Come September 2019, the quadrennial Rugby World Cup will be held for the first time ever in Asia, right here in Japan! National champions from all over the world will gather from Friday, 20th of September to Saturday, 2nd of November for about seven weeks of intense competition in the Rugby World Cup, known as one of the three greatest sporting events in the world!
Our guide will introduce you to all the 12 stadiums the Rugby World Cup matches will be taking place in. Come see for yourself what these places have to offer, whether you are a hardcore rugby fan or simply a curious visitor!
Tokyo Stadium: Venue for the Opening Ceremony and Opening Match
This stadium within the Tokyo metropolitan area is large enough to take 49,970 spectators. It is also where the Rugby World Cup's opening ceremony and opening match will take place.
All seats are installed with a backrest and cup holder for fans to view the matches comfortably. There are also no pillars in the stands - a design that allows for maximum visibility of the match from all angles.
The stadium is a convenient five minutes’ walk away from Tobitakyu Station.
The road leading from Tobitakyu Station to the stadium, called Stadium Road, is packed with Japanese-style izakaya bars, restaurants, and other shops.
The airfield nearby is where you can hop on to a propeller plane or simply gaze out at them from the comfortable confines of a cafe while sipping some tea. This is a must-visit spot for aviation fans! The Chofu area where the stadium is located is also home to the historic Jindaiji Temple, known as a reliable place to exorcise bad luck and pray for favorable romantic relationships.
You wouldn't want to miss the local specialties like soba, or buckwheat noodles and other tasty treats being offered here as well. All in all, the stadium and its surroundings is a lovely place for leisurely strolls even when there are no matches going on.
- September 20 (Fri), 7:45 p.m.
- Japan VS Russia
- September 21 (Sat), 4:15 p.m.
- France VS Argentina
- September 29 (Sun), 4:45 p.m.
- Australia VS Wales
- October 5 (Sat), 5:00 p.m.
- England VS Argentina
- October 6 (Sun), 1:45 p.m.
- New Zealand VS Namibia
- October 19 (Sat), 7:15 p.m.
- Quarterfinals 2: Pool B 1st Place VS Pool A 2nd Place
- October 20 (Sun), 7:15 p.m.
- Quarterfinals 4: Pool A 1st Place VS Pool B 2nd Place
- November 1 (Fri), 6:00 p.m.
- Third Place Playoff
- Address 376-3 Nishimachi, Chofu, Tōkyō-to 182-0032
5 minutes’ walk from Tobitakyu Station on the Keio Line. 20 minutes’ walk from Tama Station on the Seibu Tamagawa Line.
- Phone Number 042-440-0555
Kumagaya Rugby Ground: Feel the Rugby Fever in Rugby Town!
The stadium can seat up to a projected 24,000 spectators, and each seat is inclined in a way that allows fans to have a clear view of the touchline. This is the first stadium in Japan to install the world-class "TifGrand Turf" developed by the University of Georgia for sporting use. The turf's excellent cushioning properties reduce injuries during intense activities, contributing to an athlete-friendly environment.
This is also the largest rugby stadium in Japan, and the only one with three full-size rugby fields (A, B, and C Grounds) to accommodate not just World Cup matches, but matches in other categories as well.
As is to be expected of a city with the nickname "Rugby Town", Kumagaya is full of fervent supporters of the sport and a foremost local town that goes all out in promoting it. A massive rugby ball monument stands in front of Kumagaya Station, symbolizing the town's close relationship with the sport. This is the first thing you should be checking out once you reach the station!
The vast Kumagaya Sports & Culture Park contains a rugby field surrounded by lush greenery and is an excellent spot to enjoy a nature stroll. This is also where you can find and visit historic buildings such as the Menuma Shodenzan Kagiin shrine, which had been rebuilt in 1760, as well as Seikeiin, a beautiful stroll garden built between 1865 to 1868 with purely Japanese-style architecture and aesthetics.
- September 24 (Tues), 7:15 p.m.
- Russia VS Samoa
- September 29 (Sun), 2:15 p.m.
- Georgia VS Uruguay
- October 9 (Wed), 1:45 p.m.
- Argentina VS America
Kumagaya Rugby Ground熊谷ラグビー場
- Address 300 Kamikawakami, Kumagaya, Saitama 360-0004
From the north exit of Kumagaya Station on the JR Takasaki Line, take a Kokusai Bus heading towards Kuzuwada and get off at Akagijinjamae Bus Stop.
- Phone Number 048-526-2004
International Stadium Yokohama: The Site of the Final Match
Touted as the largest stadium in Japan capable of housing 72,000 spectators, International Stadium Yokohama is where the final match of the Rugby World Cup will be held on Saturday, 2nd of November.
In preparation for this major sporting event, the stadium's fixed seats have been changed into folding seats, and new pair seats with tables installed. Each of the 580 LED lights of the stadium have been carefully adjusted to ensure every inch of the ground receives an equal amount of illumination.
As Japan's first outdoor sports stadium to make use of a Full-HD screen for reporting, you can be sure that watching replays on the big screen here will be almost as exhilarating as the real thing itself!
The stadium is located in Yokohama, which has been a prosperous port town for more than 150 years. Clear influences from Western and Chinese cultures can be seen everywhere in town, and Yokohama Chinatown is a tourist magnet bustling with activity all day long due to its reputation as Japan's largest Chinatown.
If you take a sightseeing stroll through the area, you'll also see many Western-style brick buildings and modern stone architectures. For the more culinary-minded, the Cup Noodle Museum and Ramen Museum will surely satisfy your curiosity about Japanese cuisine, and perhaps your stomach as well!
- September 21 (Sat), 6:45 p.m.
- New Zealand VS South Africa
- September 22 (Sun), 4:45 p.m.
- Ireland VS Scotland
- October 12 (Sat), 5:15 p.m.
- England VS France
- October 13 (Sun), 7:45 p.m.
- Japan VS Scotland
- October 26 (Sat), 5:00 p.m.
- Semifinals 1: Quarterfinals 1 Winner VS Quarterfinals 2 Winner
- October 27 (Sun), 6:00 p.m.
- Semifinals 2: Quarterfinals 3 Winner VS Quarterfinals 4 Winner
- November 2 (Sat), 6:00 p.m.
- Final Match
International Stadium Yokohama横浜国際総合競技場
- Address 3300 Kozukuecho, Kohoku Ward, Yokohama, Kanagawa 222-0036
14 minutes walk from Shin-Yokohama Station on JR Lines, 10 minutes walk from Kozukue Station on JR Lines, 12 minutes walk from Shin-Yokohama Station on the municipal subway.
- Phone Number 045-477-5000
Sapporo Dome: Japan's Only Fully Indoor Stadium with a Natural Turf
Seating capacity for this stadium will be up to 41,410 during the period of the Rugby World Cup, and athletes will clash against each other on top of a massive 120 meters by 85 meters (about 393 feet by 278 feet) natural turf field.
As Japan's one and only indoor stadium with a natural turf, there is no need for spectators to worry about the weather. Simply sit back and enjoy the match come rain or shine! The excellent field environment caused it to be chosen as one of the official venues for the soccer World Cup during 2002 as well.
Grass on the pitch is moved to an outdoor space when there are no matches. This is to allow them to catch some sunlight and grow more luxuriantly, ensuring that the field contains good quality grass at all times. (Photograph depicts soccer pitch.)
The stadium is in Hokkaido, the northernmost part of Japan known for its cool climate all-year-round. Just a stone's throw away is the city of Sapporo, which is said to be the center of Hokkaido's economy and culture. What this means is that there will be no end of conveniently accessible restaurants and shops for you to explore during downtime!
Spectating in Sapporo has the added perk of pleasing your belly as well, with all the fresh seafood, ramen, soup, curry, jingisukan (grilled mutton), and large variety of other mouth-watering foods readily available at your fingertips.
Popular tourist hot spots like the Blue Pond, world-famous Biei Town, and the beautiful Furano known for its winter sports venues and fields of lush lavender are all about an hour away from the stadium, so why not plan some sightseeing into your schedule if you're making your way down for a match? You won't regret it!
- September 21 (Sat), 1:45 p.m.
- Australia VS Fiji
- September 22 (Sun), 7:15 p.m.
- England VS Tonga
- Address 1 Hitsujigaoka, Toyohira-ku, Sapporo, Hokkaido 062-0045
10 minutes walk from Fukuzumi Station on the Toho Line. 3 minutes walk from Sapporo Dome Bus Stop, 5 minutes walk from Fukuzumi 3 Jo 3 Chome Bus Stop.
- Phone Number 011-850-1000
Kamaishi Recovery Memorial Stadium: Just Opened in 2018!
This stadium, surrounded in all directions by natural mountains, seas, and rivers, can seat up to 16,020 spectators (including makeshift seats). The main stand and back stands are installed with seats crafted from local cedar wood, which adds flavor to the fiery mood when you cheer enthusiastically during an intense match.
It is also the first stadium in Japan to use a hybrid natural turf designed for durability and to draw out the best performance each athlete has to give. Out of the 12 stadiums that will be used for the Rugby World Cup, this is the newest one that opened only recently in August 2018.
The nearest station to the stadium is Unosumai Station on the Sanriku Railway Line, and the area around this station is called Usunomai Tomasu. This is where you'll find souvenir shops and plenty of direct dealers peddling fresh seafood.
Thinking of buying something back to commemorate your visit? A popular souvenir is the local specialty food, "Kamaishi Rugger Ramen". It comes with chewy noodles and a zesty soup that is an apt portrayal of the vibrant dynamism an exciting rugby match always offers!
- September 25 (Wed), 2:15 p.m.
- Fiji VS Uruguay
- October 13 (Sun), 12:15 p.m.
- Namibia VS Canada
Kamaishi Recovery Memorial Stadium釜石鵜住居復興スタジアム
- Address Dai 18 Chiwari-5-1 Unosumaichō, Kamaishi, Iwate 026-0301
8 minutes walk from Unosumai Station on the JR Yamada Line, 15 minutes by shuttle bus from Kamaishi Station.
- Phone Number 0193-27-5067
Shizuoka Stadium Ecopa: Breathe in cool and crisp natural air as you spectate!
Located within the Ogasayama Nature and Sports Park and surrounded by an abundance of natural sights, the seating capacity for this stadium is 50,889. Out of those seats, 5,236 are swivel seats that can be pushed out during the match for a closer look at the athletes in the field.
Two display panels measuring 9.6 meters by 19.2 meters (about 31 feet by 63 feet) provide a platform for quick and vivid replay videos and better views of the match from the pitch.
The stadium is located in Shizuoka Prefecture's Kakegawa City, which is well-known as a production area for Japanese Kakegawa tea.
This special green tea leaf has a powerful umami taste that is perfect for bringing home as a unique souvenir. During tea harvesting season, the verdant green tea fields make up a beautiful idyllic sight that many will likely find pleasant to see.
For the more culturally inclined, there's always Kakegawa Castle with more than 400 years of history, or the Shiseido Arthouse, which has plenty of modern art pieces open for public viewing. Whatever your preference, there's something here for everyone!
- September 28 (Sat), 4:15 p.m.
- Japan VS Ireland
- October 4(Fri), 6:45 p.m.
- South Africa VS Italy
- October 9 (Wed), 4:15 p.m.
- Scotland VS Russia
- October 11 (Fri), 7:15 p.m.
- Australia VS Georgia
Shizuoka Stadium Ecopa小笠山総合運動公園エコパスタジアム
- Address 2300-1 Aino, Fukuroi, Shizuoka 437-0031
15 minutes walk from Aino Station on the JR Tokaido Main Line.
- Phone Number 0538-41-1800
Toyota Stadium: Just renovated in 2019!
The seating capacity here is 44,000 spectators, and the top stands have a maximum gradient of 38 degrees, which allows those seated at the back to be able to view the match clearly without blockage.
After its 2019 renovations, the stadium now has a second large-screen display, better lighting equipment, and enhanced acoustic installations. All Western-style toilets in the stadium have been fitted with warm water washing devices and visitors can connect to a Wi-Fi network from over 200 access points within the site, ensuring a comfortable spectating environment for all.
Aichi Prefecture's Toyota City is where the stadium is located, and the nearby Nagakute City is home to Toyota Museum, a must-visit site for car lovers that has Toyota car models and about 140 well-known cars of other makers (European and Japanese) on display.
Toyota City itself is where you can find the Toyota Municipal Museum of Art, which was designed by iconic Japanese architect Yoshio Taniguchi. The museum has an impressive collection of modern art from both domestic and international artists. This facility will be undergoing repairs until the 1st of June, 2019, when it is then reopened for visitors, and just in time for the surge of traffic that is bound to occur due to the Rugby World Cup as well!
Check these places out if you do make a trip down. Other popular places of interest in the region include the plethora of hot springs and hidden springs right within the city itself. After all that hard work cheering for your favorite sports, why not go hot spring-hopping to soothe and refresh your aching muscles in preparation for the next match?
- September 23 (Mon), 7:15 p.m.
- Wales VS Georgia
- September 28 (Sat), 6:45 p.m.
- South Africa VS Namibia
- October 5 (Sat), 7:30 p.m.
- Japan VS Samoa
- October 12 (Sat), 1:45 p.m.
- New Zealand VS Italy
- Address 7-chōme-2 Sengokuchō, Toyota, Aichi 471-0016
15 minutes walk from Toyotashi Station on Meitetsu, 17 minutes walk from Shin-Toyota Station on the Aichi Loop Line.
- Phone Number 0565-87-5200
Hanazono Rugby Stadium: Japan's Rugby Mecca
This is Japan's first rugby-only stadium, with a seating capacity of up to a projected 24,000, including makeshift seats. It has contributed much to the development of Japan's rugby scene, and rugby related personnel fondly term it Japan's "Rugby Sanctuary".
After hefty repair works were completed in September 2018, to the tune of about 7.2 billion yen (about US$65.8 million), new life has been breathed into the stadium, which now comes with a 710 inch large-screen monitor display and night game lighting fixtures, among plenty of other high-tech additions.
The surrounding area of Osaka is a traditional place of interest among both local and international visitors. From huge downtown shopping districts to theme parks such as Universal Studio Japan, you won't have a lack of things to fill your schedule with in between matches!
The city is also well-known as a food paradise, especially for specialties like okonomiyaki (savory pancake), takoyaki (octopus balls), and kushikatsu (deep-fried skewered meat and vegetables). Going on a food tour around Osaka is a perfectly viable (and delicious) way to spend your time here!
- September 22 (Sun), 2:15 p.m.
- Italy VS Namibia
- September 28 (Sat), 1:45 p.m.
- Argentina VS Tonga
- October 3 (Thu), 2:15 p.m.
- Georgia VS Fiji
- October 13 (Sun), 2:45 p.m.
- America VS Tonga
Hanazono Rugby Stadium東大阪市花園ラグビー場
- Address 1-1-1 Matsubara-minami, Higashiosaka, Osaka 578-0923
8 minutes walk from Higashi-Hanazono Station on the Kintetsu Nara Line, 15 minutes walk from Yoshita Station on the Kintetsu Keihan Line.
- Phone Number 072-961-3668
Kobe City Misaki Park Stadium: Watch matches without worrying about the weather
The total seating capacity for this stadium is 30,132, and the seats nearest to the field are a mere six meters (about 19 feet) away from all the action! The all-weather design also means you don't have to worry about inclement weather.
Each seat also comes with its own air-conditioner system to help you enjoy the match in comfort. Seating zones are grouped by color, making it easier for audiences to find their way back to their seats if they have to leave for a bit. The stadium is also a short five minutes walk away from Misakikoen Station.
Kobe, a port town since olden times, is where you'll find this stadium. The region's specialty, "Kobe Beef" is also an internationally recognized brand, so it goes without saying that there are plenty of restaurants here providing all sorts of meat delicacies using Kobe Beef as an ingredient. Don't miss this incredible delicacy if you happen to go sightseeing! The historic Ikuta Shrine here is known to be an effective place to visit to pray for luck in relationships. For the avid shopper, there's always Nankin Machi, one of the largest Chinatowns in Japan with food and souvenir shops galore. This region will keep you entertained for days if you allow it to!
- September 26 (Thu), 7:45 p.m.
- England VS America
- September 30 (Mon), 7:15 p.m.
- Scotland VS Samoa
- October 3 (Thu), 7:15 p.m.
- Ireland VS Russia
- October 8 (Tues), 7:15 p.m.
- South Africa VS Canada
Kobe City Misaki Park Stadium神戸市御崎公園球技場
- Address 1-chōme-2-2 Misakichō, Hyōgo-ku, Kobe, Hyogo 652-0855
5 minutes walk from Misakikoen Station on the Kaigan Line
- Phone Number 078-652-5656
Level5 Stadium: A short distance away from Fukuokakuko Station
Level5 Stadium is located near Fukuoka Airport and can take 20,049 spectators. The stadium's previous bench seats were replaced by individual seats after repair works were done in 2018, allowing spectators to relax for a longer time.
A new electric bulletin board helps audiences to keep up with the match, and better lighting and acoustics were installed as part of the renovations as well. All in all, it is now an excellent site for athletes and sports spectators alike.
Fukuoka Prefecture, where the stadium is located, is a town on the southern side of Japan that is filled with delicious local food such as tonkotsu ramen (pork bone ramen) and motsunabe (offal hot pot).
The stadium's vicinity near an airport also ensures a steady flow of local and international visitors who come for sightseeing. The tonkotsu ramen that can be found in the nearby Fukuoka City is called "Hakata Ramen", and people love this local specialty for its tenderly thin and chewy noodles.
As the prefecture is known for being densely packed with plenty of convenient facilities, you'll surely find it a pleasure to tour the area and its places of interest. In fact, the city once came in 14th in an English magazine's list of world's most livable places!
- September 26 (Thu), 4:45 p.m.
- Italy VS Canada
- October 2 (Wed), 4:45 p.m.
- France VS America
- October 12 (Thu), 7:45 p.m.
- Argentina VS Samoa
Level Five Stadium東平尾公園博多の森球技場
- Address 2-chōme-1-1 Higashihiraokōen, Hakata-ku, Fukuoka, 816-0052
25 minutes walk or 8 minutes by bus from Fukuokakuko Station on the Fukuoka City Subway
- Phone Number 092-612-7070
Kumamoto Stadium: For both foodies and sports fans!
The stadium can take up to 30,000 spectators, and this is where a rugby test match between Japan and Romania took place in 2017. In line with the upcoming Rugby World Cup, seats in the main stand and back stands have been fitted with backrests, the toilets fully renovated, and large-screen monitor displays mounted.
One of the stadium's features is the large PTFE roof that shields the main stand and back stands from both sides, inspired from the image of a bird with outstretched wings soaring above Mount Aso's great plains.
Kumamoto is also where you can find Japanese-style places of interest such as Kumamoto Castle, one of the most well-known castles of Japan, as well as the beautiful Suizenji Jojuen garden park. The area is known as a producer of horse meat.
As such, you'll be able to have a fresh taste of this local delicacy in plenty of restaurants, if you so desire. Last year, Tour Plaza Kamitori opened in Kumamoto City, offering support for local tours in English, Mandarin Chinese, and Korean, much to the delight of many foreign visitors.
- October 6 (Sun), 4:45 p.m.
- France VS Tonga
- October 13 (Sun), 5:15 p.m.
- Wales VS Uruguay
- Address 2776 Hirayamamachi, Higashi-ku, Kumamoto, 861-8012
10 to 15 minutes by taxi from Asokumamoto Airport, 45 minutes by taxi or 50 minutes by bus from Kumamoto Station on the JR Lines, 5 to 10 minutes by taxi from Hikarinomori Station on the JR Hohi Main Line.
- Phone Number 096-380-7599
Oita Stadium: Where the ground is always touched by natural light
This stadium can seat around 40,000 spectators and has a retractable roof. Even when the roof has to be closed on rainy days, natural light is still able to filter through onto the ground, one of the stadium's distinct characteristics. There is a track for runners, but the pitch is built low and spectator seats are inclined at an angle that will provide the best view possible.
Oita Prefecture is so well-known as Japan's top spot for hot springs that the prefecture's nickname is "Hot Springs Prefecture"! In fact, the hot spring in Beppu is said to have the world's largest quantity of flowing spring waters.
If you have tattoos and wish to enjoy a soak in one of the famous springs, Beppu City has even created a special website listing tattoo-friendly onsen:
Towards the west is Mount Takasaki, where more than 1,200 Japanese monkeys live. There is a zoo in the mountain where you can observe these wild monkeys in their natural habitat. Needless to say, it is a popular destination for visitors to the area.
- October 2 (Wed), 7:15 p.m.
- New Zealand VS Canada
- October 5 (Sun), 2:15 p.m.
- Australia VS Uruguay
- October 9 (Wed), 8:45 p.m.
- Wales VS Fiji
- October 19 (Sat), 4:15 p.m.
- Quarterfinals 1 - Pool C 1st Place VS Pool D 2nd Place
- October 20 (Sun), 4:15 p.m.
- Quarterfinals 3 - Pool D 1st Place VS Pool C 2nd Place
- Address 1351 Yokoo, Oita, 870-0126
45 minutes by transit bus or Oita Bus from Oita Station on the JR Lines (Oita Central), towards Park Place Oita, drop off at Oita Sports Park East Bus Stop.
- Phone Number 097-528-7700
Many rugby stadiums in Japan have undergone major renovations in preparation for the 2019 Rugby World Cup, with the goal of creating an environment that will allow spectators of the sport to enjoy their time in the venue.
The 12 different regions of Japan housing the rugby stadiums being used for the competition this time each have unique quirks and features that makes them excellent sightseeing destinations as well.
You can use this guide as a reference for match timings along with the best things to do, see, and eat around the vicinity of the stadium where the matches will be taking place!
Written by: MEDIUM Co., Inc.
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