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Rugby World Cup

Rugby fans throng Japan, spilling out on less-beaten paths

World Cup events bring tourist money to sites beyond big city centers

Ireland fans celebrate into the night in the Sannomiya Center Gai shopping area in Kobe, Japan, after the team's victory over Russia on Oct. 3. (Photo by Shoya Okinaga)

TOKYO -- The Rugby World Cup is bringing waves of foreign visitors to venues throughout Japan, along with their spending, to areas often overlooked in favor of big cities like Tokyo and Osaka.

Shizuoka, where the Japanese team upset heavy favorite Ireland last week, hosts three more matches during the tournament, including South Africa vs. Italy on Friday. A South African who had come to Japan for that game ventured out to Kyoto's famed Kiyomizu-dera temple the day before. The fan thoroughly enjoyed the visit to the former capital, calling it a "fantastic" city, and was planning to tour Tokyo on Saturday.

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