Japan 2019: Your ultimate venue guide

12 September 2019 09:09

The bright neon lights of Dotonbori Canal in Osaka

The bright neon lights of Dotonbori Canal in Osaka

There are plenty of great places to visit in Japan. But if you're heading east to catch the rugby action, here are our recommendations for the twelve host cities.

Tokyo

A melting-pot of ancient and modern, the pulsing Japanese capital is the first port of call for many visitors – and it's easy to see why. Timeless temples stand among throbbing neon lights as the city serves up something for every – and we mean every – conceivable taste. And when it all gets too much, escape to Mount Fuji, looming serenely in the distance.
Matches hosted: Group stages, Quarter finals, Bronze medal match

Kobe

Struck by a powerful earthquake back in 1995, Kobe has rebuilt itself over recent decades into one of the country's most cosmopolitan destinations. An easy day-trip from Osaka and Kyoto, Kobe has plenty to keep you busy if you want to stay longer. Take a sunset cruise around the iconic harbour architecture or fill up on the local delicacy, marbled Kobe beef.
Matches hosted: Group stages

Fukuoka

From the buzz of its famous Yatai open-air food stalls to the tranquil beauty of its castle, Fukuoka has a decidedly unique vibe. The city's close proximity to mainland Asia has given Fukuoka a more multicultural feel than some of the other venues on this list, and it's definitely worth spending a few nights here if you're heading onwards to Busan and South Korea beyond...
Matches hosted: Group stages

Toyota

This industrial hub was called Koromo up until 1959, when local officials renamed it to reflect the importance of the city's largest employer, Toyota. The company has helped create a multicultural community as workers relocate from around the world – although for visitors, much of the attractions are, understandably, related to the motoring industry.
Matches hosted: Group stages

Oita

It may not be on the itinerary of many visitors, but Oita on the southern island of Kyushu is not to be missed if you enjoy the ancient Japanese tradition of hot springs, or onsen. Indeed, the streets of nearby Beppu are so smothered with steam that the city's been given the nickname ‘Las Vegas of onsen', although don't let that put you off if you're heading to the area.
Matches hosted: Group stages, Quarter finals

Sapporo

Although famous for skiing and its annual snow festival, the capital of northern island Hokkaido is a great place to head whatever the weather. The summer sees the city given over to beer and food festivals, while a youthful nightlife and plenty of hot springs in the nearby mountains mean Sapporo keeps visitors coming back for more.
Matches hosted: Group stages

Osaka

If you're looking for a good time Japan-style, head to Osaka, the riotous working-class city that's established itself as a must-visit location. With every neon corner turned, you'll find bright lights, darkened bars, blurry karaoke rooms and a whole host of fun lurking within the city's concrete jungle. Leave your inhibitions elsewhere and dive right in.
Matches hosted: Group stages

Kumamoto

On the western island of Kyushu, this charming coastal city radiates out from the impressive Kumamoto Castle, one of Japan's largest and most complete castles. The complex has been mostly restored following 2016's deadly earthquake, while the buzzing arcades to the east of the castle are still some of the best places to eat, drink and shop in the city.
Matches hosted: Group stages

Fukuroi

Venture to this particular stretch of the Pacific shoreline and you'll have stumbled upon the Japanese Riviera, the clutch of coastal cities stretching from Fuji to Nagoya. Fukuroi itself offers a quieter slice of Riviera life than its more boisterous neighbours Shizuoka and Hamamatsu, with a neighbourhood feel and the ever-impressive Hatta-san Temple, dating from 725 AD.
Matches hosted: Group stages

Kamaishi

Devastated by the 2011 tsunami, the small coastal city of Kamaishi has rebuilt itself in the face of tragedy, with the rugby stadium itself constructed on the grounds of two schools destroyed on that fateful day. Outside the city, there are plenty of mountainous hiking trails criss-crossing the vast Sanriku Fukko National Park, which stretches up the spectacular Honshu coastline.
Matches hosted: Group stages

Yokohama

Few tourists venture down Tokyo Bay to the industrial powerhouse of Yokohama – and that's their loss. As well as being home to one of the world's biggest Chinatown neighbourhoods, the city also offers a great alternative to the frenetic Tokyo, with plenty of contemporary art galleries, craft breweries and its illuminated waterfront.
Matches hosted: Group stages, Semi-finals, Final

Kumagaya

As the northern-most point of the sprawling Tokyo Metropolitan Area, Kumagaya retains a unique sense of feeling like a suburb and a provincial city at the same time. Popular with Tokyo residents during spring's cherry blossom season, Kumagaya is also the gateway for many of the hiking trails that lead up into the surrounding mountains to the north and west.
Matches hosted: Group stages

Don't forget your travel insurance!

Before you head across for your taste of the Orient, make sure you've got the right cover for you. At World First we offer Asia travel insurance that will give you peace of mind whether you're sipping sake or temple hopping.