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Rugby World Cup 2019 Kyushu Guide - Stadiums, Things To Do, And Food
Three of the venues of the Rugby World Cup 2019 are located on the island of Kyushu, in Fukuoka, Oita, and Kumamoto. We introduce the stadiums with access information, nearby sightseeing, and dining places.
Rugby World Cup 2019 Venues in Fukuoka, Oita, and Kumamoto
The Rugby World Cup 2019 will be held from September 20 to November 2 in Japan. Out of the twelve venues, three are located in Kyushu, southwestern Japan, in the cities of Fukuoka, Oita, and Kumamoto.
For those who wish to enjoy the games and make the most out of their travel in Kyushu, we introduce here the stadiums with nearby sightseeing spots and places the local cuisine that Kyushu is famous for.
As an additional travel tip, the most convenient transportation means in Kyushu is the highway and local bus network. Consider using the 3-day SUNQ Pass for Northern Kyushu which allows unlimited bus rides in Kyushu for the reasonable price of 9,000 yen.
1. Fukuoka Hakatanomori Stadium, Fukuoka
Picture courtesy of pixta
Fukuoka Hakatanomori Stadium, also known as Level 5 Stadium, is located in the Higashihirao Park of Fukuoka and has a capacity of 21,562 seats.
The stadium is located right near Fukuoka Airport. It can be accessed in about 23 minutes by foot from Fukuokakuko Station, the train station of Fukuoka Airport.
Access from Tokyo and Osaka
The fastest way to travel from Tokyo to Fukuoka is by plane, using a domestic airline from Haneda Airport or Narita Airport.
Japan Railpass holders can consider traveling by Shinkansen to Hakata Station in central Fukuoka using the Tokaido Shinkansen Line. The ride takes about five hours in total.
The Shinkansen is also very convenient to travel from Osaka (Shin-Osaka Station) to Hakata Station in Fukuoka. The ride takes about two hours and 20 minutes.
From Hakata Station, take the Kuko Line (Airport Line) to Fukuokakuko Station. The ride takes 10 minutes. From here, the stadium can be reached by bus (board at the Fukuoka Airport-mae bus stop) in 4 minutes or by foot in about 23 minutes.
Fukuoka Hakatanomori Stadium
Address: Fukuoka, Hakata ward, Higashihirao Koen 2-1-1 Google Map
Famous Places to Visit in Fukuoka
Picture courtesy of pixta
Fukuoka is one of the largest cities in Japan, with a vibrant culture that has a contemporary, cutting-edge side, and a historical one. The city developed around Hakata, one of the first Japanese ports and the historical gateway to Tang dynasty China and the Korean Peninsula.
For those seeking the dynamic side of Fukuoka, we suggest a visit to the Fukuoka Tower, whose observatory allows a great view of the city. Canal City Hakata is an area with cafes, fashion stores, local souvenir shops, and theaters, where visitors can experience the urban vibes of the city.
Picture courtesy of Daizafu Tenmangu Shrine
The symbol of Fukuoka is, however, Dazaifu Tenmangu, a shrine with a history going back to the Heian period (794-1185). This shrine is dedicated to the guardian deity of scholars, Tenjin. This makes it the favorite shrine of students and academics, especially during the exam periods.
Kushida Shrine, the venue of the famous Hakata Gion Yamakasa Festival, and Munakata Shrine, which enshrines the guardian deity of travelers, are also popular destinations in the city.
Atago Shrine, which is located on a hill in the city, happens to be one of the oldest shrines in Fukuoka, being established in the first century AD. It also offers a wonderful view of the city.
For more information on great places to visit in Fukuoka. please refer to the article below.
Dining in Fukuoka
Fukuoka is renowned for its delicious local cuisine, especially for Hakata ramen, motsunabe hot pot (made with offal and vegetables), and mizutaki hot pot (made with chicken and vegetables).
1. Shin Shin - Taste the Famous Hakata Ramen
Picture courtesy of Fukuoka City
Hakata ramen is Fukuoka's iconic local cuisine. It is a ramen dish with cloudy, flavorful pork soup and thin noodles with a firm texture.
You can find Hakata ramen shops anywhere in Fukuoka but we especially recommend the Shin Shin chain, which is very appreciated by the locals.
2. The Yatai Food Stalls along the River
Picture courtesy of Fukuoka City
If you wish to enjoy local dishes and interact with the locals, how about dropping in some of the yatai food stalls along Nakagawa River? These food stalls open in the evening and are mainly frequented by local salarymen.
The food is made on the spot, right in front of you, and the owner takes care that all the customers enjoy themselves. These food stalls are the ideal place to enjoy local hospitality.
Nakagawa River Food Stalls (Yatai)
Address: Fukuoka, Hakata, Nakasu 1-8 Nakagawa-dori (along the Nakagawa river) Google Map
3. Iroha Hakata store - Taste Flavorful Chicken Mizutaki
Iroha is a well-established sukiyaki and mizutaki restaurant in central Fukuoka. They offer a wide array of dishes that accommodate the tastes of any customer. Their menu is available in English and is illustrated with photos that make it easy to place an order.
Iroha - Hakata store
Address: Fukuoka, Hakata, Kamikawabata-machi 14-27 Iroha Building
2. Kumamoto Stadium, Kumamoto
Picture courtesy of pixta
Kumamoto Stadium, located in the Kumamoto Athletic Park, will be hosting two matches of the Rugby World Cup 2019. With a capacity of more than 30,000 seats, it is one of the largest venues in Kyushu.
Access from Tokyo and Osaka
Kumamoto City is served by the Aso Kumamoto Airport, which connects it to all the major cities in Japan. A flight from Tokyo takes about one hour and a half.
Kumamoto Stadium can be reached from Aso Kumamoto Airport in about 10 minutes by taxi.
A Shinkansen line connects JR Kumamoto Station to JR Hakata Station in Fukuoka. This means that coming from Tokyo or Osaka by Shinkansen is also possible. JR Pass users might want to consider this route.
From Kumamoto Station, take a train toward JR Hikarinomori Station, which can be reached in about 25 minutes. From here, it's a 7 minute taxi ride or a 35 minute walk to the Kumamoto Athletic Park.
If you come by highway bus to the Kumamoto Bus Terminal, take a local bus to Park Kumamoto Dome Mae (the ride takes 48 minutes). The Kumamoto Athletic Park can be reached in 2 minutes by foot from the bus stop.
Famous Places to Visit in Kumamoto
Nabegataki Falls. Picture from The Wonderful View at Nabegataki Falls in Oguni, Kumamoto
Kumamoto is home to one of the prominent active volcanoes in Japan, Mt. Aso (1,592 m), located in the south of Aso City.
The activity of the volcano has various consequences for the natural habitat and local culture. For instance, it is thanks to the volcano that the area has many hot springs such as the famous Kurokawa Onsen or Tsuetate Onsen.
Mt. Aso is located in the Aso Caldera, which is part of the Aso-Kuju National Park. It is an area with wide grasslands and marshes that are the home of an impressive variety of plants, animals, and insects. Many are rare, protected species.
For a view over the caldera, we suggest climbing Daikanbo, one of the peaks surrounding the Aso Caldera to the north.
The town of Oguni, north of Aso City, is where the beautiful Nabegataki Falls is located. This waterfall can actually be viewed also from the cave behind it!
Kumamoto is the home of one of the most popular Japanese mascots, Kumamon. You ca meet Kumamon at KUMAMON Square in Kumamoto City. This facility is the ideal place to find local souvenirs, from crafts to delicious local snacks.
For more on traveling in Kumamoto, please refer to the article below.
Dining in Kumamoto
The local food is what many travelers love about Kumamoto most! Most probably everything you taste here will be extremely delicious, but if you're looking for the local specialties, try out the tonkotsu ramen (pork broth ramen) and basashi (thin slices of horse meat).
1. Kokutei - Try Some of the Best Tonkotsu Ramen
Kokutei is located right near Kumamoto Station and offers an impressive array of ramen dishes. You'll be spoiled for choice!
We suggest going for a bowl of Ramen if you wish to taste their original take on local ramen. The soup is cloudy and rich, and the noodles are topped with generous slices of pork, green onions, and jelly ear mushroom. If you wish something more sophisticated, go for the Tamagoiri Ramen, which has an egg topping that adds to the richness of the flavor.
2. Umasakura - For Quality Basashi and Japanese Course Meals
Umasakura, located in central Kumamoto City, is the place to go for delicious basashi (raw horse meat slices). The way they serve this dish in Kumamoto makes it taste incredibly good even if you've never had horse meat before.
The facility offers a wide variety of Japanese and western dishes, including hot pot, fried meat dishes, and sophisticated course meals. They are all made with locally grown ingredients.
Umasakura - Kumamoto Shimodori store
Address: Kumamoto, Kumamoto City, Chuo ward, Shimodori 1-12-1 Koen Building 2F Google Map
Website: https://www.umasakura.com/shimotori/ (Japanese, automatic English translation available)
3. Hanashinobu - Reasonably Priced Family Restaurant near Kumamoto Stadium
Hanashinobu is a quiet, refined restaurant located within Hinokuni Heights, a hotel near Kumamoto Athletic Park. Guests who prefer to enjoy their meal in a relaxed atmosphere with a great view of a Japanese garden will love this restaurant. It is also ideal for dining with one's family.
The menu includes Japanese course meals, which allow you to taste a wide variety of local flavors.
3. Oita Stadium (Oita Dome), Oita
Oita Dome (Oita Bank Dome or Showa Denko Dome Oita), is a multi-purpose stadium located in Oita City and has a capacity of 40,000 seats. It hosts major sporting events and it's particularly famous for its retractable transparent roof, which makes possible for events to be held here even when the weather is inclement.
During the Rugby World Cup 2019, Oita Dome will host five matches, including two of the quarter finals. The venue can be easily accessed by shuttle bus from Oita Station.
How to Get to Oita from Tokyo
Oita is served by Oita Airport, therefore the fastest way to travel to Oita from Tokyo is by airplane from Haneda Airport or Narita Airport. We suggest air travel also if you're coming from Osaka, Kyoto or another city in western Japan.
From Fukuoka or Kumamoto, Oita can be accessed in about two hours by highway bus. For bus travel in Kyushu, consider using the SUNQ Pass, a reasonably priced 3-day ticket.
From Oita Airport, you can access Oita city center, Oita Station, and Oita Dome by bus.
JR Pass users might prefer traveling by train. A limited express train connects Fukuoka's Hakata Station to Oita Station. The ride takes about two hours. Traveling by regular express trains is also possible, though you'll need to change trains mid-way in Kitakyushu. The ride takes about two hours and 40 minutes.
Address: Oita, Oita City, Yokoo 1351 Google Map
Official website: http://www.oita-sportspark.jp/english/facility.php
Famous Places to Visit in Oita
Beppu's Umijigoku, the Sea Hell
If you're traveling to Oita, we recommend spending at least one night in Beppu Onsen, which can be accessed in about 27 minutes by train or 24 minutes by car from Oita Station. Beppu boasts the largest quantity of hot spring water in Japan and there are countless inns and hotels in the city offering hot spring baths.
The city also offers amazing views such as the Jigoku Hell onsen - hot springs with particular qualities that make them inappropriate for bathing but are beautiful to look at. Go on a tour of the stunning Hell hot springs using the information provided by the local Beppu Jigoku Association.
A ride on the Beppu Ropeway is a great chance to enjoy wonderful views of Beppu Bay and the mountain range around Oita from the summit of Mt. Tsurumi.
Another great place to visit in Oita is Usa Jingu Shrine, which enshrines Hachiman, the god of battle and competitions.
Usa Jingu is located in Usa City, and can be reached in about 10 minutes by taxi from Usa Station. A limousine bus headed for Bungo Takada from Oita Airport can take you directly to Usa Jingu in about one hour.
This shrine boasts a history that goes back to the beginnings of Japan as a state, in the eighth century. It has been one of the most influential shrines in Japanese history, combining indigenous Shinto beliefs and worship with Buddhist teachings brought from Tang dynasty China. This duality can be noticed in every detail of the impressive architecture of the shrine.
Mamedamachi in Hita
Hita, a city located mid-way between Oita and Fukuoka, is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Oita. The city is famous for Mamedamachi, an area with traditional houses and local business that have here thrived since the late Edo period (1603-1868). The cozy cafes and restaurants here are the best places to taste local specialties.
Located in an area with rich water sources, Hita offers amazing views by the river, hot springs, and waterfalls. The surroundings peaks are easy to hike and provide a great chance to spend time in the heart of nature. It's well worth spending at least one day in Hita enjoying what this nature-rich city has to offer.
Dining in Oita
Toriten (chicken tempura), karaage (fried chicken), and Bungo Wagyu beef are just some of the local specialties that anyone visiting Oita should try.
1. Torimeijin Umaya no Sui - Excellent Chicken Tempura near Oita Station
Almost every dining place in Oita has toriten, the local favorite, on their menu. A great place to try it is Torimeijin Umaya no Sui, which is located right in front of Oita Station (one minute walk), on the fourth floor of Amuse Plaza Oita.
The store offers various other dishes made with chicken and tasty local vegetables, including fried chicken, hot pot, or rice bowls with delicious toppings (donburi).
Torimeijin Umaya no Sui
Address: Oita, Oita City, Kanamemachi 1-14 Amuse Plaza Oita 4F
Website: https://torimeijinumayanosui.gorp.jp/ (Japanese)
2. Ohara Chaya - Exquisite Local Cuisine in Hita
There are many excellent places to dine at in Hita City but if you wish to taste the best of local food in a Japanese space with a great view of a beautiful bamboo grove, we recommend Ohara Chaya.
Their iconic menu is the Hanatebo Bento, a complete lunch packed in a bamboo basket. It contains vegetable and chicken tempura, Bungo beef, pickles, and other small side dishes. The ambiance of this restaurant that overlooks a bamboo grove will make you want to relax here for at least two hours.
3. WAKURA - A Refined Grill Restaurant in Hita
For those who wish to enjoy Bungo beef at its best, a great choice is WAKURA a teppanyaki (hot plate grill) restaurant in Hita City, located right by Mikuma River. Their dinner course includes Bungo beef, fish, and tasty vegetables that are grilled right in front of the customers by skilled chefs.
WAKURA has a refined atmosphere and occupies what once was a storehouse for the cedar logs carried on boats along the Mikuma River during the time when forestry was thriving in Hita.
Enjoy the Games in Kyushu!
We hope you enjoy the matches during the Rugby World Cup 2019 and that you have a great time in the places that you get to visit during this exciting event.
If you go to watch the games in Fukuoka, Kumamoto or Oita, you'll surely make some of the best memories of your Japan trip. Kyushu boasts a fascinating natural environment, a rich culture with ancient roots, and really exquisite food that you shouldn't miss.
Rugby World Cup 2019 Official Website: https://www.rugbyworldcup.com/venues
This is the official account of MATCHA's English editorial team. We are bringing you the latest travel information on Japan.Our beautiful cover photo features the fall foliage at Lake Kinrin in Yufuin (photo by Pixta). We hope you'll have a wonderful time exploring Japan.