Japanese comedian’s top tips for fans travelling to the Rugby World Cup


Award-winning UK-based Japanese comedian Yuriko Kotani has teamed up with the Foreign & Commonwealth Office to produce some special advice for fans travelling to the Rugby World Cup in Japan this autumn.

Yuriko’s humorous tips are designed to help the 50,000 or more British fans expected to attend the tournament to support Wales, Scotland, England and Ireland to avoid pitfalls.

In a series of short videos the comedian uses her knowledge of both cultures to provide answers to some vital questions like: ‘do people sing and dance in public in Japan?’; ‘can I use my credit card?’; and should rugby fans ‘hug, bow or shake hands?’.

Here are Yuriko’s six top tips to help British rugby fans stay out of trouble in Japan:

  1. Japanese people are very friendly and welcoming but can be reserved. Loud, boisterous behaviour in public is not the norm, and is likely to cause alarm or offence
  2. Japan is a cash society, so ensure you carry plenty with you when out and about at tournament
  3. Tattoos have an historical association with organised crime in Japan. Visitors with a tattoo may be refused entry to hot springs, gyms or swimming pools
  4. The use or possession of some common prescription and over-the-counter medicines are banned under Japan’s strictly enforced anti-stimulant drugs law. Check with your local Japanese Embassy or Consulate before you travel.
  5. There is a zero tolerance policy towards all drugs in Japan. Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs can result in long jail sentences and heavy fines.
  6. Bowing is the common way for Japanese people to greet each other and show respect. Public displays of affection are not common, and are better avoided

Fans can find all our advice and guidance on the Foreign Office Rugby World Cup Travel Advice page.

Travelling supporters can also sign-up for email alerts which will mean they receive essential updates straight into their inbox.

Yuriko Kotani, stand-up comedian, said:

I’ve been living in the UK for a while now and see the similarities as well as differences between Japan and the UK. I’m really excited to be part of this project.

I thought about what would be helpful to know before going to Japan especially for many of whom might never have been to Japan before, and I did my best to make the messages as fun as possible.

I hope that they are useful and everyone has a fantastic time at the Rugby World Cup in Japan!

Julia Longbottom, Director for Consular Services, Foreign & Commonwealth Office, said:

The Rugby World Cup in Japan provides an amazing opportunity for fans from England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales to explore Japan and experience a new culture.

Along with the basics of taking out travel insurance and looking after your passport, we know that doing some research into the culture of your travel destination can make all the difference when it comes to staying out of trouble.

In the last year, our consular teams around the world have helped over 20,000 British people from all four of the Home Nations when things have gone badly wrong.

We want all of our proud Welsh, Scottish, English and Irish supporters to have a safe trip, and to know that we will have teams on the ground at each Home Nation game to help anyone in difficulty.

British Ambassador to Japan, Paul Madden CMG, added:

As the British Ambassador I am privileged to have four teams to support; England, Scotland, Wales and together with the Irish Ambassador, Ireland, and I look forward to welcoming all Home Nation fans to Japan.

I know that the Rugby World Cup will be a huge success and the travelling fans will enjoy the fantastic Japanese hospitality.

We want to draw rugby fans’ attention to some of the differences in local laws and customs to ensure their trip is enjoyable and without incident. I’m really grateful to Yuriko Kotani, the comedian, for helping to get these messages across.

Further information

The videos and other travel advice about the Rugby World Cup can be found on the following channels:



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