Japan 2019 Guide for England Fans

England’s schedule bounces around the country a fair bit, and with only 4 days between the first two matches in Sapporo & Kobe you’ll need to fly down if attending both of those:

v Tonga 22nd September, Sapporo

v USA 26th September, Kobe

v Argentina 5th October, Tokyo

v France 12th October, Yokohama

QF 19/20 October, Oita

(click city names for venue guides)

It should be a lively opening weekend for the Tonga match in Sapporo, with Australia and Fiji also in town for their match the day before. You’ll then want to fly down to Kansai for the USA match. There are 3 airports you can fly to – Kansai International (KIX), Osaka Itami (ITM), and Kobe (UKB) – all of which have direct flights from Sapporo Chitose. If you’re staying in Kobe, obviously Kobe is most convenient, followed by Itami. If you’re staying in Osaka, Itami is best. KIX is quite a long way out to the south of Osaka, but has the most flights and if you stay in south Osaka (e.g. the Namba/Shinsaibashi area, see here) there’s an easy direct connection on the Nankai Line.

After that you’ve got 9 days to fill before the match in Tokyo, which is probably your best time to go touring around the country – if you get the 7-day JR Pass you could activate it a day or two after the USA match and use it to e.g. visit Hiroshima, Kyoto and Kanazawa, then arrive in Tokyo on day 7 of the pass. Or you could get a 14-day pass so you also get a week’s use out of it in Tokyo to make side trips like Nikko and Hakone (see here). A 21-day pass would also cover you for getting to the potential quarterfinal in Oita with visits en route to e.g. Fukuoka and Mt Aso, though most fans will probably just want to fly to Oita and back from Tokyo.

If you’re going to the match in Sapporo but not the Kobe match 4 days later, that changes things considerably. In that case you have 12 days to fill between the matches in Sapporo and Tokyo, so the obvious thing to do is get the 14-day JR Pass and use it to travel to Tokyo via Hakodate then the Tohoku region – see here for Tohoku highlights, and you could potentially stop off in Kamaishi. If you did this with a 21-day pass you could also use it to visit Kyoto after the Argentina match.

And if you’re not going to Sapporo, you can easily do the rest without a rail pass as the 1-way train ticket from Kobe (or Osaka or Kyoto) to Tokyo is less than a JR Pass and you can fly to Oita and back if England reach the quarters. However if you also want to visit e.g. Hiroshima then a 7-day JR Pass would be a good call – activate it after you’re done in Kobe/Osaka/Kyoto, head west to Hiroshima, then double back towards Tokyo perhaps with stops in e.g. Kyoto and Kanazawa.

Useful Links

Click the banner to pre-order your JR Pass and save 40 dollars:

JR pass banner

Check train times on Hyperdia (see here for an explanation on how to use it)

Search Agoda for hotels in Sapporo, in Kobe, in Tokyo, in Yokohama, in Oita

How to get online in Japan

Check out the Japan pages on my travel blog


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