TODAY |

Beppu’s Kiwi connections on full display as All Blacks fans descend on Japanese city

Kiwi fans are descending on Beppu ahead of the All Blacks’ Rugby World Cup clash against Canada tomorrow.

While the opposition may not be the toughest challenge our team face this World Cup, players are taking it seriously and so are the arriving fans.

Even Beppu’s locals are getting in the mood, embracing their famous rugby visitors and the special connection they share with sister city Rotorua and New Zealand.

At a fan event today, a kapa haka group from Rotorua brought a taste of New Zealand to the locals as the countdown to tomorrow’s Test began.

Kiwi band Six60 also added to the Kiwi contingent with songs in both English and Te Reo.

Lead singer Matiu Walters was blown away by the reception.

"It was amazing, to be honest,” he told 1 NEWS.

“You never really know what to expect with things like this but since we landed in Japan, it's been all love and they really showed up today. It was awesome.”

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Kenji Nishi has been key to building the close rugby ties between New Zealand and Japan. Source: 1 NEWS

Thought has also gone into getting to the stadium for tomorrow’s Test, with one enterprising cab company taking the opportunity to give drivers special English lessons and a handy printout of key locations.

The taxi company’s owner, Tomokazu Sakuma, said there were benefits for his employees too.

“One year ago, we had English classes for the drivers so they don't need to be afraid of foreigners,” Mr Sakuma said.

“We are trying to break down the walls and barriers of language.”

Regardless of the language, there will be plenty of support for the New Zealand side tomorrow in the stands as the All Blacks look to paint Beppu black.

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Tomorrow’s Test against Canada may not be the toughest challenge but fans and locals are taking it seriously. Source: 1 NEWS