entertainment, food, Japan, restaurants, Travel, TRAVELLING JAPAN

Three famous food spots in Japan

Japan Is full of amazing things to see that will most certainly blow your mind. The Land of The Rising son has given birth to Honda, Nintendo and Sushi. Japan has brought the world many weird and wonderful things over the years. Travelling to Japan must be a thrilling unforgettable experience. In this post I highlight three restaurants that guests a unique dining experience. I know that there are definitely more than three, but unfortunately I cannot include them all. I hope that this list helps enhance your experience whilst travelling Japan.

1. Robot Restaurant, Tokyo Red Light District

With great reviews and amazing reactions, what is not to like about Robot Restaurant? The restaurant hosts a 90 minute show that takes the viewer to another universe. A blend of Japanese culture, robots, dinosaurs, cabaret and lasers. Get prepared to have your mind blown away. Tickets can be bought online. You not only get to see what this amazing show has to offer but you get dinner as well. The restaurant is located in the Shinjuku’s Kabukicho District of Tokyo (otherwise known as the red light district), however do not let that idea scare you away as it is female friendly and one of the most vibrant areas of Tokyo.

Video review of Robot Restaurant in Tokyo Japan
Video by beetdownboogie

2. Izakaya Toyo, Osaka

Izakaya Toyo is located in Osaka, a city known as the Kitchen of Japan. This famous street food restaurant was started by the legendary street food chef Toyo who moved to Osaka when he was 15 to better his life. He started off as a dishwasher at his aunts bar and after two years began cooking and learning his craft. He then started saving to start up his own Izakaya (informal Japanese pub) and what started out running off the back of his truck is now a world famous establishment that has been running for 26 years. Izakaya Toyo did so well that it got a full Episode on the Netflix series Street Food. Toyo has become famous for cooking tuna cheek with a blow torch and his bare hands. He also has a killer sense of humor and is loved by the locals. If you are looking for a proper authentic fun Japanese experience, which can be compared to going to an Irish pub then look no further than Izakaya Toyo. Be warned you may have to wait a while because of popularity, but it is definitely worth it and the tripadviser reviews don’t lie.

Osaka’s Flamethrower Street Food Chef ★ ONLY in JAPAN
Video by ONLY in JAPAN

3. Ninja Akasaka, Tokyo

Ninja Akasaka has used a Japanese icon and used it to conceive a dining experience like no other. The restaurant is hidden away in the high-class Akasaka region of Tokyo. Ninja is more than just a meal. This is a thrilling journey through ancient Japan. At the front door ninjas guide guests through a series of secret passage ways on an adventure to their table. Diners are able to dine in a private room, which resembles the traditional Japanese dining culture. The experience is authentic up to the level that patrons have to sit on the floor. All staff are dressed traditionally as Ninjas and the menu is presented on a scroll taking patrons back in time. At first this sounds very odd, but according to the reviews it is one of the most mind blowing dinning experiences in the world. The ninja restaurant aims to transport guests to another dimension. If you really want to get the full experience it is recommended that you go for the set menu. Some of the dishes are also filled with theater, using fire to entertain guests. This is definitely more fine dining, but it seems as though it is worth every penny.

Video review of NInja Akasaka
Video by Sarah x0x0

These three restaurants are each unique and all offer something completely different. If you are planning on heading to Japan for the Rugby World Cup you should definitely make an effort to try and experience one of these unique restaurants. If you are looking for futuristic entertainment, then I would highly recommend heading to the mind blowing Robot Restaurant. Trying to get a taste for Japanese culture and walk the streets then Izakaya Toyo is probably the place for you. If you are looking for a traditional Japanese dining experience, then Ninja Akaksaka has it all. I have tried to tailor this post to have a choice for everyone. However, if you feel that somewhere else should have been included please leave it in the comments and let me know. I hope that this post helps add another dimension to your trip to Japan.

Attending live games, Japan, Passions, Rugby, Rugby History, Rugby World Cup, The History of Japanese Rugby, Top League, Travel, TRAVELLING JAPAN, University Rugby

Rugby in Japan?

The rugby world knows little about Japanese rugby and how popular the sport is in the land of the rising sun. When you think about rugby, Japan doesn’t necessarily come to mind. However, contrary to this bias, the host nation of this year’s 2019 Rugby World Cup (RWC) has a rich rugby history. This years RWC is being played in Asia for the first time, which is very exciting for world rugby. In this post I explore the origins of rugby in Japan as well as the rugby structures present in the country.

Host Country/ContinentYear
New Zealand & Australia1987
South Africa1995
Wales 1999
Australia 2003
France 2007
New Zealand 2011
England 2015
France 2023

Figure 1: showing host nations and years of rugby world cups.

Created by Joshua Parsons.

The history of rugby in Japan

Rugby was first played in Japan in 1866, when the first Rugby Club in Japan was founded called the Yokohama Foot Ball Club. Rugby was played in Japan before big rugby playing nations such as France, New Zealand and South Africa. The only other places with a longer history are Australia and The British Isles. The Yokohama Foot Ball Club was the first ever Asian rugby club. The establishment of Yokohama Foot Ball Club came about due to over a thousand British troops who were stationed in the area. Many had played Rugby at school in England. The large number of troops made it easy to play as back in those days 40 players were needed to play a game. This was the foundation of rugby in Japan and is also the untold history of how the game started in the land of the rising son.

Scene of a rugby game in Japan.
Source: Harper’s 1874, Illustrator unknown

The father of Japanese rugby

The Japanese began playing rugby at Keio University in 1899. Ginnosuke Tanaka and Edward Bramwell Clarke introduced the great game to the men of classes they taught at the University. The University played their first official game in 1901 against expatriates of the Yokohama County Athletics  team. The team established fixtures against other clubs and soon the sport grew in Universities. This lead to the first inter-university game being played between Doshisha and Waseda Universities in 1923. The early 1920’s saw rugby grow rapidly in Japan, having over 60 000 players and 1 500 clubs. Tanaka is now remembered as ‘the father of Japanese rugby’. The birth of rugby in the land of the rising son led to the first ever Japanese tour in 1930. The national team traveled to Canada and had great success winning 6 games and losing 1. The ‘Brave Blossoms’ have participated in every RWC since its inception in 1987.

A picture of Ginnosuke Tanaka
Source: Wikimedia Commons

How popular is rugby in Japan today?

Japan is the fourth biggest rugby playing nation in the world with a population of 122 872 rugby players as well as having 3 631 official clubs. The national side nicknamed The Cherry Blossoms or The Brave Blossoms are ranked 11th in world rugby. Although rugby is only the 5th most popular sport in Japan they have a competitive domestic league called Top League. Top League draws players from many strong rugby nations. There are well known players such as Daniel Carter and Matt Giteau who have had stints playing in Japan.

Vlog by The Imbiber published on YouTube

University rugby in Japan

Rugby is popular at Universities around Japan, which participate in The All-Japan University Rugby Football Championship. The championship kicked off in 1964 and currently there are currently 16 universities competing. The most successful University in the competition is Waseda University who have won 15 Championships. The final is usually well attended having close 40 000 spectators as of 2005. The University rugby culture in Japan is very competitive. University teams often play against professional teams, however there is a gulf in class between the two levels.

Video published by World Rugby on YouTube

Why will the RWC be special?

Japan is an exciting new frontier for world rugby fans as all the world cups to date have been hosted by top tier nations of rugby. This new frontier could open a new dimension and will help grow the game in Asia. The expansion of rugby into this new realm, which most orthodox rugby supporters know very little about is one of general excitement. A ticket to Japan will be a prized possession come 20 September 2019.

Attending live games, Rugby, Rugby World Cup, TRAVELLING JAPAN

Must Watch Pool Games

Rugby World Cup 2019 (RWC 2019) kicks off on Friday 20 September in Tokyo. This is a tournament that only comes around every 4 years and never disappoints. The pool stages have a few treats lined up for the fans with some epic encounters that will be sure to have you on the edge of your seat. If you are travelling to Japan, and wondering what games you need to go and watch, don’t worry as I’ve got you covered. This post looks at the Rugby World Cup games that cannot be missed.

@rugbyworldcup Twitter feed

France vs Argentina, 21 September

Figure showing win percentages for Argentina vs France
Created by Joshua Parsons

This game sees 8th ranked France take on 10th ranked side Argentina on 21 September. This is a must win game in pool C “the pool of death”. With England expected to take the top position in the pool, it looks like these two sides are fighting it out for second spot in the pool. This makes for an exciting must win game for both sides. The two sides have previously met 51 times with France winning 36 and Argentina wining 14, with just one draw. Their most recent encounter in November 2018 saw Les Bleus taking the spoils on the day 28-13. This is not a match you want to miss. These two sides need the maximum points to kick start their tournament in the first game. 

Corleto on his way to the try. France – Argentina. Rugby world cup 2007 at the Stade de France in Paris
Photograph by  Fabien Dany – www.fabiendany.com / www.datka.kg

The Pool of Death Explained

The pool of death is a pool that contains 3 or more top tier nations, which means that these teams can contend for the top position in the pool. At every rugby world cup there has to be one of these pools due to the number of top quality teams in the rugby world cup. This year pool C can be labelled the pool of death due to the fact that England, France and Argentina are all in this pool. The pool also contains two wild card teams being the USA and Tonga who both have the ability to cause an upset against the three bigger rugby nations. This makes this Pool and extremely difficult one to call and this will also mean that one big rugby nation will miss out on a rugby world cup quarter final. This will definitely be a big talking point. For us fans though this is going to give us a great deal of entertainment.

This video explains pool C the pool of death
Video by TheScottishcannon – #1 Rugby & Gaming Channel

New Zealand vs South Africa, 21 September

Figure showing win percentages for New Zealand vs South Africa
Created by Joshua Parsons

This pool B encounter looks to be mouth watering. A meeting between the number one ranked side and the fifth placed side in the world. The last time these two teams met in a RWC New Zealand edged South Africa 20-18 at Twickenham in the 2015 RWC semi-final. 2018 saw South Africa beat New Zealand in Wellington by 1 point and New Zealand returned the favor by beating South Africa at Loftus by 2 points. The rivalry dates back to 1921 and the sides have faced each other 97 times since then. New Zealand have won 58 times and South Africa just 36 with 3 matches ending in a draw. This encounter will be one for the history books and will surely be the pool B decider.

ESPN Classic looking at arguably the greatest rugby duel, the All Blacks v Springboks
Video by official777

Ireland vs Scotland, 22 September

Figure showing win percentages for Ireland vs Scotland
Created by Joshua Parsons

This clash looks like it could decide who tops pool A. Ireland who are ranked 3rd in the world will be favorites going into the clash. However Scotland have shown some great fighting spirit leading up to the world cup and won’t let their 7th place world ranking mean anything. There is a lot of history between these arch rivals having played each other 135 times. Ireland having won 63 and Scotland having won 67 of these games. Looking at the recent form of these two teams this looks to be a game you don’t want to miss.

Scotland vs Ireland scrum at Edinburgh during the 2007 Six Nations Championship
Photograph by Conor Lawless https://www.flickr.com/photo_zoom.gne?id=420003710&size=l

Argentina vs England, 5 October

Figure showing win percentages for Argentina vs England
Created by Joshua Parsons

This pool C clash in the pool of death looks to be one for the record books and is a must win game for both sides if they are to progress to the next stage of the tournament. England who are real contenders to take the world cup will take on an Argentinian side that always seems to peak during a RWC year. History indicates that England should have the upper hand winning 18 of the 23 games played between the two sides. Either way this game should be full of physicality and running rugby, looking at the way both sides have looked to play in recent years.

England v Argentina 2006
Photograph by Patrick K

England vs France, 12 October

Figure showing win percentages for France vs England
Created by Joshua Parsons

This pool of death encounter may decide who tops pool C. there will be no love lost when these two power houses of world rugby clash horns on Saturday 12 October. Looking at recent form England look favorites to take this one, however one should never write off France especially in a world cup year. In the 105 games these two teams have played against each other England have taken 58 and France have taken 40, with 7 games ending in a stale mate. The last time these two sides played England walked away 44-8 victors. This game is a must win game for both sides if either one of them want to go to the play offs.

 Rugby World Cup 2015 Warm-up France-England, Stade de France
Photograph by Eponimm