So you're in Toyota with no rugby and a super typhoon on the way
Super Typhoon Hagibis has left around 20000 distraught Italian and Kiwi rugby fans stranded in Toyota with no plans for the weekend. Fixtures for the Rugby World Cup have been cancelled along the Japanese islands in the path of a so-called "super typhoon."
While skies are still blue in the Aichi Prefecture fans are asking "how bad can it be?" Surely the national first fifteens and their supporters can handle things getting a bit "wet and wild" on the pitch? But Japanese meteorologists, travel companies and RWC officials are used to these violent weather events.
Hagibis - also known as typhoon 'ultimate party pooper' – is the 19th such storm to hit Japan this year.
• How Super Typhoon Hagibis became a beast, looming over Japan
• A weekend in Toyota with Hagibis: A rugby fan's alternative travel guide
• Super Typhoon Hagibis: Why Rugby World Cup cancelled games
• 2019 Rugby World Cup: World react to Typhoon Hagibis and cancellation of All Blacks v Italy
Japanese Airlines is expecting multiple flight cancellations. Although the national airline has said that it "will not charge any handling fees for the changes or refunds resulting from the anticipated effects on operations" this will be small comfort to those trying to fly in or out of the tournament.
Even the Shinkansen - Japan's bullet train – has said it is expecting delays with "a possibility that operations of the conventional lines and Shinkansen will be suspended."
Further travel will be severely limited for fans looking further afield for things to do. There is little option but to hunker down and make alternative plans.
Here's our suggestions for a long weekend in Toyota with Hagibis. Stay safe!
Batten down the hatches
The Aichi prefecture is famous for its Edo era castles.
The 17th-century fortress of Nagoya Castle is all you want from a shogun's hideaway. The 500 year old keep with a moat and walled city has outlasted a few typhoons in its time. Entry is 500 yen or $7.50, a fair price for sanctuary. Among some of the more spectacular features in this samurai castle are a pair of golden dolphins in the rafters – probably left there from the last super typhoon.
If you really need to find a shelter that's bomb-proof, Inuyama Castle is Japan's oldest surviving fort from 1440.
To the pub
A fail safe wet weather solution to abandoned plans. However they do pubs and bars a bit differently in Toyota. Bypass the Irish bar for something a bit more involved at the Sekiya Jozo Sake Brewery. Serving local brew, 'Gin, 'Sora' and 'Bi' variants of sake, you can even have a go at a same-day sake brewing workshop. For 10,000yen -about $150 - you can take part in a brewing workshop with lunch.
For those looking for more western fare, there is the Brasserie Okto, a surprisingly authentic south German pub providing a taste of Oktoberfest. The chef and owner used to work at the German embassy and now serves Paulaner and Lowenbrau beer from the keg. You can last out a super typhoon on this stuff.
Head to the hot springs
Toyoto offers something unusual when it comes to the national pastime of onsen bathing: a radioactive hot spring. The Sanage Onsen as well as being mildly radioactive, is also alkaline which is said to give visitors a healthy 'glowing beauty'.
For a more traditional take on the hot pool – Sasado in Asahi is a 600 year old onsen and a classic. It's also decidedly un-radioactive.
Travel advisories would say a road trip is off the table. Extremely rough driving conditions on unfamiliar roads could be a recipe for disaster.
Fortunately Toyota is the car capital of Japan. As you might have expected from its namesake there are plenty of things to keep motorheads happy in the city.
The Toyota Automobile Museum houses one of Japans' biggest car collections with 4000 objects on display. The gallery is housed in a 11000 square metre showroom which, thankfully, is all indoors.
If you really want a look under the bonnet, the Toyota Motors Plant provides tours into the production process and evolution of hybrid and electric vehicles. A chance to see where the city's famous cars, and namesake are made.
At the risk of sounding like a wet blanket ahead of the upcoming superstorm, a super typhoon is a serious and sometimes deadly occurrence.
Parts of Japan are still recovering from the last such typhoon, which stranded 13,000 travellers in Tokyo Narita airport forcing people into evacuation shelters and doing many millions of yen worth of damage in Chiba.
Whatever your plans make sure you check in on travel and safety advisories first.
The Japanese National Tourism Organisation (JNTO) has set up web page with live updates for travellers affected by Hagibis: Japan.travel/en/news/2019-10-09-typhoon-hagibis/ and will be updating their English Language twitter feed @JapanSafeTravel
There's also a travel app which will send push notifications in case of emergencies, and helpful contacts and information for tourists in trouble. jnto.go.jp/safety-tips/