each day.”

Calligraphy, Sushi, and Art
We then caught up with Andy, who was at the famous YANESEN Tourist Information Center in Taito Ward. He was there for a lesson in calligraphy. First, he learned the proper way to write strokes in kanji—Japanese characters. Then, after a bit of practice, he started learning how to write the characters for “friend” and “Japan.” Andy said, “It was tough—there were so many things to remember, but it was such a wonderful experience.” For his part, the calligraphy master was impressed by Andy’s patience and dedication to getting his characters right.

Next up was a visit to Sushi Gonpachi, the restaurant made famous by the movie Kill Bill. Andy got to see some of the places in the restaurant where some of the movie’s scenes were shot. He also had sushi there, and he said, “It was just extraordinary to witness the chef making the sushi with such attention to detail—it was incredible.”

A True Tokyo Experience

Finally, Andy went to MORI Building DIGITAL ART MUSEUM: teamLab Borderless, which he thought was completely spectacular. “This was simply amazing,” he said. “The creativity and conceptualization by the creators are fascinating. You could spend the whole day here and not got bored—the variety of the artwork and how you interact with it is brilliant.”

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The Many Charms of Shizuoka

The Many Charms of Shizuoka

Arriving at Tokyo’s Shinagawa Station, Émile was amazed by the sheer number of commuters to be found during rush hour. From Shinagawa, he took the Shinkansen (bullet train) to Shizuoka. It was Émile’s first time to take the Shinkansen, and he was thoroughly impressed by the train’s combination of comfort and speed.

Storied Castle
In less than an hour, he arrived at Shizuoka Station, where he met Mr. Ohashi, his guide to Sumpu Castle. On the way to the castle, Ohashi explained the history of Shizuoka, which was once called Sumpu during the Warring States Period (1467 –1600 ) and the Edo period (1603–1868). Historically, Shizuoka is well known for its connection to Tokugawa Ieyasu, the founder and first shogun of the Tokugawa shogunate.

Ieyasu spent his youth in Sumpu as a hostage between the ages 8 and 19, and started to build Sumpu Castle, which later served as his retirement home, in 1585 . In Shizuoka City, there are several statues of Ieyasu depicting him during different times in his life—childhood, adulthood, and during his later years. Shizuoka also is famous for mikan (Japanese mandarin oranges), and the mikan tree that Ieyasu himself planted more than 400 years ago still stands next to the statue of him as an older man.

Sumpu Castle was destroyed and rebuilt many times throughout history, and unfortunately none of the original castle buildings remain. The innermost courtyards of the former castle grounds were converted into a public park and a Japanese garden called Momijiyama Garden. The park also offers a clear view of Mt. Fuji.

Once he got to Sumpu Castle, Émile was very curious to learn some Japanese history, see how people lived during the Edo period, and find out about the battle techniques of the samurai. There was a replica of Ieyasu’s kabuto (warrior helmet) and sword in an exhibit. Émile found that the sword was quite heavy, but he was shocked to learn that Ieyasu was only 159 cm (5’2”) tall. He thought that samurai should be tall and big. He lamented, “I didn’t want to know that! They are nano samurai.”

The Many Charms of Shizuoka

A Scenic Hotel
Afterwards, Émile dropped in at Nippondaira Hotel. Located on the Nihondaira Plateau, the hotel offers a spectacular view of Mt. Fuji and the natural surroundings of the plateau. Émile was very impressed with the architecture, and at the hotel’s restaurant he enjoyed fine cuisine prepared with local ingredients—seasonal vegetables and fish—and served alongside fresh green tea produced in Shizuoka.

The Many Charms of Shizuoka

Getting in Touch with Nature
The final destination in Shizuoka was Kakegawa Kachoen, a theme park where you can enjoy seasonal flowers in full bloom and spend time with various kinds of birds. You can take pictures with an owl on your arm, pet a penguin while it’s sitting on your lap, watch a bird show, and feed beautiful parrots. As soon as Émile picked up some food, several birds flew and landed on his shoulders, head, and hands to get a snack. Émile enjoyed their company and called out to the birds, “Émile’s Restaurant, open 24/7!”

What surprised him the most was the secretary bird named “Kick-kun” (Mr. Kick). The bird, which is originally from Africa, hunts its prey in its natural habitat by stamping with its long feet. Kick-kun showed off his athletic prowess by kicking a rugby ball, which really impressed Émile, who said, “I may borrow him for the game! He’ll play well.”

On his way back to Tokyo, Émile said that his trip had really been changing his views about Japan. “People tend to think of Japan as being filled with big cities, high tech, and manga culture. But there’s so much more to see!”

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History, Industry, and Cuisine Meet in Nagoya

History, Industry, and Cuisine Meet in Nagoya

Justin visited Nagoya, a city in Aichi Prefecture.
Nogoya is located at the center of the main island of Japan, and 2.32 million people are living there.
There are many historic places there, and also it has played an important role in Japan’s industrial society, as you will read below.

The first stop on Justin’s busy day was the picturesque Nagoya Castle. Originally built in 1612 by the shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu, it was the residence of the Owari Tokugawa family until 1868 . After being mostly destroyed during World War II, the castle was rebuilt in 1959. It offers impressive views of the Nagoya cityscape, and the golden shachi (mythical creatures with the head of a tiger and the body of a carp) that adorn its roof are a symbol of the city. The castle is located in Meijo Park, which is a popular spot for hanami (cherry blossom viewing) in the spring.

The castle is currently under renovation at least until 2022 , but close to Nagoya Castle is the Honmaru Goten Palace, whose rooms are decorated with stunning traditional Japanese paintings. After his visit, Justin said that he was most impressed with the rich designs of the Ichi-no-ma and Jodan-no-ma rooms.

History, Industry, and Cuisine Meet in Nagoya

Next up was a visit to a ramen restaurant for a heaping bowl of miso garlic ramen and several plates of gyoza. After this filling meal, it was time for a fascinating visit to the Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology. The famous automaker got its start making looms, and on his tour of the museum, Justin learned how the company developed more and more sophisticated looms before making the transition to motor vehicles. “This was really fascinating,” Justin said.

History, Industry, and Cuisine Meet in Nagoya

It was then time to move to Toyota, a city close to Nagoya, where the City of Toyota Stadium is located. Justin met up with an enthusiastic group of rugby fans close to the stadium before heading into the stadium to watch the game between Wales and Georgia.

After the match, Justin went back to Nagoya to drop in at a famous local izakaya (a Japanese pub) that is famous for its chicken wings, where he had a delicious evening feast. “These might be the best wings that I’ve ever had!” Justin exclaimed. Justin ate up about 50 chicken wings!

And with that, Justin’s visit to Nagoya came to a close. See you next time in Shizuoka!

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Exploring the Traditions of Scenic Kyushu

Exploring the Traditions of Scenic Kyushu

Next on the Japan Sports Journey was Kyushu—Japan’s third-largest island—and this time Émile Ntamack, former Stade Toulousain player and veteran of the French national rugby team, was along for the ride. Kyushu is home to historical shrines and traditional Japanese hot springs, and landscapes that range from vast gorges to stunning coastlines. It was Émile’s first time on the island and he was excited to do and see everything Kyushu had to offer.

Fabulous Fukuoka
Émile began his Kyushu experience in Fukuoka, the largest city in Kyushu. The city has a long history of international trade, and today Fukuoka is a global business center that attracts foreigners from all over the world.

On his way to Fukuoka Hakatanomori Stadium to watch the France–USA match, Émile met and mingled with fans in Fukuoka’s popular Hakata Ward and ate authentic wagyu (Japanese beef) skewers. A local performer dressed like a ninja gave Émile lessons in throwing shuriken (ninja stars) and wielding a sword.

After France’s 33–9 victory, Émile was overjoyed. He moved on to Nakasu Kawabata, a neighborhood brimming with historical significance. Home to Hakata’s famous Kushida Shrine, the area is a base for the culture of Hakata. Here, you’ll not only find Canal City, a modern entertainment complex, but also the city’s oldest shopping district. In Nakasu Kawabata, Émile celebrated at the local yatai (food stall) called KENZO. He ate a full Fukuoka-style feast featuring motsunabe (a hot pot of beef or pork intestines), yaki ramen (fried noodles), and yakitori (grilled chicken skewers).

Cultural Wonders
Following the sporting excitement, Émile was ready to take it slower and learn more about Fukuoka’s history and culture. He visited the Munakata Taisha Shrines near the sacred island of Okinoshima—a World Heritage Site and a notable site of worship in Japan. It was a particularly fortunate day for Émile, as the Munakata Shrine Autumn Grand Festival was under way. Émile was lucky enough to see urayasu no mai, a sacred dance that is performed only once per year. He then climbed 100 steps to the island’s most holy place and took a quiet moment to pray.

After a quick Japanese-Italian lunch at A.PUTEC FLEGO, Émile headed to Uminonakamichi Seaside Park for a bit of cycling. The park is surrounded by Hakata Bay and seasonal flowers can be found there all year long. There is even a petting zoo there that is home to a family of capybara. Before the day ended, Émile was invited to dinner at Nihon Bare, a local favorite. Like Émile, the owner is a former rugby player and current coach, so they had a lot to talk about.

On the next day, the weather was nice enough to visit Ohori Park, with its peaceful trail that runs around a picturesque pond. It’s also home to the Fukuoka Art Museum. Émile remarked, “Ohori Park is so nice and relaxing, and the pond is beautiful—it’s a perfect spot where families can spend a day.” Later, Émile visited Kego Shrine and Dazaifu Tenmangu. Kego Shrine is a shrine where local lords used to worship, and has played a part in historical battles. Meanwhile, Dazaifu Tenmangu is one of the most important Tenmangu shrines (shrines dedicated to scholarship) in Japan. Of all the shrines that Émile visited, this one was his favorite.

Shops and stalls lined the roads leading to Dazaifu Tenmangu, and Émile ate manju called umegaemochi — traditional sweets made from wheat dough. He also took an omikuji—a paper fortune that tells you whether your luck is bad or not. Before ending his shrine-hopping trip in Fukuoka, Émile made one last prayer—for France’s victory over Tonga—and began the next leg of his trip.

Exploring the Traditions of Scenic Kyushu

Natural Wonders
Émile was off to the city of Beppu in Oita Prefecture. Located between the sea and the mountains, Beppu is one of Japan’s most famous onsen (hot spring) towns. While there are plenty of onsens for bathing, the city also has seven major geothermal hot springs—which the locals refer to as “the seven hells of Beppu.” As the name implies, these “hell” hot springs are only for viewing! Émile said he couldn’t believe how the hot springs looked and contrasted with their surroundings.

For Émile’s final stop in Kyushu, he traveled to Kumamoto Prefecture, which is famous for its centuries-old castle, fresh fruit, and the volcanoes of Aso. It was here that the group took a cycling trip to visit Mt. Komezuka, a young volcano that is only about 3,000 years old.

While looking out at the rolling farm hills and powerful views of the caldera, Émile said, “T his is s uch a thrilling experience! The scenery is beautiful and the surrounding forest is so peaceful and relaxing. I can’t believe that about 50,000 people live inside this enormous caldera, coexisting with the volcano over many generations. Although it was a tough ride up, thanks to our electric bikes we could enjoy the ride without too much trouble. I’d definitely recommend it to everyone!”

Exploring the Traditions of Scenic Kyushu

After a quick lunch of Akaushi with rice at a restaurant near the Aso Volcano Museum Center, Émile took a 30-minute hike to the summit of Mt. Kishimadake. At the top, they could see Mt. Takadake, the tallest mountain in the region. After hiking back down the mountain, a surprise was waiting for Émile— a horseback ride at the Aso Kusasenri Riding Club. Émile said he was blown away by the sizes of Kumamoto’s horses. Like a true rugby star, he chose the biggest horse—Ai-chan , who weighs in at 900 kilograms.

On his final night in Kyushu, Émile enjoyed local sake and kaiseki (a course meal), which included sashimi, local steamed vegetables, and grilled Kumamoto beef. Émile was delighted with every new dish. “The food I’m having simply gets better and better,” he said. “There are so many varieties and so many flavors: the food is delicious and goes well with the sake the manager recommended!” Finally, after such a long and exciting day, Émile enjoyed a foot and body massage at the hotel before retiring to bed.

That’s it for Émile’s journey in Kyushu—an island filled with culture, nature, and adventure. Follow them next time as their journey continues in Nagoya.

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Getting Away from the City—In Tokyo

Getting Away from the City—In Tokyo

Justin’s Japan Sports Journey took him away from the city side in Tokyo, but this time he wasn’t traveling alone. Former Wallabies Mark Gerrard (fullback, center, wing, flyhalf), scrum-halves Sam Cordingley and Sam Payne, and general manager Lochie Lawrence joined him on his adventure.

Stepping into the sumo ring
In Mitaka city, the lucky guys experienced one of Japan’s oldest sports: sumo. They suited up in traditional mawashi and were given authentic training by former wrestlers at the RAIEN Sumo Experience, which offers foreign visitors and residents a rare chance to enter the sacred dohyo (sumo ring) usually reserved only for practitioners of the ancient ritual. After a crash course in the basics, the crew put on a demonstration.

They wondered if rugby players could benefit from this physically demanding sport. “This would be good training for some of the positions like the front-rowers,” Sam said while catching his breath. Likewise, Mark and Lochie thought that the sumo experience wasn’t easy, but it was a lot of fun. “It’s absolutely something you have to do if you visit Japan,” they said.

Getting Away from the City—In Tokyo

On the Trail in Okutama
Venturing further, they were surprised to learn there is a fair share of countryside in the Tokyo Metropolis. The town of Okutama is located about two hours from Shinjuku Station and features lush forests, tall mountain peaks, and crystal-clear rivers. Known for its traditional onsen, scenic fishing spots, and natural beauty, Okutama is a popular quick getaway for Tokyoites.

Their first stop was Kobayashi House— a Japanese-style home in the mountains where locals from the Hinohara village produced charcoal and other goods. The residence was a vital checkpoint for weary travelers.

Centuries later, the traditional architecture has stood the test of time and Kobayashi House is a designated Important Cultural Property that overlooks beautiful peaks and is surrounded by flowing streams and rolling hills. It’s a historic example of how people lived harmoniously among nature.

Justin said that they felt privileged to see the traditions and history of Japan and that the trek up the mountain was well worth it. “There was an immediate sense of calm and tranquility when we finished,” he said. After learning more about the history of Kobayashi House, the guys took a moment to enjoy the view and eat onigiri (rice balls) and karaage (fried chicken).

More details of Kobayashi House:
https://www.gotokyo.org/en/spot/1022/index.html

Tired and still hungry, the group made their way to Kabutoya—a 300-year-old inn next to the Minamiaki River. At the entrance, the staff surprised them by jumping out, dressed as ninja. Justin and the others were taught ninja hand signs—which they joyfully continued to use throughout the rest of their journey in their photos.

After spending a bit of time in the inn’s onsen, the crew donned yukata and ate a spread of locally produced delicacies. They stuffed themselves with fresh fish caught from the streams surrounding Hinohara and vegetables grown in the family-run inn’s farm. “The fish was so good I practically ate the bones,” Mark said.

The feast continued with a barbecue, featuring beef and local chicken. Absolutely stuffed, they ended the night by merrily drinking regional beers and watching Scotland thrash Samoa 34–0 on TV. They all agreed it was a one-of-a-kind experience. “You can’t do this anywhere else,” Justin said.

More details of Kabutoya:
http://www.kabutoya.net/english/index.html

Getting Away from the City—In Tokyo

Taking the Plunge
In the morning, the group went for a bit of outdoors fun with Canyons Japan, which leads adventure trips in various locations. The guys met up with their guide, Moana, who showed them the ropes and led them on a canyoning excursion through Okutama’s dramatic limestone peaks and rushing waters.

The crystal-clear water was completely refreshing, but the course offered plenty of thrills too. The guys had the option of taking natural slides down into the water, but they opted to take the five-meter plunge instead.

On their way to Okutama’s Earth Garden restaurant for steaks and hamburgers, the group met up with former French national team player Émile Ntamack (center, wing, fullback). This was his first trip to Japan, and Émile said he was amazed that such natural beauty could be found so close to urban Tokyo.

For their final stop, they were invited by the local brew factory VERTERE to taste exclusive craft beers. VERTERE cans and bottles its own beers, but they can only be found locally. Beers on tap included a chai tea latte stout and a spicy Belgian wheat. Most of the guys began with the Norway Cream—a smooth and sweet mild ale, but the winner was the chai tea latte stout, according to Sam and Lochie.

Looking back over the past two days, the group said they had been constantly and pleasantly surprised. “We got to experience things regular tourists can’t if they just stay in the city,” Justin said.

Stay tuned for the next stage of the rugby journey: Kyushu. We’ll see you there!

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Great Rugby, Food and Drink in Kamaishi!

Great Rugby, Food and Drink in Kamaishi!

Justin Harrison is general manager of the Classic Wallabies, the alumni of Australia’s national rugby union team, where he played lock forward.

In late September, Justin visited Kamaishi, Iwate Prefecture, to catch some rugby action, sample delicious local food, and take in the amazing sights.

On the way to Kamaishi, he stopped by the city of Tono, where he enjoyed craft beer made from fresh water and hops from Iwate. He also got to sample some local vegetables, which he said were incredibly good—like a gift from Mother Nature.

After checking in a hotel in Kamaishi, Justin was in the mood for sushi, so he dropped in at one of Kamaishi’s best-known restaurants. Iwate is renowned for incredibly fresh fish, so the sushi was truly excellent. It was served with fragrant and tasty sake from Hamachidori, a local brewery. Justin finished the pleasant evening with a walking tour of Kamaishi bars, where friendly locals greeted him with enthusiasm.

Great Rugby, Food and Drink in Kamaishi!

The next day, Justin visited Kamaishi’s Fanzone, where he met many excited rugby supporters who posed for photos with him as they waited for the afternoon match to start.
Staff members at the Fanzone were welcoming guests with big smiles. Mr. Suzuki from the Office of the Commissioner of the Japan Sports Agency was also visiting the Fanzone, which was getting guests excited for the upcoming games played in Kamaishi. At the Fanzones, you can enjoy local food as well as touch rugby; they are great places to experience rugby and regional culture.

He then went to Dairen Ramen for a local favorite: rugger ramen. This dish originated in the 1980s, a period when Kamaishi’s rugby team, then called Nippon Steel Kamaishi, won the national rugby championship several years in a row. Rugger ramen is served in a spicy miso broth with plenty of garlic. It is topped with an egg—shaped like a rugby ball—and, keeping with the rugby theme, diners can choose thick noodles (known as “forwards”) or thin noodles (“backs”).

After lunch, there was a match between Fiji and Uruguay, at Kamaishi Unosumai Memorial Stadium, which was built last year on a site where schools were destroyed by the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami of March 11, 2011. With a fighting spirit, Uruguay pulled off a historic shock by winning the thrilling match 30–27. It was a great day to watch the rugby match—the sky was perfectly blue, and there was a fresh breeze blowing. Justin said, “When I visited Kamaishi last time, the stadium was still under construction. Today I was touched to see the completed stadium—it’s majestic and I’m very excited that we could watch the game here.”

Great Rugby, Food and Drink in Kamaishi!

After another evening in Kamaishi, Justin visited the Hamachidori brewery, which means he got the second opportunity to enjoy the taste in this journey. Hamachidori produces some 130,000 bottles of sake each year, 90 percent of it for the local market. So Justin really appreciated this rare chance to sample this beloved regional drink.

And with that, Justin was off to his next stop: Saitama. See you there!

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Culture, Cuisine and Bonsai in Saitama

Culture, Cuisine and Bonsai in Saitama

Justin’s next stop on his tour of Japan was Saitama Prefecture, just north of Tokyo.

First was a visit to Kawagoe, known as “Little Edo” because parts of the city preserve the ambiance of the Edo period (1603–1867). To honor the feeling of old-time Japan, some tourists wear kimonos and stroll around the historical area near Kurazukuri Street, the main thoroughfare.

One of Kawagoe’s most celebrated restaurants is Hayashiya, which specializes in eel and has been open for nearly 200 years. Justin dropped in for a delicious bite, and he loved the rich, high-quality eel and its sweet, fragrant sauce.

After a pleasant stroll around Kawagoe, Justin headed to Omiya. He checked in at the famous Higashiyama ryokan (Japanese inn), which has been in operation for more than 110 years. The ryokan is also known for its restaurant, which serves kappo cuisine—a multi-course meal decided on only by the chef and that is made of seasonal ingredients. Justin sat down to a splendid kappo dinner. Two of his favorite dishes were the chawanmushi (savory egg custard) and the mini-shabu shabu (thin slices of meat cooked quickly by swirling them in boiling water).

Culture, Cuisine and Bonsai in Saitama

The next morning, Justin visited the Omiya Bonsai Art Museum. The world’s first publicly run museum dedicated to bonsai has been drawing enthusiastic visitors from Japan and around the world since 2010. Nearby is the Omiya Bonsai Village, which was established about 100 years ago when a group of artisans from Tokyo moved there. Six of the original 30 bonsai gardens are still open, and some are real gems, including such miniature trees that are nearly 1,000 years old. Needless to say, Justin was thoroughly impressed by both the museum and the gardens. He remarked, “It’s amazing that people take care of these plants for such a long time. All this effort to maintain such beauty is really inspiring.”

Culture, Cuisine and Bonsai in Saitama

The final stop in Omiya was the Musashi Ichinomiya Hikawa Shrine. Musashi Ichinomiya is the most important shrine of the 280 Hikawa Shrines found around Japan. Dedicated to Susanoo, the Shinto god of the sea and storms, it used to be the main shrine of what was called Musashi Province, a region that included the greater Tokyo area, most of Saitama Prefecture, and part of Kanagawa Prefecture. The shrine also gives Omiya its name—in Japanese, Omiya means “great shrine.”

Reflecting on his visit to Omiya, Justin said, “It’s great to visit a city where you can feel Japanese history—and it’s within an hour from Tokyo.”

And with that, it was time for Justin to move on to the next leg in his journey: the Tama area of western Tokyo.

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An Australian Rugby Legend Visits Sapporo

An Australian Rugby Legend Visits Sapporo

In Japan’s beautiful northern prefecture of Hokkaido, former star of the Australian national rugby team and current general manager of the Classic Wallabies, Justin Harrison, spent the weekend exploring the culture, tasting the food, and meeting the locals. Justin was looking forward to his journey. Arriving late in Sapporo, Justin spent his first evening catching up with old teammates—Sterling Mortlock, Lote Tuqiri, and Matt Cockbain—who were visiting Japan for RWC. The vets shared drinks, stories, and opinions on Australia’s Saturday game against Fiji at Sapporo Stadium. The next day, Justin visited the rugby Fanzone near Sapporo TV Tower in the popular Odori Park to meet up with hundreds of visiting Australia fans. While at the tower, Justin recalled that he had come to Sapporo a year before to scout the stadium and shared history he had learned. He particularly admired William S. Clark. Clark, an American professor and leader in agricultural education, was invited by the Japanese government to Sapporo to establish the Sapporo Agricultural College—known today as Hokkaido University. Today, Clark is celebrated for modernizing Sapporo, and is familiar to local people. His statue at Sapporo Hitsujigaoka Observation Hill even wore the rugby jersey of the Japanese team on September 19th-20th!

An Australian Rugby Legend Visits Sapporo

That evening, and to celebrate Australia’s 39–21 victory over Fiji, Justin visited the Rugby Bar at a hotel in Sapporo. The bar has installed a big-screen TV so that guests can watch RWC matches, and is serving all drinks—from beer to cocktails—for ¥500 each during the tournament.

Later that evening, they went to Irish pub Brian Brew. Of course, Brian Brew serves drinks, but it’s also a popular tourist spot thanks to their fish and chips, grilled steak, and meat pies. Aussie and Japanese fans alike were celebrating Australia’s win at the pub and were absolutely thrilled to meet the former players. Justin and Tuqiri took pictures with fans and signed the pub’s famous wall of rugby legends before ending the night.

An Australian Rugby Legend Visits Sapporo

The next day, Justin wanted to try one of Hokkaido’s famous dishes: jingisukan, or grilled lamb. It was his first time trying it, and he really loved the taste. Before leaving Sapporo on Sunday to follow the Wallabies for their journey across Japan, Justin headed away for a bit of quiet in the city’s award-winning Moerenuma Park. The weather was perfect for viewing the scenery and contemporary architecture, including the glass pyramid, Hidamari. He was amazed by this magnificent spot where art and nature come together.
Justin agreed that this place was perfect for the families to have a picnic.
“There’s a lot of kids here now, and Moms and Dads, and everyone has got a smile on their face. They’re clearly enjoying the fusion of the outlook and nature, and that’s one of the things we know about Japanese culture too. Enjoying what’s around you. The surrounding and finding peace and tranquility wherever you are.”

That’s all for Sapporo. Where will Justin go next?

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Cool prizes for sharing your memories of Japan!

Cool prizes for sharing your memories of Japan!

 Campaign Overview
In this amazing new campaign, we're giving out so many great prizes to some lucky winners, selected from applicants via Facebook! The rules are simple: Post your photo/video in the comment section, and collect Likes! Campaign runs from September 20th to November 2nd. In this campaign, we have four themes. You can win exciting prizes determined by each one.

Cool prizes for sharing your memories of Japan!

 Cool Prizes!
You can win these unique prizes! Fancy lacquered chopsticks and rugby ball-shaped chopstick rests, which were made specially for this campaign. Realistic food replicas will be selected by one of our rugby legends reporters, from a food replica shop during his stay in Japan. Imagine showing off these replicas of tasty food you experienced in Japan! There are even custom-made rugby-themed Ukiyo-e, an awesome blend of traditional art style and modern sport! There are miscellaneous autographed Tokyo souvenirs jointly developed by Tokyo Metropolitan Government and local businesses, and for hard-core sports fans the most exciting prize might be the signed rugby jerseys and polo shirts!
Check out this URL for more details!
https://www.sportsjourney.jp/photo_campaign

Cool prizes for sharing your memories of Japan!

 These prizes are super rare, so to get your hands on them, you’ll need to sign up with your best photo or video! It’s not hard - you’re going to take photos and videos anyway, so why not share here what you loved about Japan? You’ll get a chance to win some SUBARASHII (WONDERFUL) prizes! Go for the win!

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Welcome to Rugby World Cup 2019 Action

Welcome to Rugby World Cup 2019 Action

Rugby World Cup 2019 Starts Today!
 
 Rugby World Cup 2019 kicks off today with Japan playing Russia in Tokyo.
Over the course of 48 matches, 20 teams will play in 12 stadiums to determine who will claim the title of world champion!
Don’t miss this chance to be a part of history and enjoy everything Rugby World Cup 2019 has to offer here in Japan.

 
Follow All the Action
 
 Throughout Rugby World Cup 2019, this website will continue to provide updates on the reporters’ activities and useful information.
Stay tuned and keep updated.
As the reporters, three former rugby players, Justin Harrison, Andy Gomarsall and Émile Ntamack are about to come to Japan!
 For more information about the reporters, please take a look at the article posted on September 6th.
Also, on this website you can find the information of the stadiums, the sports bars where you can share your passion for sports with others, and several useful tips to travel around Japan.
 
 Check out our Facebook page too!
https://www.facebook.com/Japan-Sports-Journey

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"Experience Kyushu- The Kyushu Matsuri Festival"

"Experience Kyushu- The Kyushu Matsuri Festival"

 Kyushu is Japan’s third largest island , and located in the southwest of the country. Primarily a mountainous region, this area is well known for its natural beauty and idyllic landscapes, active volcanoes, waterfalls, natural hot springs, white sand beaches, great outdoor activities and well preserved castles. Most people are familiar with Nagasaki which was one of the few cities open during about 200 year isolation of Japan but there are many other great places to visit; such as The bustling city of Fukuoka, which is well-known for its nightlife and many outdoor food stalls. Other areas are noted for various types of porcelain, historical events and several famous delicacies that shows Kyushu’s vibrant international culture.

"Experience Kyushu- The Kyushu Matsuri Festival"

 One of the best ways to experience everything Kyushu has to offer is at the various local festivals steeped in rich cultural significance, great food and drinks, and original Japanese activities. Over 50 festivals are held in the Kyushu and Yamaguchi areas during the festival season from September 20th - Nov 3rd. There are several events and festivals in Fukuoka Prefecture including: the Kokura Castle Festival, the star gazing party for the HOKUTO-NO-MIZUKUMI , the Kanda Kohzaki Yamakasaka Competition, and Saga International Balloon Fiesta to name a few. Sample some of Japan’s best sake from 20 different breweries at the Yuda hot springs sake festival held in October In Yamaguchi Prefecture. Or perhaps enjoy the Haga Kimono Week where you can rent a traditional Japanese Kimono - and have your photo taken while walking in the classic cityscape. If you love traditional dancing you’ll want to try the Kagura Festival in Kumamoto or Yokagura traditional theatrical dance at the Miyazaki Mythology 7 Days . Other festivals and events are located all over Kyushu and Yamaguchi.

"Experience Kyushu- The Kyushu Matsuri Festival"

 There are so many festivals during the festival season that it is impossible to highlight them all, but one great website to keep you updated on all the area has to offer, is Matsuri Kyushu. The site offers news and a great map with links to essential information for all the festivals in the Kyushu and Yamaguchi areas. It is intuitively organized to make your visit memorable. Kyushu has many charms such as warm climate and warm people, rich cultural heritage, history, and natural beauty. The matsuri festival season is a great way to sample these charms of Kyushu.
For more details: https://matsuri.welcomekyushu.com/

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Travel Japan with Rugby Greats

Travel Japan with Rugby Greats

Once Fierce Rivals, Now Adventure Buddies

 Three former rugby players from Australia, the UK, and France who used to compete ruthlessly on the pitch are about to share their unique experiences as they travel to Rugby World Cup 2019 host cities here in Japan.

Here’s some introductions
 • Justin Harrison is a former lock forward from Australia who has played with the Plus500 Brumbies, the New South Wales Waratahs, Ulster Rugby, and Bath Rugby. He also played for Australia in Rugby World Cup 2003. He is now the general manager for the Classic Wallabies. Active in charity activities, Harrison has visited Kamaishi in Iwate Prefecture and Sapporo in Hokkaido Prefecture to play rugby with children.

 • Andy Gomarsall MBE is a former scrum half from the UK. He played for a number of professional teams, including the London Wasps, Gloucester Rugby, and Harlequin Football Club. He played for England when the team won Rugby World Cup 2003 and went to the finals in Rugby World Cup 2007. He was a co-commentator for ITV’s coverage of Rugby World Cup 2011.

 • Émile Ntamack, who hails from France, played center, wing, and fullback for Stade Toulousain and the French national team; he has won 46 caps. He represented France in Rugby World Cups 1995 and 1999, and coached the French U20s to a championship in 2006. His son, Romain Ntamack, plays fly half for Stade Toulousain and the French national rugby union team.

 
Experience the many regions of Japan!

 These rugby legends will be traveling to the host cities including Tokyo, to enjoy various activities while supporting their home teams.
Transportation system is well developed in Japan, so you can easily travel from Tokyo to other cities!

These are just a few of the things that these rugby legends will experience:
 • Paying a visit to Japanese traditional fighters: they’ll train with Sumo wrestlers and eat traditional Sumo food after their training session.
 • Canyoning at Okutama, which is famous for its nature in Tokyo
 • Watching and cheering for their favorite teams while mingling and drinking with local sports fans at sports bars.
 • Hitting must-see spots in Yokohama, where the final match will take place.
 • Enjoying what Hokkaido has to offer: fresh seafood, beer, and more!

Travel Japan with Rugby Greats

 
Come on to Japan Sports Journey Facebook!

 If you’re looking for sports and fun athletic activities in Japan, you should definitely check these three rugby legends! You can follow their adventures during their stay in Japan—where they’re going and what they’re doing, eating, and trying—through their updates not only on this NEWS page, but also on our official Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Japan-Sports-Journey
Join the journey with us!

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How to get to Tokyo Stadium from Shinjuku Station

How to get to Tokyo Stadium from Shinjuku Station

 One of the main venues for the upcoming Rugby World Cup is Tokyo Stadium. It is located just outside central Tokyo, a short train ride from Shinjuku station. Shinjuku station is one of the busiest transportation hubs in the world and can be a bit daunting to navigate, but if you take your time it’s not so difficult. Here I will guide you on your way to Tokyo Stadium from the station.

How to get to Tokyo Stadium from Shinjuku Station

 Shinjuku Station is serviced by many different railways but to reach Tokyo Stadium you'll need to take the Keiō Line to Tobitakyū Station. To get to the Keiō Line from the JR Line head for the South Exit. Be careful because there is also a South-East and a New South Exit! Once out of the South Exit, look to your right and you will see a sign for the Odakyu and Keiō lines. As you follow the signs, on your right will be a sign for “Mosaic Street”, next to that, on the left is the passageway to the Keiō Line. Navigate your way down the stairs and passageway. When you reach the bottom of the stairs, to your right is the Keiō Line ticket gate. Proceed to platform 2 or 3 to catch the Special Express or the Semi-Special Express.
There are many trains you can take to reach the stadium, but I suggest taking either the Special Express or the Semi-Special Express to Chōfu station for speed and convenience. The ride only takes about 15 minutes. When you reach Chōfu Station you will need to transfer to the Local train or the Rapid train, from there ride 2 stops to Tobitakyū Station. On days when games are held at Tokyo Stadium, the Special Express and the Semi-Special Express trains will stop at Tobitakyū station before and after the game. For more details such as departure and arrival times, please ask the station attendants.

How to get to Tokyo Stadium from Shinjuku Station

 From the station, Tokyo Stadium is a short 5-minute walk from the north exit. Once you reach Tobitakyū Station exit from the North Gate and go down the stairs. Cross the street in front of you and turn right on the main road. Keep walking straight until you reach the staircase on the street that leads to the stadium. Walk up the stairs and you’re there!

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Explore Japan during Rugby World Cup 2019

Explore Japan during Rugby World Cup 2019

 Rugby World Cup 2019 is on its way, and with matches taking place at 12 venues around Japan—from Hokkaido to Kyushu—it’s a perfect opportunity to see some great sports and explore Japan. Here are two regions of the country where you’ll be able to do both.

Explore Japan during Rugby World Cup 2019

Kyushu

 Perhaps best known for its hot springs, volcanoes and bountiful nature, Kyushu will be hosting Rugby World Cup 2019 matches at venues in Fukuoka, Oita and Kumamoto Prefectures. If you plan to watch a game in Kyushu, here are a few must-see travel destinations near the stadiums.

 Fukuoka City, the largest city in Fukuoka Prefecture and Kyushu, is home to the famous Hakata ramen, and historical castles and UNESCO World Heritage Sites including the Munakata Taisha Shrine. The city offers a mix of traditional and modern elements, giving visitors the chance to explore the Canal City Hakata shopping center, Fukuoka Tower, and Fukuoka Castle.

 After around a 40-minute ride by Shinkansen from Fukuoka City, you’ll arrive in Kumamoto station. Celebrated around the country for its bear mascot, Kumamon, Kumamoto is home to historical and natural sites which include the Suizenji Jojuen (the Suizenji Park), Mount Aso—one of the largest active volcanos in Japan—and Kumamoto Castle. Though the castle was damaged in a 2016 earthquake, tourists still flock there for sightseeing.

 While many Prefectures of Kyushu are known for their hot springs, Beppu and Yufu City in Oita Prefecture—which is known as the “onsen Prefecture,”—offer an onsen experience that is a cut above. At these two cities, visitors can choose between sunamushi (hot beach sand bathing) and traditional hot springs.

 For more information about what to do in Kyushu, visit https://www.kyushuandtokyo.org

Explore Japan during Rugby World Cup 2019

Tohoku

 Should your rugby journey take you up to Kamaishi in Iwate Prefecture, there’s plenty to see around Tohoku as well. Perhaps the region is well known for its five UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including Chuson-ji and Motsu-ji temples. Iwate has an endless array of travel spots.

 During the summer, Jodogahama Beach, part of the Sanriku Fukko National Park, is one of the most iconic beaches travelers visit. Widely known for its scenic beauty, the beach is listed among Japan’s 100 Best Beaches .

 Apart from its beaches, hiking trails and lakes, visitors can explore one of Japan’s three great limestone caves , Ryusendo Cave. And that’s just Iwate Prefecture—Tohoku has plenty to offer the curious traveler.

 See what else you can do in Tohoku! Go to https://www.tohokuandtokyo.org.

 Finally, if you’re interested in exploring even more of Japan, you should definitely check out https://www.tourism-alljapanandtokyo.org/?lang=en. It’s full of travel tips, information about Japanese festivals, and listings of specialty shops in Tokyo where you can buy goods that come from all around the country.

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The Perfect Way to Enjoy Tokyo during Rugby World Cup 2019

The Perfect Way to Enjoy Tokyo during Rugby World Cup 2019

Fanzones

 With Rugby World Cup (RWC) 2019 just around the corner, locations have been set up where rugby fans around Japan can come together to celebrate this once-in-a-lifetime experience. They’re called Fanzones, and they’re event spaces where rugby fans can enjoy RWC2019 matches together.

 If you’re looking for a place to watch the matches live, or prefer an energized crowd to celebrate with, then the Fanzones are definitely for you. Located in each of the cities where RWC2019 matches will take place, the Fanzones will feature a big screen to watch the live matches, rugby-themed activities, food and drinks, and special events that celebrate each area’s local culture.

The Perfect Way to Enjoy Tokyo during Rugby World Cup 2019

 There are two areas in Tokyo which have Fanzones. The Chofu area and Yurakucho area.

 The Fanzone at Chofu station is just a minute away from the Hiroba exit at Chofu Station. The Fanzone at Tokyo Sports Square is just around a minute walk away from the Kyobashi exit of Yurakucho Station. However, if you are arriving from the subway, exit D9 will take you to where you need to go.

To find out more about the Fanzones, visit https://www.rugbyworldcup.com/fanzones/

The Perfect Way to Enjoy Tokyo during Rugby World Cup 2019

If you get lost or do not know what to do in Tokyo

 If you get lost or do not know what to do during your stay in Tokyo, there are around three hundred ‘Tokyo Tourists Information Desks’ and five ‘Tokyo Tourist Information Centers’ that will be a great help for you. The former ones are the information desks officially approved by Tokyo Metropolitan Government. The latter ones are run by Tokyo Metropolitan Government, and they are Tokyo Metropolitan Government (1st floor of Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building No.1), Shinjuku Expressway Bus Terminal (3rd floor of Busta Shinjuku), Haneda Airport (2nd floor of Haneda Airport International Terminal), Keisei Ueno (in front of the ticket gates at Keisei Ueno Station), and Tama (3rd floor of Ecute Tachikawa). You can find a lot of great information about Tokyo and all of Japan! They also offer free Wi-Fi and useful information about accommodation facilities in Tokyo and Tokyo Tourism Volunteers.

For more information about Tokyo Tourist Information Centers and their services, visit
https://www.gotokyo.org/en/plan/tourist-info-center/index.html

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Find your best restaurants in Japan

Find your best restaurants in Japan

 In Japan you can find some of the best cuisine from all over the world. Japan is said to be the country with the highest density of restaurants with around 250 per person! Not only that but often times eateries are very small and well hidden. It can be quite overwhelming finding the best restaurants to suit your particular taste and preference. You definitely will need some guidance and proper planning otherwise you end up overwhelmed fairly quickly.

Find your best restaurants in Japan

 LIVE JAPAN is a great multilingual resource provided by GURUNAVI, a local famous curated gourmet navigation site, for planning your foodie adventure. The website has great content on many other topics including manners, lodging and shopping but today I want to focus on their Eating page. You will find many ways to search for that special place, from a category listing of types of food or cuisine like sushi or nabe, to simply browsing articles, latest hot spots, food events, coupons, and popular restaurants. The feature I like the most is the handy search feature where you can browse by location and categories such as: Japanese cuisine, cafes, all-you-can-eat, seafood, etc. The site is filled with great photos and brief but helpful info, making it a convenient guide for food and many other topics while visiting Japan.

More information: https://livejapan.com/en/go-eating/

Find your best restaurants in Japan

 My second suggestion only deals with food, called EAT TOKYO, a multilingual site provided by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government. The approach on this site is simple, choosing to focus on two main factors, Location and Type of Cuisine. You can search one or the other or combine both. You can choose a specific location by name or search nearby allowing access to your current location. There are also search features for smoke free restaurants and coupons. There is also some added content about popular Japanese foods and, helpful Manga concerning specific food culture and manners, that will prepare you for a uniquely Japanese dining experience.

More information: http://www.menu-tokyo.jp/
 
 Although you can find many websites with similar features and content these two suggestions offer a simpler way to browse and choose a suitable eatery. But the more important thing is that they are well curated content assuring quality choices. Furthermore, they are from reliable sources. I hope these sites help you to avoid the overwhelming choices travelers experience when it comes to food in Japan.

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Taking Tours in Tokyo

Taking Tours in Tokyo

 With Rugby World Cup 2019 and the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games on their way, Tokyo’s government is making it easier than ever for foreign visitors to experience the city. A selection of free (or budget-friendly) multilingual tours are available. In this article, we will introduce you to Tokyo Volunteer Guides, which can help you quite a few ways you can explore the city.
 
 If you prefer a tour without the stress of navigating your way around Tokyo by yourself, then the 13 routes that the site lists are an ideal choice. Available in seven languages—English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Chinese, and Korean—the tours can take you through 13 different Tokyo experiences. Below are four routes to get you inspired.

Taking Tours in Tokyo

Route 1: Shinjuku Gyoen and Tea Ceremony
For ¥4,410, you can explore the famous Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden, a century-old landmark. Shinjuku Gyoen is home to three gardens that draw inspiration from French, English, and Japanese culture. The regal tour ends at the Imperial Hotel, where participants can take part in a tea ceremony.

Route 2: Explore Shinjuku
This free guided tour of Shinjuku—one of Tokyo’s busiest areas—takes participants to trendy shopping spots and food stalls. Visitors can even visit the Hanazono Shrine, a venerable Shinto shrine that was established in the mid-17th century.

Route 3: Explore Asakusa
Built in the seventh century, Sensoji Temple is Tokyo’s oldest temple and a must-see attraction. For ¥1,490, you can explore other sites in the vibrant neighborhood of Asakusa and visit the iconic Kaminarimon, or “Thunder Gates.”

Route 4: Sumo Museum and Edo-Tokyo Museum
If you’re interested in sumo wrestling, Japan’s national sport, then this experience is for you. This ¥2,900 guided tour includes a trip to the Sumo Museum followed by the Edo-Tokyo Museum.

 Please note that reservations for these 13 tour routes must be made at least three days in advance. And, prices may vary depending on the number of participants.

Taking Tours in Tokyo

Other Tours
 Foreign visitors can also choose to explore the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Office Building and the 45th floor observation decks. The 40-minute tour of the government office is only available in English. And thrill-seekers can enjoy a full view of Tokyo from 202 meters above the ground, free of charge. The observation decks have cafes available.
 
 And this is just a taste of the tours that are available. For more information, go to https://www.gotokyo.org/en/guide-services/.

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Great Ways to Travel around Japan

Great Ways to Travel around Japan

 Planning your travel around Japan doesn’t have to be a hassle. Here are a couple of ways to make getting around the country easy and budget friendly.

Great Ways to Travel around Japan

JAPAN RAIL PASS

 First-time visitors to Japan are often amazed at Japan’s intricate railway system. Fortunately, the JAPAN RAIL PASS makes traveling by train inexpensive and simple. The JAPAN RAIL PASS offers foreign tourists—or Japanese citizens who have lived outside of Japan for more than 10 years—, nationwide access to Japan Railways Group (JR Group) rail networks for 7, 14, or 21-day trips.The JAPAN RAIL PASS also enables you to take some Shinkansen"bullet trains" and buses.

 There are two types of the JAPAN RAIL PASS available for purchase: “Green” and “Ordinary” passes. Equivalent to first-class, the “Green” PASS allows holders to travel in spacious train cars that offer more legroom—something to consider while visiting Japan during peak tourist season. Meanwhile, the “Ordinary” PASS allows you to use regular seats on all trains.

 The price of an ordinary 7-day JR Adult PASS is ¥29,110—a bargain compared to buying individual JR train and bus tickets. Covering train and bus lines from Hokkaido to Kyushu, the JAPAN RAIL PASS is definitely a cost-effective method of getting around Japan. And, for travelers who prefer the scenic route, traveling by train is the perfect alternative to explore some of Japan’s hidden towns.

Website
http://japanrailpass.net/en/index.html

Great Ways to Travel around Japan

Air Travel in Japan

 However, if the majority of your trip involves exploring Hokkaido or Kyushu, flying may be a better option. Private airline companies provide discounted airfare to foreign visitors starting at ¥5,400—an offer that’s hard to resist.

 Depending on your travel route, planes may be faster and cheaper. A basic web search shows roundtrip airfare from Tokyo to Sapporo can roughly cost from ¥15,000 to ¥30,000. Price aside, the biggest benefit of traveling by air is saving time. A flight from Tokyo to Sapporo takes around one hour and 30-50 minutes whereas a trip by Shinkansen would take about eight hours and 15 minutes.

 Regardless of your travel plans, Japan has made it simple and affordable to travel by train or plane.

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GoTokyo- The official tokyo travel guide : Your personal on the go concierge service.

GoTokyo- The official tokyo travel guide : Your personal on the go concierge service.

 You can get lost trying to find quality information while planning a trip. When it comes to Tokyo, the GoTokyo.org website ( https://www.gotokyo.org/en/index.html ) has got you covered. The site has recently been intuitively redesigned to appeal to visitors. It has been written and edited by native English speakers and translated into 9 languages. The pages are laid out simply without a lot of clutter to distract and confuse the user, and links are large and easy to navigate. Articles are concise and informative and written with the foreign traveler in mind. There are links to helpful apps, a handy search feature, and you can even change the font size and color. Special features include maps and routes provided by Google Maps, a search function for accommodations and user reviews of local attractions through TripAdvisor, and photos provided by Instagram users. Content is divided into 4 main links at the top: New & Now, Area Guides, See & Do. and Plan Your Trip. Below I describe each of these site areas.

GoTokyo- The official tokyo travel guide : Your personal on the go concierge service.

 New and Now is a curated guide filled with current and seasonal events, trends and highlights, and suggestions and guides from locals. From traditional to off the beaten path, here you will be able to tap into Tokyo on every level. There are quick links to upcoming, seasonal and popular events, and an Events Calendar. Further down you'll find feature articles on trends, the Best of Tokyo, local’s suggestions, and a month by month guide to Tokyo.

 Area Guides divides Tokyo intuitively by geographic area and then popular stations in that area are listed. If you click on an area you will get links to local train stations, nearby attractions, and visitor photos. Clicking on a train station will bring you deeper into the essential info on how to get there, what to do, tips, a google map with Nearby Attractions, and a Must See guide.

 In See and Do activities can be explored by popularity, suggested, or by individual interest like: Food and Drink, Shopping, Accommodations (where you can book hotels directly through TripAdvisor), Events, and even Time Trip Tokyo which is filled with photos of Tokyo from the past! One interesting section is the Walks and Tours. Here you can find suggested areas to enjoy with a Google Maps walking guide. Also there are visitor photos linked to Instagram accounts, and reviews of attractions from TripAdvisor.

 Plan Your Trip is like having a personal travel agent with answers to questions you forgot to ask. At the top are links by interest, like Where to Stay, a few basic travel related links, a link to Suggested Walks and Tours, and a link to some handy PDFs you can download, Further down are most of the logistical sundries you'll need like: visa information, customs and courtesies, banking, useful apps, accessibility, shopping tips, free tour guides and much more.

GoTokyo- The official tokyo travel guide : Your personal on the go concierge service.

 There is so much to see and do in Tokyo. GoTokyo.org is your personal on the go concierge service to navigate this amazing area without feeling overwhelmed. GoTokyo is curated and presented by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and the Tokyo Convention & Visitors Bureau, bringing you the best up to date information in one location about this amazing area!

Website
https://www.gotokyo.org/en/index.html

Twitter site
https://twitter.com/hashtag/gotokyo?lang=en

A monthly newsletter called Tokyo Now
https://www.gotokyo.org/english/agent/citypromotion/mailnewsletter/

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