Japan Tours for Rugby Fans 2019

Authentic Japan Tours for Rugby Fans

Get off the beaten track on game-free days


We have customisable tour programmes in proximity of the rugby game venues:

Sapporo, Kamaishi, Kumagaya, Tokyo, Yokohama, Shizuoka, Toyota, Hanazono, Kobe, Fukuoka, Oita and Kumamoto.


These programmes include destinations such as Otaru and Kushiro in Hokkaido, Ginzan Onsen and Dewa Sanzan in the Tohoku region, Mt. Fuji and Kawagoe near Tokyo, Koyasan and the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage route in the Kansai area, and the Kunisaki Peninsula and Aso Caldera in Kyushu.

A wide range of activities can be offered including walking, hiking, cycling, canoeing, whisky and sake brewery tours, visiting beautiful nature spots and important cultural sites, bathing in hot spring, meeting craftsman and watching traditional performances!


* Please be advised that we are not an official travel provider for the 2019 Rugby World Cup, so we do not handle game tickets or ticket and tour packages. However, we do specialize in off the beaten track tours where you can experience authentic Japan. We can create a unique trip for those with tickets looking for an adventure! *


Location 1: Near Sapporo

Hokkaido is the northernmost of Japan’s four main islands. Although the weather is harsh in winter with much snowfall and sub-zero temperatures, in the summer and autumn it is very pleasant. Hokkaido offers fantastic wildlife watching, mountain hiking and a wide range of outdoor activities year-round.


  • Yoichi: This is where the ‘father of Japanese whisky’, Masataka Takezuru, started the famous Nikka Whisky.
  • Furano/Biei: Furano and Biei are surrounded by picture perfect landscapes of rolling hills and meadows that stretch to the horizon.
  • Wildlife in Shiretoko: Shiretoko is one of Japan’s best wildlife destinations, attracting many wildlife lovers year-round.
  • Ainu: The Ainu are the indigenous people of Hokkaido. They have their own culture and traditions which you can learn more about on this trip.

Recommended Tours: Authentic Japan Tours for Rugby Fans (PDF: Page 4-7)



Location 2: Near Kamaishi

The Tohoku region consists of six prefectures located in the northern part of Honshu Island. It is well known for mountains, hot springs, delicious rice and sake.



  • Chusonji Temple: This temple, which was established in 850AD, has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Konjiki-do is a small hall inside the temple that is completely covered with gold leaf both inside and out.
  • Yamadera (Risshakuji Temple): Yamadera is a temple complex in the mountains and is said to have been founded in 860AD. There are more than 1000 stairs leading up to the temple, and there are plenty of things to look at along the way. You will be greeted by lush enchanting forests and the view overlooking the village below is spectacular.
  • Ginzan Onsen: Ginzan Onsen, which means ‘Silver Mountain Hot Spring’, is an isolated hot spring town surrounded by mountainous nature. The old Japanese style inns there still maintain some nostalgic feelings of a bygone era.
  • Dewa Sanzan: Dewa Sanzan means ‘three mountains’. It consists of Haguro, Gas, and Yudono mountains and is located in a secluded area in Yamagata Prefecture. These are known as the three sacred mountains that represent birth, death and rebirth.
  • Sakata Maiko: Sakata is the only place in northern Japan with Maiko entertainment. Mai means ‘dance’ and ko is ‘child’. Becoming a Maiko requires rigorous training. Enjoy an evening with Maiko, watching them perform.
  • Nambu Tekki (Oigen Chuzo Factory): Nambu Tekki is traditional ironware that is produced in Iwate prefecture. Nambu Tekki is used for Japanese tea ceremonies and has received international acclaim for its fine quality and handcrafted excellence.
  • Kaiko-ji Temple: This temple is famous for enshrining two Sokushin-butsu, Buddha ‘mummies’. These two monks starved themselves to death and were naturally mummified. They did this to pray for the sins and salvation of local townspeople who were suffering from famine and other hardships.
  • Sankyo Soko: This long row of historical warehouses once stored rice, dried fish and other grains. Keyaki trees (Zelkova trees) were planted in front of the buildings to provide shade in summer used to control the temperature indoors. This place is recommended for people interested in Japanese architecture.


Recommended Tours: Authentic Japan Tours for Rugby Fans (PDF: Page 8-12)



Location 3: Near Kumagaya, Tokyo, Yokohama, Shizuoka

This area, known as the Kanto region, has the sprawling metropolis of Tokyo at its centre. The Kanto Plain has a population of over 42 million people and is the heart of Japan’s industry, economy and society. There are many natural and cultural sites around the capital that are perfect for short trips.


  • Minobu-cho: Minobu-cho is located in the southwestern part of Yamanashi Prefecture. The photograph that became the model of “upside-down Fuji” drawn on the 1000 yen bill and the 5000 yen bill was taken from the Nakanokura Pass in Minobu-cho.
  • Fuji: Registered as a World Cultural Heritage Site in 2013, Mt. Fuji is a popular destination for mountain climbing fans from all over the world. The best-known mountain in Japan spans Shizuoka Prefecture and Yamanashi Prefecture. The primary forest that spreads to the foot of the mountain is called “Jukai” and was formed by a lava flow.
  • Kawagoe: Kawagoe City is located in the northwest of Tokyo and once prospered as a castle town in the Edo period, it is known for its old town with an architectural style called Kurazukuri. Kita-in Temple is a famous temple where the remnants of Edo Castle can be found. There are more than 500 stone statues in the precinct, shaped like Buddha’s disciples.
  • Kamakura: Kamakura City, located in Kanagawa Prefecture is an ancient city facing the sea. A place that once flourished as a political centre during the medieval Kamakura period, it is now a famous resort town dotted with numerous Zen temples and Shinto shrines. The great Buddha statue at Kotoku-in is particularly notable. This bronze Buddha is about 13 meters tall.


Recommended Tours: Authentic Japan Tours for Rugby Fans (PDF: Page 13-17)



Location 4: near Toyota, Hanazono, Kobe

The Kansai area, located in central western Honshu, is the second economic hub of Japan. Home to the lively, bustling city of Osaka as well as the historical capital of Japan, Kyoto, there are many places of interest to visit around these key cities.


Particularly notable are Mt. Koya and Kumano, unique sacred places where Buddhism and Shitoism coexist. They have been designated World Heritage Sites. Mt. Koya is the headquarters of Shingon Buddhism. Kukai (also known as Kobo Daishi), one of Japan’s most important religious figures, opened Kongobu-ji Temple in 816. While Kumano was the training place of the shugensha, the mountain worshippers, who considered this area to be where the gods reside.


  • Koya:
    • Shukubo (Temple Lodging): Be embraced by Japanese culture rather than simply being an observer. Stay at a temple lodge, sleep on a futon and eat ‘shojin ryori’, which includes no meat or fish, as Buddhist monks do. Traditionally, Japanese monks are not allowed to eat meat because it is regarded as taboo under the practice of Buddhism. Staying at a temple is a good way to experience another aspect of Japanese life and culture.
    • Kurt Kubli Genso (priest of Muryoko-in Temple): The Swiss native, Kurt Kubli Genso, who became a Buddhist monk at Koyasan illuminates the path for international travellers. At the temple lodge where Genso lives, Muryoko-in Temple, it is said that people come as tourists, but go home as pilgrims because Koyasan touches their hearts and brings them peace. You can mingle with monks at a temple lodge and train your mind by practicing meditation, as well as take part in fire ceremonies held each morning in every shukubo as part of morning prayers.
    • Kongobu-ji Temple: Normally, a single structure comes to mind when one thinks about a temple. However, the entire grounds here can be referred to as the temple as Koyasan takes the name ‘Issan Temple Grounds’. As temple grounds cover all of Koyasan, the entirety of Koyasan is considered a temple. Kukai (Kobo Daishi) crossed the sea to China in search of Buddhist teachings. He introduced what is known as Shingon Buddhism to Japan. There are a number of very interesting buildings to see and a visit is very worthwhile to get an appreciation of religious practices in Japan. One of the main attractions is the rock garden. You should also not miss the artwork on the fusumas (sliding doors segregating the rooms) painted by master artists. It is interesting how these buildings are all still actively in use and each have a specific purpose.
  • Kumano
    • Kumano Kodo is a large chain of pilgrimage routes that span Wakayama and Mie prefectures in the Kansai region. At the centre of this area there are three shrines: Hongu Taisha, Nachi Taisha and Hayatama Taisha, which are known as the ‘Kumano Sanzan’ (three mountains in Kumano). By the 12th century, the Kumano Sanzan had become a place for religious pilgrimage, well known across the country.
    • In July 2004, the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage routes were registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site as part of the larger ‘Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Route in the Kii Mountain Range’.

On the Long Course, we will go from Kumano Kodo to Ise. On the southern side of the eastern Kii Peninsula, the pilgrimage route of Ise-ji connects Ise Grand Shrine with Kumano Sanzan. It is known for the saying: ‘Seven times to Ise, three times to Kumano’.

  • Ise
    • Ise is located towards the south of Mie Prefecture, on the southern tip of the Ise Plain facing Ise Bay. The mild climate here makes for an easy living environment, where it is rare to see snow even in the deep of winter.
    • Ise has prospered as a temple town, namely Ise Jingu Shrine, where large numbers of visitors have made their pilgrimages, known as O-Ise Mairi, since the Edo period. In fact, O-Ise Mairi is a practice that continues today.
  • Futami: Futami is known as Japan’s first officially authorised swimming beach. It is said that it was used by the Emperor Taisho for swimming practice as a child. Many ryokans line the streets from JR Futami Station to Futami Okitama Shrine.


Recommended Tours: Authentic Japan Tours for Rugby Fans (PDF: Page 18-24)



Location 5: Kyushu region

Kyushu is the island located to the southwest of the mainland. The area is particularly known for its subtropical climate, hot spring towns such as Beppu and volcanoes such as Mt. Aso. Due to its geographical position as the southwest border of the country, historically Kyushu has been known to have withstood many challenges both natural and from overseas.

Oita-Beppu-Kunisaki Peninsula: Oita Prefecture is located on the scenic southern island of Kyushu. Beppu City is one of the most famous hot spring resorts in Japan, attracting both domestic and international tourists. The Kunisaki Peninsula was a training place for mountain worshippers and famous for its combination of Shinto and Buddhism. Stone sculptures of Buddha are dotted all around the peninsula.


  • Usuki: The stone Buddhas in Usuki were carved into the face of a large rock and have been designated as a national treasure. They are believed to have been carved from 794-1333AD, but who created them remains a mystery.
  • Beppu Onsen: The hot springs in Beppu City are some of the most famous in Japan. The area includes several different hot spring resorts with a variety of unique bath types, such as mud and sand baths, alongside the regular outdoor and indoor hot springs.
  • Kunisaki Peninsula: Kunisaki Peninsula is known for the scenic nature of it’s dense forests. The area is home to numerous temples, including the famous Futago-ji Temple, as well as a unique Buddhist culture born from aspects of Shintoism, mountain worship and Buddhism.
  • Takachiho Kagura: Night Kagura, which has been handed down by Takachiho, has been designated as ‘Takachiho’s Night Kagura’, an important intangible folk cultural property in the country.  Takachiho is a stage in Japanese mythology, where the deity Amaterasukami hid in Amaiwato.
  • Kunimigaoka: Kunimigaoka, which is 513m above sea level, is famous for its sea of ​​clouds. The best time to see the sea of ​​clouds is on an early autumn morning, on a sunny day when the wind is calm.
  • Aso Caldera: The caldera of Mt. Aso is one of the world’s largest volcanoes. ‘Aso’ refers not only to the city, but also Mt. Aso. Mt. Aso is not a singular mountain, rather it is geologically classified as a cluster of five volcanic peaks that form a ring around the city.


Recommended Tours: Authentic Japan Tours for Rugby Fans (PDF: Page 25-29)



About Us



We provide high quality adventure tours to beautiful rural locations across Japan and specialise in providing immersive experience (FIT and small groups) tours for affluent travellers with a passion for adventure, a strong sense of intellectual curiosity and a desire to be inspired by the ‘real Japan’. Our biggest goal is to provide travellers with the opportunity to see the ‘authentic Japan’, the Japan that has not been dressed up and stylised for tourist purposes, but rather the Japan that the Japanese live in.


Recommended Tours: Authentic Japan Tours for Rugby Fans (PDF)



Contact Us

Please let us know the following when you contact us.

・ Your ticket schedule and venue

・ Your desired tour course

・ Number of participants


Email: info@heartlandjapan.com

Tel: +81-3-6265-3294 (JST 10am-6pm)

Web: http://heartlandjapan.com/

Address: 4F, Office87, 332 Yamabukicho, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, Japan 162-0801


* Please be advised that we are not an official travel provider for the 2019 Rugby World Cup, so we do not handle game tickets or ticket and tour packages. However, we do specialize in off the beaten track tours where you can experience authentic Japan. We can create a unique trip for those with tickets looking for an adventure! *

Scroll to Top