|rugby World Cup: Wales v Fiji|
|Venue: Oita Stadium, Oita Date: Wed, 9 October Kick-off: 10:45 BST|
|Coverage: Full commentary on every Wales game across BBC Radio Wales and Radio Cymru, BBC Radio 5 Live and Radio 5 Live Sports Extra, plus text updates on the BBC Sport website and app.|
Compared to Tokyo, a loud, kaleidoscopic metropolis that never sleeps, Otsu is a slumberous little outpost which barely seems to wake.
Wales immersed themselves in all that Tokyo had to offer in their week leading up to Sunday’s spectacular World Cup victory over australia, an intense few days on and off the pitch.
But now they have swapped the noise and neon lights of Japan’s sprawling capital city for the placid surroundings of Otsu, a port city that sits by the country’s largest lake.
With nine days to recover from their win over the Wallabies, Wales are taking the opportunity to recuperate before they face Fiji in Oita next Wednesday.
“It’s definitely not Tokyo,” forwards coach Robin McBryde says with a smile.
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“There is a general less pace to life here. It is a bit similar to north Wales. But it is much-needed.
“There was a short turnaround between Georgia and australia games, with travelling in between. It was very intense over that period, so to come out on top against australia was a fantastic achievement.
“I thought the resolve and character they showed during the game was outstanding. They fully deserve their time off.
“We are just going to do a little bit of light training this morning. Again, it is optional, but the majority of players are going to do it.”
Wales’ week in Otsu is a rare chance for the players to relax, such is the focus and diligence within this group, most still want to train.
Having won both their opening matches, Wales are determined to maintain that momentum for their remaining two fixtures in Pool D.
Even with all that in mind, though, this is a long, arduous competition, and the squad need a little respite from the physical and emotional demands of a World Cup.
“The short turnaround was intense, we trained really hard in the lead-up to the Australia game and it paid off,” says hooker Elliot Dee.
“On the flipside of that, I don’t think you can stay that intense for the whole eight weeks.
“It’s a bit quieter, but it’s nice to see all the different cultures.
“A couple of us went on a fishing trip, which was nice. There’s nice scenery about. It’s been great, nice to unwind.”
Dee and his team-mates looked a picture of relaxation during Tuesday’s fishing trip, the likes of full-back Liam williams and scrum-half Gareth Davies shirtless as they basked in the sunshine.
But later that evening, the weather turned at just the wrong time.
Wales’ players and management had been invited to a welcome ceremony on a night cruise around Lake Biwa and, just before getting on board, a storm struck.
“We didn’t know what to expect when we saw the thunder and lightning, but it was great,” says Dee.
“We got a great welcome, got a chance to play the drums. A few of the boys had a laugh with that.”
Dee insists none of the players were worried about the lightning, though McBryde reveals they had different concerns.
“The scariest thing was when they were asked to play the drums. Bradley Davies didn’t look really sure of himself with two sticks in his hand,” he laughs.
“Thankfully, he didn’t break the drums, as they are 1,000 years old!
“It just added to the experience. It’s a World Cup, it comes around once every four years, and you have just got to enjoy the experience, and last night was one of the occasions.”
Squad in a ‘healthy state’
Davies is one of the squad’s great characters, a quick-witted veteran of 64 caps who is enjoying his third World Cup campaign.
He was a late addition to the squad, called up as a replacement last week after his fellow lock Cory Hill was ruled out with injury.
The second row has been an area of concern for Wales, with Adam Beard yet to feature in Japan as he recovers from having his appendix removed.
But with Beard on the mend, Davies playing his part in training and with no other new issues elsewhere in the squad, McBryde is encouraged on the fitness front.
“Nearly everybody has got a clean bill of health, so we will just go on from strength to strength hopefully,” he says.
“Adam Beard is getting stronger as time goes by after his operation, and Bradley Davies has joined us, so we are in a healthy state, really.
“These few days are very welcome, but once we do start turning our attention to the last two games, and Fiji in particular, then we will start building up again slowly.”
While the players ease themselves back into the swing of things in training, the coaches have still been hard at work, planning meticulously for the Fiji match and their final Pool D fixture against uruguay four days later.
Sunday’s win over Australia put Wales in the group’s driving seat and took them to the brink of the quarter-finals.
But they know not to take Fiji lightly, not having seen them push the Wallabies close, and particularly not having been knocked out of the 2007 World Cup in the pool stage by the Fijians.
“That’s been the message. The two wins we have had so far won’t count for anything,” McBryde says.
“Fiji will be a massive test for us. It’s their last game and they have got nothing to lose and having nothing to lose will make them a very dangerous team.
“Look at the calibre some of the Fiji players have in their ranks, we have got to get it right.
“That is going to be a very stern test for us and as much as we can remind ourselves and guard against it you’re always cautious about that seeping into the mind-set. But these three days are key for us.
“We don’t want to flog ourselves too hard now, but when we do start building up for that Fiji game I think there will still be a bit of momentum behind us from the first two games and that confidence to go out there and show what we can do.”