Rugby fever has well and truly hit Japan with World Cup set to kick-off tonight

Amongst the hustle and bustle of one of Tokyo’s busiest districts of Shinjuku, amongst the neon lights and giant billboards advertising beauty products and amongst the copious vending machines, posters with rugby players flutter on the light posts.

Sonny Bill Williams of the All Blacks poses for photos with Tokyo fans during a New Zealand Rugby World Cup Welcome Ceremony. Source: Getty

A poster promoting the Rugby World Cup and the Brave Blossoms on a Tokyo train. Source: 1 NEWS

Rugby World Cup fever has landed in Japan.

Today, the Rugby World Cup begins in Japan - the first Asian country to host the seven-week tournament - with 48 matches to be played across 12 cities.

For a country which traditionally supports baseball, Japan has fully embraced the sport of rugby.

Posters advertising the impending Rugby World Cup canvas every lamp and street post throughout the city of 9.3 million people.

A banner promoting the Rugby World Cup hangs on a street in Tokyo. Source: 1 NEWS

Riding in taxis, TV screens play advertisements staring Dan Carter and Beauden Barrett, while travelling in the metro locals can be seen sporting Rugby World Cup merchandise and the carriages are plastered with images of the Japanese rugby team.

While making your way throughout the city as a New Zealander, it’s common for the topic of the All Blacks to be brought up once a local hears your accent.

A Rugby World Cup store in the heart of the city. Source: 1 NEWS

The tournament favourites have been given a superstar welcome with school children in Kashiwa performing a haka and fans staying outside their hotel morning and night to get a glimpse of the team.

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The All Blacks at the team’s fan day in Kashiwa were treated to a special version of Kapa o Pango. Source: 1 NEWS

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Excitement is building in Japan less than a week out from the opening match of the Rugby World Cup. Source: 1 NEWS

But it’s not just the All Blacks getting all attention. The Welsh team were treated to a rapturous opening training session with over 15,000 people in Kitagkyushu in southern Japan singing their national anthem.

With the influx of over 400,000 tourists coming into the country, Japan has not only had to embrace a new sport, but deal with the challenges tourists coming into the country brings.

Tattoos are associated with yakuza gang members and while players and fans had been asked to cover up while visiting pools and gyms, areas such as Oita Prefecture are now loosening these restrictions to accommodate supporters.

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1 NEWS’ Jenny-May Clarkson has this report from Tokyo. Source: 1 NEWS

With the tournament set to kick-off tonight, thousands are expected to turn up to the 48 matches with 96 per cent of 1.8 million tickets already sold.

The opening ceremony at Tokyo Stadium begins 9.30pm NZT and you can watch it live on Spark Sport and TVNZ1.