Written by Milan(GREATERTOKYO_Explorer)
Visiting Tokyo For The Rugby World Cup? A Sightseeing Route For Sports Lovers
Kicking off in September 2019 is the 9th Rugby World Cup when Japan will host the prestigious event. Since Tokyo is one of the host cities, we introduce a sightseeing itinerary that will take you to both famous places in the city and great sports bars!
Less than eleven months from now, Japan will be hosting the Rugby World Cup 2019 which will be held for seven weeks from September 20th to November 2nd, 2019. Over 400,000 international visitors are expected to come! Will you join the fun?
In this article, we introduce a Tokyo sightseeing itinerary for those who come for rugby but want to also enjoy visiting the famous areas of Japan's capital.
Asakusa Station will be our starting point. We will first head to Tokyo SKYTREE and take in the view of the metropolis from above, then explore the famous Sensoji Temple. After having lunch at a conveyor belt sushi restaurant in Asakusa, we'll hop on a train and go to Ebisu where we'll grab some drinks at a popular sports bar and afterward take part in a tour of the Museum of YEBISU BEER. We'll end the night at an excellent rugby bar.
9:30 -- From Asakusa Station to Tokyo SKYTREE
From Asakusa Station (Ekimise building), head towards the red Azuma Bridge which links the Asakusa area with the Sumida ward.
Feel the breeze of Sumida River as the Asahi Building comes into view, which playfully resembles a mug filled with beer and a head. What is that thing on top of the next building?
Continue to walk for 10 minutes in the direction of the SKYTREE, the tallest broadcasting tower in the world.
10:00 - 11:00 -- An Overview of the Megacity from Tokyo SKYTREE
Tickets for the observatory deck of Tokyo SKYTREE, a 634 meter tall engineering marvel, can be bought at the entrance on the 4th floor. If there is a long line at the ticket counter, consider using the Fast Skytree Ticket counter, which is available only for international tourists. A Fast Skytree Ticket to the Tembo Deck Floor 350 costs 3,000 yen, while a ticket to the even higher Tembo Galleria costs 4,000 yen.
A regular ticket to the Tembo Deck observatory is 2,060 yen, and a ticket to the Tembo Galleria is 3,090 yen.
You'll go up in one of the four stylish elevators that are seasonally themed. With such a remarkable design, you can barely feel that you’re ascending at a top speed of 600m per minute. In 50 seconds, you’ll reach floor 350, where the Tembo Deck observatory is located!
From here, you can marvel at the 360° view of Tokyo. To find out details of the landmarks around the vicinity, play with the interactive touch-panel monitor, the Tokyo Space-Time Navigation System, which has English language support.
For an enhanced experience, use the free application called Panorama Guide. Turn it on and, depending where you’re pointing your phone at, a corresponding view of major tourist spots will be displayed. This application is available in English, Korean, Chinese (traditional and simplified), and French. It's very convenient if you download it in advance.
For more details, visit the official website of Tokyo SKYTREE.
11:18 – 11:21 -- From Tokyo Skytree Station to Asakusa Station
You can either catch a 3-minute train back to Asakusa for 150 yen or, if your legs are tough as those of rugby players, stroll back and explore the residential neighborhood.
11:25 - 12:20 -- Sensoji Temple - Explore Japanese Religion and Architecture
One of Tokyo’s iconic spots is Sensoji Temple, a place that everyone coming to Japan's capital has to visit.
Start your walk from Kaminarimon, the gate which marks the entrance to Sensoji. Once you walk under the large lantern, which is 3.9m tall, 3.3m wide and weighs 700 kg, you have entered the temple's grounds.
Between 1688 and 1735, locals who served the increasing number of visitors to Sensoji were given special privileges to open their shops on the street that leads to the main hall of the temple, called Nakamise Street. One of the oldest shopping districts in Japan, Nakamise is 250 meters long and consists of around 90 souvenir and sweets shops.
Sensoji was founded in the seventh century and developed at the same time as the city which is now Tokyo. The deity honored at this temple is Kannon Boddhisatva, also known as the Goddess of Mercy.
In front of the main hall, you can huddle around the earthenware and waft incense smoke to the part of the body that needs healing or improvement. In Buddhism, incense smoke is believed to purify and cure the body.
When you visit the main hall, make sure to take a look at the ceiling. It's decorated with impressive paints of dragons and celestial maidens.
As you return to the entrance, you can sidestep the crowd by walking on the alleys that are parallel to Nakamise and discover a quaint side of Asakusa. Click here for a complete guide.
12:15 - 13:15 -- Taste Great Sushi at Magurobito in Asakusa
Magurobito is an English-friendly sushi restaurant located inside the Shin-Nakamise shopping arcade, which is perpendicular to Nakamise Street.
If you’ve never eaten sushi, here are three recommended dishes to introduce you to this typical Japanese dish: shrimp (356 yen), egg (172 yen), and fatless tuna (356 yen), tax inclusive. You can order them with or without the spicy wasabi.
From 11:30 to 14:00 on weekdays, this delectable lunch set for 950 yen offers a balanced variety at a steal price. You can also select from the conveyor belt or the English menu. The plates are color-coded indicating the price of the sushi.
Each plate includes two pieces of fresh hand-made sushi and prices start from 172 yen to 626 yen. Alcohol is also served here.
When you’ve finished, call a staff who will then calculate your bill. After that, take it to the register and pay. Split bills are also accepted.
13:35 – 14:11 -- From Asakusa Station to Ebisu Station
After spending the first half of the day in the traditional townscape of Asakusa, we'll now go to Ebisu, a district with an international vibe.
14:30 - 16:00 -- Half-time Drinks at dot.Grill and Bar
Located in the upscale neighborhood of Ebisu, dot.Grill and Bar is a popular sports bar with a homely interior. It is visited by young professionals, 20 to 40 years old, of which 70% are women. The concept is: a bar at home.
About 80 fans can lounge on the sofas and chairs while watching live games on two monitors. The bar is open from 11:30 which makes it one of a few bars in the area where you can drink from noon. The facility is provided with both smoking and non-smoking sections.
From the English menu, try the classic Fish and Chips (980 yen). If you’re with a mate, try and tackle the Grilled Board (pictured) for 3,300 yen. Combine this with a premium draft beer (650 yen) and you’ve got a party in your mouth.
En route to the next spot, take a walk on the modern side of Tokyo’s Ebisu and explore the boutiques, English-themed cafes and chic restaurants in the area.
17:00 - 18:00 -- Museum of YEBISU BEER - Become an Expert in Japanese Beer!
Inside the complex of Yebisu Garden Place, you can find the Museum of YEBISU BEER, a facility dedicated to the art and crafting of Yebisu (pronounced “ebis”), one the representative beer brands of Japan. The entrance is at the basement of the Sapporo Group Company Building.
You can enjoy a free tour, which means touring the museum at leisure with an English pamphlet in your hand. However, to become really knowledgeable about Japanese beer, joining the paid, guided Yebisu Tour is the best choice.
The Yebisu Tour costs 500 yen (after tax) and includes a 40-minute tour of the facility with an expert who will first explain the history of the Yebisu Beer. In the second half of the tour, the participants get to taste and compare two varieties of Yebisu beer. Although the guidance is only in Japanese, the demonstration is clear enough to follow and there are English explanations available for the exhibits. Below are some easy-to-master techniques.
To keep the glass of beer at its coldest, grip the bottom part of the glass with the index finger, middle and the thumb while supporting the glass with the remaining ring and pinky fingers. In order to best enjoy the beer, one's posture when drinking it is also very important. Keep your shoulders back, and your spine and throat straight up as you drink.
The generous beer head plays an important part in the taste. The golden ratio for a soft and smooth beer experience, the expert says, is 70% beer and 30% head. Even if the explanation is in Japanese, just follow the instructions of the guide and you'll be able to pour the beer in the glass just like that.
At home, keep the can in the fridge five to six hours for optimum temperature. Tilt only the can when pouring and don’t touch the glass. If there traces of fat or textiles remain on the glass, the foam will break. For this reason, it's recommended you use a special sponge only for beer glasses when washing them. After rinsing them, just turn them upside down and leave them to dry naturally.
The guided tour is held from 11:10 and the last session is at 17:10 (on weekends and public holidays, the last tour starts at 17:30). Come ten minutes before the tour and make sure you have your ID to prove that you're over 20 years old (*the legal age for drinking in Japan). Minors will be offered softdrinks.
18:00 - 19:00 -- Enjoy a Walk around the Stylish Ebisu Area
To enjoy the atmosphere of the elegant Ebisu area, take a walk around the Yebisu Garden Place which is the former site of the Yebisu Brewery. It now offers fine shopping, great dining and beautiful views.
From Ebisu Station, take the JR Yamanote Line train heading to Ikebukuro and get off at Takadanobaba Station. If you make it to the 18:57, you'll be in Takadanobaba at 19:12.
From 19:30 -- Have a Ball at No Side Club RUGBY Dinner
Before the night reaches full time, grab a bite and drinks while watching a live match with friends at No Side Club RUGBY Dinner. If you’re alone, it’s the best place to meet other rugby fans. One of them is owner Takeuchi Masakazu himself, who still plays “hooker” for his local team.
His concept for starting the bar in 2011 is much simpler than scoring a try. He wanted to create a place where rugby fans could watch and talk about rugby all the time.
The bar can accommodate a maximum of fifty fans but at the last RWC in 2015, about one hundred cheering fans – locals and tourists – and 13 media companies crammed into the bar.
Some players from the national team come and hang out so, for fans, it’s a great place to meet, greet, eat and drink.
Come on Friday and Saturday nights around 20:00 when the bar erupts into action and fans can make as much noise as they want. The bar is surrounded by offices which are closed at night so it's ok to cheer loudly. "But don’t break the bar," Takeshi says.
The Chili Con Carne (700 yen) and the Crunchy Fried Chicken (700 yen) are simply must-tries! Their wonderful flavor matches alcoholic drinks (from 400 yen) perfectly.
At No Side Club, two screens show live and replay matches. Around the bar and on the walls, you can see lots of priceless memorabilia. One of those is a signed All Blacks jersey.
Catch the Rugby Fever and Enjoy Tokyo!
Let the excitement rise as Japan becomes the first ever Asian nation to host the third largest sporting event in the world. With Tokyo holding matches and the opening ceremony at the Tokyo Stadium, rugby fans will most surely want to enjoy every second of their time in the premier city. Enjoy the games and have fun in Tokyo!
Asakusa Station → Tokyo SKYTREE → Sensoji Temple → Magurobito Sushi → dot.Grill and Bar → Museum of Yebisu Beer → No Side Club Rugby Dinner
Transportation: 630 yen
Tokyo SKYTREE Observatory Deck: Adult 2,060 yen (or Fast Skytree Ticket 3,000 yen)
Other expenses (sushi, beer, souvenirs etc.): around 5,000 yen
For the latest information on sightseeing in Tokyo, please refer to this website: https://www.gotokyo.org/en/index.html
Supported by Tokyo Convention＆Visitors Bureau