Teams set for unique Japanese welcome at RWC 2019

World Rugby and the Japan Rugby 2019 organising committee have announced details of the special and uniquely Japanese welcome that the 20 teams will receive next month and the official participation medals and caps that will be presented.
  • Japan set to welcome the world’s top teams and their fans as a stadium of 127 million hosts
  • Teams to receive a uniquely Japanese welcome via official Team Welcome Ceremonies between 13-19 September
  • Team Welcome Ceremonies set to take place at iconic venues across Japan, from Hokkaido to Okinawa
  • All players will receive a Rugby World Cup 2019 Cap, while the entire team, including coaches and management will receive the Rugby World Cup 2019 Participation Medal
  • Limited quantities of Rugby World Cup 2019 tickets remain on sale at
  • Fans are encouraged not to miss out on this once-in-a-lifetime Rugby World Cup in Japan

With Japan set to welcome the world for Rugby World Cup 2019 in less than a month’s time, the Japan Rugby 2019 organising committee and World Rugby have announced details of the very special and uniquely Japanese welcome that the 20 teams will receive at official team welcome ceremonies and unveiled the official participation medals and caps that will be presented.

With teams arriving throughout September, their first official engagement will be Team Welcome Ceremonies held across Japan from 13-19 September. The ceremonies will be an opportunity for the local community, the Japan Rugby Football Union and World Rugby to officially welcome all teams to Japan and to Rugby World Cup 2019.

The ceremonies will take place in iconic locations spread across the length and breadth of Japan, from the northern island of Hokkaido to the tropical island paradise of Okinawa, more than 2,600 kilometres to the south. Locations for the 20 ceremonies include the famous Zōjōji Temple at the foot of Tokyo Tower in central Tokyo, an historical sumo wrestling hall in Osaka and one of the finest examples of European neo-classical architecture from Japan’s Meiji era, the Bunshokan in Yamagata City.

During the ceremony, all 31 playing team members will receive their Rugby World Cup 2019 Cap (a rugby tradition), while the entire team, including coaches and management will receive the Rugby World Cup 2019 Participation Medal.

Designed by Japanese master craftsman and national living treasure Minori Yoshita, the medals capture Japan’s seamless blend of respect for tradition, with its deep spirit of innovation. The medal face is adorned with Japan’s beloved sakura, the ubiquitous cherry blossom held so dear by all Japan. The sakura motif frames the unmissable Rugby World Cup 2019 logo symbolising the coming together of Japan as it welcomes the global rugby community, with the Rising Sun and Mount Fuji blended into World Rugby’s iconic logo.

The reverse side features a silhouette of rugby’s greatest prize, the Webb Ellis Cup encapsulated in a circle representing the 20 competing nations at Rugby World Cup 2019.

Born in 1932 and recognised as a National Living Treasure of Japan in 2011, Minori Yoshita is the master of the world famous Nishikiyama Kiln. He is an expert in Yūri-kinsai, a highly specialised gold leaf-application technique used in Japanese pottery and porcelain. The technique is the inspiration behind the prominent sakura motifs adoring the Rugby World Cup 2019 Participation Medals.

Rugby World Cup 2019 Organising Committee CEO Akira Shimazu said: “In Japan we take the welcome and hospitality we afford to our guests very seriously. The word ‘ometenashi’ describes the spirit of hospitality in which all visitors are offered the very best welcome possible. We look forward to welcoming all 20 teams and presenting them with a Rugby World Cup medal symbolising both our gratitude and welcome. These medals capture the most iconic symbols of Japan – our beloved cherry blossoms and the rising sun atop of Mount Fuji, combining them with the unmistakable image of the Webb Ellis Cup. They signify the bonds of friendship and respect that bind the world of rugby as Japan proudly hosts Asia’s first Rugby World Cup.”

World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont said: “Rugby World Cup 2019 will be a truly unique celebration of Japanese culture and tradition and rugby’s character-building values and the teams are at the heart of the story. The official welcome ceremonies symbolise the start of the tournament and will showcase the truly nationwide warmth of the support that the world’s best teams and their fans will receive in Japan.”

Team Welcome Ceremonies

 Team  Date / Time Venue
 Fiji  Friday, 13 September  Abashiri City, Hokkaido
 Ireland   Friday, 13 September  Chiba City, Chiba Pref.
 Argentina   Friday, 13 September  Fukushima City, Fukushima Pref.
 Japan   Friday, 13 September  Shinjuku Ward, Tokyo
 New Zealand   Saturday, 14 September  Minato Ward, Tokyo
 South Africa   Saturday, 14 September  Urayasu City, Chiba Pref.
 Namibia   Saturday, 14 September  Kamitonda Town, Wakayama Pref.
 Russia   Saturday, 14 September  Saitama City, Saitama Pref. 
 France  Sunday, 15 September  Fujiyoshida City, Yamanashi Pref.
 Scotland  Sunday, 15 September  Nagasaki City, Nagasaki Pref.
 Italy  Sunday, 15 September  Sakai City, Osaka Pref.
 Samoa  Monday, 16 September  Yamagata City, Yamagata Pref.
 England  Monday, 16 September  Miyazaki City, Miyazaki Pref.
 Wales  Monday, 16 September  Kitakyushu City, Fukuoka Pref.
 Canada  Wednesday, 18 September  Nagato City, Yamaguchi Pref.
 USA  Wednesday, 18 September  Yomitan Village, Okinawa Pref.
 Australia  Wednesday, 18 September  Ebetsu City, Hokkaido Pref.
 Georgia  Wednesday, 18 September  Nagoya City, Aichi Pref.
 Tonga  Thursday, 19 September  Sapporo City, Hokkaido Pref.
 Uruguay   Thursday, 19 September  Kitakami City, Iwate Pref.

Limited Rugby World Cup 2019 tickets are currently available at Another option for fans looking to secure specific match tickets is through the Rugby World Cup 2019 Official Supporter Tour and Hospitality programmes. Ticket-inclusive travel packages provided through RWC 2019 official travel agents are proving extremely popular, with tickets for some of the most popular matches still available. The prestigious Webb Ellis Suite and private hospitality suites are already sold out, however some great matchday hospitality options are still available. Further details can be found via and

When purchasing tickets, fans will be able to opt-in and donate to the ChildFund Pass It Back programme. In partnership with World Rugby’s Impact Beyond programme, Pass It Back inspires positive social change through the delivery of an integrated life-skills and non-contact tag rugby curriculum, educating children and young people in areas of leadership, problem-solving, gender equality, conflict resolution and life preparation. For more details visit

With such exceptional demand for tickets, fans are being urged to buy exclusively from official channels to avoid being let down. For more details visit

Mastercard is an official partner and the preferred payment card of Rugby World Cup 2019 and will be offering fans a range of Priceless experiences around RWC 2019.