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Rugby: Japan 2019 confirms all 12 World Cup venues (see profiles)

Akira Shimazu, CEO of Japan Rugby 2019; Bernard Lapasset, Chairman of Rugby World Cup Limited, and Tatsuzo Yabe, Chairman of the Japan RFU, at the announcement of the 12 venues for the 2019 Rugby World Cup. Photo: World Rugby/James Crombie/Inpho.

Akira Shimazu, CEO of Japan Rugby 2019, Bernard Lapasset, Chairman of Rugby World Cup Ltd, and Tatsuzo Yabe, Chairman of Japan RFU, at the announcement of the Japan 2019 venues. Photo: World Rugby/James Crombie/Inpho.

March 3, 2015: Tokyo and Yokohama are among the 12 cities confirmed to host matches at Rugby World Cup Japan 2019, with the venues revealed at simultaneous announcements in Dublin and Tokyo on Monday.


The stadiums are located across the length and breadth of Japan, from Sapporo in the northern island of Hokkaido down to Kumamoto in the south, with capacities ranging from 80,000 at the New National Stadium in Tokyo to 15,000 for the Kamaishi Recovery Memorial Stadium.


Bernard Lapasset, Chairman of Rugby World Cup Limited, said: “This is an important milestone for the tournament. Now we know exactly where the matches will be staged in Japan and, more importantly, the people of those cities and fans around the world can start planning for the big event.


“In 2019, hundreds of thousands of rugby fans will descend on Japan and millions more will watch on television as the world’s best players compete for the right to lift the Webb Ellis Cup. It will be a wonderful tournament and, as it’s the first time Rugby World Cup will take place in Asia, it will be an important milestone for us as we continue to make good on our commitment to grow the global game.”


World Rugby stated that criteria included stadium quality, nearby training and other facilities, transport and the availability of local accommodation for teams, fans and media, while it was also important to choose a diverse range of venues in terms of stadium capacity, geographical spread and rugby development.


Akira Shimazu, Chief Executive of Japan Rugby 2019, said: “I extend my deepest appreciation to all of the 15 candidates and their local governments for participating in the host application process. Each of the candidate cities had excellent credentials to host. We would like to have had all of the candidates as hosts, but we made our selections with the RWCL Board and their deep knowledge of tournament operation needs.


“Rather than any particular individual candidate rating, we decided on the final selection based on the overall needs of the tournament. Rugby World Cup 2019 is an event for which the entire nation of Japan, all its people, will be staging and rallying support. And we ask all in the host candidate cities, whether in the final selection or not, to join us in the spirit of ‘all for Japan’ to continue to help prepare for the tournament.”


With Rugby World Cup attracting hundreds of thousands of visiting international fans and delivering a six-week global tourism and trade shop-window, host cities could benefit from a significant economic boost. England 2015 is set to deliver a £2 billion injection into the economy.


Rugby World Cup Japan 2019 Venues

  • Sapporo Dome, Sapporo
  • Kamaishi Recovery Memorial Stadium, Kamaishi
  • Kumagaya Rugby Ground, Kumagaya
  • New National Stadium Japan, Tokyo
  • International Stadium Yokohama, Yokohama
  • Ogasayama Sports Park Ecopa Stadium, Fukuroi, Shizuoka
  • Toyota Stadium, Toyota City
  • Hanazono Rugby Stadium, Higashi-osaka
  • Kobe City Misaki Park Stadium, Kobe
  • Hakatanomori Football Stadium, Fukuoka
  • Kumamoto Prefectural Athletic Stadium, Kumamoto
  • Oita Stadium, Oita


Note: World Rugby distributed the following city/venue profiles


– Sapporo Dome (41,410 capacity)

Sapporo has played host to such international sports events as the 1972 Winter Olympic Games and the FIFA World Cup 2002, as well as being the home city to professional baseball and soccer teams. This history of hosting many major sports events is a strong platform for Rugby World Cup 2019 to showcase the special appeal of rugby to an even broader audience in Japan and overseas at the northernmost venue.


Kamaishi  – Kamaishi Recovery Memorial Stadium (16,187

Kamaishi has long been known for steelmaking, being the site of Japan’s oldest steelworks. This also is the city’s connection to rugby, as the factory-sponsored team grew to become one of the top amateur teams in Japan. Although Kamaishi was devastated by the great earthquake of 11 March, 2011, the city has made great strides in its recovery. The city and its residents look to host Rugby World Cup 2019 as a way to thank all those who helped in this recovery effort, in Japan and around the world.


Kumagaya – Kumagaya Rugby Ground (24,000)

Kumagaya is a suburb outside Tokyo known for its many historical and cultural attractions. The city has also promoted sports locally, with rugby receiving particular recognition – Kumagaya is even called Japanese rugby’s ‘hallowed ground of the east’ and is host to the spring all-Japan high school rugby championship. This long-standing, strong local popularity and support of rugby across all ages makes it a fitting host for Rugby World Cup 2019.


Tokyo – New National Stadium Japan (80,000)

Since the 1964 Olympic Games, the nation’s capital has played host to many international sporting events. Sports are a vital part of the lifestyle of the city’s 13 million residents, who partake as players, fans and event supporters. As Tokyo and its citizens gear up for its second hosting of the Olympic Games in 2020, Rugby World Cup 2019 will be a key element of their sports lifestyle. Rugby fans around the world can expect fixtures at this venue, including the opening and final matches, to be staged as only Tokyo can, commensurate with its scale as a global metropolis and cultural centre.


Yokohama City
 – International Stadium Yokohama (72,327

Yokohama’s long international connections go back to when its port was opened to the United States, the Netherlands, Russia, England and France in 1859. Beginning with these countries, the international influences shaping Yokohama’s culture have created a truly unique and enjoyable city. It was the link to England that resulted in the origin of rugby in Japan. British soldiers stationed in Yokohama began playing rugby for amusement, leading to the founding of the Yokohama Football Club in 1866. A match took place here in 1873 between garrisons, England versus a Scotland-Ireland combined team. Yokohama’s international sports events since have grown in scale and sophistication, including the final of the FIFA World Cup 2002. Yokohama is confident that it will present Rugby World Cup 2019 with a fitting stage for many passionate fans.


 – Ogasayama Sports Park Ecopa Stadium (50,889)

As a tourist destination, Shizuoka is known for its scenery (it is one of the two prefectures straddled by the iconic Mount Fuji), tea orchards and hot springs resorts. For Japanese sports fans, Shizuoka is known for producing star athletes in such sports as soccer, tennis, baseball, basketball and rugby. The Shizuoka Rugby Club was founded in 1929 and is active to this day, joined by four other rugby clubs (including one for players age 40 and older). The Japan Rugby Top League is also popular here, and tag rugby is on the curriculum for many elementary school students in the prefecture.


Toyota City
 – Toyota Stadium (45,000)

Not surprisingly, Toyota is called the “City of Automobiles” stemming from one of the world’s top car manufacturers having its headquarters here. Located at the geographic centre of Japan, Aichi Prefecture and Toyota can also lay fair claim to being the centre of Japanese rugby. The club team affiliated with that automaker has won a number of national championships over the years and enjoys wide popularity. The venue, designed exclusively for field ball sports, is the largest of its type in Japan and has hosted professional soccer league games and matches at the FIFA World Cup 2002. In rugby, the venue is a stage for some Top League and international matches. Local residents and officials are experienced in supporting large international sports events, and will be a great asset in staging a successful Rugby World Cup 2019.


Higashi-osaka – Hanazono Rugby Stadium (30,000

The third-largest city in the Osaka region, Higashi Osaka is home to many smaller manufacturing companies with highly skilled craftsmen and artisans, to the extent that it is dubbed the ‘Craftwork City’. Another thing Higashi Osaka is renowned for is rugby. Its venue, Hanazono, is the site for the winter all-Japan high school championship. Hanazono in fact was the first stadium in Japan to be built especially for rugby, in 1929. The venue and the many historic matches and fan support have led Higashi Osaka to be called ‘Rugby City’.


Kobe – Kobe City Misaki Park Stadium (30,312)

With mountains on one side and the sea on the other, Kobe is a favourite of foreign visitors and residents alike. No stranger to major international sports events, Kobe has hosted such diverse events as the 1985 Summer Universiade to the FIFA World Cup 2002. The city looks to Rugby World Cup 2019 as its latest opportunity to deliver a top-class tournament to a global audience. Furthermore, this is also a way to tell the world about Kobe’s full recovery after a disastrous earthquake, and to bring its residents closer with rugby and its traditions as the common theme. Rugby already has a solid base in Kobe and it is home to one of Japan’s most venerated clubs.


Fukuoka – Hakatanomori Football Stadium (22,563)

Widely known as a gourmet paradise, Fukuoka boasts a wide variety of local specialties. A Fukuoka specialty in a different area is rugby, with the city being the centre of the sport for Japan’s southernmost main island, Kyushu. Rugby in Kyushu got its start when a group of alumni from Keio University in Tokyo working for the same electric utility were transferred to Fukuoka. The team they formed, the Kyushu Rugby Club, led to the wide popularity of the sport. As an indication of rugby’s popularity in Fukuoka, the city actually leads the nation with a proportionately higher number of registered players, compared to cities with much larger populations


Oita – Oita Stadium (40,000

Oita and its venue are no strangers to major international sports events, having hosted matches for FIFA World Cup 2002 and creating an internationally covered human interest story featuring the Cameroon national team and the village that hosted their camp. The strong bonds that developed between the village and Cameroon expanded to include the entire prefecture. Oita’s rugby players are recognised for their accomplishments from their youth at the all-Japan high school rugby championship and later at the industrial league level. The prefecture welcomes many overseas visitors with its numerous famous hot springs resorts and other sights; it looks to feature Rugby World Cup 2019 as its latest attraction to the world.


– Kumamoto Prefectural Athletic Stadium (32,000)

Kumamoto is home to some of Japan’s most exquisite scenery and national parks. In addition to natural beauty, Kumamoto has such renowned man-made attractions as the 400-year-old Kumamoto Castle, one of the largest in Japan. In the Japan rugby community, several top players have come from Kumamoto. Rugby World Cup 2019 represents a special chance for the Kumamoto rugby community to encourage greater participation and further expand the popularity of the sport throughout the prefecture.


Source: Rugby World Cup (

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