Japan Rugby Venues: The Complete Guide

Every four years, the Rugby World Cup™ draws up to 2 million live spectators to stadiums around the world. This year, for the first time ever, the Rugby World Cup is heading to Asia. The tournament will take place at 12 rugby venues across Japan.

This is the ultimate opportunity for rugby fans to experience the thrill of world-class competition while visiting one of Asia’s most mesmerizing countries. Keep reading to learn more about the Rugby World Cup 2019™ venues in Japan.

See a map of all the Japan rugby venues.

Rugby World Cup 2019™ Venues:

  1. Tokyo Stadium (Also Known as Ajinomoto Stadium)
  2. International Stadium Yokohama (Also Known as Nissan Stadium)
  3. Shizuoka Stadium Ecopa
  4. City of Toyota Stadium
  5. Hanazono Rugby Stadium
  6. Kobe Misaki Stadium
  7. Kumagaya Rugby Stadium
  8. Fukuoka Hakatanomori Stadium
  9. Oita Stadium
  10. Kamaishi Recovery Memorial Stadium
  11. Kumamoto Stadium (Also Known as Egao Kenko Stadium)
  12. Sapporo Dome

I.
Tokyo Stadium
(Also Known As Ajinomoto Stadium)

The Rugby World Cup 2019™ will kick off festivities in the vibrant capital city of Tokyo. Tokyo Stadium will host the opening ceremony, as well as the first match of the tournament. The venue will host five pool matches, two quarterfinal matches, and the bronze final of the Rugby World Cup 2019™.

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Fun Facts

  • Tokyo Stadium is the only stadium in Japan with two home football teams – J1 F.C. Tokyo and J2 Tokyo Verdy.
  • It was the first public facility named after a corporate sponsor (Japanese food and spice producer Ajinomoto Co.).
  • It’s the largest solar-powered stadium in Japan.

About the Stadium

Tokyo Stadium opened March 10, 2001, on the site of a former U.S. military base, with the intention of being a hub for Tokyo sports. Its official name has been Ajinomoto Stadium since 2003, after the introduction of naming rights in Japan. However, the stadium plans to revert to the name “Tokyo Stadium” in February 2020.

The extensive facility features a natural grass pitch and can accommodate nearly 50,000 people, making it the 6th largest stadium in Japan. Stands consist of two tiers of seating covered by a solar-paneled roof.

Solar panels aren’t the only green initiative Tokyo Stadium has adopted, though. You’ll also notice vertical gardens covering stadium walls and wind-powered LED lights.

Events

Tokyo stadium primarily hosts football matches and is home to two J-League football teams, the J1 F.C. Tokyo and J2 Tokyo Verdy.

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 NOTE: 
J-League is the top division of the Japan Professional Football League.

The facility hosts rugby, football, American football, lacrosse, softball, and track and field matches. Occasional Rugby Union matches, concerts, flea markets, and corporate events also take place at the stadium.

Though construction wrapped in time for the 2002 FIFA World Cup, officials did not select it as a venue. It did, however, serve as the training site for the Saudi Arabian football team. Later, in the wake of the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami, it was also a shelter for survivors.

In addition to the Rugby World Cup, the stadium is set to host multiple events in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Football, rugby, and modern-day pentathlon events are all slotted to take place on stadium grounds.

You can find a full list of regularly scheduled matches and upcoming events here.

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Rugby World Cup 2019™ Fixtures at Tokyo Stadium:

  • Japan vs. Russia – Friday, 20 September, 19:45
  • France vs. Argentina – Saturday, 21 September, 16:15
  • Australia vs. Wales – Sunday, 29 September, 16:45
  • England vs. Argentina – Saturday, 5 October, 17:00
  • New Zealand vs. Namibia – Sunday, 6 October, 13:45
  • Quarter Final 2: Winner Pool B vs. Runner-Up Pool A – Saturday, 19 October 19:15
  • Quarter Final 4: Winner Pool A vs. Runner-Up Pool B – Sunday, 20 October, 19:15
  • Bronze Final: Loser Semi-Final 1 vs. Loser Semi-Final 2 – Friday, 1 November, 18:00

Getting There

Tokyo Stadium is located in Chofu, a city in the Tama region of West Tokyo. Chofu is known for its temples and shrines, but is also home to JAXA, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.

The best way to access the stadium is by train or by bus. Avoid traveling by taxi, as a trip from Central Tokyo costs upward of ¥6,000.

Access:

  • Tobitakyu (Ajinomoto Stadium) Station (Keio Line) – 5-minute walk to the stadium
  • Tama Station (Seibu Tamagawa Line) – 20-minute walk to the stadium

Trip Summaries:

  • Shinjuku Station (Central Tokyo) to Tobitakyu Station takes about 20 minutes on the Keio Line and costs ¥240.
  • Tokyo Station to Tobitakyu Station takes about 1 hour on the JR Chuo Line and the Keio Line and costs ¥440.

Shuttle buses are available from stations on the JR Chuo Line and Odakyu Line as well. Take the bus to the Haginogenjutaku bus stop – the stadium is only a 5-minute walk from the station.

  • From Musashi-Sakai Station (JR Chuo Line), board the Keio 91 bus at the #3 bus stop and get off at Haginogenjutaku bus stop. The trip takes 20 minutes and costs ¥220.
  • From Musashi-Koganei Station (JR Chuo Line), board the Keio 91 bus at the #7 bus stop and get off at Haginogenjutaku bus stop. The trip takes 25 minutes and costs ¥220.
  • From Komae Station (Odakyu Line), board the Keio 91 bus at the #1 bus stop, get off at Haginogenjutaku bus stop. The trip takes 25 minutes and costs ¥220.

Tokyo is easy to access from other Rugby World Cup cities. Take the bullet train to Tokyo if you’re traveling from outside of Tokyo.

  • Shin-Yokohama Station to Tokyo Station takes 17 minutes on the Tokaido Shinkansen Line and costs ¥2,950.
  • Shin-Osaka Station to Tokyo Station takes about 2 hours and 30 minutes on the Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen Line and costs ¥14,650.
  • Nagoya Station to Tokyo Station takes about 1 hour and 40 minutes on the Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen Line and costs ¥11,290.
  • Kamaishi Station to Tokyo Station takes about 5 hours on the Kamaishi Line and the Tohoku-Hokkaido Shinkansen Line and costs ¥14,970.
  • Hakata Station (Fukuoka) to Tokyo Station takes about 5 hours on the Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen Line and costs ¥23,150.

PRO TIP: There is very limited parking available at the stadium, so you should avoid accessing the stadium by car.

Shopping & Dining

Tokyo Stadium has plenty to offer visitors in the way of dining and shopping. On stadium grounds, but outside the stadium itself, is a food court and shopping center called Pocket Garden. Here, you’ll find a variety of sit-down and fast food restaurants.

Inside the stadium are many food stalls selling foods like fried chicken, tacos, and hot dogs. Beer vendors also walk the stands so thirsty spectators don’t have to leave their seats.

Across from Pocket Garden is Euro Sports Ajinomoto Stadium Shop, where you can buy sports apparel and fan gear for Tokyo Stadium’s home teams.

Where to Stay

Staying near the stadium is a helpful way to avoid traffic to and from matches. It’s also a way to discover the lesser-traveled neighborhood of Chofu.

Consider staying at these hotels near Tobitakyu Station for easy access to Tokyo Stadium:

Chofu Urban Hotel

  • Address: 1-1-25 Tobitakyu, Chofu, Tokyo 182-0036
  • Rates from ¥4,100

Hotel Musashinomori

  • Address: 6-12-8 Shiraitodai, Fuchu, Tokyo 183-0011
  • Rates from ¥4,200

There are more accommodation options at the nearby Chofu Station, which is just two stops away from Tobitakyu Station on the Keio Line.

Chofu Creston Hotel

  • Address: Parco building 8F-10F, 1-38-1 Kojima, Chofu, Tokyo 182-0026
  • Rates from ¥10,500

Those who wish to stay closer to Tokyo’s main tourist attractions should stay in the city center.

PRO TIP: Explore the Tokyo City Guide for helpful tips on choosing neighborhoods and accommodations. If you’re planning on staying in nearby Yokohama, home of International Stadium Yokohama, consult the Yokohama City Guide.

Final Tips

  • You can bring outside food and drinks into the stadium, but leave cans and bottles behind. Employees will help you pour drinks into cups if necessary.
  • There is no smoking except in designated areas.
  • Cell phone reception can get spotty and there is no dedicated Wi-Fi.
  • You may not bring umbrellas into the stadium.

 

II.
International Stadium Yokohama
(Also Known As Nissan Stadium)

Yokohama is Japan’s second largest city and is home to International Stadium Yokohama. Each year, visitors come from all over Japan and abroad to witness the biggest events in sports and entertainment. The stadium will host four pool matches, the semifinal matches, and the final match of the Rugby World Cup 2019™.

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Fun Facts

  • International Stadium Yokohama is the largest stadium in all of Japan.
  • It was the site of Japan’s first-ever win in a FIFA World Cup match.
  • The first rugby match in Asia took place in Yokohama in 1899, when British traders introduced the game to local university students.

About the Stadium

International Stadium Yokohama, also known as Nissan Stadium, first opened its gates on March 1, 1998. Design and construction of the venue took nearly a decade and cost over ¥60 billion. It was a huge and highly anticipated project which required cooperation from manufacturers all over Japan. Overall, 24 different plants across the country supplied materials for construction.

The stadium’s centerpiece is a football pitch surrounded by a full-sized track and two tiers of stands. It has a maximum capacity of 72,327, including up to 485 spaces for wheelchairs.

A retractable roof partially covers the stands and can extend an additional 5.5 m (18 ft) to cover the press and VIP seats. Large video screens on the north and south ends of the field are helpful for viewing the action, as the full-sized track creates extra distance between the pitch and the stands.

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IMPORTANT NOTE:
Seats closest to the field are not covered by the roof. Consider possible weather conditions and plan accordingly.

Events

The biggest draw to International Stadium Yokohama is the resident J1football team, the Yokohama F. Marinos. The multi-purpose stadium also hosts track and field events, rugby matches, American football matches, cultural events, and concerts. 

International Stadium Yokohama is best known for hosting three pool matches and the final match of the 2002 FIFA World Cup, in which Brazil beat Germany 2-0. It’s also been the setting for other important football tournaments, like the FIFA Club World Cup and the Intercontinental Cup.

Citizens of Yokohama and fans of International Stadium Yokohama have a lot to look forward to in the coming two years. The stadium will host the final match of the Rugby World Cup 2019™ and will be a venue of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

See the full event schedule on the stadium’s official website for more information about upcoming events.

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Rugby World Cup 2019™ Fixtures at International Stadium Yokohama:

  • New Zealand vs. South Africa – Saturday, 21 September, 18:45
  • Ireland vs. Scotland – Sunday, 22 September, 16:45
  • England vs. France – Saturday, 12 September, 17:15
  • Japan vs. Scotland – Sunday, 13 October, 19:45
  • Semi-Finals 1: Winner Quarter Final 1 vs. Winner Quarter Final 2 – Saturday, 26 October, 17:00
  • Semi-Finals 2: Winner Quarter Final 3 vs. Winner Quarter Final 4 – Sunday, 27 October, 18:00
  • Final – Saturday, 2 November, 18:00

Getting There

International Stadium Yokohama is located in Yokohama, a port city just south of Tokyo.

Only 8 km (5 mi) from central Yokohama and 30 km (19 mi) from Central Tokyo, visitors staying in either city will find it easy to access the stadium using public transportation. The best way to access the stadium is by train.

Access:

  • Shin-yokohama Station (JR Tokaido Shinkansen Line, JR Yokohama Line) – 14-minute walk to the stadium
  • Shin-yokohama Station (Yokohama Municipal Subway Blue Line) – 12-minute walk to the stadium
  • Kozukoe Station (JR Yokohama Line) – 7-minute walk to the stadium

Trip Summaries:

  • Yokohama Station to Shin-yokohama Station takes about 11 minutes on the Yokohama Municipal Subway and costs ¥240
  • Tokyo Station to Shin-yokohama Station takes about 30 minutes on the JR Tokaido Shinkansen (bullet train) and costs ¥3,000
  • Shinjuku Station (Tokyo) to Kozukoe Station takes about 1 hour on the JR Yamanote Line, Tokyu-Tohoku Line, and JR Yokohama Line and costs ¥550

International Stadium Yokohama is also accessible by car and has a carpark accommodating up to 1,000 vehicles. The carpark is open until 10 PM and costs ¥400 for two hours.

Shopping & Dining

The venue has multiple dining options for spectators, such as the Food Court Usagi located at the East Gate. Here you’ll find a variety of typical Japanese stadium foods like yakisoba (fried noodles), yakitori (chicken skewers), and takoyaki (fried octopus). Western stadium foods like hot dogs are also available.

There are additional food stands scattered around the stadium’s fourth and fifth floors in dedicated areas called Gourmet Towns.

You can purchase sports apparel and Yokohama F. Marinos merchandise at the in-stadium Tricolore One Store. Other goods and snacks are available at Birth Day, a convenience store at the East Gate entrance.

Where to Stay

Stay near the stadium is to avoid heavy traffic to and from matches. Take a look at these hotels near Shin-yokohama Station:

Court Hotel Shin-Yokohama

  • Address: 2-13-1 Shinyokohama, Kohoku, Yokohama 222-0033
  • Rates: from ¥2,625 per night

Laguna Suite Hotel & Wedding

  • Address: 2-6-6 Shinyokohama, Kohoku, Yokohama 222-0033
  • Rates: from ¥10,000 per night

Hotel Associa Shin-Yokohama

  • Address: 2-100-45 Shin Yokohama, Kohoku, Yokohama 222-0033
  • Rates: from ¥13,300

PRO TIP: If you wish to be closer to other attractions in Tokyo or Yokohama, consider staying in a more central location. Consult the Yokohama City Guide or the Tokyo City Guide for advice about neighborhoods and accommodation options.

Final Tips

  • Take a stadium tour to learn more about the stadium’s exciting football history.
  • Free public Wi-Fi is available from every seat in the stadium.
  • The weather in Yokohama remains warm well into October. Book tickets on the South Stand to avoid sweltering on hot, sunny days.
  • Enter from the North Gate for less foot traffic.

 

III.
Shizuoka Stadium Ecopa

Shizuoka Stadium Ecopa is a multi-purpose sports venue located in the coastal city of Fukuroi, Shizuoka Prefecture. About 125 km (78 mi) outside of Nagoya, the stadium is located atop a hill and offers stunning landscape views. Shizuoka Stadium Ecopa will host four pool fixtures of the Rugby World Cup. 

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Fun Facts

  • Shizuoka Stadium Ecopa is the largest multi-purpose sports facility in Shizuoka Prefecture.
  • The stadium once hosted 115,000 people at a 2010 concert for the 19-member Japanese boy band EXILE.

About the Stadium

Shizuoka Stadium Ecopa is the magnet feature of Ogasayama Sports Park Ecopa, an extensive sports and training facility featuring an arena, practice field, throwing field, and four additional fields. The stadium opened on March 26, 2001 as a venue for the 2002 FIFA World Cup.

The stadium features a natural grass field and an all-weather track. It has a maximum capacity of 50,889, including over 5,000 movable seats. Stands consist of two tiers and a partial roof. On both ends of the stadium, there are large video screens to help fans see the action on the field.

Events

Shizuoka Stadium Ecopa is the primary venue for all major sporting events in Shizuoka Prefecture. Track and field, football, rugby, concerts, cultural events, conventions, and flea markets all take place at the stadium.

The stadium doesn’t have a home team, but it does host many major J-League football matches. One such event is Shizuoka Derby, a face-off between local teams Jubilo Iwata and Shimizu S-Pulse.

Notable past events at the stadium include three matches of the 2002 FIFA World Cup and the opening ceremony of the 2006 Nenrinpic Shizuoka (Japan-wide friendly football tournament). Soon, it will host a training camp prior to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Peek at other upcoming events, like the annual ECOPA Ramen Convention, on the stadium’s official website.

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Rugby World Cup 2019™ Fixtures at Shizuoka Stadium Ecopa:

  • Japan vs. Ireland – Saturday, 28 September, 16:15
  • South Africa vs. Italy – Friday, 4 October, 18:45
  • Scotland vs. Russia – Wednesday, 9 October, 16:15
  • Australia vs Georgia – Friday, 11 October, 17:15

Getting There

Fukuroi is an industrial city in Shizuoka Prefecture known for the Ogasayama Sports Park Ecopa and its breathtaking nature. The city’s northern border touches Ogasayama Mountain and its southern border touches the Pacific Ocean.

The closest major city to the stadium is Nagoya, but it is equally accessible from Tokyo and Osaka. The best ways to access the stadium are by train or by car.

Access:

  • Aino Station (JR Tokaido Line) – 15-minute walk to the stadium

Trip Summaries:

To get to Aino Station on the JR Tokaido Line from Nagoya or Osaka, take the JR Tokaido Shinkansen (bullet train) to Hamamatsu Station.

  • Hamamatsu Station to Aino Station takes 20 minutes on the JR Tokaido (local) Line and costs ¥410

To get to Aino Station on the JR Tokaido Line from Tokyo or Shin-Yokohama, transfer at Kakegawa Station.

  • Kakegawa Station to Aino Station takes 5 minutes on the JR Tokaido (local) Line and costs ¥190

PRO TIP: When taking the JR Tokaido Shinkansen (bullet train) from Tokyo, reserve a seat in Row E to get the best views of Mt. Fuji on the way to Shizuoka.


Twelve parking lots on the Ogasayama Sports Park Ecopa accommodate over 4,000 vehicles for free. Unfortunately, this also makes traffic in and out of the stadium quite heavy. Keep this in mind before deciding to drive to the stadium.

Shopping & Dining

The stadium includes a few bars and vendors selling typical stadium foods like yakisoba (fried noodles), sweet potatoes, and churros. Beer and other alcoholic refreshments are available, as well.

You can also purchase a variety of snack and drinks from vending machines dispersed throughout the stadium.

Spectators may bring outside food and drinks into the stadium. Consider purchasing snacks and refreshments at a convenience store ahead of time.

Where to Stay

Avoid heavy traffic to and from matches by staying close to the stadium. Consider staying at the Cosmo Inn near Aino Station if you want to stay within walking distance.

Cosmo Inn

  • Address: 1-1-6 Ainominami, Fukuroi, Shizuoka 437-0040
  • Rates: from ¥6,100

There are also several options to choose from at the nearby Kakegawa Station:

Kakegawa Grand Hotel

  • Address: 1-3-1 Kamenoko, Kakegawa, Shizuoka 436-0028
  • Rates: from ¥5,500

Express Dormy Inn

  • Address: 3-12 Nittocho, Kakegawa, Shizuoka 436-0075
  • Rates: from ¥6,290


PRO TIP: Consider staying in Nagoya if you prefer the benefits of a more populated area. 

Final Tips

  • Spectators cannot bring bottles or cans into the stadium.
  • Show up early and walk around the Ogasayama Sports Park to take in the charming landscape.

IV.
City of Toyota Stadium

Toyota is best known as the headquarters of the motor company after which it’s named. Take in the sights at City of Toyota Stadium, where panoramic views of the city and the Yahagi River are visible from the stands. The stadium will host four pool matches of the Rugby World Cup 2019™.

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Fun Facts

  • Toyota Stadium’s resident football team actually claims Nagoya – not Toyota – as its hometown.
  • The on-site gym is open to the public.
  • The stadium’s retractable roof hasn’t closed since 2015 due to high maintenance costs.

About the Stadium

First opened on July 21, 2001, Toyota Stadium is recognized as one of the most beautiful stadiums in Japan. It was designed by Kisho Kurokawa as a complement to his neighboring piece, the Toyota Ohashi Bridge.

The stadium has a maximum capacity of 45,000. Some prominent features include its retractable, suspended roof (which takes about 50 minutes to open or close) and its sloped stands, which angle slightly toward the pitch to make spectators feel like they are right over the action.

Events

Toyota Stadium is currently the home stadium of the J1 football club, the Nagoya Grampus, and the Rugby Union Top League club, the Toyota Corporation Verblitz. Concerts and cultural events also take place at the stadium on non-game days.

The stadium hosted the FIFA Club World Cup Japan 2012 semifinal. The following year, an international goodwill match between the Nagoya Grampus and Arsenal set a record for attendance, with nearly 43,000 people in the stands.

Find out about the stadium’s upcoming events on the official website.

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Rugby World Cup 2019™ Fixtures at City of Toyota Stadium:

  • Wales vs. Georgia – Monday, 23 September, 19:15
  • South Africa vs. Namibia – Saturday, 28 September, 18:45
  • Japan vs. Samoa – Saturday, 5 October, 19:30
  • New Zealand vs. Italy – Saturday, 12 October, 13:45

Getting There

Toyota City is about 35 km (32 mi) east of Nagoya in Aichi prefecture. The city borders both Nagoya and Gifu Prefectures, which are famous for their mountains. Toyota City is rather mountainous in the north and is also partially industrial.

The simplest way to reach City of Toyota Stadium is by train from Nagoya. However, the stadium is also accessible from Tokyo or Osaka on the JR Tokaido Shinkansen (bullet train).

Access:

  • Toyotashi Station (Meitetsu-Mikawa Line) – 15-minute walk to the stadium

Trip Summaries:

  • Meitestsu Nagoya Station to Toyotashi Station takes about 45 minutes. First, take the Meitestu Limited Express to Chiryu Station and transfer to the Meitetsu-Mikawa Line. The trip costs ¥1,150.
  • Nagoya Station to Toyotashi Station takes about 50 minutes. First, take the Nagoya Subway Higashiyama Line to Fushimi Station and transfer to the Nagoya Subway Tsurumai Line. The trip costs ¥760

To get to Toyotashi Station from Tokyo or Osaka, you must first take the bullet train to Nagoya Station.

  • Shin-Osaka Station to Nagoya Station takes about 50 minutes on the JR Tokaido Shinkansen and costs ¥6,760
  • Tokyo Station to Nagoya Station takes about 1 hour and 40 minutes on the JR Tokaido Shinkansen and costs ¥11,290

You can also get to Toyota Stadium by airport shuttle. Board the shuttle at the first floor of the Chubu Centrair International Airport Passenger Terminal and get off at Toyotashi Station. The trip takes 83 minutes and costs ¥1,750.

You can also access the stadium is by car, but limited free parking makes driving to the venue complicated. A secondary parking lot opens for events, though rates may be as high as ¥5,000.

Shopping & Dining

Toyota Stadium offers a unique dining experience at the in-stadium restaurant Verde Rosso, where you can choose between a view of the Toyota skyline or a view of the pitch. There are also vending machines and food stalls around the stadium, which sell classic stadium foods like yakisoba (fried noodles), curry, and fried rice.

Athletic apparel and merchandise are available at the stadium’s Sports Plaza. Spectators can purchase all other goods, as well as drinks and snacks, at one of the convenience stores nearby. One of these is Lawson, located along the route from Toyotashi Station to City of Toyota Stadium.

Where to Stay

You have many options close to the stadium, such as these accommodations located near Toyotashi Station:

Toyota Castle Hotel

  • Address: Cosmo Square, 2-160 Kitamachi, Toyota, Aichi 471-0027
  • Rates: from ¥11,000

Toyota Prestige Hotel

  • Address: 4-28 Kitamachi, Toyota, Aichi 471-0027
  • Rates: from ¥7,600

City Hotel Aunties

  • Address: 1-30 Shinmeicho, Toyota, Aichi 471-0028
  • Rates: from ¥6,800


PRO TIP: You might want to stay in a more central location for easy access to other matches. Consult the Osaka City Guide or the Tokyo City Guide for advice about the best neighborhoods and accommodation options in these nearby cities.

Final Tips

  • Spectators may smoke in designated zones only.
  • Because the stadium is located next to a river, it can get quite windy. Bundle up or bring a blanket to stay warm.
  • Book a seat in section 1F to sit in one of the stadium’s 4,000 heated seats.

V.
Hanazono Rugby Stadium

Hanazono Rugby Stadium plays an important role in Japanese rugby history, as it is the oldest rugby-dedicated stadium in Japan. It’s also integral to the future of the sport, as it hosts the annual High School Rugby Championships.

Hanazono Rugby Stadium will host four pool fixtures of the Rugby World Cup 2019™.

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Photo by 田園 via Commons.Wikimedia.org

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Fun Facts

  • Rugby player Daisuke Ohata broke the record for most overall tries in test matches at Hanazono Rugby Stadium.
  • On October 26, 2018, the stadium held a celebratory match between the Japan National Rugby Team and World XV in honor of its renovations.
  • Higashi-Osaka City recently renamed the road leading to the stadium “Scrum Road.” It features many rugby-themed shops and restaurants.

About the Stadium

Hanazono Rugby Stadium, which opened nearly a century ago in November 1929, is a principal stadium for Japanese rugby. Since its establishment, it has remained one of the few stadiums in Japan dedicated solely to rugby.

The traditional-style stadium features four stands, one of which has a roof. The stands surround a natural grass field with one large-screen scoreboard for assisted viewing.

Originally, the stadium had a maximum seating capacity of 24,000. During renovations in preparation for the Rugby World Cup, the stadium installed 6,000 temporary seats, increasing the capacity to 30,000. Other modifications made for the RWC 2019 include updated lighting to allow for evening matches and the replacement of bench seats with bucket seats.

Events

Hanazono Stadium is home to the Rugby Union Kintetsu Liners. However, the stadium is best known for hosting the final match of the High School Rugby Tournament every December.

One of the stadium’s most notable past events was a 2001 match between the Japan National Team and Wales, which packed the stands with 23,000 spectators. Twelve years later, a reprised match between Japan and Wales attracted an audience just as large.

The stadium has an exciting future ahead as it prepares for the 100th annual National High School Rugby Tournament in December and the World Masters Games 2021 Kansai.

Explore the full event schedule on the stadium’s official website.

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Rugby World Cup 2019™ Fixtures at Hanazono Stadium:

  • Italy vs. Namibia – Sunday, 22 September, 14:15
  • Argentina vs. Tonga – Saturday, 28 September, 13:45
  • Georgia vs. Fiji – Thursday, 3 October, 14:15
  • USA vs. Tonga – Sunday, 13 October, 14:45

Getting There

Hanazono Stadium is the main feature of Hanazono Chuo Park in Higashi-Osaka. Higashi-Osaka  sits on the eastern border of Osaka in the greater metropolitan area. Because of the historic stadium, Higashi-Osaka is known as the “rugby football town” of Japan.

The stadium is best accessed by train.

Access:

  • Higashi-hanazono Station (Kintetsu Nara Line) – 10-minute walk to the stadium

Trip Summaries:

  • Osaka Station to Higashi-hanazono Station takes about 40 minutes. First, take the Osaka Loop Line clockwise to Tsuruhashi Station and transfer to the Kintetsu Nara Line. The trip costs ¥440.

Spectators should avoid driving if possible. There are only 432 dedicated parking spaces and you’ll pay a flat rate of ¥1,000 to park. Traffic on match days can be especially hectic. Walking from the train station provides a better experience, as Scrum Road is a fun way to see the best of Japanese rugby culture.

Shopping & Dining

Compared to other Rugby World Cup 2019™ venues, Hanazono Stadium doesn’t have as many food stalls or vendors. You’ll still be able to purchase classic stadium snacks and some novelty snacks like rugby-ball-shaped manju (Japanese sweet buns filled with red bean paste), but you should be prepared to wait in long lines.

Grab snacks at a convenience store on the way to the stadium for in-game snacking, but save your appetite for a rugby meshi (rugby-themed meal) after the match. Local restaurants specialize in these themed meals, which are a post-match ritual for local rugby fans.

Where to Stay

Those planning on watching a rugby match at Hanazono Rugby Stadium have many lodging options close by, such as these hotels by Higashi-hanazono Station:

Hotel Seiryu

  • Address: 1-11-12 Kamiishikiricho, Higashiosaka, Osaka 579-8012
  • Rates: from ¥9,000

Richmond Hotel Higashi Osaka

  • Address: 1-3-16 Nagatanaka, Higashiosaka, Osaka 577-0013
  • Rates: from ¥7,400

Hotel Wing International Select Higashi Osaka

  • Address: 2-1-2 Nagatahigashi, Higashiosaka, Osaka 577-0012
  • Rates: from ¥11,000


PRO TIP: Stay in central Osaka if you prefer to be closer to more popular attractions. Browse the Osaka City Guide for advice about the best neighborhoods and accommodation options in the city.

Final Tips

  • Check out the manholes on Scrum Road while walking from the station to the stadium. Each one features a different rugby-themed illustration!
  • Free Wi-Fi is available at every seat in the stadium.

 

VI.
Kobe Misaki Stadium

Kobe Misaki Stadium is located in the Hyogo Ward of Kobe, a harbor neighborhood on the Osaka Bay. Don’t miss out on trying world-famous Kobe beef!

Four pool matches of the Rugby World Cup 2019™ will take place at Kobe Misaki Stadium.

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Photo by Kanko3131 via Commons.Wikimedia.org

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Fun Facts

  • Stadium lighting made Kobe Misaki Stadium the first stadium in Japan to operate at night.
  • Established in 1928, the stadium’s home team, the Steelers, is one of the oldest rugby teams in Japan. It also won the first Top League Championship.
  • Seiji Hirai, who helped popularize rugby in Japan, played a big part in getting Kobe Misaki Stadium chosen as one of the Rugby World Cup 2019™ venues. Unfortunately, “Mr. Rugby” won’t be able to attend any of the matches, as he passed away in 2016.

About the Stadium

This Kobe landmark has long been associated with Japanese athletics. Built on the site of an old velodrome called Kobe Keirin Track, the stadium first opened in 1970 under the name Kobe Central Football Stadium.

It was re-opened in 2001 under the name Kobe Misaki Stadium (after being closed and renovated for the 2002 FIFA World Cup). These days, most people in Japan know it as Noevir Stadium Kobe.

The stadium can accommodate up to 32,000 seated spectators and features two large screens at either end of the field. Spectators feel close to the action, as the stands are only 6 m (19.5 ft) away from the pitch. Even high-up seats seem to be right over the field due to the sloped seating.

The stadium also features a retractable roof, allowing for comfortable viewing in all weather conditions. The seats are also air-conditioned in case of high temperatures.

Events

Kobe Misaki Stadium is currently home to J1 team Vissel Kobe, the women’s International Athletic Club (INAC) football team Kobe Leonessa, and Rugby Union Top League Kobelco Steelers. The venue regularly hosts concerts and cultural events, as well.

The stadium hosted three matches of the 2002 FIFA World Cup and a 2014 rugby match between the Japan National Team and the Maori All Blacks. Surprisingly, the stadium’s attendance record was set when over 43,000 people attended a 2003 MMA event.

See the stadium’s full schedule of upcoming events for more information about the stadium’s future.

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Rugby World Cup 2019™ Fixtures at Kobe Misaki Stadium:

  • England vs. USA – Thursday, 26 September, 19:45
  • Scotland vs. Samoa – Monday, 30 September, 19:15
  • Ireland vs. Russia – Thursday, 3 October, 19:15
  • South Africa vs. Canada – Tuesday, 8 October, 19:15

Getting There

Kobe Misaki Stadium is located in Kobe, a port city in the Hyogo Prefecture of the Kansai region. The city was one of the first to open to trade with the West after Japan revoked its policy of seclusion in 1853. It has since been one of the country’s most cosmopolitan cities.

The stadium is located about 40 minutes west of Osaka. The best way to access the stadium from downtown Kobe and Osaka is by train.

Access:

  • Misakikoen Station (Kobe Subway Kaigan Line) – 5-minute walk to the stadium
  • Wadamisaki Station (Kobe Subway Kaigan Line, JR Wadamisaki Lines) – 10-minute walk to the stadium
  • Hyogo Station (JR Tokaido-Sanyo Line, JR Wadamisaki Line) – 20-minute walk to the stadium

Trip Summaries:

Unlike most large Japanese cities, the central neighborhood of Kobe is not its namesake. Sannomiya, known for shopping and finance, is the main downtown district of Kobe and the city’s primary transportation hub.

  • Sannomiya Hanadokei-mae Station to Misakikoen Station takes about 10 minutes on the Kobe Subway Kaigan Line and costs ¥230.
  • Sannomiya Hanadokei-mae Station to Wadamisaki Station takes about 8 minutes on the Kobe Subway Kaigan Line and costs ¥230.
  • Sannomiya Station to Hyogo Station takes about 6 minutes on the JR Tokaido-Sanyo Line and costs ¥160.

Rugby fans staying in Osaka will find accessing Kobe Misaki Stadium quite easy. The bullet train is quicker and more expensive, but riding the local train is more cost-effective and takes under an hour.

  • Shin-Osaka Station to Hyogo Station takes about 50 minutes on the JR Tokaido-Sanyo Line and costs ¥640.
  • Shin-Osaka Station to Shin-Kobe Station takes about 12 minutes on the Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen (bullet train) line and costs ¥3,300.

Spectators coming from other cities can also access Kobe on the JR Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen (bullet train) Line.

  • Nagoya Station to Shin-Kobe Station takes just over an hour and costs ¥8,380.
  • Tokyo Station to Shin-Kobe Station takes about 2 hours and 40 minutes and costs ¥15,300.

Those planning to drive can park at the stadium for ¥1,000 to ¥1,500. The carpark accommodates 700 vehicles. Due to traffic, it’s best to arrive early.

Shopping & Dining

Kobe Misaki Stadium offers an array of dining options ranging from gourmet cuisine to standard stadium fare. On-site food courts are a great, if pricey, opportunity to try local specialties like Kobe beef bowls and pork buns.

Athletic apparel and merchandise are for sale at stands around the stadium. All other goods and snacks are available for purchase at convenience stores like Lawson and 7-Eleven, which are just outside the stadium.

Where to Stay

Rugby fans planning on attending an RWC 2019 match at Kobe Misaki Stadium have many accommodation options, such as these hotels located in central Kobe:

Kobe Meriken Park Oriental Hotel


  • Address: 5-6 Hatobacho, Chuo, Kobe, Hyogo 650-0042
  • Access: JR Motomachi Station, JR Kobe Station, Hanshin Motomachi Station
  • Rates: from ¥19,000

Hotel Trusty

  • Address: 63 Naniwamachi, Chuo, Kobe, Hyogo 650-0035
  • Access: JR Sannomiya Station
  • Rates: from ¥14,500

ANA Crowne Plaza Kobe

  • Address: 1 Kitanocho, Chuo, Kobe, Hyogo 650-0002
  • Access: Shin-Kobe Station
  • Rates: from ¥11,210

PRO TIP: If you want to stay in a large nearby city, consider booking accommodations in Osaka – it’s about a 40-minute drive to the stadium! Consult the Osaka City Guide for advice about the best neighborhoods and accommodation options in Osaka.

Final Tips

  • Misakikoen Station is the closest station to the stadium, but it’s small and gets congested after matches. Walk to Hyogo Station instead for a less stressful commute. (It’s about a 30-minute walk.)
  • Kobe Misaki Stadium is a Rakuten “smart stadium” as of 2019. This means the stadium is totally cashless. Spectators must make all purchases, including tickets, refreshments, and merchandise by card or by app. Download the Rakuten Pay app, Origami Pay app, or Edy app for seamless transactions.

 

VII.
Kumagaya Rugby Stadium

Kumagaya Rugby Stadium has been preparing for the Rugby World Cup 2019™ for the last several years. The stadium will host three pool matches of the RWC 2019.

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Fun Fact

  • World Rugby, the sport’s governing organization, didn't originally select Kumagaya Rugby Stadium as one of the Rugby World Cup 2019™ venues. However, officials changed their minds after thousands of Kumagaya locals petitioned.

 About the Stadium

Kumagaya Rugby Stadium has been one of Japan’s leading rugby stadiums since it opened in 1991. It’s the only rugby-dedicated stadium in Saitama Prefecture and has hosted many important matches. The stadium is one of the primary attractions at the Kumagaya Sports and Culture Park.

Kumagaya Rugby Stadium spent nearly two years under renovation in preparation for the Rugby World Cup 2019™. Some of the improvements made to the stadium include moving the stands to be only 8 m (26 ft) from the pitch, adding VIP boxes, and adding concourses for food stalls.

The stadium has installed 6,000 temporary seats for the RWC 2019, increasing its seating capacity from 24,000 to 30,000.

Events

The rugby stadium is home to Rugby Union Top League team the Panasonic Wild Knights, but also hosts other Rugby Union matches. University and high school league teams occasionally use the field, as well.

Past notable events at the stadium include a commemorative match between the Wild Knights and the Canon Eagles, which took place on October 26, 2018 to celebrate the stadium’s complete renovations.

Look at the full event schedule on the stadium’s official website to see what interesting events are coming up.

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Rugby World Cup 2019™ Fixtures at Kumagaya Rugby Stadium:

  • Russia vs. Samoa – Tuesday, 24 September, 19:15
  • Georgia vs. Uruguay – Sunday, 29 September, 14:15
  • Argentine vs. USA – Wednesday, 9 October, 13:45

Getting There

Kumagaya Rugby Stadium is located in the Kumagaya Park Sports Complex in Kumagaya City, Saitama, about 75 km (47 mi) north of Tokyo. The city is highly populated, but also known for its semi-rural landscape.

Kumagaya Rugby Stadium is accessible by public transportation or by car.

Access:

  • Kumagaya Station (JR Joetsu Shinkansen Line, JR Hokuriku Shinkansen Line, JR Akagi Line, Chichibu Tetsudo Line, JR Shonan-Shinjuku Line, and the JR Takasaki Line) – 50-minute walk to the stadium

Trip Summaries:

Kumagaya Station may be the nearest train station to the stadium, but it is still 3.5 km (2 mi) away. Though the walk may be nearly an hour long, the route is enjoyable for RWC 2019 visitors.

Along the newly-dubbed “Rugby Road” you’ll find plenty of shops and restaurants selling rugby-themed goods and offering deals to spectators.

  • Tokyo Station to Kumagaya Station takes about 40 minutes on the Joetsu Shinkansen Line or the Hokuriku Shinkansen Line and costs ¥3,910.
  • Ueno Station (Tokyo) to Kumagaya Station takes about 1 hour on the Takasaki Line and costs ¥1,140.
  • Shinjuku Station (Tokyo) to Kumagaya Station takes about 1 hour and 10 minutes on the Shonan-Shinjuku Line and costs ¥1,140.

Those who don’t want to walk from the station can choose to take a shuttle to the stadium. At the North Exit of Kumagaya Station, go to the Kokusai Juo Bus Stop #3 and take one of the following journeys:

  • Take the Kuzuwada-bound bus to Akagi Jinja-mae bus stop, then walk 5 minutes to Kumagaya Rugby Stadium.
  • Take the Kumagaya Sports Bunka Koen-bound bus to Kumagaya Sports Bunka Koen, then walk 2 minutes to Kumagaya Rugby Stadium
  • Take the Kumagaya Dome-bound bus to Kumagaya Dome, then walk 10 minutes to Kumagaya Rugby Stadium
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NOTE:
 
Bus stops announcements are in English and each trip costs ¥210.

People traveling by car will find Kumagaya Rugby Field more accessible than any of the other Rugby World Cup 2019™ venues. The stadium features an extensive parking lot accommodating up to 1,400 vehicles. For large events, a second parking lot opens, which accommodates an additional 1,400 vehicles.

Shopping & Dining

The stadium offers a standard selection of food and drinks from food stalls located on the second-floor concourse. You may also purchase snacks and drinks from one of the shops along Rugby Road on the way to the stadium.

Head back down Rugby Road once the match ends to pick up rugby-themed merchandise and souvenirs. There are also plenty of Japanese restaurants and international chain restaurants where you can meet other rugby fans and celebrate the tournament.

Where to Stay

Spectators who plan to attend a rugby match at Kumagaya Rugby Stadium have several convenient accommodation options, like these hotels by Kumagaya Station:

King Ambassador Hotel Kumagaya

  • Address: 1-99-1 Tsukuba, Kumagaya, Saitama 360-0037
  • Rates: from ¥7,300

Marroad Inn Kumagaya

  • Address: 1-64 Ginza, Kumagaya, Saitama 360-0032
  • Rates: from ¥6,146

Smile Hotel Kumagaya

  • Address: 1-138 Tsukuba, Kumagaya, Saitama 360-0037
  • Rates: from ¥3,150


PRO TIP: Book accommodations in Tokyo if you want to be closer to other attractions and have easy access to other Rugby World Cup cities. (It’s about an hour-and-twenty-minute drive from Tokyo to Kumagaya Rugby Stadium.) Consult the Tokyo City Guide for advice about the best neighborhoods and accommodation options.

Final Tips

  • Kumagaya Rugby Stadium boasts free Wi-Fi, so you can share all the excitement of RWC 2019 with your friends on social media.
  • There are no vending machines inside the stadium. Buy snacks in advance to avoid long lines at food stalls.
  • Avoid seats on the back (temporary) stand, which have a separate entrance from the main stands and can feel isolated.

VIII.
Fukuoka Hakatanomori Stadium

Located on the island of Kyushu, Fukuoka Hakatanomori Stadium is a sports refuge in the forest. Those who come to see a match at this venue have much to explore in and around the stadium.

Fukuoka Hakatanomori Stadium will host three pool matches of the Rugby World Cup 2019™.

 

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Fun Fact

  • Fukuoka Hakatanomori Stadium was the first stadium in Fukuoka Prefecture designed specifically for rugby and football.

About the Stadium

Fukuoka Hakatanomori Stadium opened on July 13, 1995 and has been referred to as the “Level 5 Stadium” since the Level 5 gaming company bought naming rights in 2008.

Compared to other Rugby World Cup 2019™ venues, it’s rather small, with a maximum capacity of 22,563. The stands consist of four sections, two of which have roofs. The stands are just meters behind the pitch, and the stadium’s double-arch amphitheater style renders cheers even louder. Spectators at the stadium will feel as though they’re right there on the pitch with the players.

Though the stadium may be small, it plans to offer a state-of-the-art experience to spectators. New seats and screens are just a couple of the features recently updated for the Rugby World Cup.

Events

Fukuoka Hakatanomori Stadium hosts football and rugby matches for several local teams. It’s the home stadium of the J2 football team, the Avispa Fukuoka F.C.; the Rugby Union Top League Coca Cola Red Sparks; and the Rugby Union Top Challenge League (second tier) Kyuden Voltex. The stadium occasionally hosts American football games.

The stadium previously hosted the World Rugby Under 20 Championship 2009.

See the stadium’s Google event calendar to check out what events are coming up.

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Rugby World Cup 2019™ Fixtures at Fukuoka Hakatanomori Stadium:

  • Italy vs. Canada – Thursday, 26 September, 16:45
  • France vs. USA – Wednesday 2 October, 16:45
  • Ireland vs. Samoa – Saturday, 12 October. 19:45

Getting There

Fukuoka, capital of Kyushu and home to Fukuoka Hakatanomori Stadium, is a port-side trade city and popular cruise destination. Many regard it as one of the most livable cities in the world because of its friendly and healthy environment.

Fukuoka Hakatanomori Stadium is located in the central Hakata Ward of Fukuoka. The stadium is located in Higashi Hirai Park, just a 20-minute walk from Fukuoka Airport. It is also accessible by train.

Access:

  • Fukuoka Airport Station (Fukuoka City Subway Kuko Line) – 20-minute walk to the stadium

Trip Summaries:

The transportation hub and central train station of Fukuoka is Hakata Station. From Hakata Station, Fukuoka Hakatanomori Stadium is quickly accessible by subway.

PRO TIP: Do not drive to Fukuoka Hakatanomori Stadium, as there is no public parking available.


  • Hakata Station (central Fukuoka) to Fukuoka Airport Station takes about 5 minutes on the Fukuoka City Subway Kuko Line and costs ¥260.

The stadium is only a 15 to 20-minute walk from Fukuoka Airport Station. However, there is a bus available to take spectators from the station to the stadium.

  • Board the Nishinetsu bus at Fukuoka Kuko-mae bus stop (Fukuoka Airport) and get off at Higashi Hirao Koen Iriguchi bus stop. The trip takes about 5 minutes and costs ¥170.

Those coming from other rugby cities on Kyushu island, such as Oita and Kumamoto, and from other Rugby World Cup cities can access Fukuoka by shinkansen (bullet train).

  • Kumamoto Station to Hakata Station takes about 50 minutes on the Kyushu Shinkansen Line and costs ¥5,330.
  • Oita Station to Hakata Station takes about 2 hours and 15 minutes on the JR Sonic-Nichirin Line and costs ¥5,570.
  • Shin-Osaka Station to Hakata Station takes about 2 hours and 30 minutes on the JR Tokaido Shinkansen Line and costs ¥15,510.
  • Nagoya Station to Hakata Station takes 3 hours and 20 minutes on the JR Tokaido Shinkansen Line and costs ¥18,740.

Shopping & Dining

Though Hakata may be the downtown neighborhood of Fukuoka, there is little in the way of shops and restaurants in the vicinity of the stadium. Convenience stores are available along the route from Hakata Station to the stadium.

Once in the stadium, there are a number of yatai (food stalls) selling stadium foods and beer. Try a regional specialty, like Hakata tonkatsu ramen, for a taste of the local culture.

Where to Stay

Those who wish to avoid pre and post-match traffic should consider staying close to the stadium. Check out these hotels near Fukuoka Airport Station, which are in walking distance to the stadium:

Yado Zero One

  • Address: 2-6-18 Kukomae, Hakata, Fukuoka, 812-0002
  • Rates: from ¥5,200

Stay Airport Fukuoka

  • Address: 2-11-15 Kukomae, Hakata, Fukuoka, 812-0002
  • Rates: from ¥7,000


PRO TIP: Stay closer to the city center if you want to spend time exploring the surrounding region. Consult the Fukuoka City Guide for helpful advice about neighborhoods and accommodations options in the city.

Final Tips

  • Avoid purchasing seats located behind the goals. Because they are low to the ground, they tend to have impacted visibility.

 

IX.
Oita Stadium

Nicknamed “the big eye,” Oita Stadium is one of the most recognizable stadiums in Japan. It is located in Oita Prefecture on the subtropical island of Kyushu. While in the city of Oita for a Rugby World Cup 2019™ match, make sure to visit one of the region’s famous hot springs.

Oita Stadium is set to host three pool matches and two quarterfinal matches of RWC 2019.

rugby-world-cup-2019-venue-oita-stadium

 

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Fun Facts

  • Oita Stadium was featured in an episode of the British documentary program Big, Bigger, Biggest.
  • It has the largest retractable roof in Japan, which resembles a winking eye as it is opened and closed. That’s how it earned its nickname, “the big eye.”
  • Architecture Weekly named it the best arena design on the planet in 2001.

About the Stadium

Like Toyota Stadium, Oita Stadium was also designed by prominent Japanese architect Kisho Kurokawa. Its exterior blends harmoniously with the mountains behind it.

The stadium opened in May 2001 with an original capacity of 43,000. However, officials removed 3,000 seats following the 2002 FIFA World Cup.

Most Japanese people know the stadium by its commercial name, the Showa Denko Dome Oita. Other former names include Kyushu Oil Dome and Oita Bank Dome.

The multi-purpose stadium features a 9-lane, all-weather track surrounding the pitch, making the stadium suitable for a wide variety of events. The large, retractable roof renders the stadium useful in all weather conditions. The roof is also slightly translucent, allowing natural light to flood the stadium even when closed.

The stadium has undergone minor renovations in preparation for the Rugby World Cup 2019™.

Events

The stadium is primarily used for football and is home to the J1 team Oita Trinita. However, it features various athletic facilities and regularly hosts other sporting events such as track and field, rugby, and American football games. The stadium also hosts concerts, conventions, and flea markets.

Oita Stadium was also home to three matches of the 2002 FIFA World Cup.

Visit the stadium’s official website for a full list of upcoming events.

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Rugby World Cup 2019™ Fixtures at Oita Stadium:

  • New Zealand vs. Canada – Wednesday, 2 October, 7:15 PM
  • Australia vs. Uruguay – Saturday, 5 October, 2:15 PM
  • Wales vs. Fiji – Wednesday, October 9, 6:45 PM
  • Quarter Final 1: Winner Pool C vs. Runner-Up Pool D – Saturday, 19 October, 4:15 PM
  • Quarter Final 3: Winner Pool D vs. Runner-Up Pool C – Sunday, 20 October, 4:15 PM

Getting There

Oita is a coastal prefecture on the Japanese island of Kyushu. The city of Oita has been preparing for the Rugby World Cup 2019™ with the campaign “One Rugby, One Oita.” It has also been holding public events to educate locals about rugby culture and the cultures of the visiting teams.

Oita City is about 170 km (106 mi) from Fukuoka City and 140 km (87 mi) from Kumamoto. The best way to access the stadium is by bus.

Trip Summaries:

There are no train stations near Oita Stadium, but there are a couple of bus stops. You can easily access the stadium by boarding one of these buses at Oita Station.

  • At platform #3, board the Oita Bus bound for Park Place via Mera BP and get off at Oita Sports Park Higashi, then walk 5 minutes to the stadium. The trip takes about 45 minutes and costs ¥360.
  • At platform #6, board the Oita Bus bound for Park Place Ogiwara. Get off at Oita Sport Park Higashi, then walk 5 minutes to the stadium. The trip takes about 35 minutes and costs ¥400.

There are multiple parking lots near the stadium. Unfortunately, traffic before and after the matches is heavy, so you should plan to arrive well in advance. Match-day parking costs about ¥2,000.

A taxi from Oita Station to Oita Stadium takes about 25 minutes and costs roughly ¥3,000.

Spectators coming from other Rugby World Cup cities can access Oita City via Fukuoka. From there, take the express train directly to Oita.

  • Hakata Station (Fukuoka) to Oita Station takes about 2 hours and 20 minutes on the JR Sonic-Nichirin Line and costs ¥5,570.

Shopping & Dining

Spectators at Oita Stadium will be pleased to find that lines at food stalls around the stadium move uncharacteristically fast. The stadium also has its own food court called Foody’s. Savory dishes like yakisoba (fried noodles) and sweet treats like Nittan-yaki (red-bean-paste-stuffed rice pastries) are available to hungry spectators.

More shops and restaurants are available 5 minutes from the stadium at Park Place Oita Shopping Center.

Where to Stay

There are many accommodation options located close to the stadium, such as these hotels located at Oita Station:

JR Kyushu Hotel Blossom Oita

  • Address: 1-14 Kanamemachi, Oita 870-0831
  • Rates: from ¥8,300

Toyoko-Inn Oita Ekimae

  • Address: 2-2-5 Kanaikemachi, Oita 870-0026
  • Rates: from ¥6,500

Hotel Forza Oita

  • Address: 1-5-18 Chuomachi, Oita 870-0035
  • Rates: from ¥5,000

 

X.
Kamaishi Recovery Memorial Stadium

The city of Kamaishi suffered greatly during the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami. The brand new Kamaishi Recovery Memorial Stadium now exists to honor the victims of the tragedy.

By hosting two matches of the Rugby World Cup, the city hopes to spread disaster prevention awareness and promote the regrowth of the local infrastructure and economy.

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Photo by Onini via Commons.Wikimedia.org

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Fun Facts

  • Kamaishi Recovery Memorial Stadium is the only new stadium of all 12 Rugby World Cup 2019™ venues.
  • Some of the stadium’s seats came from other major stadiums in Japan, such as Tokyo Dome, as a sign of Japanese solidarity following the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
  • It is the first stadium in Japan to use AirFibr hybrid turf technology.

About the Stadium

Kamaishi Recovery Memorial Stadium is the newest of the Rugby World Cup 2019™ venues. Construction broke ground in 2017 and only recently wrapped in August 2018. It stands on the former site of Kashiwa Elementary School and Kashiwa Junior High School, which were both washed away in the 2011 tsunami.

The stadium features two permanent stands with a maximum capacity of 6,000. The stadium will add temporary seats to increase the capacity to 16,000 for the Rugby World Cup 2019™. The home stand includes a wing-shaped roof meant to resemble the sail of a ship, which represents the act of taking off.

Events

Kamaishi Recovery Memorial Stadium hosts rugby and football matches, as well as cultural events, concerts, and other opportunities for international exchange. Officials are particularly hopeful about their bid to host the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

So far, only a few events have taken place at the stadium, such as the opening match between the Kamaishi Seawaves and the Yamaha Jubilo, which sold out. More events, like the 1st Annual Kamaishi Masters Rugby Tournament, are planned for the coming months.

Visit the stadium’s official website for a full schedule of upcoming events.

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Rugby World Cup 2019™ Fixtures at Kamaishi Recovery Memorial Stadium:

  • Fiji vs. Uruguay – Wednesday, 25 September, 14:15
  • Namibia vs. Canada – Sunday, 13 October, 12:15

Getting There

Kamaishi is located in the Iwate Prefecture of northern Tohoku, about 550 km (340 mi) north of Tokyo and 750 km (466 mi) from Sapporo. It’s a small city surrounded by the Kitakami Mountains in the south and the Pacific Ocean in the east.

Sanriku Fukko National Park, located along Kamaishi’s coastline, was one of the regions hit hardest by the Tohoku earthquake.

The city is most accessible by bullet train or plane, and the stadium is most accessible by train.

Access:

  • Unosumai Station (JR East Sanriu Tetsudo-Riaku Line) – 5-minute walk to the stadium

Trip Summaries:

You can access the stadium from central Kamaishi by local train. 

  • Kamaishi Station to Unosumai Station takes about 12 minutes on the Sanriku Tetsudo-Riasu Line and costs ¥310.

Those who plan on traveling to Kamaishi from Tokyo should take the bullet train.

  • First, take the JR Tohoku-Hokkaido Shinkansen from Tokyo Station to Shin-Hanamaki Station. Then, take the JR Kamaishi Line to Kamaishi Station. The trip takes about 4 hours and 30 minutes and costs ¥14,970.

The best way to access Kamaishi from further Rugby World Cup cities is by plane to Iwate Hanamaki Airport.

Spectators can access Kamaishi Memorial Recovery Stadium by car, but there are only 244 available parking spots. Arrive early or be prepared to park away from the stadium.

Shopping & Dining

Dining and shipping options are limited due to the stadium’s remote location. Most restaurants and convenience stores are located in central Kamaishi.

There are, however, many dining options near Kamaishi Station, including many izakayas (Japanese gastropubs) and ramen shops. Purchase snacks for matches ahead of time at one of the convenience stores near Kamaishi Station. Be sure to try Kamaishi ramen, which is known for its delicate noodles and soy sauce-flavored broth.

Where to Stay

Kamaishi is a small city and has limited accommodation options. Book well in advance to avoid staying far from the stadium. Here are a few accommodation options near Kamaishi Station:

Hotel Folkloro-Sanrikukamaishi

  • Address: 22-4 Suzukocho, Kamaishi, Iwate 026-0031
  • Rates: from ¥10,834

Rikuchukaigan Grand Hotel

  • Address: 1-2-3 Minatomachi, Kamaishi, Iwate 026-0011
  • Rates: from ¥7,273

Hotel Sunroute Kamaishi

  • Address: 2-3-3 Omachi, Kamaishi, Iwate 026-0024
  • Rates: from ¥4,908


PRO TIP: Stay in one of the nearby Rugby World Cup cities if you prefer staying in a larger city. Consult the Tokyo City Guide and the Sapporo City Guide for a breakdown of different neighborhoods and advice for choosing accommodations in either city.

Final Tips

  • There are only two on-site restrooms. Be sure to use the restroom before entering the stadium or be prepared to wait in line.

XI.
Kumamoto Stadium
(Also Known As Egao Kenko Stadium)

Located in the breathtaking Kumamoto Prefecture, Kumamoto Stadium is yet another architecturally astounding venue on the island of Kyushu. The region is famous for its feudal history; the Kumamoto Castle, which dates back to the 17th century; and the Mt. Aso volcano.

This fall, Kumamoto Stadium will host two pool matches of the Rugby World Cup 2019™.

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Fun Facts

  • Kumamoto Stadium was a shelter during the 2016 Kyushu earthquake.
  • The stadium’s highest recorded attendance was 38,000 at a concert for the Japanese rock band Mr. Children.

About the Stadium

Kumamoto Stadium is one of several athletic facilities in Kumamoto Sports Park. It opened in March 1998 and has a maximum seating capacity of 32,000. It’s also known under its commercial name, Egao Kenko Stadium.

Like the other Rugby World Cup 2019™ venues in Kyushu, the stadium features a stunning design, of which locals are particularly proud. The stadium’s most notable features are the twin arches acting as roofs for roughly half the seats in the stadium. The centerpiece of the stadium is a natural grass football pitch encircled by a full-sized track. The stadium also has a single large-screen scoreboard for assisted viewing.

Events

The stadium mostly hosts football matches and is home to the J2 League team Roasso Kumamoto. It also holds Top League Rugby matches and can accommodate track and field events and concerts.

The stadium was home to a 2009 football match between Japan and Yemen, which sold out the stadium. Though it was not chosen as a venue for the 2002 FIFA World Cup, Kumamoto Stadium served as the training facility for the Belgian national team. 

Several highly anticipated events are coming up at the stadium, including the 2019 Women’s Handball World Championship and the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Kumamoto Stadium will serve as the pre-Olympic Games training facility for rugby, football, and wrestling.

Check out the full list of upcoming events on their official website.

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Rugby World Cup 2019™ Fixtures at Kumamoto Stadium:

  • France vs. Tonga – Sunday, 6 October, 16:45
  • Wales vs. Uruguay – Sunday, 13 October, 17:15

Getting There

Kumamoto Stadium is located in Kumamoto Sports Park alongside several other sports facilities. The city of Kumamoto is located about 115 km (71 mi) south of Fukuoka and 130 km (81 mi) west of Oita.

Kumamoto touches the Ariake Sea in the west and Mt. Aso in the east, which has one of the largest calderas in the world. Due to the region’s volcanic activity, there are many onsen (Japanese hot springs) for visitors to enjoy.

The best way to access the stadium is by bus or by taxi.

Access:

  • Hikarinomori Station (JR Hohi Line) – 35-minute walk to the stadium to the stadium

Trip Summaries:

  • Kumamoto Station to Hikarinomori Station takes about 20 minutes on the Hohi Line and costs ¥290.

The city is along the Kyushu Shinkansen (bullet train) Line, making it easily accessible from other Rugby World Cup 2019™ cities.

  • Hakata Station (Fukuoka) to Kumamoto Station takes 50 minutes on the Kyushu Shinkansen Line and costs ¥5,330.
  • Shin-Osaka Station to Kumamoto Station takes about 3 hours on the Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen Line and costs ¥19,050.

Walk the rural Kyushu roads from the station to the stadium to get a sense of the Japanese countryside. Otherwise, the best way to access the stadium is by taxi from Hikarinomori Station.

  • A taxi from Hikarinomori Station to Kumamoto Stadium takes about 10 minutes and costs about ¥2,000.

There are several bus routes you can take to get to the stadium:

  • Kumamoto Bus Terminal to Park Dome Kumamoto Mae bus stop takes 48 minutes and costs ¥520. Then, walk about 5 minutes to the stadium.
  • JR Kumamoto Station to Park Dome Kumamoto Mae bus stop takes 53 minutes and costs ¥600. Then, walk about 5 minutes to the stadium.

It is also possible to access the stadium by car. Those planning on driving to the venue should arrive more than an hour in advance in case of pre-match traffic. 

Shopping & Dining

Considering the stadium's namesake is a Japanese health food brand (Egao Kenko), it’s only natural for the stadium to offer plenty of dining options. Food stalls are available all over the stadium, selling typical stadium fare as well as local specialties. Try the ikinari dango (sweet potato and red bean pastry).

Outside the stadium, convenience stores like 7-Eleven and FamilyMart sell snacks, drinks, and other goods you can purchase before entering the stadium. After the match, visit one of the nearby ramen shops for a belly-warming dinner.

Where to Stay

Kumamoto has many cultural attractions in addition to the stadium, such as Kumamoto Castle, the garden of Suizen-ji Jōju-en, and Sakuranobaba Johsaien, a bustling shopping area. The best way to discover this thriving city is by staying in the city center.  

Dormy Inn Kumamoto

  • Address: 3-1 Karashimacho, Chuo, Kumamoto 860-0804
  • Access: Kumamoto Bus Terminal
  • Rates: from ¥12,500

Hotel Nikko Kumamoto

  • Address: 2-1 Kamitoricho, Chuo, Kumamoto 860-8536
  • Access: Torichosuji Station (Kumamoto Shiden A & B tram lines)
  • Rates: from ¥15,600

The New Hotel Kumamoto

  • Address: 1-13-1 Kasuga, Nishi, Kumamoto 860-0047
  • Access: JR Kumamoto Station
  • Rates: from ¥9,900


PRO TIP: Those planning on attending several Rugby World Cup 2019™ venues might prefer to stay in Fukuoka for easy access to the other venues in Kyushu as well as venues on the mainland of Japan. Explore the Fukuoka City Guide for help choosing neighborhoods and accommodations.


Final Tips

  • Arrive early and walk around the Kumamoto Sports Park. The green, open spaces are perfect for picnicking in the afternoon.

 

XII.
Sapporo Dome

Sapporo is the fifth largest city in Japan and the capital of Hokkaido, the county’s northernmost prefecture. Atop the Sapporo hills sits the world-famous Sapporo Dome. The formidable stadium is one of the most versatile event spaces in the world, best known for its hovering, movable football pitch.

Sapporo Dome will host two Rugby World Cup matches.

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Fun Facts

  • Sapporo Dome is the only Rugby World Cup 2019™ venue also used for baseball games.
  • It's the only stadium with a retractable field and a fixed roof.
  • It's the northern-most all-weather dome in Japan.
  • Switching between the football pitch and baseball field takes about five hours.

About the Stadium

Sapporo Dome made headlines when it opened on June 3, 2001 for being the first stadium with a hovering football pitch. In 2004, it became the first stadium in the world to be home to both a football and a baseball team.

The stadium features two interchangeable fields: an artificial turf baseball field and a natural turf football pitch, which slide in and out of the stadium as necessary. Unlike other convertible stadiums, Sapporo Dome has a fixed, shell-type roof.

Visitors can access the observatory at the top of the Dome for ¥520. See a panoramic view of the Sapporo urban area at an altitude of 53 m (175 ft) in the air.

In 2018, officials changed the football pitch’s turf for the first time in the stadium’s history in preparation for the Rugby World Cup 2019™.

Events

The multi-purpose stadium hosts concerts, large-scale exhibitions, and conventions in addition to football and baseball games. The stadium held three matches of the 2002 FIFA World Cup, the 2007 Nordic Ski World Championships, and the opening ceremony of the 2017 Asian Winter Games.

Sapporo Dome is home to the Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo football club and the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters baseball team. As the Fighters plan to leave Sapporo Dome for a new stadium, some locals are worried about the Dome’s future.

There are plenty of notable events planned for the coming years. During the Tokyo 2020 Olympics Sapporo Dome will be a football venue.

The city of Sapporo is also bidding to host the 2026 Winter Olympics. Sapporo Dome would play an important role in the Games if the city wins the bid.

Visit the stadium’s official website for a full list of upcoming events.

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Rugby World Cup 2019™ Fixtures at Sapporo Dome:

  • Australia vs. Fiji – Saturday, 21 September, 13:45
  • England vs. Tonga – Sunday, 22 September, 19:15

 

Getting There

The city of Sapporo developed in the late 19th century, making it one of Japan’s youngest cities. The city is well known for hosting the Sapporo Snow Festival each winter. Due to Siberian winds, Sapporo receives some of the heaviest snowfall of any city in the world.

The city is about 1,100 km (684 mi) north of Tokyo. The best way to access the city is by plane. The best way to access the stadium from central Sapporo is by train or by shuttle bus.

Access:

  • Fukuzumi Station (Sapporo City Subway Toho Line) – 10-minute walk to the stadium

Trip Summaries:

  • Sapporo Subway Station to Fukuzumi Station takes 13 minutes on the Sapporo City Subway Toho Line and costs ¥250.

On match days, shuttles are available from four locations in Sapporo to take you to Sapporo Dome. A trip on the shuttle costs ¥210.

  • Makomanai Subway Station (Namboku Subway Line) to Sapporo Dome takes 25 minutes on the Jotetsu Bus.
  • Hiragishi Subway Station (Namboku Subway Line) to Sapporo Dome takes 25 minutes on the Jotetsu Bus.
  • JR Shiroishi Station (JR Hokkaido Line) to Sapporo Dome takes 30 minutes on the JR Hokkaido Bus.
  • Nango-juhatchome Subway Station (Tozai Subway Line) to Sapporo Dome takes 15 minutes on the Hokkaido Chuo Bus.

Those driving to Sapporo Dome will find a large parking lot accommodating up to 1,450 cars. Parking costs ¥300 for two hours.

Shopping & Dining

Hungry spectators will be pleased with the stadium’s many dining options. Food stalls, bento (box meal) stands, and restaurants are located on every floor. Sapporo Dome’s on-site restaurant, Sports Stadium Sapporo, opens at 10 AM at the North Gate of the stadium.

Unlike at other Rugby World Cup 2019™ venues, spectators may not bring outside food into the stadium. Spectators must pour outside beverages into cups at the entry gate.

Commemorative goods are for sale at stands at the West Gate. You’ll also find souvenirs for purchase at Goods Jam, the official merchandise shop at the North Gate.

Where to Stay

Staying near a transportation hub can make getting to and from the stadium much easier. You have several accommodations to choose from, such as these hotels by Sapporo Station:

Sapporo Grand Hotel

  • Address: 4-1 Jonishi, Chuo, Sapporo, Hokkaido 060-0001
  • Rates: from ¥23,166

Hotel Mystays Sapporo Aspen

  • Address: 5 Nishi 4-chome, Kita 8-jo, Kita, Sapporo, Hokkaido 060-0808
  • Rates: from ¥6,200

Hotel Sunroute Sapporo

  • Address: 1-22 Nishi 1-chome, Kita 7, Kita, Sapporo, Hokkaido 060-0807
  • Rates: from ¥6,000


PRO TIP: For more accommodation options and information on Sapporo’s different neighborhoods, see the Sapporo City Guide.

Final Tips

  • There are coin-operated lockers inside and outside the stadium where you can stow personal items.
  • The entire stadium has free Wi-Fi. Select the network “Sapporo_City_WiFi,” open your browser, and enter your email address to get started.
  • Carry your ticket with you when walking around the stadium. Staff regularly check for tickets, even in the corridors.
  • Do not plan to exit and later return, as Sapporo Dome does not allow re-entry.