Want to help ?
National Rugby Unions | Laws | Scoring | Player Numbering | Player Positions | * | *
Rugby School | Club History | Bloxham's Letter | Split of Union and League | Thomas Hughs | * | *
The Ball | Apparel | * | * | * | * | *
Olympics | Six Nations | Tri-nations | Rugby World Cup | Women's RWC | * | *
Rugby History Links | General Rugby Links | Club History Links | * | * | * | *
subglobal8 link | subglobal8 link | subglobal8 link | subglobal8 link | subglobal8 link | subglobal8 link | subglobal8 link

RWC 2019

Carl Mullen signs rugby ball for small boy

RWC 2019 Hosted by Japan

April 1st, 2016

  • A total of 12 venues will host matches 
  • Geographical spread across the length and breadth of the country
  • Tournament legacy plans designed to grow the game in Japan and throughout Asia
  • Excitement building ahead of first Rugby World Cup to be held in Asia 

The 12 cities that will host matches at Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan were revealed at simultaneous announcements in Dublin and Tokyo on Monday.

The venues are located across the length and breadth of Japan, giving the sports-loving population every opportunity to be a part of rugby’s showcase tournament. From Sapporo City in the northernmost main island of Hokkaido right down to Kumamoto City in the south, there is a genuine geographical spread of venues, meaning fans will be at the very heart of the event, and there is also a healthy mix of stadium capacities ranging from 80,000 in Tokyo to 15,000 at Kamaishi City in Iwate Prefecture.

The full list of venues is:

  • Sapporo Dome, Sapporo City
  • Kamaishi Recovery Memorial Stadium, Iwate Prefecture/Kamaishi City
  • Kumagaya Rugby Ground, Saitama Prefecture/Kumagaya City
  • New National Stadium Japan, Tokyo
  • International Stadium Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture/Yokohama City
  • Ogasayama Sports Park Ecopa Stadium, Shizuoka Prefecture
  • Toyota Stadium, Aichi Prefecture/Toyota City
  • Hanazono Rugby Stadium, Osaka Prefecture/Higashi Osaka City
  • Kobe City Misaki Park Stadium, Kobe City
  • Hakatanomori Football Stadium, Fukuoka City
  • Kumamoto Prefectural Athletic Stadium, Kumamoto Prefecture/Kumamoto City
  • Oita Stadium, Oita Prefecture

Speaking at a media conference in Dublin, Rugby World Cup Limited Chairman Bernard Lapasset 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.

Rugby World Cup Limited Managing Director Brett Gosper said: “Throughout the venue selection process we have been very impressed with the level of engagement by the cities and prefectures in Japan. They all have shown a remarkable level of commitment and enthusiasm to be a part of staging Rugby World Cup 2019. I would like to congratulate the successful cities but also thank each and every one of the applicants and also Japan Rugby 2019 who have led on this process.”

Japan Rugby 2019 Chief Executive Akira Shimazu 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. Of course, 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 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, the host cities will benefit from a significant economic boost, which for England 2015 is set to deliver a £2 billion injection into the economy.

While making the decision on which venues would be selected, a range of criteria were considered, including stadium quality, nearby training and other facilities, transport and the availability of local accommodation for teams, fans and media. It was also important to choose a diverse range of venues in terms of stadium capacity, geographical spread, rugby development and to ensure a world-class fan experience befitting a tournament of this scale and global importance.

The media announcement was beamed live to another press conference in Tokyo and a number of other celebrations will take place around the country to mark the successful bids to host matches.

Host cities

RWC 2019 Venues

Sapporo City
Venue – Sapporo Dome, capacity 41,410
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.

Iwate Prefecture and Kamaishi City
Venue – Kamaishi Recovery Memorial Stadium, capacity 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.

Saitama Prefecture and Kumagaya City
Venue – Kumagaya Rugby Ground, capacity 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.

Venue – New National Stadium Japan, capacity 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.

Kanagawa Prefecture and Yokohama City
Venue – International Stadium Yokohama, Capacity 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.  Embeddable Photo

Shizuoka Prefecture
Venue – Ogasayama Sports Park Ecopa Stadium, capacity 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.

Aichi Prefecture and Toyota City
Venue – Toyota Stadium, Capacity 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.

Osaka Prefecture and Higashi Osaka City
Venue – Hanazono Rugby Stadium, capacity 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 City
Venue – Kobe City Misaki Park Stadium, capacity 30,312
With mountains on one side and the sea on the other, Kobe is a favorite 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 City
Venue – Hakatanomori Football Stadium, capacity 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 Prefecture
Venue – Oita Stadium, capacity 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 Prefecture and Kumamoto City
Venue – Kumamoto Prefectural Athletic Stadium, capacity 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.



John Kirwan, Japan national coach

On how he feels knowing that Japan will host RWC 2019:

"That is really exciting, it is a small vote from the IRB, a giant leap for world rugby and the Game is really going global and that is really exciting for me as a rugby player, as a rugby coach and just as a rugby person in general."

On what the reaction will be in Japan to the decision:

"They will be excited, I think that the Japanese people are very, very loyal and committed and once they understand that the Japanese Rugby Football Union has got the World Cup they will get in behind it and we will see real growth and that will be fantastic."

On what the decision will  mean to rugby in Japan and Asia as a whole:

"We need to be a global game, I think there are two major decisions that need to be made this year to put this Game on the global map from a sporting point of view. One has been made today with the Game going to Asia, first time out of the top eight [nations], the top 10, to Japan and then the next decision which I think is important is the Olympics. I think the decision today is going to help the Olympic Committee realise that we are doing our best to open up this Game."

IRB Podcast
Courtesy of the IRB

Noboru Mashimo, JRFU Vice President/Chairman

On what the announcement means for rugby in Japan:

"We are honoured and privileged to be given this opportunity. This is the first time that Rugby World Cup will be played outside the traditional Unions and this is a historical meaning. We accept the historical importance of this event to be held in Japan and we will work hard to make it a success."

On what it will mean to the world of rugby:

"I think World Rugby needs a new venue and Japan is a new venue where also top class players come to Japan and find out a new area and new place to play Rugby which will lead to the growth of Rugby worldwide.

On what the next step is for the JRFU now:

"I would like to make sure that we have a more professional organisation so that we can stage international tournaments. We have a World Cup and we can stage top class international tournaments and matches in Japan so we have the ability to host the World Cup so that is our next step."

IRB Podcast
Courtesy of the IRB

2019 Rugby World Cup draw:


May 27, 2013 - Rugby World Cup 2019 tournament organisers Japan Rugby 2019 have today officially launched the process that will deliver the match venues that will be at the heart of a festival that will welcome and engage fans the length and breadth of Japan and around the world.

Since Japan was given the right to host RWC 2019 in 2009, the organisers have received strong responses from prefectures and cities wishing to be at the heart of one of the world’s largest sports events.

The process for venue selection was outlined as follows:

    • May 27, 2013 - Launch process and distribute expression of interest pack to interested local governments.
    • June-July 2013 - Distribute RWC City and Venue Guide to cities and venues who express interest in hosting RWC 2019 matches.
    • August 2013 - Workshop with local governments and venues on process and general hosting requirements.
    • October 2013 - Distribute full set of venue and city requirements.
    • November 2013 - Workshop with local governments and venues on detailed venue requirements.
    • December 2013-Sep 2014 – One-on-one meetings with individual local governments and venues.
    • October 2014 - Venue tender submissions.

Japan Rugby 2019 and Rugby World Cup Limited will work closely with interested venues throughout the process to ensure all parties fully understand the benefits and requirements of hosting RWC matches. Selected venues will have an opportunity to take part in the RWC 2015 observer programme in England to experience tournament operations and the hosting opportunities RWC provides.

Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe provided the introduction to the RWC 2019 match venue selection documentation stating: "I, as Prime Minister of Japan, support the successful Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan. It is important that all citizens of Japan will work together to make sure this prestigious international sport tournament is a great success as a national project over the coming six years.”

"I believe that the development of Rugby in Asia will be accelerated by having RWC 2019 in Japan. This will echo the vision of the International Rugby Board to make Rugby a truly global sport. Japan has a proud history of having successful international tournaments such as the FIFA 2002 Football World Cup and IAAF 2007 World Athletics Championship by receiving strong government support and I am sure that RWC 2019 will be a huge success with all of Japan coming together as one.”

Speaking at a packed media launch where the pillars of the tournament vision were also unveiled, JR 2019 President Fujio Mitarai said: "The launch of the venue selection process represents a landmark day for the tournament. It is the day when the tournament comes alive for the people of Japan.”

"Through this process, we are able to give Japan a platform to show its desire to play a significant part in hosting one of the world’s most prestigious major sports event and an opportunity to showcase our rich and diverse regions to a global audience of billions.”

"The final selection of venues will celebrate Japan, its innovation and heritage while providing the stage for the world’s best Rugby players to showcase a sport that has at its core the character-building values of integrity, solidarity, passion, respect and discipline.”

"We have been delighted by the interest in hosting matches that we have already received. Now we can focus on the exciting job of working with all stakeholders to deliver venues that will be great for Rugby World Cup and great for the image of Rugby in Japan and across Asia.”

Rugby World Cup Limited Chairman Bernard Lapasset said: "The fact that this is the earliest venue process launch in the history of Rugby World Cup speaks volumes about the intent to host an event that will deliver significant participation and profile benefits well in advance of the opening match kicking off. The Japan Rugby 2019 organising body should be applauded for its forward thinking.”

"This landmark announcement is a further boost in the delivery of the largest single sport event ever hosted in Japan and a breakthrough for Rugby World Cup in Asia, where Rugby participation has grown by 19 per cent in the past four years.”

"Rugby World Cup 2019 is on track to be a wonderful success, delivering a boost to the development of the Game in Asia and around the world and generating multiple trade, tourism and economic benefits for Japan.”

Director General for the Sports and Youth Bureau at the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) Kimito Kubo stated: "The RWC 2019 match venue selection process officially starts today. We look forward to seeing the development of the process with close communication between the local governments who wish to host the matches and JR 2019 as the tournament organiser. As the Japanese Government, we will continue our support to deliver the success of the tournament by forming a very solid scrum with all the ministries and government organisations involved.”

JR 2019 also outlined the details of a tournament vision that will excite and engage fans across Japan, Asia and the world.

The Japan 2019 vision is to deliver a tournament that is accessible to all people in Japan, a nationwide event that unites the country through sport, friendship and Rugby’s character-building values. It will also be an event that will provide the stage to develop Rugby in Japan, across Asia and around the world through successful commercial and impact programmes.

The pillars of JR 2019's tournament vision are:

    • We will welcome the world with ‘strong NIPPON’
    • We will make the tournament even more exciting
    • We will introduce the spirit of Rugby to all
    • We will contribute to Rugby’s continuing development in Asia

The announcement comes on the eve of Wales’ tour of Japan. It is the first time in 12 years that the current RBS 6 Nations champions and RWC 2011 semi-finalists have toured the country. JR 2019 and the Japan Rugby Football Union are determined to capitalise on the opportunity to promote the sport and its stars to a wider audience ahead of the final RWC 2015 qualifying push.

JRFU President Yoshiro Mori said: "We are excited about the two Tests against Wales and the platform it will give us to showcase the sport, its values and our hosting of Rugby World Cup 2019 to a wider audience. We have a young team that is building towards Rugby World Cup 2015 qualification and beyond and we are all focused on achieving Japan’s strongest and best ever performances at a Rugby World Cup on our home soil.”




Touch Judges


Carl Mullen signs rugby ball for small boyCredits |Contact Us | ©2007