Rugby World Cup Stadiums

The 2019 Rugby World Cup will be played across 12 venues, some of which are regular rugby stadiums, others are multi-purpose stadiums, while yet others will be hosting rugby matches for the first time.

Three of the stadiums are on the southern island of Kyushu, Japan’s third-largest island. They are: Oita Stadium, Kumamoto Stadium, and Fukuoka Hakatanomori Stadium.

A little further north, on the biggest of the Japanese Islands, Hokkaido, we find two more stadiums clustered close together, Hanazono Rugby Stadium, in Osaka City, and Kobe Misaki Stadium in the city of Kobe. Kobe and Osaka are a mere 29 kilometres apart.

Heading towards the centre of Hokkaido Island, we find two more stadiums that are very close to each other,  Shizuoka Stadium Ecopa in the Shizuoka Prefecture, and the City of Toyota Stadium

Further up Hokkaido Island, clustered around Tokyo we have Tokyo Stadium, Kumagaya Rugby Stadium in the Saitama Prefecture, Kumagaya City, and the International Stadium Yokohama in the Kanagawa Prefecture, Yokohama City.

Heading up to the northern Honshu end of the Hokkaido Island, we find Kamaishi Recovery Memorial Stadium in the Iwate Prefecture, Kamaishi City

And then on Hokkaido Island, the largest of the northern islands, we get the last of the twelve,  Sapporo Dome in Sapporo City

Details of the various venues:

Sapporo Dome

SAPPORO DOME

The Sapporo Dome is a stadium located in Toyohira-ku, Sapporo, Japan, and is primarily used for baseball and football. 

It is the home ground of the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters baseball team  and the Hokkaido Consadole Sapporofootball club.

The Sapporo Dome opened in 2001 with 41,580 seats.

In late 2009, renovations increasing the capacity up to 53,796 were finished. These renovations also included two extra changing rooms (to accommodate preseason matches in the US NFL International Series, which have up to 75 players per team) and further media area as part of new office buildings attached to the stadium. 

As part of these renovations, the surface area of the arena itself was decreased to allow for more seating.

The Dome switches between two entirely different surfaces: Baseball games are played on an underlying artificial turf field, while football games are held on a grass pitch that slides into and out of the stadium as needed.

Conversion from baseball to football begins with the storage of the baseball field’s artificial turf. Once finished, a set of lower bowl bleachers rotate from an angled position for baseball to a parallel position. A set of main bowl seats on one end of the dome then retracts, and the football pitch is slid into the stadium. The lower bowl is then rotated 90 degrees. Conversion from football to baseball occurs in reverse. 

Address: 1 Hitsujigaoka, Toyohira Ward, Sapporo, Hokkaido Prefecture 062-0045

Capacity: 41,410

Completed: May 26, 2001

Summary of events:

RWC Match schedule:

Saturday 21 September13:45(JST)Australia v Fiji
Sunday 22 September19:15(JST)England v Tonga

KAMAISHI RECOVERY MEMORIAL STADIUM

Kamaishi Recovery Memorial Stadium also known as Kamaishi Unosumai Stadium, is a stadium in Unosumai-cho, Kamaishi, Iwate. Construction on the 16,187-seat venue broke ground in April 2017 and it was completed on 19 August 2018. It is planned to host several games during the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

The city of Kamaishi historically hosted one of Japan’s most successful rugby union clubs, Nippon Steel Kamaishi, which won several national titles during the 1970s and 1980s. The club folded in 2001 and was replaced by the Kamaishi Seawaves.

Kamaishi suffered major damage during the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, leaving over 1,000 residents dead or missing, and damaging a large portion of the city.[3]

In 2014, the municipal government announced that it would bid to host part of the 2019 Rugby World Cup and build a new stadium as part of the Unosumai area’s post-disaster recovery.  

The stadium, to be located on the former site of schools that were destroyed in the tsunami, was named as one of twelve venues selected in March 2015 by World Rugby for the tournament.

The ¥3 billion cost of the stadium attracted criticism from residents and observers, noting that the area was in need of rebuilt infrastructure and permanent housing for displaced residents. 

Construction on the stadium began in April 2017, with a ground-breaking and prayer ceremony, and was completed in July 2018. 

The stadium opened on 19 August 2018 for an exhibition match between the Kamaishi Seawaves and Yamaha Júbilo, attended by 6,000 people. 

Unosumai Station on JR East’s Yamada Line will be rebuilt to serve the stadium.

 The stadium will be expanded to 16,000 seats for the 2019 Rugby World Cup and host two group matches.

Address: Unosumai Kamaishi, Iwate

Capacity: 16,334

Completed: Will be completed in 2018

RWC Match schedule:

Wednesday 25 September14:15(JST)Fiji v Uruguay
Sunday 13 October12:15(JST)Namibia v Canada

KUMAGAYA RUGBY STADIUM

Kumagaya Rugby Stadium, is a rugby stadium in Kumagaya, Saitama, Japan. It is currently used mostly for rugby union matches as it is the home ground of the Panasonic Wild Knights. It is also used for University League games and sometimes also for other Top League games.

The stadium was built in 1991 and renovated between 2016 and 2018. Its capacity expanded from 20,000 (10,000 seated) to 24,000 people (fully seated).

The stadium is part of a larger sports complex which includes the Kumagaya Athletic Stadium, a smaller athletics stadium and a large arena. The complex is located in the Kumagaya Park.

6,000 temporary seats will be added to increase the stadium capacity for the Rugby World Cup.

Address: 810 Kamikawakami, Kumagaya, Saitama Prefecture 360-0004

Capacity: 25,600

Completed: 1991

RWC Match schedule:

Tuesday 24 September19:15(JST)Russia v Samoa
Sunday 29 September14:15(JST)Georgia v Uruguay
Wednesday 09 October13:45(JST)Argentina v USA

TOKYO STADIUM

Tokyo Stadium, also known as the Ajinomoto Stadium is a multi-purpose stadium in Chōfu, Tokyo, Japan. The stadium was founded at Kantō Mura, the redevelopment area formerly used by United States Forces Japan, in March 2001. 

The stadium is the home of J1 League football club FC Tokyo and J2 League football club Tokyo Verdy and is used as the venue of some lower divisions of football leagues. Rugby union games are also held there. 

The stadium is often used for non-sport events, such as concerts and flea markets. It has been used as a shelter for survivors of the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami.

During the Rugby World Cup, the stadium will be known as Tokyo Stadium and will host the opening ceremony as well as opening match of the tournament. 

The stadium accommodates 49,970 and is divided into two levels; the upper level accommodates 20,600 and the lower level 29,370 (both are all-seated). 

On each level, the stand is divided into four sections (main, back, north and south sides).

The whole of the upper level, as well as upper tiers of the lower level, is covered by roof, which is made of Teflon (main and back) and polycarbonate (both sides). 

The main stand houses media and hospitality boxes, VIP rooms and reception hall. Two 

Address: 376-3 Nishimachi, Chofu, Tokyo 182-0032

Capacity: 49,970

Completed: October 2000

RWC Match schedule:

Friday 20 September19:45(JST)Japan v Russia
Saturday 21 September16:15(JST)France v Argentina
Sunday 29 September16:45(JST)Australia v Wales
Saturday 05 October17:00(JST)England v Argentina
Sunday 06 October13:45(JST)New Zealand v Namibia
Saturday 19 October19:15(JST)QF2: W Pool B v RU Pool A
Sunday 20 October19:15(JST)QF4: W Pool A v RU Pool B
Friday 01 November18:00(JST)Bronze Final

INTERNATIONAL STADIUM YOKOHAMA

Also known as the Nissan Stadium, the International Stadium Yokohama is a sports venue in Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan, that opened in March 1998. It is the home stadium of Yokohama F. Marinos of the J1 League.

International Stadium Yokohama has the highest seating capacity of any stadium in Japan, with a total of 75,000 seats.

The stadium has also been selected as one of the venues for 2019 Rugby World Cup and will host 7 games which includes the final of the tournament. 

This decision was taken by World Rugby after Japan announced that the proposed new National Stadium wouldn’t be completed in time.

The stadium has hosted International Rugby matches in the past, including Japan playing Australia in November 2017, a 63 – 30 loss for the home side. 

In October 2018 New Zealand beat Australia 37 – 20 at the venue.

Address: 3300 Kozukuecho, Kohoku Ward, Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture 222-0036

Capacity: 72,327

Completed: October 1997

RWC Match Schedule

Saturday 21 September18:45(JST)New Zealand v South Africa
Sunday 22 September16:45(JST)Ireland v Scotland
Saturday 12 October17:15(JST)England v France
Sunday 13 October19:45(JST)Japan v Scotland
Saturday 26 October17:00(JST)SF1: W QF1 v W QF2
Sunday 27 October18:00(JST)SF2: W QF3 v W QF4
Saturday 02 November18:00(JST)Final

SHIZUOKA STADIUM ECOPA

Shizuoka Stadium ECOPA is used primarily for football. The stadium is in Fukuroi City, Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan, although the stadium itself is merely the centrepiece of the larger Ogasayama Sports Park which extends into neighbouring Kakegawa. The stadium’s capacity is 50,889. It is now the primary venue for major sporting events in Shizuoka Prefecture, including track and field, for which it is fully equipped.

Shizuoka Stadium was opened in 2001 and played host to some matches during the 2002 FIFA World Cup, including Belgium versus Russia in the group stage (which Belgium won 3-2) and the quarter-final match between Brazil and England, which Brazil won 2-1.

Ecopa is the venue for J. League team Júbilo Iwata’s more high-profile games, including the Shizuoka Derby versus Shimizu S-Pulse and is also occasionally used as a home ground by Shimizu S-Pulse. 

Address:  2300-1 Aino Fukuroi City, Shizuoka 437-0031

Capacity: 50,889

Completed: March 2001

RWC Match schedule:

Saturday 28 September16:15(JST)Japan v Ireland
Friday 04 October18:45(JST)South Africa v Italy
Wednesday 09 October16:15(JST)Scotland v Russia
Friday 11 October19:15(JST)Australia v Georgia

CITY OF TOYOTA STADIUM

Toyota Stadium is a 45,000 seat retractable roof stadium in Toyota, Aichi Prefecture, Japan. It was built in 2001 and is often used as home to the J1 League club Nagoya Grampus. The stadium is football-specific, which gives matches an authentic football aura, however, it is also used by Toyota Verblitz, a rugby union team in the Top League.

Its roof is unique in that it folds much like an accordion, however, the roof has not been closed since 2015 due to extra costs for maintenance. 

Address: 7-2 Sengokucho, Toyota, Aichi Prefecture 471-0016

Capacity: 45,000

Completed: June 2001

RWC Match schedule:

Monday 23 September19:15(JST)Wales v Georgia
Saturday 28 September18:45(JST)South Africa v Namibia
Saturday 05 October19:30(JST)Japan v Samoa
Saturday 12 October13:45(JST)New Zealand v Italy

HANAZONO RUGBY STADIUM

The Hanazono Rugby Stadium or the “Higashiosaka City Hanazono Rugby Stadium” in Higashiosaka is the oldest dedicated rugby union stadium in Japan. It is next to Hanazono Central Park). Owned by city of Higashiosaka, it opened in 1929 and has a capacity of 26,544. 

It is the stage for the annual National High School Rugby Tournament held every year at the end of December and has hosted important international, Top League games.

Hanazono is the home of the Kintetsu Liners rugby union team.

Tne stadium underwent a large scale renovation during 2017-18 to increase facilities in preparation for the Rugby World Cup. 

On 26 October 2018, Hanazono hosted an international fixture between Japan national rugby union team and World XV in celebration of the completion. 

Address: 1-1-1 Matsubaraminami, Higashiosaka, Osaka Prefecture 578-0923

Capacity: 24,000

Completed: 1929

RWC Match schedule:

Sunday 22 September14:15(JST)Italy v Namibia
Saturday 28 September13:45(JST)Argentina v Tonga
Thursday 03 October14:15(JST)Georgia v Fiji
Sunday 13 October14:45(JST)USA v Tonga

KOBE MISAKI STADIUM

The Kobe City Misaki Park Stadium, also known as The Noevir Stadium Kobe, is a football stadium in Misaki Park, Hyogo-ku, Kobe, Japan. The stadium has a capacity of 30,132. This stadium, which features a retractable roof, is the home ground of J1 League club Vissel Kobe and the rugby union Top League team Kobelco Steelers.

In 1970, the stadium was opened at the site of the Kobe Keirin Track. It was the first football stadium in Japan to be able to host games at night following the installation of night lighting.

in order to host the 2002 FIFA World Cup, the stadium was renovated to install a removable roof and increase spectator capacity. 

It was opened under the name Kobe Wing Stadium in November 2001 with a capacity of 42,000.

Address: 1-2-2 Misaki-cho, Hyogo-ku, Kobe 652-0855

Capacity: 30,132

Completed: 2001

RWC Match schedule:

Thursday 26 September19:45(JST)England v USA
Monday 30 September19:15(JST)Scotland v Samoa
Thursday 03 October19:15(JST)Ireland v Russia
Tuesday 08 October19:15(JST)South Africa v Canada

 

FUKUOKA HAKATANOMORI STADIUM

Also known as Level5 Stadium(formerly Hakatanomori Football Stadium, located in the Hakata ward of Fukuoka city is the home ground of Avispa Fukuoka football club.

The stadium also hosts rugby union matches, including a few international matches, Top League games, Top League Challenge series and Top Kyushu league games. It was also host to four games (two match days) in the IRB Junior World Championship 2009, including the 7th place play-off and 5th place play-off on July 21, 2009.

The stadium’s seating capacity is 22,563. It is located in Higashi Hirao Koen (park), 15–20 minutes walk or a short bus ride from Fukuoka Airport.

Address: 2-1-1 Higashihirao Koen, Hakata-ku Fukuoka, 816-0052

Capacity: 21,562

Completed: 1995

RWC Match schedule:

Thursday 26 September16:45(JST)Italy v Canada
Wednesday 02 October16:45(JST)France v USA
Saturday 12 October19:45(JST)Ireland v Samoa

KUMAMOTO STADIUM

Also known as Egao Kenko Stadium, Kumamoto Stadium is a multi-purpose stadium in Higashi-ku, Kumamoto, Japan. It is currently used mostly for football (Roasso Kumamoto) matches and sometimes for Top League rugby games. The stadium holds 32,000 people.

Address: 2776 Hirayamamachi, Higashi Ward, Kumamoto, Kumamoto Prefecture 861-8012

Capacity: 30,228

Completed: August 1998

RWC Match schedule:

Sunday 06 October16:45(JST)France v Tonga
Sunday 13 October17:15(JST)Wales v Uruguay

OITA STADIUM

Also known as the Showa Denko Dome Oita this is a multi-purpose stadium in the city of Ōita in Ōita Prefecture on Kyushu Island in Japan.

It is primarily used for football, and is the home field of J. League club Oita Trinita. It was designed by the famous architect Kisho Kurokawa, and built by KT Group, Takenaka Corporation.

Ōita Stadium has a retractable dome roof with roof system driven by a wire traction system.

Address: 1351 Yokoo, Oita, Oita Prefecture 870-0126

Capacity: 40,000

Completed: March 2001

RWC Match schedule:

Wednesday 02 October19:15(JST)New Zealand v Canada
Saturday 05 October14:15(JST)Australia v Uruguay
Wednesday 09 October18:45(JST)Wales v Fiji
Saturday 19 October16:15(JST)QF1: W Pool C v RU Pool D
Sunday 20 October16:15(JST)QF3: W Pool D v RU Pool C