Rugby World Cup 2019: All Blacks welcomed with traditional Japanese ceremony at Zojoji Temple

The All Blacks have been officially welcomed to Japan at a special ceremony held at the Zojoji Temple, one of the biggest and oldest Buddhist temples in Tokyo. 

Members were welcomed with Japanese traditional musical performance with koto - Japanese harp - and captain Kieran Read was painted in the eye of a good-luck doll called Daruma.

After receiving their World Cup caps and participation medals, the players and coaches then walked among thousands of fans, signing autographs and taking selfies.

The medal and cap every player will receive at the Rugby World Cup.
The medal and cap every player will receive at the Rugby World Cup. Photo credit: World Rugby

Over the coming days, each team will receive their own special welcome ceremony at an iconic location in their host city. 

All Blacks outside back Ben Smith said the entire squad was touched with the welcoming they received. 

"Japan is excited, and we are excited to be here. We feel at home here, and it is the people that make us feel like that," he said. 

"It's always special to come to a World Cup. So the team's really excited to be here. 

"The World Cup only happens every four years. As players it's the pinnacle of our event, and I'm sure all teams are excited to be here, and we're no different."  

All Blacks skipper Read echoed Smith's comments. 

"In New Zealand we talk 'manaakitanga' which is being grateful and gratitude for what we receive and for the guys.

"We can't wait to get into this tournament and really looking forward to it."

The All Blacks are in Pool B with South Africa, Italy, Namibia and Canada.

They face the Springboks in their opening match on September 21 in Yokohama. 


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