UPDATED! How to Explore Japan With The 2019 Rugby World Cup

Best Hotels For The 2019 Rugby World Cup Japan Rob Dyer The Real Japan
By Spitfireap (Own work) [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons


This year the Rugby World Cup comes to Japan.

With matches taking place in no less than 12 cities across 3 of Japan's islands it's a great way of exploring Japan. If you're thinking of planning a trip to follow your team in Japan for the 2019 Rugby World Cup, you're not alone.

The Japanese government expects the event to attract some 400,000 foreign tourists to Japan this year.


Best Hotels For The 2019 Rugby World Cup Japan Rob Dyer The Real Japan

Jump to: The List of Best Hotels To Stay In For the 2019 Rugby World Cup



The 2019 Rugby World Cup

The tournament comes to Japan for the first time ever during the autumn.

Rugby fans from all over the globe will convene in the land of the rising sun for the 44-day event.

READ: How To Travel in Japan Without Speaking Japanese


Best Hotels For The 2019 Rugby World Cup Japan Rob Dyer The Real Japan


Games are being played up and down the country, with the first match kicking off on 20th September.

Games will be played on three different islands: Hokkaido, Honshu and Kyushu

The great thing about it from The Real Japan's perspective is that many lesser-known cities will play host to games - not just the famous capital.

Indeed, games are being played on three different islands: Hokkaido, Honshu and Kyushu.



Best Hotels For The 2019 Rugby World Cup Japan Rob Dyer The Real Japan
Fukuoka, Kyushu - one of the 12 host cities


Ticket demand

Speaking in Tokyo, tournament Director Alan Gilpin said:

From match venues, team camps and host cities readiness, to the ticketing and volunteering programmes and tournament budget, strong progress has been made...

This has been achieved by a strong partnership between World Rugby, the Japan Rugby 2019 Organising Committee, the Japan Rugby Football Union, host cities and national government."

We are particularly encouraged with the strong demand for the ticketing pre-sales phases with more than two million tickets applied for to date. The challenge for all events is to convert demand into sales, but this is a superb position to be in with a little over a year to go.


Best Hotels For The 2019 Rugby World Cup Japan Rob Dyer The Real Japan
Shizuoka Stadium


The 3 host islands


Japan's northern-most island. It's still very much a wild landscape and Japan's coldest region as it sits just below Siberia in Russia.

The Rugby World Cup will bring The Real Japan to 400,000 visitors, many for the first time


The largest, and most diverse, of Japan's 6,800 islands. It's where you'll find most of the well-known cities including Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Yokohama, Hiroshima and Kobe.


The largest of Japan's southern islands, and it's one of my favourite parts of Japan. It's closer to South Korea than it is Tokyo. It's mountainous (even by Japan's already very mountainous standards!), and it's here that the climate becomes subtropical.


2019 Rugby World Cup Kobe Japan The Real Japan Rob Dyer
Countdown in Kobe

The 12 host cities

The 12 cities playing host to games are: Sapporo (Hokkaido), Kamaishi, Kobe, Kumagaya, Osaka, Shizuoka, Tokyo, Toyota, Yokohama (all on Honshu), Fukuoka, Kumamoto and Ōita (Kyushu).

The 2019 Rugby World Cup is bringing The Real Japan to hundreds of thousands of visitors, many probably for the first time.

It's a fine example of how sport can help expand the perception of a country and, more importantly, encourage fans to explore it beyond the capital city, beyond the cliches.


How To Travel In Japan Without Speaking Japanese

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Asia's first Rugby World Cup

World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont said "With Rugby World Cup as the centrepiece, 2019 is the perfect stage to showcase to the world an attractive, thriving sport that continues to grow in every region and attract new participants and fans.

Rugby is all about teamwork and, working in partnership with our regions and unions, 2018 brought yet more important advances that will enable us to convert the excitement and interest in Asia’s first Rugby World Cup – a game-changing event – into sustainable growth for the sport.

We are well on our way"


Best Hotels For The 2019 Rugby World Cup Japan Rob Dyer The Real Japan
Ajinomoto Stadium - Photo: by Spitfireap / CC BY 3.0


Beaumont went on to say:

"There has been strong progress in Asia, where more than one million new participants have been attracted to the sport via our Impact Beyond 2019 legacy programme.

We are now working hard with Asia Rugby and our unions to ensure that this phenomenal achievement is sustainable and that the structures are in place to support and further grow the game in the world’s most populous and youthful region.

With Asia to the fore, we have seen record participation with more than 9.2 million players worldwide, as rugby ignites new passions in new countries and communities, as well as continued growth in existing traditional rugby nations."


2019 Rugby World Cup Osaka Japan The Real Japan Rob Dyer
Countdown in Osaka


Venues of the 2019 Rugby World Cup

All links below to the official Visit Japan 2019 website open in a new window.


Video: Higashi-Osaka, Japan's holy ground of rugby

Getting around Japan

The cost of internal flights in Japan continues to come down as the low cost carrier airlines become more established.

However, the Rugby World Cup is the perfect chance for making the most of Japan's world-famous bullet trains (shinkansen).

The Rugby World Cup is the perfect chance for making the most of Japan's world-famous bullet trains

All three host islands - Honshu, Hokkaido and Kyushu - are all connected to each other via Japan's extensive rail network. Undersea tunnels connecting the main island Honshu with Hokkaido in the north and Kyushu in the south.


N700 Shinkansen The Real Japan Rob Dyer
Japan's incredible shinkansen bullet trains


This is where Japan's excellent value Japan Rail Pass comes into play. The pass offers fans unlimited access to the shinkansen network, connecting all the major cities including the capital Tokyo. Trains reach speeds of up to 320km/h (199mph).

The JR Pass also provides access to other Japan Rail national trains, buses, ferries, and airport transfers.

Note: buy the Japan Rail Pass in advance to get the cheapest prices.

Japan Rail Pass JR Pass The Real Japan Rob Dyer


Visiting Japan with tattoos

In Japan, tattoos have a long history.

The samurai were often covered from head to toe in them. In more contemporary history they have become synonomous with Japan's organised crime gangs - the yakuza.

However, attitudes to tattoos in Japan are changing.

With the advent of the 2019 Rugby World Cup and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, even the government is getting involved.

Of course, many rugby fans, to say nothing of the players themselves, have tattoos. As do many of the increasing numbers of foreign tourists coming to Japan each year.


Vintage Tattooed Japanese Men
Tattoo culture in Japan


And many of those will want (and should!) to try bathing in an onsen - Japan's natural hot springs.

Traditionally, onsen have had a ban on tattoos, largely on account of their association with the yakuza. But growing foreign tourism, alongside the more progressive attitudes, particularly of younger Japanese towards tattoos, means it is possible to sample the delights of onsen, even if you have tattoos.

But you'll need to do some homework first so that you're not refused entry. Read this article for more tips on using onsen if you have tattoos.

READ MORE: Onsen Tips For Those With Tattoos


48 games held at 12 stadiums

A total of 48 games will be held between September 20th and November 2nd, at 12 stadiums across the country.

The opening match takes place at Ajinomoto Stadium, in Tokyo, with the final match being held at International Stadium Yokohama in Kanagawa.


Match schedule

Download the Match Schedule HERE (instant PDF download)


Best Hotels For The 2019 Rugby World Cup Japan Rob Dyer The Real Japan
Tokyo - host to the opening match of the 2019 Rugby World Cup


Book your accommodation

Ranked based on customer reviews, below is a list of the best hotels and accommodation to stay at for the Rugby World Cup, covering every one of the 12 host cities.

You'll need to book your accommodation in advance to be sure you get the best deal and the best located accommodation options. Some hotels close to stadiums are already selling out rooms on dates around the games.


​Countdown to kick-off!




The List of Best Hotels to stay in

Top hotels in Fukuoka

Visitors to Fukuoka love: Hakata ramen, Japanese cuisine, Ōhori Park

Top hotels in Kamaishi

Visitors to Kamaishi love: autumn/fall leaves

Top hotels in Kobe

Visitors to Kobe love: food, sightseeing, harbours


Kobe Harborland
Kobe Harborland


Top hotels in Kumagaya

Visitors to Kumagaya love: ambience, business, city trips

Top hotels in Kumamoto

Visitors to Kumamoto love: castles, food, sightseeing

Top hotels in Oita

Visitors to Oita love: hot springs, food, sightseeing

Top hotels in Osaka

Visitors to Osaka love: Osaka castle, Shinsekai, Minoo Park


Best Hotels For The 2019 Rugby World Cup Japan Rob Dyer The Real Japan
Osaka Castle


Top hotels in Sapporo

Visitors to Sapporo love: Snow Festival , soup curry, Odori Park

Top hotels in Shizuoka

Visitors to Shizukoa love: food, sightseeing, nature

Top hotels in Tokyo

Visitors love: Shinjuku district, Ryogoku Kokugikan (sumo stadium), Imperial Palace

Top hotels in Toyota

Visitors to Toyota love: business, budget-friendly travelling, tranquility

Top hotels in Yokohama

Visitors to Yokohama love: harbours, sightseeing, city walks


Find your best hotel



Tickets are back on sale!

Tickets for all RWC2019 games are now on official re-sale. First-come, first-served (expect to queue when booking!).

Buy tickets HERE (good luck!)

This service is for those who, under unavoidable circumstances, will not be able to use the originally purchased tickets to resell them through official channels.

The original application period for tickets to the games was between Wednesday, 19 September 2018 and Monday, 12 November 2018.

Due to demand outstripping supply, tickets were allocated on a ballot system. The ballot result notification was announced on Monday, 26 November 2018.

If you were successful in getting tickets in the original sale round, the payment period was between Monday, 26 November 2018 and Wednesday, 5 December 2018.

Note: tickets that are not purchased via an official RWC 2019 website will be refused entry to the match.


Best Hotels For The 2019 Rugby World Cup Japan Rob Dyer The Real Japan
Kick-off is coming


This is the first time the tournament is held in Asia. It's also the first time consecutive tournaments have been staged in the same hemisphere, and also the first time that the event takes place outside the international rugby union team countries.


Best SIM cards for Japan

With more than 400,000 visitors predicted to come to Japan, SIM cards are expected to sell out completely for the Rugby World Cup. Order your SIM now with free delivery or free pick-up in Japan.

Are you…

greent tick Visiting Japan for the RWC?
greent tick Need data to get rugby scores, find the stadium, find your mates in the crowd?
greent tick Like FREE beer?

...Introducing the best SIM cards For Japan with Exclusive RWC 2019 Supporter Bundles.

Who else gives you a free beer with your Japan SIM card?!

The Real Japan has joined forces with Mobal - a leading supplier of SIM cards in Japan - to offer you the perfect SIM for rugby fans.


Hotels SIM card 2019 Rugby World Cup Japan Rob Dyer The Real Japan
Free beer SIM card offer!


With a Japan SIM in your phone you can easily find nearest big-screen to watch the match. keep up with the scores, find the best transport links, translate phrases and menus - and update your social media account with your awesome photos of Japan!

Buy your SIM today and get Mobal's FREE RWC Supporters’ Bundle with FREE Beer, FREE fan headband and FREE Rugby World Cup Fan Guide.

Plus, get free access to 400,000 WiFi hotspots around Japan to supplement your data usage - and save lots with discount vouchers for shopping and travel perks. Order now to get all of these benefits.

Get this SIM deal

  • FREE Worldwide Shipping & Pickup in Japan
  • Discount shopping and travel vouchers included with all orders
  • Money Back Guarantee
  • Profits go to Charity
  • English Language Support


If you're a rugby fan and you've never visited Japan before - this will be the best chance you'll ever get to explore the land of the rising sun.

Question: If you're thinking of going to the 2019 Rugby World Cup, what's the main question you have about travelling in Japan? Leave a comment below...

Japan Rail Pass JR Pass The Real Japan Rob Dyer


All links will open in a new window

Discover Japan - Official 2019 RWC Host Country:

Official Site of Rugby World Cup:

Official Rugby World Cup Ticketing site:

Japan Accommodation at Booking.com:

Get our SIM card deal:
Buy your Mobal SIM today

Get my ebook:
How To Travel in Japan Without Speaking Japanese


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