Rugby fans throng Japan, spilling out on less-beaten paths
Nikkei -- Oct 05
The Rugby World Cup is bringing waves of foreign visitors to venues throughout Japan, along with their spending to areas often overlooked in favor of big cities like Tokyo and Osaka.

Shizuoka, where the Japanese team upset heavy favorite Ireland last week, hosts three more matches during the tournament, including South Africa vs. Italy on Friday. A South African who had come to Japan for that game ventured out to Kyoto's famed Kiyomizu-dera temple the day before. The fan thoroughly enjoyed the visit to the former capital, calling it a "fantastic" city, and was planning to tour Tokyo on Saturday.

Visitors to Shizuoka are keenly interested in Mount Fuji, which sits on the prefecture's northern border. Many go to Nihondaira Yume Terrace, which features an observation deck that looks out on the mountain and nearby Suruga Bay.

"There were a lot of guests who looked like rugby fans" at the facility around the day of the Japan match, the manager said.

A South Africa fan attends a match against Italy in Shizuoka on Oct. 4. © Reuters

More than 730,000 spectators attended the 22 games held between Sept. 20 and Oct. 3, and the tournament's organizing committee said Friday that ticket sales have exceeded 1.8 million. The event runs through Nov. 2.

Oita Prefecture, on the southern island of Kyushu, hosts five games -- including two quarterfinals -- in its capital city of Oita. A survey last month by the prefectural government found that at least 151,000 people had reserved rooms in local hotels Oct. 1-10 and Oct. 18-21, the dates surrounding the matches.

Nearly 54,000 hail from outside Japan, and visitors from Europe, the Americas and Australia were poised to quadruple from October 2018 to more than 13,000.

In Beppu, a city near Oita famed for its hot springs, Hotel Shiragiku -- a fairly large hotel with 115 rooms -- is fully booked on the semifinal dates of Oct. 19 and Oct. 20.

News source: Nikkei
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