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Comprehensive news about sporting experiences and tourism in Japan

News

Whether you are interested in sports related 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.

"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/

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!

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!

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.

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

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.

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/.

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.

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/