Our Japan adventures continue & with no snow at this time of year we’re looking at the other attractions. First there’s some rugby to watch…

Now I have often been called a media tart.

But what’s a self-respecting hack to do when a man from the BBC approaches in the fan zone in Sapporo as the opening match between Japan and Russia is about to kick off.

“Would you mind if we do a live interview with you and your family for BBC World TV as the competition gets underway? I’m interested in you telling us about your experiences in Japan,” the man from the Beeb asked.

“Sure thing, ask us anything you want,” I replied.

With that I filled my glass and we waited.

I can’t remember what I said but I did get many messages from friends who had seen the broadcast across the world.

“You seem to rather like the place,” one said.

That was an understatement – like many people before, I have utterly fallen in love with Japan.

And in the fan zone there was plenty of Japanese traditions on offer to keep us entertained:

I shall be recounting a whole host of activities to do in Sapporo and the surrounding area shortly – from the Hokkaido shrine through to the fish market and a trip to the top of the TV tower.

Then there is just walking the streets, taking in the sights and sounds.

And have I mentioned the food?

Fabulous food

Fabulous food

Sapporo hosted the Winter Olympics back in 1972 and there are dozens of ski resorts in the area.

You may (just) be able to make out the ski jump in the distance.

If not then you’ll have to take my word for it.

Ski jump beyond the fan zone

Ski jump beyond the fan zone


The Sapporo fan zone

The Sapporo fan zone

Plus there’s the legendary powder.

15m of it per season.

Later this week I am paying a visit to Niseko to see what all the fuss is about and hear about the skiing.

If you come here for a snowsports holiday there is so much more to do than just the skiing and snowboarding.

But back to the rugby…

The aforementioned England game was taking place in the Hokkaido Dome in Sapporo.

Perhaps the most futuristic stadium I have ever been in.

It was built in 2001and is a covered stadium normally used for baseball.

No matter, the Japanese sometimes turn it into a football field.

So they did it again and later changed the posts.

And here it is up close.

Looking like any other rugby ground.

Rugby in the Sapporo Dome

Rugby in the Sapporo Dome

The England fans had dressed for the occassion.

England v Tonga, Rugby World Cup 2019

England v Tonga, Rugby World Cup 2019

And guess what?

I made it onto TV again.

This time the global TV coverage as my two sons and myself were in one of the crowd shots and were seen my several friends back in the UK.

On TV again

On TV again

So, why am I looking so miserable despite England’s victory?

Let’s just say I support Wales.

And I’m back in Tokyo next weekend with tickets for the Wales v Australia game, so expect this feature section of PlanetSKI to turn into PlanetRUGBY 😉

And in case you are wondering I am not wearing an England top – it’s a Japan one.

I now love the place so much I am even wearing their colours.

I think I'm turning Japanese... I really think so

I think I’m turning Japanese… I really think so

The image above was taken at the Hokkaido Shrine.

There will be more about the Shrine and all the other experiences in Sapporo shortly.

Let’s just say there was a traditional Japanese wedding ceremony taking place.

Traditional Japanese wedding

Traditional Japanese wedding

There is certainly more to my visit than watching rugby and if you are tempted to come and ski here in the winter there is so much more than just the skiing.

Do check back to find out what as I get further under the skin of this fabulous and fascinating country…


See our earlier blogs below as we tried to get to grips with the Tokyo metro.

And experienced one of the most fascinating cities in the world:


For the Spirit of the Mountains – PlanetSKI: Number One for ski news