Ahead of Ireland's trip along the Pacific coast from Yokohama to Shizuoka today, RTÉ Sport’s Michael Corcoran caught up with the IRFU’s Ger Carmody to get a glimpse of the logistical challenge he faces as the organisation’s head of operations.
Having travelled thousands of miles east to contest the World Cup, the Ireland squad will now head west after their opening win against Scotland, with Ireland’s remaining pool games taking place in Shizuoka (v Japan, Sat 28 Sep), Kobe (v Russia, Thu 3 Oct) and Fukuoka (v Samoa Sat 12 Oct).
Carmody is charged with masterminding the moves to each of those staging posts, and it’s a task that has required meticulous planning.
"It’s two years in the planning," he admitted.
"Ultimately, what we’re trying to do, is make travel as easy for the players as we can.
"Last night, we had two four-tonne trucks arriving which took all of our personal baggage, all of our analysis, our medical, our strength and conditioning, and all the other various pieces of equipment that we would use.
"The whole idea is that when the players get up on the morning after a game that they can just have a backpack ready to go.
"We’re travelling by the Shinkansen - the bullet train - today down to Shizuoka.
"As we all know, these boys eat a lot of food"
"That’s a three-hour journey. We want to make that as easy as possible so that they can fully focus on recovering this morning after a big match."
"There’s also all the rugby equipment at the training venues - scrum machines and all that - so it’s a big machine moving around the country, trying to keep the players focused and allow them to do what they do best, which is play rugby.
"We work on the premise that when we arrive at a hotel that we are ready to go.
"What does that mean? It means that everything is in place; bags are in rooms, team rooms are set up, food is ready to go, medical treatment areas are ready so that the boys can be treated if they need that - if they need a rub or massage, or if the coaches want to have a meeting, we’re good to go."
The Ireland squad have a special team of liaison officers assisting them as they attempt to make things run as smoothly as possible.
"There are five of them that work with us," Carmody revealed.
"We’ve a translator, a couple of liaison officers and two security personnel that work with us.
"They’re all great. Two are Japanese speakers.
"We’ve encountered a mix in terms of the hotels we’ve been in - some have had really good English speakers and others haven’t, but certainly for Ruth Wood-Martin, who is our nutritionist, it’s really important that she can communicate effectively in term of delivery of food.
"As we all know, these boys eat a lot of food."
Follow Ireland v Japan on Saturday (kick-off 8.15am) via the live blog on RTÉ.ie/Sport andthe NewsNowApp, watch live on RTÉ2 from 7.30am or listen to live match commentary on RTÉ Radio 1.