Kumamoto City is one of the host cities of the Rugby World Cup 2019TM. Although we’re sure the stadium will be packed with excitement during the games, we’d also like to introduce you to Kumamoto’s fantastic gourmet scene; its beautiful outdoors featuring both majestic mountains and picturesque seas; the many hot springs dotting the countryside awaiting weary rugby fans; and much more!

Everything you need to know to enjoy Kumamoto to the MAX!

Discover great sightseeing and leisure spots in Kumamoto like Aso and Amakusa!

Info on FanZone events and delicious foods you’ll only find here!

Find out about excellent places to shop in downtown Kumamoto!


Rugby World Cup 2019™️ Check out the Fanzone!


See pages Rugby World Cup 2019™️ Fanzone in Kumamoto for all about the Fanzone!
It’s even open on non-match days!

Go here for even more info!!!

More Kumamoto Sightseeing Info

The Official Kumamoto Prefecture Tourism Guide

More info on the FanZone, getting to the stadium, and more!

Kumamoto Rugby Info

Info on what’s happening in Kumamoto (in Japanese)

Kumanichi Spice



A battle that will ignite the world is set to unfold in Kumamoto, the Land of Fire!

Rugby World Cup 2019™ will finally kick-off in Japan on September 20. It is a huge event where, over the course of the competition, a total of over 4 billion people worldwide will watch coverage on TV and 400,000 foreign tourists are expected to be drawn to Japan. The host country’s rugby squad has been steadily growing stronger, with a famous upset against powerhouse South Africa at the previous tournament. Once again, they will go toe-to-toe with global powerhouses and hope to at least reach the quarterfinals.

The two fixtures of France vs Tonga (Oct. 6) and Wales vs Uruguay (Oct. 13) will take place in Kumamoto, which is home to one of the RWC’s match venues. Here we will give you some basic info on rugby, introduce the four countries playing in Kumamoto, and tell you what to look out for to help you enjoy the matches that much more.

What kind of sport is rugby?

Having a basic knowledge of the rules and position names will make watching rugby a lot more fun!


Rugby Basics

What is rugby?

A match consists of two 40-minute halves. Fifteen players of each team scramble for an oval-shaped ball and aim for the opponent’s scoring area (in-goal area) while pressing forward by running with the ball, kicking the ball, or pushing back the opponents as a unit in something called a scrum. If you place the ball on the ground in the in-goal, you get 5 points, and points can be gained from kicks as well. Full-time is given at the end of the match, and each player will praise each other’s efforts regardless of whether they are a member of the opposing team.


Other ways to score points


A conversion is a free kick that a team is awarded after a try. A successful kick needs to pass between the upper posts and top bar on the goal. Doing so gains an additional 2 points.

Penalty kick

Awarded to a team when the opposing team causes an infringement. A successful kick needs to pass between the upper posts and top bar on the goal. Doing so gains an additional 3 points.

Drop goal

A drop goal needs be dropped out of the hand and bounced first before being kicked between the upper posts and top bar on the goal. Doing so gains an additional 3 points.

Rugby basic rules and main features

  • When passing the ball to a teammate, the ball must be passed backward from oneself.
  • It is a foul when a player drops the ball forward.
  • You can only tackle players who have the ball.
  • A player who falls down due to a tackle must release the ball.
  • If a minor foul occurs, the game will resume from a scrum.

Kumamoto Matches & Highlights at Kumamoto Prefectural Sports Park


[Match #1]10/6 Sunday FRANCE VS TONGA

Pool C Kick-off: 16:45

FRANCE World ranking: 8th


Last RWC: Final 8 (highest RWC finish: runner-up x3)
The 9th consecutive appearance at the RWC; a top European team having reached the final on 3 occasions. The last RWC (2015) ended in disappointment in the semi-finals, but under the direction of head coach Jacques Brunel, who has been in charge since 2017, France have reverted back to their classic aggressive approach known as “Champagne Rugby”, and they will try to bridge the gap at this tournament.

TONGA World ranking: 15th


Last RWC: Pool 4th place (highest RWC finish: pools)
Tonga, known as the “Ikale Tahi” (Sea Eagles), are characterized by a play style that pushes power to the forefront by weaponizing their strong physical nature. Whether they win or lose, Tonga deliver feisty games packed with fighting spirit that are guaranteed to get the spectators into a frenzy. Tonga have never qualified for the knock-out stages of the RWC and will aim to reach the last 8, a feat that has eluded them in the past.


Will we have a repeat of the 2011 RWC?!

These two countries also met in the 2011 tournament when Tonga defeated France to snatch a historic victory. Will Tonga be able to pull it off again? Or will powerhouse France show a difference in class?

[Match #2]10/13 Sunday WALES VS URUGUAY

Pool D Kick-off: 17:15

WALES World ranking :5th


Last RWC: Final 8 (highest RWC finish: 3rd)
Along with New Zealand, Wales is a country where rugby is a part of the culture. They are called “The Red Dragons” because a dragon is featured on their national flag. One of the key points of this tournament is whether or not Wales can deliver a long-awaited first RWC title by maintaining their momentum after winning this year’s Six Nations competition.

URUGUAY World ranking: 19th


Last RWC: Pool 5th place (highest RWC finish: pools)
Uruguay are the second strongest country after Argentina in South America, and are not to be underestimated having notched a win in just their first appearance in a RWC in 1999. Uruguay constantly deliver spirited, never-say-die performances. In recent years, more and more of their players are playing for overseas clubs, and at this tournament, Uruguay are aiming to break through the pools for the first time.


Can the Red Dragons capture their first RWC title?

Wales are currently ranked 5th in the world and are aiming to improve on their top finish of 3rd place by focusing on their passing game. To what extent can emerging South American outfit Uruguay dig in?

*Team rankings are current as of September 9th, 2019.



From Kumamoto Station

40-50 min by taxi

Liner bus also available(reservations required)
Liner fare: ¥2,000 round-trip

From Hikarinomori Station

10-15 min by taxi

Shuttle bus available from Kyushu Sanko Bus Hikarinomori Office
(10 min walk from station)


From Aso Kumamoto Airport

10-15 min by taxi
Shuttle bus (charged service) also available


From Downtown(Hanabata Square/Fanzone)

30-40 min by taxi

Liner bus also available(reservations required)
Liner fare: ¥2,000 round-trip

No visitor parking is available at the stadium on match days (Oct. 6 and Oct. 13). Please use the shuttle bus from the park & ride or any of the other boarding locations.


Liner Bus

[Inquiries]Rugby World Cup Desk, Japan Travel Kumamoto Branch


Using Park & Ride (advance booking required)

If you use your own car, you will need to take a shuttle bus from the temporary parking lot near the venue to get to the venue itself. Reservations are required to use the parking lot and shuttle bus service.

For those using public transportation

If you use public transportation, you can move from the station or the airport to the venue by shuttle bus.

Go here to check bus schedules, reservation information, and more!

Fukuoka/Oita Fixture Schedule


Thursday 9/26 Start 16:45
Italy vs Canada(Pool B)

Wednesday 10/2 Start 16:45
France vs America(Pool C)

Saturday 10/12 Start 19:45
Ireland vs Samoa(Pool A)


Fukuoka Hakatanomori Stadium


Wednesday 10/2 Start 19:15
New Zealand vs Canada(Pool B)

Saturday 10/5 Start 14:15
Australia vs Uruguay(Pool D)

Wednesday 10/9 Start 18:45
Wales vs Fiji(Pool D)

Saturday 10/19 Start 16:15
Quarterfinal Pool C #1 vs Pool D #2

Sunday 10/20 Start 16:15
Quarterfinal Pool D #1 vs Pool C #2


Oita Stadium

Rugby World Cup 2019™️ Fanzone in Kumamoto

■Location: Hanabata Square & Symbol Promenade(Symbol Promenade: 10/5-13)
■Dates:9/20 (Fri), 21 (Sat), 22 (Sun),28 (Sat), 29 (Sun),10/2 (Wed), 5 (Sat)-13 (Sun)


Kumamoto City is hosting two matches of the Rugby World Cup 2019™️: France v. Tonga (10/6) and Wales v. Uruguay (10/13). There are plenty of ways to have fun even if you aren’t at the stadium to watch. The Kumamoto Fanzone, located on Hanabata Square in downtown Kumamoto, features delicious food, public match viewings, stage performances, and more!


15 Days of Rugby, Food, and Music

The Kumamoto Fanzone will be open for 15 days between 9/20 and 10/13. The space is full of booths offering famous Kumamoto foods like Akaushi wagyu beef, Amakusa Daio chicken, karashi renkon, and Kumamoto ramen, and also features a huge screen that shows each and every RWC2019™️ match for an experience unlike anything you can get at home.

Events are scheduled for the stage, including traditional dance, comedy routines, and performances related to each of the countries playing in Kumamoto. Shuttle buses to Kumamoto Stadium also arrive and depart near the Fanzone.

Getting to the Fanzone

From City Hall

  • About a 10-minute walk

From JR Kumamoto Station

  • 15 mins on Tram A-Line (get off at Karashimacho ¥170)
  • 10 minutes by taxi

From Kumamoto Airport

  • 50 mins by limousine bus(get off Kumamoto Bus Center ¥730)
  • 40 minutes by taxi

Fanzone Match Schedule

DateTimeMain Public Viewing Matches
9/20 (Fri)17:00-22:00Japan vs Russia, etc.
9/21 (Sat)11:00-21:00New Zealand vs South Africa, etc.
9/22 (Sun)11:00-21:30Ireland vs Scotland, etc.
9/28 (Sat)11:00-21:00Japan vs Ireland, etc.
9/29 (Sun)11:00-20:00Australia vs Wales, etc.
10/2 (Wed)14:00-21:30France vs USA, etc.
10/5 (Sat)11:00-22:00Japan vs Samoa, etc.
10/6 (Sun)11:00-21:00France vs Tonga (in Kumamoto), etc.
10/7 (Mon)16:30-21:00No broadcast
10/8 (Tue)14:00-21:30South Africa vs Canada
10/9 (Wed)13:00-21:00Wales vs Fiji, etc.
10/10 (Thu)16:30-21:00No broadcast
10/11 (Fri)14:00-21:30Australia vs Georgia
10/12 (Sat)11:00-22:00England vs France, etc.
10/13 (Sun)11:00-22:00Wales vs Uruguay (in Kumamoto), etc.

Food & Drink(Food Booths)

Visit the food booths for local Kumamoto favorites and delicious dishes made with quality Kumamoto ingredients. Even when there isn’t a game on, the Fanzone is worth hanging out in just for the food.


All the Best Kumamoto Foods

Kumamoto is blessed with bountiful clear spring water and unspoiled nature, making it a true gourmet lover’s dream. The Fanzone features some of Kumamoto’s best eateries serving fantastic food and drink.


Some of Kumamoto’s most famous dishes, plus foods inspired by the four teams (France, Tonga, Wales, and Uruguay) playing in Kumamoto!

Fanzone Layout

Sakura Machi Kumamoto (Kumamoto Bus Center)

Symbol Promenade (Pedestrian Area) only open 10/5-13

The number of food booths increases even more after October 5th, giving you even more opportunities to experience Kumamoto’s wonderful food culture. Grab something to eat and drink and enjoy some world-class rugby on the big screen!

Actual food may differ from photographs

Stage Events

The schedule below is a selection of the on-stage events and is subject to change without notice due to weather, performer circumstances, etc.

Special stage events are planned for each day the Fanzone is open. Before and after matches are shown, top league rugby players and others will talk about rugby and provide pre- and post-match commentary.

Yoshiko Miyazaki
Yoshiko Miyazaki


Opening Ceremony @18:00
Concert performance by MICA @19:10

On the Big Screen

Opening Ceremony @18:30
Japan vs Russia @19:45


Japanese dance @11:30
Kumamoto Castle Omotenashi Samurai Group @12:15

On the Big Screen

Australia vs Fiji @13:45
France vs Argentina @16:15
New Zealand vs South Africa @18:45


Kumamoto Castle Omotenashi Samurai Group @12:15
Dance performance by Sugar Hill Dance Studio @13:00

On the Big Screen

Italy vs Namibia @14:15
Ireland vs Scotland @16:45
England vs Tonga @19:15


Kyushu Festival @11:30, 13:00
Kumamoto Castle Omotenashi Samurai Group @12:15
Yoshimoto Comedy Show @15:25
Visit from Team France (planned) @18:10

On the Big Screen

Argentina vs Tonga @13:45
Japan vs Ireland @16:15
South Africa vs Namibia @18:45


Kyushu Festival @11:30, 13:00
Kumamoto Castle Omotenashi Samurai Group @12:15
Concert performance by MICA @19:00

On the Big Screen

Georgia vs Uruguay @14:15
Australia vs Wales @16:45


Kumamoto Koto Performer Group @14:30
Concert performance by MICA @15:15

On the Big Screen

France vs USA @16:45
New Zealand vs Canada @19:15


Traditional performance by Shoko Tanaka @11:30
Kyushu Gakuin Cheer Dance @13:00
HKT48 performance @16:05

On the Big Screen

Australia vs Uruguay @14:15
England vs Argentina @17:00
Japan vs Samoa @19:30


Yosakoi performance @11:35
Traditional performance by Izumi Fujikawa @12:05
Concert by Leola @12:45
Talk show with Yoshiko Miyazaki @13:20

On the Big Screen

New Zealand vs Namibia @13:45
France vs Tonga @16:45


Jazz concert @18:00
Jazz concert @18:50
Jazz concert @19:40
Jazz concert @20:30

On the Big Screen



Ushibuka Haiya dance @16:00
Yamaga Lantern dance @16:45
Kumamoto Castle Omotenashi Samurai Group @17:30
Concert performance by MICA @18:10

On the Big Screen

South Africa vs Canada @19:15


Ushibuka Haiya dance @13:10

On the Big Screen

Argentina vs USA @13:45
Scotland vs Russia @16:15
Wales vs Fiji @18:45


Jazz concert @18:00
Jazz concert @18:50
Jazz concert @19:40
Jazz concert @20:30

On the Big Screen



Visit from Team Uruguay (planned) @15:15
Chihara Taiko performance @16:00
Kumamoto Castle Omotenashi Samurai Group @17:00
Concert performance by MICA @18:00

On the Big Screen

Australia vs Georgia @19:15


Kumamoto Castle Omotenashi Samurai Group @12:15
Uruguayan guitar concert @13:00
Hiroshi Takasaki concert @15:45
Special talk show @16:30

On the Big Screen

New Zealand vs Italy @13:45
England vs France @17:15
Ireland vs Samoa @19:45


Traditional performance by Shoko Tanaka @11:10
Aki Yashiro concert @14:15
Full-Time Party w/Omotenashi Samurai Group @21:40

On the Big Screen

Namibia vs Canada @12:15
USA vs Tonga @14:45
Wales vs Uruguay @17:15
Japan vs Scotland @19:45



Kumamoto Castle, the ever-popular symbol of Kumamoto to both residents and visitors alike, was greatly damaged in the earthquakes that occurred in 2016. Restoration work continues, with estimates suggesting that the entire restoration will take more than 20 years. In October this year, however, a special public viewing commemorating the restoration of the exterior of the main castle tower will begin, marking the start of a slow but steady return to glory for the stately castle.

The breathtaking Kumamoto Castle prior to the Kumamoto Earthquakes

One of the Three Great Castles of Japan

A military castle built by a master castle architect.

A long with Osaka Castle and Nagoya Castle, Kumamoto Castle is counted as one of “Japan’s Three Great Castles”. The core of the castle (honmaru) was built by Kato Kiyomasa in 1607. The castle covers 980,000 square meters with a circumference around 5,300 meters, making it one of the largest castles in the country.

Kato is considered a master castle builder, and his Kumamoto Castle originally boasted 49 turrets (yagura), 19 inner guard tower gates, 29 castle gates, and both a main and minor keep. The castle’s unique, curved stone walls called mushagaeshi were also excellent at repelling enemy forces. The castle features a variety of ingenious design considerations, like the digging of numerous wells throughout the castle grounds, to maximize the castle’s ability to withstand a siege.

At first, Kumamoto Castle was never the stage for battle during the Edo period (1603-1868). Shortly thereafter, however, in the Statsuma Rebellion of 1877, a rebel army from Satsuma of about 13,000 men led by Takamori Saigo attacked the castle for 50 days, and even though it was only manned by a mere 3,000 government troops, Kumamoto Castle stood strong, proving the quality and ingenuity of Kato Kiyomasa’s castle architecture.

Two Famous Lords of Kumamoto Castle

Kato Kiyomasa
Kato Kiyomasa, influential retainer to Toyotomi Hideyoshi and first lord of Higo Kumamoto Domain, first arrived here in 1588 and went on to build not only Kumamoto Castle, but left behind numerous other enduring accomplishments. In addition to flood control and mountain conservation work to restore land devastated by a protracted war, he also focused on expanding and improving rice farming, which led to prosperity for the domain. There is still a yearly festival to honor Kiyomasa in Kumamoto to this day.
Hosokawa Tadatoshi
Kiyomasa’s son was stripped of his lord status and, in 1632, Tadatoshi Hosokawa moved to Kumamoto and assumed the lordship. Tadatoshi’s grandfather and father were masters of the tea ceremony, and Tadatoshi too was well-versed in tea but also excelled in martial arts. Famed swordsman Miyamoto Musashi spent his later years in Kumamoto at the behest of Tadatoshi.

First Special Access Period

Up-close access to see what the keeps look like post-restoration


Kumamoto was hit by a series of quakes between April 14 and April 16, 2016, the strongest of which was magnitude 7.0. Kumamoto Castle was severely damaged as well, with complete or partial collapse of many buildings and stone walls. The restoration of the entire castle is expected to take more than 20 years, but the castle keeps are being restored first with the aim of being open to the public in the spring of 2021. Prior to that, the exterior of the main keep, which has already been restored, will be given a special public viewing from October 5 (Saturday). This is a great opportunity to see the main castle tower in all of its original glory.

■ Dates: Saturday 10/5, Sundays & Holidays

Will be open for viewing every day between 10/5 and 10/14
Will also be open on Saturdays during RWC & Women’s Handball Championship

■ Hours: 9:00-17:00

Open 13:00-17:00 on first day (10/5) and weekdays (10/7-11)

Post-Earthquake Kumamoto Castle


All 13 important cultural properties (buildings) in Kumamoto Castle were damaged in the earthquakes and about 10% of the stone walls collapsed.

October Schedule:

Special Access Route

The interior of the castle keep will not be open to the public.
Traffic congestion is expected around Kumamoto Castle due to the special public viewing.
When visiting, make sure that you have plenty of time and please use public transportation.

Click here for more information on Kumamoto Castle and the special public viewing.

Kumamoto Castle Trivia


Why is it nicknamed “The Gingko Castle”?

Kumamoto Castle is also known as Ginanjo, meaning “Gingko Castle”, and is called such due to the numerous gingko trees planted throughout the castle to provide nutritious gingko nuts in case of a siege. One especially large tree stands directly in front of the main keep.

What are mushagaeshi?

Mushagaeshi, meaning “warrior repellers”, are the deceptively designed stone walls of Kumamoto Castle that start out at a gentle slope but steadily grow steeper the higher you go, making invading samurai and ninja think the walls can be scaled only to discover halfway up that the only way off the wall is by going back down.

Sakuranobaba Johsaien

桜の馬場 城彩苑

Johsaien, located at the foot of Kumamoto Castle, is a collection of shops, restaurants, a tourist info desk, a castle museum, and so much more, offering visitors a look into the unique history, traditions, and culture of Kumamoto. Wakuwakuza Kumamoto Castle Museum features hands-on exhibits, stunning videos and more all about the castle and its history. You’ll also find 23 eateries and souvenir shops, offering all of Kumamoto’s finest food, drink, and souvenirs. Johsaien is the perfect place to stop before or after your visit to the castle.

Wakuwakuza Museum

Hours: 9:00-17:30 (last entry: 17:00)
Closed: 12/29-31
Admission: Adults ¥300, Kids ¥100
Pre-elementary school children are free.

Johsaien Shops

Hours: Shops: 9:00-19:00
Restaurants & Food Stalls: hours differ depending on season, restaurant, etc.

Open Year-Round
(Some dining facilities close in late afternoon to prepare for dinner)


Lying at the foot of Kumamoto Castle, Kumamoto City’s compact downtown area is centered around its long shopping arcades, off of which branch streets and alleys packed with tasty restaurants, lively bars, and unique shops. The next couple pages will tell you all you need to know to be a Kumamoto pro!

Downtown Stamp Rally


Collect Stamps to Make Your Own Postcard!

First, pick up a blank card at one of the Information Booths inside the shopping arcades. Then, head to one of the 5 stamp points within each of the A through C areas to get stamps to decorate your post- card. Once you’ve collected stamps from each of the 5 spots, you’ll have a complete postcard featuring Kumamon and the inter- national sports tournaments being held in Kumamoto in 2019!

Blank post cards will not be available at the information booth in Area C in front of Daikoku Drugstore.


Benches & Tea


Perfect for a Quick Breather When You’re Out on the Town!

Just a simple stroll down Kumamoto’s three arcades (Kamitori, Shimotori, Sunroad Shinshigai) equates to over a kilometer of walking, so the city has set up Japanese-style benches at three locations within the arcades. Tea will also be available on the dates shown below.

Bench Locations

A Area: in front of Chaiko (Kamitori)
B Area: in front of COCOSA (Shimotori) C Area: in front of Best Denki (Sunroad)
Bench locations are marked by the symbol on the Kumamoto City Downtown Map shown below.

A Area: Sat 10/12, B Area: Sun 10/13, C Area: Sat 10/5

Official Information Booths

Info on Sports and Events, in both Japanese and English!

Each of the 4 information booths set up downtown offers useful event information, directions, shop and restaurant informa- tion, and much more! Each booth also has English-speaking staff on duty, so don’t worry if your Japanese is still a little bit rough!

Booth Locations

A Area: In front of Korantei (Kamitori)
B Area: In front of Visio (Shimotori)
C Area 1: In front of Daikoku Drug (Shimotori) C Area 2: In front of 7-11 (Shinshigai)
Official Information Booths are marked by the symbol on the Kumamoto City
Downtown Map shown below.

Omotenashi Days

Stamp rallies, benches, information booths, and other special welcoming projects will be held on the dates below:

DATES 10/5 (Sat), 6 (Sun), 12 (Sat), 13 (Sun)

Show Passport or Ticket, Get Discount!


Flash Your Passport or Ticket and Save Money!

Show your passport or ticket for one of the international tournaments happening in Kumamoto at any one of the participating shops and restaurants in downtown Kumamoto and get discounts and other special freebies! A number of shops also offer duty-free items, so don’t forget to save there as well!

This pamphlet lists all the discounts and benefits available and can be found at various locations downtown.

Kumamoto City Downtown Map

Kumamoto City Downtown Map


【Rugby World Cup 2019 SPECIAL EDITION】WELCOME TO KUMAMOTO!(A AREA DOWNTOWN NORTH) 【[A AREA]DOWNTOWN NORTH】 INFO Area A centers around the Kamitori Arcade, a covered shopping area built in 1998 with windowed roofing inspired by the natu...


【Rugby World Cup 2019 SPECIAL EDITION】WELCOME TO KUMAMOTO!(B AREA DOWNTOWN CENTRAL) 【[B AREA]DOWNTOWN CENTRAL】 INFO Area B spans from the Torichosuji Tram Stop through Shimotori up to Ginza Dori. The roof of the arcade can actually open ...


【Rugby World Cup 2019 SPECIAL EDITION】WELCOME TO KUMAMOTO!(C AREA DOWNTOWN SOUTH) 【[C AREA]DOWNTOWN SOUTH】 INFO Area C covers the area south of Ginza Dori, which acts as the halfway point down the Shimotori Arcade. This area is home to...





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