A dozen delights: The best attractions in the Japanese cities hosting the 2019 Rugby World Cup

On Saturday 18 May the Rugby World Cup’s second official ticket sale will begin at 10am UK time, so Netflights has identified 12 top attractions in Japan, one in each of the cities hosting the 2019 tournament, by analysing TripAdvisor and Instagram data.

A land of compelling contrasts, where old world traditions and ancient shrines comfortably sit alongside futuristic experiences and neon lights, Japan makes for a unique holiday destination. It’s increasingly popular too, with travellers flocking to the country in record-breaking numbers.

Netflights has certainly found this to be the case, with new data from the flight comparison site revealing that bookings for flights and holidays to Japan have increased by 34% between 2014 and 2018. And 2019 is also set to be another bumper year, due in no small part to the fact that Japan is hosting the Rugby World Cup – the first Asian country to do so.

To help travellers get the most out of their time in Japan, Netflights has put together a list of 12 top attractions to experience – one in each of the 12 cities hosting rugby matches. They have done this by analysing TripAdvisor and Instagram data, including ratings, reviews and hashtags. Here they are.

Kakegawa Kachouen, Fukuroi

A unique theme park, Kakegawa Kachouen is home to a huge range of birds and flowers, from parrots and parakeets to water lilies and impatiens. The greenhouse’s ‘flowered ceiling’ is a particular highlight.

Kobe Animal Kingdom, Kobe

Similarly, the Kobe Animal Kingdom theme park delivers a novel and extensive mix of flowers and animals. The latter, of course, is the main draw, with a diverse cast of characters including pumas, toucans, sloths and flamingos.

Musashi Kyuryo National Government Park, Kumagaya

For sightseers looking for a green place to escape to when in Kumagaya, Musashi Kyuryo National Government Park is the palace to be. It features cycle paths and walking trails, as well as gardens and ponds.

Kumamoto Castle, Kumamoto

One of Japan’s best known castles, Kumamoto Castle is famous for its distinctly black façade. Seriously damaged by an earthquake in 2016 and currently undergoing a major restoration project, it is still worth a visit.

Amu Plaza Oita, Oita on Kyushu Island

For travellers looking for a break from sightseeing or the rugby, the Amu Plaza Oita complex has plenty of welcome distractions. Here visitors can enjoy some retail therapy, treat themselves to local cuisine and unwind in its rooftop Japanese garden.

Universal Studios Japan, Osaka

A top choice for families and fans of the big screen, the Universal Studios Japan theme park is packed with all sorts of entertainment and attractions based on some of the studio’s much-loved movies. Expect Harry Potter, the Terminator and the Minions.

Hokkaido University’s Sapporo Campus, Sapporo

It might seem like an unusual choice at first, but Hokkaido University’s Sapporo Campus is also open to the public – its lush green spaces that is. The prestigious university’s park is perfect for a picturesque stroll.

Asakusa, Tokyo

The Asakusa district provides tourists with a more authentic experience of Tokyo – and one that also feels like something from a bygone era. It’s crammed with traditional craft shops and street food stalls selling classic Japanese dishes.

Toyota Automobile Museum, Toyota

The Toyota Automobile Museum is a great attraction for car lovers or indeed anyone interested in the history of one of the world’s most important and iconic inventions. Legendary vehicles on show include a 1894 Benz Velo and a 1909 Ford Model T.

Yamashita Park, Yokohama

Not your typical park, Yamashita Park offers around 700 metres of green space close to the city’s waterfront. Highlights here include a rose garden and a number of statues, including the Guardian of Water (a gift to the city from San Diego).

Kamaishi Daikannon, Kamaishi

This tall white statue depicts the Buddhist goddess of mercy, and is almost 50 meters in height. The Daikanno is clutching a fish and stands facing towards the sea to watch over sailors. For a small fee visitors can enter the statue and head to an observation deck.

Fukuoka Tower, Fukuoka

Described as the tallest seaside tower in Japan – it’s approximately 234-metres tall – and nicknamed Mirror Sail, Fukuoka Tower’s observation deck offers lovely views of the city. It’s also home to a lounge and restaurant.

Andrew Shelton, Managing Director of Netflights, commented: “The Rugby World Cup is a fantastic opportunity for people to visit Japan and see this beguiling and beautiful country for themselves. Getting a great value flight there has never been easier, and this guide will help anyone who follows either the whole tournament, or just their home nation’s team, get the best from every city they visit.”