Rugby stadiums in Japan

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A Rugby Tour of Japan

Japan will host the next Rugby World Cup, from September 20 to November 2, 2019. Here's a guide to the stadiums that will host this competition, as well as the picturesque areas that surround them.

  • The stadium: Sapporo Dome

Inaugurated in 2001 for the 2002 FIFA World Cup, Sapporo Dome is the only covered stadium, along with Oita Stadium (Kyushu), because of changing weather conditions. The stadium has two different surfaces depending on the sport: artificial grass and natural turf. Its capacity is 41,410 people. The resident clubs are Consadole Sapporo (football) and Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters (baseball).

  • To see: Moerenuma Park, Sapporo

Located in Higashi District, Moerenuma Park has playgrounds and sports facilities, but is best known for its works and art objects by artist Isamu Noguchi. It was after his first visit to Sapporo in 1988 that the artist proposed the creation of a park to the local municipality. Unfortunately he died the following year, but the project was continued and completed in 2005. The park was awarded the Good Design Award (2002), the Sapporo Urban Scenery Award (2003) and the Hokkaido Red Brick Architectural Award (2004).

Kamaishi

  • Stadium: Kamaishi Recovery Memorial Stadium

Kamaishi, located in Iwate Prefecture, is the smallest city to host a competition stadium. It has a population of 41,022 over 441.42 km2. Partly destroyed in 2011, World Rugby, the world governing body for the sport, decided to help the city by designating it a host of the 2019 World Cup. The Kamaishi Recovery Memorial Stadium, on which work began in 2016, will be opened in 2019 for the competition. Its capacity is 16,187 spectators.

  • To see: Matsushima Bay (Miyagi Prefecture)

Matsushima Bay, located in the neighboring Miyagi Prefecture, is part of the Nihon Sankei, "Japan's Three Most Beautiful Landscapes," according to 17th century Confucianist philosopher Razan Hayashi. This unspoiled coast owes its name to the many pines that grow on its islets: in Japanese, Matsushima means "pine island".

Read : Matsushima Bay

The islands of Matsushima

Kumagaya

  • The stadium: Kumagaya Athletic Stadium

The Kumagaya stadium has been open since 2003. It is part of a large sports complex with a rugby stadium and arena. The stadium regularly hosts the Omiya Ardija football team. Approximately 24,000 people can attend matches and competitions there.

  • To see: the Tokugawa Ieyasu Mausoleum in Nikko

In the neighboring prefecture of Tochigi, the historic city of Nikko is a must-see on a trip to Japan. This religious complex, designated a UNESCO site, houses the mausoleum of the last shogun (military leader) of Japan, Ieyasu Tokugawa (1543-1616).

Read : Nikko

Tokyo

  • The stadium: Ajinomoto Stadium

Formerly known as Tokyo Stadium, Ajinomoto Stadium is located in the city of Chofu (Tokyo Prefecture). Opened in 2001 on a field of United States Forces Japan, an American division based in Japan, it was later sold to Ajinomoto in 2003. The stadium hosts rugby and football matches, as well as non-football sports events. The resident clubs are Tokyo FC and Tokyo Verdy. Its capacity is 49,970 people.

  • To see: Tokyo Tower

Opened in 1958, Tokyo Tower quickly became a symbol of the city. The tower has two panoramic floors, the first at 150 meters, the second at 250 meters. On a clear day, Mount Fuji is visible from the top.

See : Tokyo Tower

With its bright red and allure of Eiffel tower, the Tokyo Tower is a symbol of the Japanese capital.

With its bright red and allure of Eiffel tower, the Tokyo Tower is a symbol of the Japanese capital.

Yokohama

  • Stadium: Nissan Stadium

Yokohama's Nissan Stadium dates back to 1998. Primarily for football, it has hosted the FIFA Club World Cup every year since 2005. The stadium is also home to the Yokohama F. Marinos football team, which plays in the J-League. The Nissan Stadium is the largest stadium in Japan, with 72,327 seats. It will host the final of the Rugby World Cup on November 2, 2019.

  • To see: the city of Kamakura and its Giant Buddha

A stone's throw from the capital, the city of Kamakura, a former seat of shogunal power, still retains hints of its glory of yesteryear. During your visit to this city, rich in history, don't miss the Giant Buddha, hidden in the grounds of Kotoku-in temple.

To read: Kamakura

Shizuoka

Torii Hakone

A floating torii in Hakone.

  • Stadium: Ogasayama Sports Park Ecopa Stadium

Built in 2001 for the 2002 World Cup with an emphasis on sports, health and nature, Ecopa Stadium in Shizuoka has 50,889 seats. The stadium is set in a 269-hectare park. It's surrounded by many green spaces and sports fields that you can enjoy all year round. Its resident teams are Júbilo Iwata and Shimizu S-Pulse.

  • To see: Hakone City and Mount Fuji

The most famous mountain of Japan stands in Shizuoka Prefecture. It is open to hiking only in the summer. It is possible to enjoy the unique panorama of the Five Lakes Region, located at the foot of Mount Fuji, the rest of the year. On the other side of the Izu Peninsula and Mount Fuji, Hakone is an ideal destination for a weekend, between sea and mountains.

Read more : Hakone

Toyota

  • The stadium: Toyota Stadium

With a retractable roof, the Toyota Stadium can accommodate up to 45,000 spectators. Funded by the automobile group of the same name, it is located in Aichi Prefecture, near Nagoya, the third largest city in the country. Dating from 2001, it has hosted several editions of the football World Cup. Two teams play there year-round: the Nagoya Grampus Eight and Toyota Verblitz.

  • To see: the Nakasendo road

Follow in the footsteps of the ancient travelers who traversed this inland road that connected Edo (Tokyo) and Kyoto. Walking a short part of this 533-kilometer route, called the Nakasendo, between the villages of Tsumago and Magome, allows you to experience a picturesque Japan of the past, as well as its beautiful country landscapes.

To read: On the Nakasendo Road

Toyota stadium

A village on the Nakasendo

Oita

  • The stadium: Oita Stadium

Opened in 2001, Oita Stadium is mainly used for football matches. It welcomes the Oita Trinita team. This stadium was the scene of the Kirin Cup in 2001, the World Cup football in 2002 and the J league All-Stars Soccer in 2009. The Oita Stadium has 40,000 seats.

  • To see: the town of Beppu and its hot springs

Founded in 1924, Beppu is the most popular spa resort for tourists. About fifteen kilometers from Oita, the city with a thousand hot springs welcomes visitors year-round. Don't miss the tour through the Eight Hells of Beppu, as well as the local culinary specialties, steamed in the natural springs!

Read: Beppu

Kumamoto

  • Stadium: Kumamoto Prefectural Athletic Stadium (Umakana Yokana Stadium)

Completed in 1998, it is generally used in football and rugby matches at the Top League level. The stadium can accommodate 32,000 people.

  • To see: Sakurajima volcano

Always active, Sakurajima volcano dominates the city of Kagoshima at 1,117 meters high. Before 1914, Sakurajima volcano was an island but, during a violent eruption, the incessant lava flows made it a peninsula, now accessible by car from the mainland. Curiosities grown in the volcanic environment can be eaten at the foot of the volcano: miniature clementines and the largest daikon radishes in the country!

Read: Sakurajima

Kumamoto Prefectural Athletic Stadium

Garden Sengan-en

View of Sakurajima volcano from Sengan-in garden.

Fukuoka

These temporary stands are set up along busy roads in the evening.

  • The stadium: Hakatanomori Football Stadium

The Fukuoka stadium is the home of Avispa Fukuoka Association FC. It hosts football and rugby matches, including international and Top League level games. Its capacity is 22,563 spectators.

  • To see: the yatai of Nakasu district

A specialty of Fukuoka, a yatai is a temporary street restaurant, and they are one of the charms of this southern city. These stalls liven up the night life and allow visitors to try the local specialties: ramen, yakitori, tempura or even oden.

Read : Yatai

Kobe

  • Stadium: Kobe City Misaki Park Stadium (Noevir Stadium)

The Kobe stadium, called Noevir Stadium since 2013, can accommodate 50,889 people. A football field most of the time, it has a retractable roof. The two resident teams are Vissel Kobe (football) and the Kobe Steel Kobelco Steelers (rugby).

  • To see: Himeji Castle

After five years of work, Japan's most famous castle has reopened. Designed in the Nanboku-cho period (1333-1392), Himeji Castle was the scene of many historical events. It was also the first Japanese site to be classified a UNESCO world heritage site.

Read also: Himeji Castle


Kobe city Misaki Park Stadium

Himeji Castle, where a James Bond movie was shot in 1967

Himeji Castle

Hanazono rugby Stadium, Osaka

Glico Dotonbori

The Glico Man, Dotonbori

Kinkakuji, The Golden Pavilion in Kyoto

Nara Park

Nara Park

Higashi Osaka

  • The stadium: Hanazono Rugby Stadium

Hanazono rugby stadium is the oldest stadium dedicated to rugby in Japan. Every year in December, it's the host of the national high school rugby tournament. The resident team is the Kintetsu Liners. Hanazono Stadium can accommodate up to 30,000 people. In May 2006, former player Daisuke Ohata broke the record for most trials in a Japan XV game against Georgia.

  • To see: Dotonbori in Osaka

The Dotonbori district of Osaka is located on a unique street, famous for its nightlife and bright signs. You will find it packed with gambling halls, izakaya and other restaurants, and shops.

  • Kyoto and the Golden Pavilion

One of Kyoto's most famous landmarks, the Golden Pavilion (Kinkakuji), is one of the city's star attractions. And with good reason: its walls, covered with gold leaf, reflect perfectly on the pond that surrounds it. Surrounded by a zen garden, it is the eternal symbol of the power of the shogun Yoshimitsu Ashikaga (1358-1408).

  • Nara Park

The main park of the city, Nara Park, contains pagodas, temples and shrines. In this 525-hectare area, you'll find the Nara National Museum and its outstanding collection of Buddhist works of art, Sarusawa-ike pond with its various associated legends, and the imposing Kofukuji and its National Treasure Museum.

Fushimi Inari Taisha

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