This page originally appeared on my Rugby Guide Japan website, providing information for rugby fans attending 2019 Rugby World Cup matches in Japan. It may still be useful for future visitors, so I’ve moved it here after taking the rugby site down; Rugby Guide Japan is archived here if you want to check it out.
A dedicated rugby venue in Saitama Prefecture on the northern edge of the Tokyo conurbation, Kumagaya Rugby Stadium has a capacity of 24000 (following upgrades made for the World Cup) and is hosting 3 pool stage matches featuring mostly lower-ranked teams.
It’s a nice little stadium in an expansive park and recreation area, though it’s a little far from Kumagaya Station. Public buses go from in front of Kumagaya Station (bus stop 3 outside the north exit) to Kumagaya Sports Park, taking 10 minutes for a fare of 210 yen; for the RWC free shuttle buses will run to the stadium from the fan zone near the station – see here for full access details.
If you fancy walking it you’re looking at a 50-minute walk through the quiet streets of semi-rural suburban Japan; the route isn’t obvious though, so only do this if you have mobile internet access!
September 24 Russia vs Samoa
September 29 Georgia vs Uruguay
October 9 Argentina vs USA
Where to Stay for the Rugby in Kumagaya
For matches at Kumagaya Rugby Stadium I’d actually recommend staying somewhere in central Tokyo, especially if you have the JR Pass and can jump on the bullet train to Kumagaya. All things considered, Shinjuku’s probably the best call, though if you’re heading to Kumagaya it might be better to stay near Tokyo Station or Ueno for easy shinkansen access. You can also consider Shibuya, Roppongi, Ikebukuro, Shinagawa, or pretty much anywhere around & within the Yamanote loop line. Asakusa’s also good for more of an old town atmosphere. To search accommodation in Tokyo see here
If you’d prefer to stay in Kumagaya itself, search here
Airbnb is also a great option in Japan, in fact in Japan it seems to work particularly well – most hosts arrange self-checkin & checkout systems, allowing you to arrive & leave flexibly without needing to meet someone for the keys (the key’s often left in a lockbox for you). The wifi is always super-fast, and I’ve never had an Airbnb nightmare in Japan (have had a few elsewhere). There was a crackdown in 2018 with the introduction of new regulations which led to a collapse in the number of listings available and accordingly a jump in prices, with a lot of travellers reporting that their reservations were suddenly cancelled as a result. It was all a bit of a mess at first, but you can be confident that any listings remaining on there at this point are legit. Prices went up unfortunately, but then so did standards, and Airbnb is still my usual go to for accommodation in Japan.
New users can get a $35 discount from their first Airbnb rental through Rugby Guide Japan, simply click here and sign up.
How to Get to Kumagaya
Kumagaya Station is on the shinkansen line, taking 40 minutes from Tokyo Station. Not every train stops at Kumagaya so make sure to check on Hyperdia (see here for an explanation on how to use it) or ask the staff. You can also board the shinkansen at Ueno if you’re staying somewhere in the Asakusa/Ueno area.
If you’re staying on the west side of Tokyo e.g. Ikebukuro, Shinjuku, Shibuya, it actually works out faster to avoid Tokyo Station and take the JR Shonan-Shinjuku Line straight to Kumagaya, or the Saikyo Line rapid service to Omiya from where you can hop on the shinkansen one stop to Kumagaya. If you’re not using the JR Pass and want to stick to non-bullet trains, the Shonan-Shinjuku Line (from Shinjuku etc) or the Takasaki Line (from Tokyo Station) are the easiest as you don’t have to transfer. Again, use Hyperdia to check the best route from your starting point.
For more on navigating the Greater Tokyo region see here
Things to Do in Kumagaya
Well to be honest there isn’t an awful lot in the town itself. If you’re staying in Tokyo, see here
Any questions about watching the rugby in Kumagaya? Give me a shout below and I’ll get back to you.
Useful Links for the Rugby in Kumagaya
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