The Rugby World Cup in Japan will be contested in an outstanding collection of venues, largely consisting of (some of) the same football stadiums that were used for the 2002 FIFA World Cup, but also including a few dedicated rugby stadiums in towns which have particularly passionate rugby followings.
These dedicated rugby stadiums are more modest in stature than their football counterparts, but of course it’s only right that Japan’s rugby heartlands get their time in the spotlight. The Kumagaya and Hanazono (Higashi-Osaka) stadiums have undergone significant renovations to get them up to World Cup standards, while the stadium in Kamaishi is brand new. This latter case is particularly noteworthy – the town of Kamaishi was utterly devastated in the 2011 tsunami disaster, losing some 1250 souls (the population stands at around 34000 today) along with most of the local economy. The new stadium is called Kamaishi Recovery Memorial Stadium, and having the world come to Kamaishi to watch rugby means a lot for both this small town and the wider Tohoku region it’s a part of.
For details of each host city & stadium, click below:
Japan’s capital and its surrounding satellites collectively hold a quarter of the population, and these three stadiums are collectively holding 12 pool matches (including the opener) and the majority of the knockout matches:
The Kansai region is home to Japan’s second-largest conurbation centred on Osaka, with Osaka and Kobe collectively hosting 8 pool matches:
Japan’s westernmost and 3rd-largest island, Kyushu’s 3 venues between them will host 8 pool matches and 2 quarterfinals:
Two pool matches each for tiny Kamaishi (a northern rugby town still recovering from the 2011 tsunami) and Sapporo (the biggest Japanese city north of Tokyo):
Another 7 pool matches will take place in the central Chubu region (between Tokyo and Osaka):