Destinations Around the World for Every Rugby Lover to Try
Recent research from Booking.com, the digital travel leader connecting travelers with the widest choice of unique places to stay, a range of must-do travel experiences and seamless transport options, reveals that almost a quarter 24% of global travelers book trips to coincide with a sporting event or experience. The world-famous, international rugby tournament hosting 20 nations across 12 venues in Japan taking place this year from 20 September until 2 November will be no exception.
Rugby fans lucky enough to have already secured a seat at one of the matches can take advantage of the below guide to some of the host cities in Japan. For rugby enthusiasts unable to travel to Japan this fall, but still want to tackle a rugby atmosphere, Booking.com also compiled a list of some winning destinations around the world that are highly endorsed for rugby by Booking.com travelers.
Chofu City, Tokyo
Located in Chofu City, the Ajinomoto Stadium will be drawing crowds this fall as it will be hosting both the opening ceremony and the opening match of this exciting international tournament. Immerse yourself in the energy of the crowd at the stadium or drop into a sports bar in Shibuya and hang out with fellow rugby lovers to watch the matches.
Where to stay: Situated in central Tokyo, the Keio Plaza Hotel holds a prime position in the Shinjuku cityscape. It’s also well-connected, ensuring rugby fans can easily travel to the stadium via the Keio Line. After working up an appetite whilst cheering at the match, guests can sample a range of cuisine such as Japanese, French, Italian, Chinese and Korean at the onsite restaurant.
Fukuoka City, Fukuoka
A favorite of Japanese and overseas tourists alike, Fukuoka is Kyushu's largest city, celebrated for its abundance of places to eat. As well as taking in one of the three matches taking place at the Fukuoka Hakatanomori Stadium, Rugby-goers should try local delicacies such as chicken stews, chicken gullet hotpot, pork-broth ramen or Amao strawberries.
Where to stay: The Lively Hakata Fukuoka hotel provides an ideal location in Fukuoka City and oozes sleek décor. Located in the central Nakasu District, transport to and from the stadium is very accessible, as it’s only one train stop away.
Kumamoto City, Kumamoto
Kumamoto is home to Kumamoto Castle, one of the most famous castles in Japan, Suizenji Garden, a traditional Japanese garden, and the Hosokawa Mansion, the historic home of a feudal lord. It’s also home to the Kumamoto Stadium which will see two rugby matches in October. Known as the land of fire, Kumamoto also boasts several hot springs, meaning guests can enjoy a varied trip with visiting both the historical buildings and soaking in a hot spring to relax before the excitement of the match.
Where to stay: Located in the city center, the Hotel Nikko Kumamoto offers rooms with a view of Kumamoto Castle. Only a one-minute walk to well-connected Torichosuji Station, the accommodation is ideally placed for travelers looking to explore. From the hotel, it takes one hour to the stadium by bus or 30 minutes by car.
Kamaishi City, Iwate
Once a powerhouse of the steel industry, Kamaishi City is home to the Nippon Steel Kamaishi rugby team and the Kamaishi Unosumai Memorial Stadium. Iwate is also home to many traditional arts passed down for generations and the annual Kamaishi Festival will also be held during October, during which visitors can experience the colorful Sansa Odori Dance.
Where to stay: Located in the shopping and restaurant district of Morioka City is the Daiwa Roynet Hotel Morioka. Kamaishi is not that big, so eagle-eyed visitors may be lucky enough to spot one of their sporting idols during their stay. The hotel is ideally located, as a direct bus service runs from Morioka City to the rugby stadium.
Yokohama City, Kanagawa
Situated in the Kanto Area, Yokohama City has a whole range of sightseeing spots including Minato Mirai, the famous red-brick warehouses, and Chinatown, with a history dating 160 years. Enjoy a stroll along the coastline before the match or take the train to nearby central Tokyo. Yokohama may come second to Tokyo when it comes to size, but this city is an exciting place for rugby enthusiasts, having been selected to host the tournament's final match.
Where to stay: Hare-Tabi Traveler's Inn Yokohama in the Kanagawa region is the perfect base for sports fans headed to Yokohama Stadium. It’s also near to the Yokohoma Marine Tower for sightseeing in between the matches.
Twickenham, United Kingdom
Rugby fans who are unable to get to the upcoming tournament in Japan will not be disappointed with a trip to Twickenham Stadium in South West London. Follow in the footsteps of your favorite rugby players and take a legendary tour of the stadium as well as visiting the World Rugby Museum. With an impressive capacity for 82,000 spectators and a history dating back over one hundred years, Twickenham Stadium is known as ‘the home of England Rugby’ and is the largest dedicated rugby union venue in the world.
Where to stay: My Twickenham Pad is ideally located just a stone’s throw away from Twickenham Stadium. Feel at home with a spacious living room, a fully equipped kitchen and private garden and terrace.
The quaint and medieval city of Limerick is home to Thomond Park, which has a capacity to host over 25,000 spectators. During the Rugby season fans can watch teams such as Munster Rugby, Shannon RFC and UL Bohemian RFC, with the Munster Experience Museum open year-round for visitors. After cheering for your rugby team, other popular sights and activities in Limerick include the Cliffs of Moher, King John’s Castle and The Milk Market
Where to stay: With contemporary architecture and modern furnishings, the AWA Retreat is positioned directly opposite the beautiful Waikato River and has a prime location just a little over one mile from the stadium action.
Hamilton, New Zealand
New Zealand’s national rugby team, commonly referred to as the All Blacks, are arguably the best team in the world when it comes to rugby, having won the last two global competitions. So, it’s little surprise that Booking.com travelers highly endorse Hamilton, New Zealand as being a top destination for rugby. Although the All Blacks don’t have a home grounds, the local stadium in Hamilton can fit more than 25,000 and is hosting the upcoming rugby matches, including the All Blacks vs Tonga on the 7th September 2019.
Where to stay: Stay in the heart of Limerick at the trendy The Bedford Townhouse & Café which is located just one mile from Thomond Park. This boutique property offers guests a rooftop garden, steam room, a daily wellness breakfast and gym, making it the perfect accommodation for wanna-be rugby players.