Hanazono Rugby Stadium Osaka
The Hanazono rugby stadium in Osaka is the home of the rugby union team the Kintetsu Liners and one of the oldest dedicated rugby union stadiums in Japan. It first opened in 1929 and has a capacity of 30,000.
Host to some of the most important top league teams in everyday life, this stadium has been chosen to host some important matches for the Tournament in 2019.
Kicking off with Italy meeting Africa 1 on the 22nd September the stadium will be filled with passionate fans joining in chorus to cheer on their team. Followed by a southern hemisphere pool C clash between Argentina and Tonga on the 28th September.
The last two matches to be played sees the Islanders meeting Europe and the Atlantic with Georgia and Fiji jostling for position on the 3rd October and finishing with USA meeting the mighty Tonga on the 13th October.
Image: Osaka Dotomburi © David Lovejoy / InsideJapan Tours
Osaka is the concrete beating heart of the Kansai region – Japan’s second biggest industrial area with an output rivalling that of Australia. This is modern Japan writ large: massive crowds, huge department stores, karaoke boxes, bars, restaurants and clubs one on top of the other.
Osaka has all the galleries and museums you’d expect of a large city – but the best way to experience the character of the place is on the street and in the buzzing, larger-than-life entertainment quarters. Osaka has a reputation for a work-hard-play-hard mentality, and from about 6pm the streets are alive with businessmen, shop workers and students all out to relax and have a good time. Youth culture is everywhere you turn, with video game parlours and karaoke centres lining the covered arcades.
Most importantly for the visitor, Osaka is one of the best places to try Japanese food – whether it’s octopus balls from a street-side stand, okonomiyaki savoury pancakes (a regional speciality), or some of best sushi in the world. In fact, one of our top recommendations for visitors to the city is to take an evening street food tour with one of our expert local guides or knowledgeable tour leaders. The tour centres on the area around Nanba and Dotonbori, where giant animatronic crabs, neon puffer fish, Ferris wheels and the famous Glico running man overlook scores of bars, izakaya, restaurants and street-side stalls.
In addition to food and drink, Osaka has an impressive clutch of attractions to keep the visitor entertained. The Ring of Fire Aquarium, for instance, is one of Japan’s very best – exhibiting creatures from the volcanic regions encircling the Pacific. Universal Studios Japan is located just a short distance out of the city, boasting the newly opened Harry Potter World amongst other interesting film sets, and at the unusual Instant Ramen Museum guests can have a go at creating their own cup noodle. Finally, for those who enjoy a good soak in a Japanese hot spring, Osaka Spa World – Japan’s premier onsen theme park – is an absolute must.
For shopping, we suggest heading to American Village (Amerika Mura), Osaka’s fashion centre, or Umeda and the Yodabashi Department Store for electronic goods. While you’re in Umeda, you might also head to the Umeda Sky Building, where a vertiginous escalator takes you across the abyss to a viewing platform looking out over the city.
Osaka is located in the Kansai region of Japan’s main island, close to many of Japan’s most interesting destinations. You might like to use Osaka as the jumping off point for a foray into the ancient pilgrimage routes of the Kumano Kodo or the spiritual centre of Mount Koya, or head to nearby Kobe for a taste of Japan’s finest beef. The must-visit city of Kyoto is barely 45 minutes away by train, with lovely Nara just next-door.
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