How to Combine a Cycling Tour in Japan With the 2019 Rugby World Cup

By Andy Evans
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The 2019 Rugby World Cup takes place in venues across Japan, kicking off on 20 September and running until 2 November. If you were lucky enough to get tickets to one (or more) of the matches and you’re going to fly-half way around the world, why not get away from the scrum of Japan’s big cities and convert your trip into an extra-special adventure by seeing more of this amazing country on a cycling tour?

Okay, enough of the rugby puns... I lived in Japan for five years and can confidently say that there is no better way to get to the heart of this exciting nation than by bike, taking in ancient shrines, mighty volcanoes, and bamboo forests, then relaxing in traditional ‘onsen’ steam baths and sampling famous cuisine including sushi, saki and delicious craft beer.

Below are the tours that I think would work well if you’re travelling to Japan to watch matches at the world cup.

Hokkaido from Niseko

Cycling in view of the mighty Mount Yotei

If you’re watching either of the games in Sapporo, why not combine the match with a cycling tour that takes in much more of the wonderful island of Hokkaido. Based in one hotel in Niseko (a 3-hour train journey from Sapporo), with the stunning Mount Yotei as a backdrop, you have a choice of tour lengths and departure dates. There is a selection of six routes to choose from, with varying difficulties and gradients.

The island of Hokkaido is home to fascinating sites which you’ll see as you cycle, including a caldera lake, a dormant volcano and the island’s rugged coastline. The rides on this tour are mainly on quiet, minor roads that take you through rolling farmland, bamboo forests and pretty rural villages.

On this holiday, there are also some great opportunities to take part in other activities including relaxing in an onsen hot-spring, stand-up paddle boarding and mountain biking.

RWC 2019 matches that are close to this tour location include:

  • Australia v Fiji on September 21st (Sapporo Dome, Sapporo)
  • England v Tonga on September 22nd (Sapporo Dome, Sapporo)

View this tour: Hokkaido from Niseko


Kyushu Coast to Coast

Stopping for a break in Kyushu

Have you got tickets to any of the matches in Fukuoka, Oita or Kumamoto? Then you’re well placed to enjoy the Kyushu Coast to Coast tour on Japan’s southernmost main island. This tour is great for regular cyclists, with rides averaging 55km per day.

You’ll start in Fukuoka and ride from west to east across Kyushu, passing through quiet villages and staying in a mixture of hotels and traditional Japanese style ryokan inns along the way. This superb route takes in a wonderful mix of culture, food and astonishing natural beauty.

This tour ends in the spa town of Beppu, where you can enjoy a soak in an onsen hot spring and perhaps a Bīru (beer) in a local bar, while you watch any remaining world cup games!

RWC 2019 matches that are close to this tour location include:

  • Italy v Canada on September 26th (Fukuoka Hakatanomori Stadium, Fukuoka City)
  • France v USA on October 2nd (Fukuoka Hakatanomori Stadium, Fukuoka City)
  • New Zealand v Canada on October 2nd (Oita Stadium, Oita Prefecture)
  • Australia v Uruguay on October 5th (Oita Stadium, Oita Prefecture)
  • France v Tonga on October 6th (Kumamoto Stadium, Kumamoto City)
  • Wales v Fiji on October 9th (Oita Stadium, Oita Prefecture)
  • Ireland v Samoa on October 12th (Fukuoka Hakatanomori stadium, Fukuoka City)
  • Wales v Uruguay on October 13th (Kumamoto Stadium, Kumamoto City)

View this tour: Kyushu Coast to Coast


If you're looking for more routes to explore, take a look at our other cycling tours in Japan.

If you would like to know more about these cycling tours, make an enquiry online or speak to Andy, who lived in Japan for five years, he can be reached by telephoning: +44 (0)1273 224066

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