Your Guide to the 2019 Rugby World Cup's Host Cities

The Yokohama International Stadium hosting a club rugby fixture. Source: Wikimedia The Rugby World Cup gets lots of interest from sports fans and those who like a flutter, too. If you cannot wait for the final, due to take place on 2nd November, then why not try our rugby-themed casino game where you'll find plenty to keep you entertained? In the meantime, the squads have been preparing for the tournament with warm-up games and now all eyes are focussing on Japan, the first time a tier 2 nation has hosted the competition. Given that many rugby union fans won't be familiar with the country that is staging the tournament - from the point of view of the sport, at least - a guide to the various host cities will be invaluable. In fact, there are twelve cities that will see games being played in them over the course of the next month or so. Which ones are they and what do the 400,000 or so supporters who will attend the tournament need to know about them?

Tokyo

The capital is the best-known city in Japan from a westerners' point of view. The Tokyo Stadium in the Chōfu district five pool games, including two of England's and one of New Zealand's. The stadium can accommodate just under 50,000 fans and it is best accessed via Tobitakyū Station which is on the Keiō Line. After the pool stages, the stadium will host two of the four quarter-finals and the third-fourth place play-off, known as the bronze final.

Yokohama

Located to the south-west of central Tokyo, the International Stadium in Yokohama is often referred to locally as the Nissan Stadium so don't get confused if you hear either name being used. You can get here from Tokyo or the port area of Yokohama via JR Shin-Yokohama Station by taking the Yokohama Municipal Subway. Alternatively, head to Kozukue Station, on the JR Yokohama Line, which is about ten minutes away. The International Stadium can hold 72,327 spectators. It will host Japan's clash with Scotland among other pool games and is set to stage the final as well as the two semi-finals.

Sapporo

With a retractable playing surface that usually accommodates football matches and baseball games, the Sapporo Dome can hold over 40,000 spectators. The closest rail connection is Fukuzumi Station on the Tōhō Subway Line but you can also get specially laid-on bus services on a match day from the city centre. Two games will be played here, both on the same weekend so it is the place to head for many rugby fans. Australia will take on Fijt at Sapporo on September 21st and the following day it will be the venue for England's pool match against Tonga. The Sapporo Dome, the most northerly of the stadiums to be used in the Rugby World Cup. Source: Wikimedia

Kamaishi

Located in the Iwate Prefecture, Kamaishi is a coastal city to the north of Tokyo. The Kamaishi Recovery Memorial Stadium is the venue that will be used for the tournament, hosting two matches. Fiji versus Uruguay will be the first of these on September 25th. The second is Namibia versus Canada which will be played out on October 13th. The stadium is very modern and was only opened in 2018. However, it is one of the smaller venues with only 16,334 people able to get in even when the stadium's temporary seating is deployed.

Kumagaya

Located a reasonably short distance from the capital, Kumagaya is likely to be popular with fans who have based themselves in Tokyo for the tournament. Kumagaya Station is quite a long way from the stadium, however, so you will need to arrange onward transportation, either by bus or taxi. The Kumagaya Rugby Stadium will see three pool games being played out. The only tier 1 team that will play a game here is Argentina. The Pumas will take on the United States in a hotly anticipated clash which will take place on October 9th. The stadium itself can hold 25,600 fans.

Shizuoka

Shizuoka Stadium Ecopa - situated in Fukuroi, close to the coast - is the host venue for the city. The stadium is closest to Aino Station which you can get to via the JR Tōkaidō Main Line. However, you will need to walk for about 15 minutes to get to the game from there. Four pool matches are scheduled in the city. Japan will take on Ireland on September 25th and South Africa will face Italy the following Friday. Scotland and Russia will meet on October 9th while Australia will be hot favourites against Georgia on October 11th.

Toyota

Situated in the Aichi Prefecture, Toyota is famous for its car museum and its modern art gallery. Rugby fans may be more interested in the 45,000-seater stadium there which will host four world cup games. The Toyota Stadium is about 15 minutes away by foot from Toyotashi Station, It is only a little further away via Shin-Toyota Station which is handily situated on the Aichi Loop Railway. Highlights at the city will be Wales match against Georgia which is scheduled for September 23rd and New Zealand versus Italy on October 12th.

Osaka

Osaka is known all over Japan – and further afield – for its entertainment industry and high-quality street food. If you want to see the 'real' Japan while enjoying the Rugby World Cup, then try to make it to the city. The Hanazono Rugby Stadium is best accessed via Higashi-Hanazono Station which is only about 20 minutes away from Namba Station in the city centre. Four pool games are scheduled for the city including Argentina versus Tonga on September 28th.

Kobe

Best-known for its beef, there is much more to Kobe than cattle. The city has a vibrant Chinatown and a bustling port. The Kobe Misaki Stadium is a medium-sized venue which can hold just over 30,000 fans. It is likely to be busy during the pool stages because each of its four games will feature a tier 1 nation. England, Scotland, Ireland and South Africa are all set to take the field here against the United States, Samoa, Russia and Canada respectively.

Fukuoka

Opened in 1995, the Fukuoka Hakatanomori Stadium holds 21,562 spectators. Take the Nishitetsu shuttle bus from Fukuoka City Subway to get there. Three pool games will take place in Fukuoka, including Ireland's big match against Samoa which is due to be played out on October 12th.

Ōita

There is plenty to see and do in Ōita other than watch rugby so try to spend some time there before moving on. Takasakiyama Monkey Park is well worth a visit, for example. The city will host three pool games, including Wales' match against Fiji on October 9th. After that, the Ōita Stadium has been chosen to stage two quarter-finals with the winners and runners-up of Pools C and D taking on one another.

Kumamoto

Located in the south of the country, humidity and heat may be a big issue for players when they take to the field at Egao Kenko Stadium. Plan your travel in advance since it takes nearly an hour by bus to get to the venue from Kumamoto Station. Two games will be played in Kumamoto, France versus Tonga and Wales versus Uruguay, on October 6th and 13th respectively.


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