Rugby World Cup 2019: How to behave while watching the All Blacks in Japan

The Rugby World Cup is fast approaching and although planeloads of Kiwis are flying north to Japan for the tournament, there are still flights available at very reasonable fares.

If you're one of the lucky ones headed to Japan or are thinking about going, then here are some things you should know before you go.

Queue to the left... or the right


In Tokyo, it is social etiquette to stand to the left when queueing or taking an escalator, leaving room for others to pass you on the right side. 

Rugby World Cup 2019: How to behave while watching the All Blacks in Japan
Photo credit: Getty Images

However, in Oita or Fukuoka, you'll find that it is the other way round and locals gravitate to the right. If you can't remember which side to stick to, just follow the person in front of you.

Don't be late


This is Japan - you must be punctual. 

A 30-second train delay can become a nationwide scandal, so arrive ahead of time when using public transport. 

Tokyo, Japan - February 5, 2016: Commuters waiting for a train at Shinjuku Station, a major interchange in the Tokyo railway network.
Photo credit: Getty Images

Trains and buses run like clockwork, get yourself a timetable and expect to stick to it.

Get in the mood


Rugby World Cup 2019: How to behave while watching the All Blacks in Japan
Photo credit: Getty Images

Sporting events in Japan are unique. Local fans are known for being highly active, singing rally songs and waving merchandise.

Be a tidy Kiwi


Japan is an immaculately clean country and locals take great pride in this.

Last year, Japanese football fans cleaned the stadium after the first game of the season.

Rugby fans are likely to follow suit, so don't let the team down and make sure you dispose of your rubbish properly.

Food for thought


Japanese sports stadiums are ahead of the game when it comes to food and drink.

Rugby World Cup 2019: How to behave while watching the All Blacks in Japan
Photo credit: Unsplash

Vendors walk up and down the aisles with kegs strapped to their backs, ready to serve up freshly poured beer. There's also a selection of cuisine on offer, such as yakitori, bento boxes, takoyaki, edamame and kakigori.

Learn the lingo


When visiting a new country, it's always useful to learn a few words in the local language.

Don't worry if you don't get your pronunciation perfect, as Japanese people will be delighted that you've made the effort.

  • Rugby - ragubii
  • Where is the game? - Shiai wa doko de ari masuka?
  • Pass the ball! - Bōru o pasu shite!
  • Come on! - Ike!
  • Go for it! - Ganbatte!

Protection for unexpected incidents


As with all travel, it's important to purchase insurance at the same time you book your trip.

BRIGHTON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 19:  Japan players celebrate in the dressing room following victory in the 2015 Rugby World Cup Pool B match between South Africa and Japan at Brighton Community Stadium on September 19, 2015 in Brighton, United Kingdom.  (Photo by Steve Bardens - World Rugby via Getty Images/World Rugby via Getty Images)
Photo credit: Getty Images

That way you are covered in the event of an emergency. 

It's not just medical costs that could become an issue - large crowds at big events are a popular target for thieves and pickpockets.

Also, make sure you have digital copies of insurance policy documents stored online, so you can access them, even if you lose your baggage or paperwork.


Join us for live updates of the 2019 Rugby World Cup from September 20

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