We are barely a year left before the coming of the Rugby World to Japan and Shizuoka Prefecture is feverishly gearing itself for it with a new sense of responsibility!
After all, Ecopa Stadium in Fukuroi City, Shizuoka Prefecture, will be the venue for no less than 4 games, the third busiest in all Japan!
The first game will provide a true gem as it will feature Japan against the European Champions, Ireland!
Moreover, we shall be offered the great chance to see major teams in the names of South Africa and Australia from the Southern Hemisphere, Scotland and Italy from the VI Nations Tournament and some truly “exotic” teams represented by Georgia and newcomers, Russia!
Ecopa Stadium was chosen as a major venue for many reasons:
The Stadium with a capacity of over 50,000 was built for the Soccer World Cup and needs little improvements as it is used regularly for major events.
Shizuoka Prefecture is the home of Yamaha Jubilo (the rugby club, not the soccer club which belongs to the same company and is based in the same area), a powerful member (Japan Champions once) of the Japan Rugby Top League.
The neighboring Shinkansen Stations in Kakegawa City, Shizuoka City and Hamamatsu City.
The local International Airport, Shizuoka Fuji Airport in Shimada City.
Now, games will kick off early in the afternoon or early evenings, meaning that a lot of people will have to stay overnight in Shizuoka Prefecture!
What better opportunity can it be to introduce all these visitors, tourists and guests to our Prefecture, to its tourism and to its superior gastronomy?
Rugby fans all over the world are a hungry and thirsty lot! Not only before and during the game, but mainly during the “third half time” when any rugby player or fan worth his name spends as much time as possible socializing with the opponents of the day for some great talks and exchanges. Accordingly, Fukuroi City in particular should seriously think of cooperating with local producers and brewers to keep such a crowd happy for as long as possible not only during the game but after, thus encouraging all these welcome visitors to at least stay overnight and enjoy Shizuoka’s famed gastronomy! To start with, food and drink stands should be erected around the Stadium itself where there is enough space for such an enterprise and bring a great profit to the local farmers, brewers, food companies and local restaurants/izakayas!
The city should also seriously think of providing extra accommodation and services to all these Japanese and overseas fans! One solution would be to invite and encourage local farmers to provide farmhouse stays as the majority of foreign rugby fans hail from the “country” and certainly prefer the rural pleasures to overcrowded and senseless cities!
Food for thought, if I may allow myself this corny comment!
Ecopa Stadium 2019 Rugby World Cup Schedule
Saturday, September 28th (14th game), Group A, Japan vs Ireland, kick off at 16:15
Friday, October 4th, (23rd game), Group B, South Africa vs Italy, kick off at 18:45
Wednesday, October 9th, (31st game), Group A, Scotland vs Russia, kickoff at 16:15
Friday October 11th, (33rd game), Group D, Australia vs Georgia, kick off at 19:15
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