In just a few short weeks the Rugby world-cup kicks off in Japan. If you are one of the lucky fans going to Japan to watch the matches live, it is time to start dusting off your Wallabies jersey and counting down the seconds at work… Just don’t get so carried away thinking about the rugby that your forget to prepare for the rest of your trip!
It is important not to underestimate the size of Japan and the timespan of the tournament - if you plan to attend more than one game expect long travel times and some serious downtime between games. If you are planning to go to the first game in Sapporo and third game in Oita, you will need to travel over 2,000km (think Brisbane to Adelaide - no small drive).
To make the most of your trip, we have compiled some of the must-do activities around each venue before you goose step to the next destination. Fortunately, with a Travel Money Oz Currency Pass you can lock in a guaranteed best price exchange rate on Japanese yen (JPY), because we know that the Wallabies recent performance is stressful enough that you shouldn’t also have to worry about exchange rates.
With most matches already sold out, chances are transport systems will be extremely busy on game days. Unless the game has amped you up for a scrummage on the train, you should try to avoid travelling on these days and opt to spend a few extra days in each destination. This will give you the opportunity to experience Japan without missing any of the world-cup action!
Game 1: vs FIJI
Sapporo 21/09/19 (kick-off: 13:45 JST)
The first Wallabies game scheduled kicks off at the Sapporo Dome, located in Sapporo City, Hokkaido. Sapporo is a year-round hotspot for tourists seeking delicious Japanese delicacies and, of course, the famous Sapporo beer and museum. The world cup coincides with the Sapporo Autumn Festival which alone attracts millions of visitors to the city. Attendees can feast on a culmination of authentic dishes and beverages from around Hokkaido whilst surrounded by the natural beauty of the red and yellow autumn foliage in Odori Park. Just be sure to carry plenty of cash as most vendors at the festival won’t accept card, and you will definitely want to try out more than one dish!
Game 2: vs WALES
Tokyo 29/09/19 (kick-off: 16:45 JST)
Likely to be the most challenging game facing the Wallabies during the preliminary rounds, a victory against Wales will be a great cause for celebration, and where better to celebrate than Tokyo! As one of the world's most populous cities, there is no shortage of activities to keep you preoccupied before the game and to celebrate victory afterwards. Any true rugby fan understands the importance of warming up properly before a big match, and as a true blue supporter you can spend the night before the match warming up in one of the famous karaoke bars in the nightlife district, to ensure your vocal cords are prepped to hurl abuse at the opposition and referee!
An afternoon kick-off on game day will afford you the opportunity to visit the Tokyo Solamachi retail complex in the morning and grab some extra supporters merch. While you are there you can literally ‘pop up’ to the top of the Skytree (2nd tallest freestanding structure in the world) and get a panoramic view of Tokyo from the Tembo Galleria at a towering 450 metres above ground. If money is no issue, for roughly $60 AUD you can purchase an express entry combo ticket enabling access to both levels of the skydeck. If you are like us and budgeting is a priority, the skydeck offers cheaper standard tickets for approx $32 AUD, and you can save a few more bucks if you can squeeze it in on a weekday (Game day is a Saturday). Online reservations are only possible in Japanese, so the easiest option will be to rock up nice and early to beat the queue with Japenese yen preloaded on your currency pass to avoid getting blindsided by unfavourable exchange rate changes!
All genuine travellers know you can’t go to Tokyo without visiting Mt Fuji. Numerous tour operators run day trips to the site, but expect to dedicate an entire day (12 hrs) and between $120 - $200 AUD for the adventure. Early morning departures mean that it is maybe not ideal to book this trip for the day after the game - if the Wallabies win you will want to stay up celebrating!
Carrying a combination of cash and card will cover all bases while exploring the city, and as one of the safest cities in the world you can feel confident to roam freely between the many restaurants, bars and clubs and paint the town green and gold.
Game 3: vs URUGUAY
Oita Prefecture 05/10/19 (kick-off: 14:15 JST)
Everyone knows that international travel is extremely tiresome, as a result of crossing numerous time zones and continually overcoming linguistic and cultural barriers. Fortunately, for this match you are perfectly situated in the onsen (hot spring) capital of Japan, Oita. The surrounding villages offer a pleasant change of pace from the otherwise dense and busy Japanese cities, and there are numerous day spas and retreats open to spend a day soaking in thermal baths for as little as $5 AUD, trying your hardest to forget that you will be back at work in a week. And who knows, after completing three games of their world-cup campaign, the Wallabies are surely due for some R&R, so you might just intercept some of your favourite players in the bath. While you're keeping an eye out for any foul-play, we'll keep an eye on currency movements for you with Rate Alerts.
Game 4: vs GEORGIA
Shizuoka Prefecture 11/10/19 (19:15 JST)
The final game of the preliminary rounds is played in Fukuroi, located in Shizuoka Prefecture. Fukuroi is renowned for its historic temples and sacred sites, and is the least populous location on the event calendar. A trip to Japan is incomplete without participating in some of the more culturally focused activities, so take advantage of this quiet city and try donning a traditional Kimono and taking a self-guided walk, or visit the historic Yusanji Temple to learn about Japanese culture and history in a relaxed and intriguing manner. If slow and relaxing isn’t your normal pace, just 20 minutes drive away from the stadium is the Yamaha communication plaza, a free museum documenting the vast history of the prestigious racing company.
Game 5: GRAND FINAL
Yokohama 02/11/19 (18:00 JST)
The time has come. The championship will be decided and the winners announced. At 6pm tonight…
So what do you do all day? Sit in a hotel room biting your fingernails, wondering if the Wallabies could possibly maintain their composure and actually win? Instead of wasting a day worrying, get outside and enjoy the grand final atmosphere by spending the day exploring Yokohama.
This vibrant city is known as the birthplace of rugby in Japan, and you can expect the city to be packed with locals and foreigners alike all anticipating the big game. There are numerous popular tourist activities scattered around the city, but don't get upset if you end up in queues or squashed in crowds. To avoid disappointment, save the tourists activities for another day, load up your Currency Pass with some Japanese yen and head to one of the numerous local sports bars to mingle with like-minded rugby fans who also understand that it was all the refs fault!
Unfortunately we can’t guarantee a winning performance by the Wallabies, but with our Rate Move Guarantee we can ensure that you won't be offsided by unpredictable exchange rate movements. Head in store today to redeem Japenese yen at the best available rates.
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