For the First Time Ever, the Rugby World Cup is Coming to Asia!

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For the first time ever, the Rugby World Cup is coming to Asia! From September 20 to November 2, Japan takes on hosting duties for the 2019 Rugby World Cup. 20 international teams will fight it out to take home the much-coveted Webb Ellis Cup.

The participating teams are divided into 4 pools. As of the moment, only 17 teams have been confirmed. Here is what the pool stage or first-round, which follows a single round-robin format, looks like:

Pool A Pool B Pool C Pool D
Ireland New Zealand England Australia
Scotland South Africa France Wales
Japan Italy Argentina Georgia
Russia Africa 1 United States Fiji
Play-off Winner Repechage Winner Tonga Uruguay

The opening match will be between Japan and Russia on September 20, and will be held at the Tokyo Stadium in Chofu.

Tournament schedule

Here are the dates and venues for the pool stage, quarterfinals, semifinals, bronze, and final matches:

Pool Stage/First Round

Pool A
September 20 Japan vs. Russia Tokyo Stadium (Chofu)
September 22 Ireland vs. Scotland International Stadium Yokohama (Yokohama)
September 24 Russia vs. Play-off Winner Kumagaya Rugby Stadium (Kumagaya)
September 28 Japan vs. Ireland Shizuoka Stadium Ecopa (Fukuroi)
September 30 Scotland vs. Play-off Winner Kobe Misaki Stadium (Kobe)
October 3 Ireland vs. Russia Kobe Misaki Stadium (Kobe)
October 5 Japan vs. Play-off Winner City of Toyota Stadium (Toyota)
October 9 Scotland vs. Russia Shizuoka Stadium Ecopa (Fukuroi)
October 12 Ireland vs. Play-off Winner Fukuoka Hakatanomori Stadium (Fukuoka)
October 13 Japan vs. Scotland International Stadium Yokohama (Yokohama)


Pool B
September 21 New Zealand vs. South Africa International Stadium Yokohama (Yokohama)
September 22 Italy vs. Africa 1 Hanazono Rugby Stadium (Higashiosaka)
September 26 Italy vs. Repechange Winner Fukuoka Hakatanomori Stadium (Fukuoka)
September 28 South Africa vs. Africa 1 City of Toyota Stadium, Toyota
October 2 New Zealand vs. Repechage Winner Oita Stadium (Oita)
October 4 South Africa vs. Italy Shizuoka Stadium Ecopa (Fukuroi)
October 6 New Zealand vs. Africa 1 Tokyo Stadium (Chofu)
October 8 South Africa vs. Repechage Winner Kobe Misaki Stadium (Kobe)
October 12 New Zealand vs. Italy City of Toyota Stadium (Toyota)
October 13 Africa 1 vs. Repechage Winner Kamaishi Recovery Memorial Stadium (Kamaishi)


Pool C
September 21 France vs. Argentina Tokyo Dome (Chofu)
September 22 England vs. Tonga Sapporo Dome (Sapporo)
September 26 England vs. United States Kobe Misaki Stadium (Kobe)
September 28 Argentina vs. Tonga Hanazono Rugby Stadium (Higashiosaka)
October 2 France vs. United States Fukuoka Hakatanomori Stadium (Fukuoka)
October 5 England vs. Argentina Tokyo Stadium (Chofu)
October 6 France vs. Tonga Kumamoto Stadium (Kumamoto)
October 9 Argentina vs. United States Kumagaya Rugby Stadium (Kumagaya)
October 12 England vs. France International Stadium Yokohama (Yokohama)
October 13 United States vs. Tonga Hanazono Rugby Stadium (Higashiosaka)


Pool D
September 21 Australia vs. Fiji Sapporo Dome (Sapporo)
September 23 Wales vs. Georgia City of Toyota Stadium (Toyota)
September 25 Fiji vs. Uruguay Kamaishi Recovery Memorial Stadium (Kamaishi)
September 29 Georgia vs. Uruguay Kumagaya Rugby Stadium (Kumagaya)
September 29 Australia vs. Wales Tokyo Stadium (Chofu)
October 3 Georgia vs. Fiji Hanazono Rugby Stadium (Higashiosaka)
October 5 Australia vs. Uruguay Oita Stadium (Oita)
October 9 Wales vs. Fiji Oita Stadium (Oita)
October 11 Australia vs. Georgia Shizuoka Stadium Escopa (Fukuroi)
October 13 Wales vs. Uruguay Kumamoto Stadium (Kumamoto)


October 19 Tokyo Stadium (Chofu)
October 19 Oita Stadium (Oita)
October 20 Oita Stadium (Oita)
October 20 Tokyo Stadium (Chofu)


October 26 International Stadium Yokohama (Yokohama)
October 27 International Stadium Yokohama (Yokohama)


November 1 Tokyo Stadium (Chofu)


November 2 International Stadium Yokohama (Yokohama)

More information on the 2019 Rugby World Cup (tickets, tours, accommodations, etc.) can be found on their official website.

How to get around

To travel from one 2019 Rugby World Cup host city to another, it is best to take advantage of Japan’s railway network.

Look into getting a Japan Rail Pass or JR Pass if you are planning to catch games in multiple cities located far away from each other. For example, via the Shinkansen or bullet train, you can get from Tokyo to Kobe in under three hours for the price of about 15,000 yen; or from Tokyo to Fukuoka in five hours for about 22,000 yen. With a 7-day JR Pass, which costs 29,110 yen, you will get your money’s worth with a roundtrip. Check Hyperdia for train route options, ticket fares, timetables, and other information.

But, if you are thinking of just staying in one or two cities, and are not too keen on doing long-distance travels to watch the games, prepaid IC cards, such as the Suica or the Pasmo, might be more economical. These IC cards are valid on almost all trains, subway networks, and bus lines around the country, and offers convenience and flexibility.

How to access the different 2019 Rugby World Cup stadiums

The table below lists all of the stadiums that will serve as venues for the 2019 Rugby World Cup, and the nearest train stations that provide access to them.

Stadium Name Nearest Train Station
Tokyo Stadium (Chofu) ·         Tobitakyu Station (Keiyo Line)

·         Tama Station (Seibu Tamagawa Line)

International Stadium Yokohama (Yokohama) ·         Shin-Yokohama Station (JR Yokohama Line, JR Tokaido Shinkansen Line, Yokohama Subway Line)

·         Kozukue Station (JR Yokohama Line)

Kumagaya Rugby Stadium (Kumagaya) ·         Kumagaya Station (JR Joetsu Shinkansen Line, Shonan-Shinjuku Line, Takasaki Line)
Shizuoka Stadium Ecopa (Fukuroi) ·         Aino Station (Tokaido Main Line)
Kobe Misaki Stadium (Kobe) ·         Misaki-koen Station (Kaigan Line)
City of Toyota Stadium (Toyota) ·         Meitetsu Toyotashi Station (Subway Tsurumai/Meitetsu Toyota Line, Meitetsu Mikawa Line)

·         Shin-Toyota Station (Aichi Loop Railway)

Fukuoka Hakatanomori Stadium (Fukuoka) ·         Fukuokakuko Station (Subway Kuko Line)
Kamaishi Recovery Memorial Stadium (Kamaishi)  

·         Unosumai Station (Yamada Line)

Oita Stadium (Oita) ·         Oita Station (JR Kyudai Line, JR Nippo Line, JR Hohi Line)
Kumamoto Stadium (Kumamoto) ·         Kumamoto Station (JR Kyushu Shinkansen Line, JR Hohi Line, JR Kagoshima Line)
Sapporo Dome (Sapporo) ·         Fukuzumi Station (Toho Line)
Hanazono Rugby Stadium (Higashiosaka) ·         Higashi-Hanazono Station (Kintetsu Nara Line)

How to stay in contact when in Japan

There are a variety of wi-fi sim cards that can provide you reliable internet connection while in Japan. With one, you can check your e-mails, chat with your friends and loved ones back home, post to your social media accounts, stay updated on current events and news, and get help with transport routes, directions and navigations, and translations whenever you need to, wherever you are in the country.

You can order one before your trip, or buy upon your arrival there. Check out this post (link to the sim card comparison article) to learn more about the different wi-fi sim card brands, deals, and packages available to tourists in Japan.


For an enjoyable time at the 2019 Rugby World Cup games, make sure to observe the following etiquette:

  1. Be civilized, even to those who are cheering for the opposing team. Refrain from booing loudly or trash talking. All of you are there to have fun, so there is no place for threats, hostility, and violence.
  2. Do not make a mess with your food. Eating and drinking while watching the matches are common. However, make sure that you are not spilling your beverage here and there, or dropping food scraps on the ground or the people next to you. Do not get drunk!
  3. It is okay to clap, sing, and scream every time your favourite player or team makes a good play. Smile, high five, or even hug your fellow fans around you.
  4. Remember, at the end of the day, this is just a game. Do not get so stressed out, upset, or furious if your team loses. After the match, display good sportsmanship, and congratulate those rooting for the winning team.

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