Following the Team in Green - First Fixture Yokohama, Japan
7th July 2018 - 2:10pm
In September next year, Japan will host the Rugby World Cup with matches held in 12 stadiums across the country. Ireland's scheduled matches are in Yokohama, Shizuoka, Kobe and Fukuoka which cover a distance of over 1,000km. Embracing Finnair's tagline, to "fly the Nordic way to all major cities in Asia", this trip follows Ireland's campaign in the 2019 Rugby World Cup and the four aforementioned cities followed by the capital, Tokyo.
Ireland's first match is in Yokohama, just 30km south of Tokyo city (40 mins journey with one-way fare Eur 3.50 and trains every 5-10 mins). So whether you stay in Yokohama or Tokyo itself (my favourite foreign city in the world), it is easily commutable.
In Yokohama, beyond the match, there are a number of attractions to keep you entertained. Yokohama Landmark Tower is 296 meters high equating to 70 stories and is Japan's second tallest skyscraper. A lift brings you to the Sky Garden on the 69th floor for exceptional views of the city and Mount Fuji on the horizon (admission c.EUR 8). I would strongly recommend the view by night - the lit skyscrapers are out of this world.
Yokohama has the largest China Town in Japan with c.500 shops along its bustling streets. Four different coloured Chinese gates guard the entrances north, south, east and west of the district, leading to a host of eateries and a mixture of stalls and shops selling anything and everything.
You can take a tour of the Nissan Yokohama stadium if you want, however, my highlight was the Ramen Noodle Museum. It's better than it sounds, not just because you get to sample the food, but there is a colossal remake of 1940s Tokyo city centre that is akin to a Hollywood Blockbuster set. It is fascinating and such a different culture/history to our own.
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