Shizuoka is also known as the Japanese Riviera is a major hiking destination.

If you’re making your way to Japan for the 2019 Rugby World Cup, make the most of your stay by immersing yourself in the culture, writes Debashine Thangevelo.

Yokohama

Located to the south of Tokyo, the name means “Horizontal Beach”. It’s Japan’s second-largest city. 

Attractions and activities

  • Stop by the Sankeien Garden, where you can stroll through its collection of historical buildings. It was designed and built by silk trader Tomitaro Hara (aka Sankei Hara).
  • Te Sojiji Temple offers the perfect tranquil setting for meditation. At the Yokohama Kimono Station, you can soak up the culture while dressed in a kimono.
  • The Cup Noodles Museum, where you choose your favourite topping and create a cup of instant noodles.
  • The Yokohama International Passenger Terminal (Osanbashi Pier); floor Sky Garden at Yokohama Landmark Tower, which offers views of the Greater Tokyo Area and Mt Fuji; and the Yokohama Marine Tower, which was Japan’s tallest lighthouse at one time.
  • Yokohama beer was introduced in 1995. It is made with four types of yeast, which gives it its rich aroma and full-bodied bitter taste. While on the topic of drinks, in 1889, Louis Eppinger, manager at the Grand Hotel, created Japan’s first original cocktail, Bamboo. 

Accommodation

Depending on your preference, you can get something for a low as R700 a night up to R2000. The more high-end hotels will cost you around R4000.

Toyota

Toyota is an industrial city, east of Nagoya in Aichi Prefecture, central Japan, west of Toyohashi. Until 1959, it was known as Koromo. 

Attractions and activities

  • At the Toyota Kaikan Museum, you will find a plethora of exhibitions reflecting the company’s gravitation towards eco and hybrid technologies. 
  • Take a stroll through the old town of Asuke, which has been beautifully preserved. You will find old public buildings and plenty of secrets behind each door.
  • Sanshu Asuke Yashiki in Korankei Valley is a working open-air museum where you get a glimpse into traditional Japanese handicrafts.
  • Don’t forget to visit the Matsudaira Toshogu Shrine. Legend has it that the water from the well has special properties, and is offered  to worshippers for long life and safe births. 

Where to shop

The best bargains can be found at Komehyo. With seven floors, you can get everything  from clothes and jewellery to antiques and electronics. 

Accommodation

Starts from R1200 to R2500 a night and consider Airbnb.  

If you’re making your way to Japan to the 2019 Rugby World Cup make the most of your stay by immersing yourself in the culture. Picture by Eyetronic - Fotolia

Shizuoka  

Also known as the Japanese Riviera is a major hiking destination. It’s also well-known for its green tea.  

Attractions and activities

  • Mt Fuji tests your endurance if you don’t mind a climb to the most breathtaking views of the city.  
  • Fuji Safari Park, Japan’s biggest wildlife zoo in Susono city. 
  • Hikers will love Izu Highland. The area is rich in nature which is a draw card for its hot spring, museums, shops and restaurants. 

Where to shop

  • Gotemba Premium Outlets has 210 stores that sell international and Japanese luxury brands. It is one of the  largest outlet shopping malls in Japan. There's a shuttle bus service that operates every day.

Accommodation

There are options for every budget, but prices generally start from R1200 and can go up to R6000 a night. 

Tokyo

The capital of Japan features a wonderful mix of modern and traditional with its skyscrapers and historic temples. 

Attractions and activities

  • A visit to one of the best Senso-ji, one of the most significant Buddhist temples in Japan.
  • The best seafood can be found at The Tsukiji Market, which has moved to Tokyo’s Koto Ward and is now known as the Toyosu Market. 
  • During the summer months, there are many street food vendors dotted throughout the park to satisfy  your appetite for freshly prepared snacks. Of course, there are plenty of nightlife activities to keep you going, too.  

Where to shop

  • Ameya Yokocho, which is just outside Ueno Station. You can walk away with some great deals and plenty of goods. 
  • But if high-end is more your style, then stop by Ginza, which is the equivalent of New York’s Fifth  Avenue. 

Accommodation

You can spend anything from R1000 to R7000 a night.