Heading to Japan for the Rugby World Cup? Here's what's happening in the host cities

As the Rugby World Cup kicks off this month, there are plenty of exciting experiences for fans heading to the host cities.

By Helen Warwick
Published 29 Aug 2019, 09:17 BST, Updated 16 Mar 2021, 10:08 GMT
Yayoi Kusama’s Yellow Pumpkin scultpure, Naoshima Island
Yayoi Kusama’s Yellow Pumpkin scultpure, Naoshima Island.
Photograph by Alamy

Opening this month, the Miyako Hotel Hakata is ideal for fans looking to bed down in this southern city. Rooms are decked out in neutral tones with city views, while the restaurants’ menus focus on ingredients from the island of Kyushu. But the main attractions are outside: vertical gardens, a rooftop infinity pool, waterfall and spa.

Kobe may be famed for its prized beef, but it’s also just over an hour away by train from Takamatsu, home of the Setouchi Triennale (until 4 November). Scattered across islands in the Seto Inland Sea, the eclectic arts festival features temporary installations and a packed programme of workshops and multimedia performances.

Opened earlier this year, the Solaniwa Onsen offers a new take on an ancient tradition — a hot spring-style theme park. Don your kimono and drift between steaming baths landscaped into a recreated 17th-century village, complete with natural springs and rocky foot baths, a rooftop garden and a range of restaurants showcasing the very best of Japanese cuisine. 

Catch the last few nights of the Yamate Rose Terrace’s pop-up beer garden in Harbour View Park until 23 September. Sip sake and tuck into barbecued bites while enjoying hillside views of the twinkly harbour lights and the arc of the Yokohama Bay Bridge.  It’s a safe bet for visitors looking for a slice of Yokohama’s lively social scene.

The Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo reopened in March, following an overhaul to mark its 20th anniversary. The bastion of the Japanese capital’s edgy art scene is stuffed with diverse works from the past 75 years. Don’t miss the ‘Now, it’s time to play’ exhibition — fun-filled, interactive artworks, involving climbing, painting, crafting and more.   

Published in the September 2019 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)

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