Japan will be hosting the Rugby World Cup in September 2019. This is the first time the country will be hosting the event in its first official match held in 1866 (Rugby being invented in 1845). Matches will take place in 12 stadiums that span across multiple cities throughout Japan.
The sport of Rugby has continued to gain popularity throughout the years in Japan. The Japanese national rugby team Cherry Blossoms who also goes by the name Brave Blossoms founded in 1926. The stakes are higher for the Cherry Blossoms as they have never made it to the World Cup Finals. Their most notable contest was back in 2015 when they defeated the South African powerhouse team Springbok in an emotional 34-32 upset.
The Cherry Blossom’s most notable player is Ayumu Goromaru with over 708 points scored for the Japanese National Rugby team. Ayumu first debuted when he was 19 years old in a match against Uruguay in 2005. He became the face of the team and the pride of Japan when he scored 24 points in a historic win against South Africa in 2015.
Japan will have 10 months to not only prepare for the Rugby World Cup in 2019 but also the largest global sports event in 2020, the Summer Olympics. The previous Olympics (Rio, 2016) had a total of 3.8 million attendees. The large mass of attendees caused logistical strains and was a public relations headache for Brazil.
Japan is expecting roughly 400,000 foreign visitors and has been plagued by a few miscues. Such as test matches in Oita prefecture running out of beer before halftime and a broken roof at Toyota Stadium led to fans getting stuck in the rain in a Japan vs. Georgia test match. With a few miscues this year, Japan is still confident and using technology to their advantage in order to prepare for the increased tourism.
Japan has utilized multiple language translating apps for their volunteers to be utilizing when greeting visitors. Along with the use of apps, Tokyo in particular has streamlined travel across the nation by providing maps in multiple languages within train stations.
Lastly, what’s a post about Japanese sports without showing you their mascots for the RWC.
Japan’s love for Rugby has caught fire, and it will be interesting to see Japan bounce back from hosting two enormous national events back to back. As more and more tourists begin to discover Japan, the Rugby World Cup and the 2020 Summer Olympics will test how ready Japan is to bring international guests to its shores. How do you think the increase in tourism for Japan will pan out for locals? Will you be flying into Japan for any of these events? Feel free to leave your thoughts below.
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