2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan: Adventurer’s guide

Stunning view of Mt Fuji on our Backroads of Japan
Stunning view of Mt Fuji on our Backroads of Japan

Rugby fans get ready. It’s not long now before the Rugby World Cup (RWC) kicks off in Japan and if you’re planning to see the scrums live in action, you’ll want to add these Japan adventures to your itinerary.

With 48 games scheduled over six weeks (September 20 to November 2, 2019), the ninth RWC begins with the host country, Japan, taking on Russia at Tokyo Stadium (the full list of game fixtures can be found here).

The tournament will be held in 12 venues across the country, including Japan’s food haven capital, Tokyo; the mountainous city of Sapporo on the northern island of Hokkaido; the cultural metropolis of Osaka; and Kobe, home to third century Shinto Shrines and its world-famous marbled beef. It’s an opportune occasion to explore Japan’s rich and colourful past, from its must-see highlights to trails that take you away from the crowds.

Cycle the Noto Coastline and through the Japanese Alps

Starting in Kanazawa – renowned for its tea ceremonies, regional handicrafts, Noh theatres and Kaga cooking experiences – there are plenty of ways to get your cultural fix before pedalling your way to the popular Chirihama Beach driveway.

Our seven day Noto Coastline and Highlands Cycle will see you riding between rice fields towards the rugged coastline, passing small fishing villages, local shrines and fishermen at work along the way.

Cycling along the coast of Izo, Japan

Trip highlights:

See the world’s longest bench (460.9m long) at Masuhogaura Beach, visit the Wajima Morning Market and try your decorative skills on a set of lacquer chopsticks. You’ll have the opportunity to stay in traditional ryokans and one of Japan’s best hot spring resorts, with an overnight experience in a beautifully preserved gassho-zukuri house (meaning “constructed like hands in prayer”).

Sample the famous Hida beef in Takayama and learn about traditional salt works used 400 years ago, trying your hand at spraying seawater, which sounds easy but takes years to master. As you follow beautiful coastlines, where many of the paths are on quiet back roads, each day offers a change of scenery – from a coastal landscape to a mountainous backdrop. For those nervous about steep climbs or the long journey by bike, e-bikes are available on this adventure.

There’s also a selection of high quality hybrid bikes for a comfortable ride, or drop-bar road bikes.

Dates: 11 Sep – 20 Sep 2019
Duration: 10 days (7 days cycling) | Grading: Moderate (5)

Games you can catch post-trip: You can still catch the RWC opening ceremony in Tokyo on September 20 by catching a four-hour train from Gifu, which is where the tour ends. Alternatively, travel to Osaka (approximately 2.5 hours by train from Gifu), where matches will be held in Higashi-Osaka (Hanazono Rugby Stadium) from September 22, and if you plan to stay longer, head to nearby Kobe (Kobe Misaki Stadium) for the September 26 game

Noto Coastline Cycle (6 days)

Looking for a shorter cycling holiday? Our 6 day Noto Coastline Cycle is a shortened version of our Noto Coastline and Highland Cycle and includes all the best cycling, culinary highlights and colourful culture.

This trip finishes after a well deserved breakfast at the 1,200 year old luxury Wakura Onsen, one of Japan's best hot spring resorts.

Coastal riding in the Noto region
Dates: 11 Sep – 16 Sep 2019
Duration: 6 days (4 days cycling) | Grading: Moderate (5)

Games you can catch post-trip: You'll have plenty of time to catch the opening ceremony in Tokyo on September 20. Catch a five hour bullet train from Wakura Onsen Station to Tokyo and spend a few days exploring the vibrant hive of activity in the city before turning your attention to the rugby.

Popular Pool Games

Japan vs Russia - Tokyo - 20 September
Australia vs Fiji - Tokyo - 21 September
New Zealand vs South Africa - Yokohama - 21 September

Looking to travel to Japan a different time of year?

We have a number of exciting Japan trips running from May to September.
Take a look at our full list of Japan trips and dates here.

Resting the legs for a group photo in Hokkaido


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