Despite the shock cancellation of England’s match against France on Saturday, interest in travelling to the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan is strong. And unlike last year’s football World Cup in Russia, when fares rose to over £1,000 return for the short hop from London to Moscow, flight bargains are still widely available.
The England-France group match in Yokohama was called off ahead of Super Typhoon Hagibis. The organisers said: “Hagibis is predicted to be the biggest typhoon of the 2019 season and is highly likely to cause considerable disruption in the Tokyo, Yokohama and city of Toyota areas throughout Saturday, including likely public transport shutdown or disruption.”
But games involving Scotland and Wales on Sunday elsewhere in Japan are likely to continue – with the knock-out stages of the tournament beginning on Saturday 19 October.
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The Independent has found fares of £570 return to Fukuoka in southern Japan – the closest major airport for Sunday’s Wales-Uruguay match in Kumamoto, and the crunch quarter-finals in Oita the following weekend.
The airline is China Eastern, departing from Gatwick but returning to Heathrow, and with a stopover possible in Shanghai.
For under £600 return the same airline will take fans to Tokyo and back. The capital and nearby Yokohama (half-an-hour from Tokyo by train) are the venues for all the remaining matches.
Because the numbers of fans travelling to Japan is tiny compared with a football World Cup, accommodation prices have remained low. This week rooms in modest business hotels – akin to a Premier Inn – were available for £50, even in the capital.
“If you want to ride that wave, and enjoy the atmosphere, it’s an exciting time for travel to Japan,” said Matthew Joslin of the Japan National Tourism Organisation.
“Just make the most of it. Throw yourself into Japan.”
Match tickets are likely to become increasingly scarce as the number of remaining games dwindle, but Mr Joslin says enigmatically: “I have heard that there are tickets percolating in certain places.”
Fan zones are in operation in all the key venues.
The Foreign Office is advising fans in and around the Japanese capital: “Stay indoors and do not attempt to travel on Saturday.”
Japan Airlines is warning that all flights to the Tokyo airports of Haneda and Narita, as well as Nagoya Chubu and Osaka Kansai are expected to be cancelled or delayed, with further disruption on Sunday.
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