Everything you Need to Know about the Rugby World Cup Japan 2019

From Friday 20th September until Saturday 2nd November this year, rugby fans from all over the world will be heading to Japan for the 9th Rugby World Cup. As it only comes around once every four years, the atmosphere is sure to be electric. It is the 3rd largest sporting event in the world, following the Summer Olympics and the Football World Cup. Japan is the first Asian country to host, with the seven week competition spanning the length and breadth of the entire country. So, what should you be expecting from the Rugby World Cup Japan 2019 (RWC ‘19)? We have put together a handy guide explaining where the games will be held and which teams will be there.

Rugby in Japan

With Japan also hosting the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, it’s going to be a busy couple of years for Japan in terms of sporting events. Rugby isn’t classed as a traditional sport in Japan, with sports such as sumo wrestling and martial arts often taking the spotlight.  However with over 125,000 rugby players in Japan, rugby is certainly beginning to take centre stage. rugby-world-cup-2019

Where will the Rugby Japan 2019 Fixtures be Held?

Japan has a number of amazing cities that are going to be hosting games during the seven week period. According to Google, it would actually take 355 hours to walk from the southern venue of Kumamoto on the island of Kyushu, to the most northern venue of Sapporo on the island of Hokkaido, so we’d definitely recommend planning ahead to make sure you don’t miss a thing! Below is a list of the host cities and the venues for the games, each featuring some amazing sights and key attractions that you do not want to miss out on:
  1. Sapporo Dome, Sapporo City
  2. Kamaishi Recovery - Iwate Prefecture, Kamaishi City
  3. Kumagaya Rugby Stadium- Saitama Prefecture, Kumagaya City
  4. Tokyo Stadium- Tokyo Metropolitan
  5. International Stadium Yokohama - Kanagawa Prefecture, Yokohama City
  6. Shizuoka Stadium Ecopa - Shizuoka Prefecture
  7. City of Toyota Stadium - Aichi Prefecture, Toyota City
  8. Hanazono Rugby Stadium - Osaka Prefecture, Higashi-Osaka City
  9. Kobe Misaki Stadium - Kobe City
  10. Fukuoka Hakatanomori Stadium - Fukuoka Prefecture, Fukuoka City
  11. Kumamoto Stadium - Kumamoto Prefecture, Kumamoto City
  12. Oita Stadium - Oita Prefecture
If you are planning on travelling to a variety of destinations to see multiple games, please bear in mind that you can only get your Japanese Rail Pass a maximum of 90 days in advance of travel. We suggest setting an alarm or reminder on your phone or tablet for 90 days prior to leaving, just so you don’t forget. Also, it’s helpful to know that train seats can only be reserved in person. In order to make sure you get a seat, we recommend visiting a JR Rail Office when you first arrive in Japan, so you can sit back and enjoy the ride when you’re travelling around! rugby-Japan-2019

Which Teams are Involved?

Overall, there are 20 teams in total involved in the Rugby World Cup. They are divided into four groups of five, with the top two teams in each pool qualifying for the quarter-finals, once the group matches are finished. 12 teams have already automatically qualified for the RWC ’19, as they finished in the top three of their group stages at the 2015 tournament in England. Those teams are:
  • New Zealand
  • Australia
  • South Africa
  • Argentina
  • Wales
  • Scotland
  • Ireland
  • France
  • England
  • Georgia
  • Japan
  • Italy
New Zealand are now the holders of back to back world cup titles, after winning the last two Rugby World Cups. Other teams that will also now be competing are countries such as; USA, Uruguay ,Fiji, Tonga, Russia, Samoa, Namibia and Canada. Pools and fixtures have now been released, so you can plan your travel accordingly with your home countries’ games. Japan-national-rugby-team

Some Handy Hints and Tips

With thousands and thousands of tourists set to flock to Japan, organisers have come up with a plan to ensure that all sporting events run smoothly. Working with “HUB” (a British-themed chain over 100 bars) they have assigned collections of their bars to represent each nationality visiting. The plan is to adopt each nationalities cultural tastes, serving food associated with that country, in order to cater for large groups wanting to watch the rugby. Available accommodation in some destinations may be quite limited, that’s why many locals are already listing their homes as accommodation options for visiting fans, so plan in advance and always have a back-up plan in place too. On the up side, Japan has amazing transportation systems, so you will be able to get elsewhere easily if you do need to go further afield. If you can download the Japan Transit App before your visit, this will help you enormously when you are travelling around. Finally, before you travel it is definitely worth familiarising yourself with some Japanese etiquette and reading up on the cultural values of Japan, particularly if this is your first time visiting. To find out more about other sports that are popular in Japan, check out our previous post. Alternatively, keep reading our blog for more exciting news and blog posts regards the Rugby World Cup Japan 2019.
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