See the Rugby World Cup in the Land of the Rising Sun

Staff writer – May 16, 2019

In 2019, for the first time, the Rugby World Cup will be held in Asia—in 12 cities across Japan, to be specific. If you’re a rugby fan, there’s no better opportunity than this to watch 20 national teams go head to head. And for visitors to Japan, there is so much to explore, so why not make Japan your vacation destination this fall?

And if you’re a travel agent, consider offering a sports tourism package consisting of one match or several, plus other activities in different parts of Japan. But tickets will soon sell out for this huge event, so plan fast, especially if you want VIP or group seats!


Some Background

The Rugby World Cup is a relatively young event, dating back to 1987, but the idea was floating around since the 1950s. The first tournament was hosted by Australia and New Zealand, and New Zealand won.


Another notable year was 1995. Apartheid had recently ended in South Africa, and they hosted the tournament. In the finals, they beat New Zealand 15–12, and President Nelson Mandela himself presented the trophy, wearing a Springbok jersey.


Did You See the 2015 World Cup?

The Rugby World Cup, like the FIFA World Cup for football/soccer, is held every four years, and the last one was in 2015. New Zealand beat Australia 34–17 in the final—making their third win, as they had also won in 2011.

Another highlight of the 2015 event was the match between South Africa and Japan in Pool B near the beginning of the tournament. South Africa had been leading the match until Japan accomplished what many consider the biggest upset in rugby history by scoring a try in the additional minutes, beating South Africa 34–32. It wasn’t enough to get Japan to the knockout stage, but it was certainly a treat for the enthusiastic fans.

Where and When

The 2019 Rugby World Cup will begin on September 20 and end on November 2. Twelve cities will host the matches. They are spread all through Japan, from Kumamoto on the island of Kyushu in the south, to Sapporo in the north, on the island of Hokkaido.

The opening ceremony will take place in Tokyo Stadium, and the final will be held in Nissan Stadium in Yokohama. There will be 48 matches in total.

What’s New?

Have you seen the tournament’s logo? It’s the sun rising over Mount Fuji against the World Rugby logo. It represents unity. It is hoped that, by having the event in Asia, outside the traditional heartland of rugby, the sport will become truly global.

2019 brings a lot of changes. At least four teams, including defending champions New Zealand, will be playing under a new head coach. Also, in 2015 there were no teams from the Northern hemisphere in the semi-finals, but Ireland has been performing better than New Zealand this season, and Wales, England, and Scotland are moving up too. Anything can happen!

Getting Around

Since there are 48 matches in far-flung cities, you could pick one city, get to know it well, and attend all the matches that take place there. But if this is your vacation, especially if you’ve never been to Japan, you may want to explore more of the country—and see more matches in the process.

When traveling to another city on the same island, take advantage of Japan’s fabulous trains. Toyko and Kobe, for example, both located on the main island of Honshu, are only 264 miles (424 km) apart. A train will make the journey in around three hours. And, by the way, do visit both of those cities! Besides the potential to see more matches, both are fascinating places, and Osaka and Kyoto are not far from Kobe.

If you want to travel from Tokyo to, say, Sapporo or Fukuoka, which are located on different islands, you can go by air. But if you’d rather enjoy the scenery, the bullet trains go even there—the islands’ railways are connected by a tunnel.

Whichever matches you see and whichever cities you choose to explore, you are in for a treat. But only if you act now and get your tickets before they are gone! Contact StubHub to save your seats.