Stage set for spectacular Rugby World Cup 2019 opening ceremony

Sold-out Tokyo Stadium and massive worldwide television audience set to be delighted by uniquely Japanese welcome.
  • Sold-out Tokyo Stadium and massive worldwide television audience set to be delighted by uniquely Japanese opening ceremony
  • Fans advised to plan transport well in advance and arrive early for opening match and all subsequent matches to soak up the unique festival atmosphere
  • Final remaining match tickets on sale via the official Rugby World Cup ticketing website
  • Fans with self-print e-tickets are advised to print their tickets well ahead of setting off for their match as access to mobile networks and Wi-Fi around stadiums cannot be guaranteed

Fans at Tokyo Stadium, along with a worldwide television audience numbering in the hundreds-of-millions, are set to be captivated by a truly spectacular and unique opening ceremony as Rugby World Cup 2019 kicks off on Friday night in Tokyo.

Combining the ancient with the modern, the opening ceremony will draw on deeply symbolic Japanese cultural references to illustrate the passion, expectation and excitement the people of Japan have for the tournament. Encapsulated in the theme of a Japanese festival, the ceremony tells the story of the mythical dawn of time, rugby’s origins and its arrival in Japan, and the blossoming of Rugby World Cup into today’s global showpiece, as the ninth edition breaks new ground by being hosted in Asia for the first time.

Japan Rugby World Cup 2019 Organising Committee CEO Akira Shimazu said: “The message of our opening ceremony is that connections made through sport, through both its simplicity and universal appeal, can help build better understanding and friendship by inspiring people of all nations with the promise of a bright, positive future. Rugby has the power to unite through its ethos of respect, inclusion and integrity and our sincerest hope is that the tournament has this effect. From rugby enthusiasts to fans of Japanese culture, the opening ceremony has something for everybody, setting the scene for an unforgettable tournament.”

World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont added: “The waiting is over, and the stage is set for what promises to be a very special Rugby World Cup. It all begins with a spectacular opening ceremony and our advice to fans is take your seats early and enjoy the show before the hosts Japan get the tournament underway against Russia.”

Exhibition flight

The opening match between Japan and Russia at Tokyo Stadium kicks-off at 19.45 JST. Fans are encouraged to take their seats any time from 17:00 onwards to catch a special pre-match show and the spectacular opening ceremony. The programme will kick-off with an exhibition flight by Blue Impulse, the aerobatics squadron of the Japanese Air Self Defense Force. This will be followed by various performances, with the opening ceremony commencing at 18:30. 

Fans attending Rugby World Cup 2019 matches are advised to plan their transport well in advance and arrive early to soak up the special atmosphere across all host cities and venues. Each match venue will feature a traditional Japanese festival welcome in the vicinity of the stadium, with local food and beverage, and loads of entertainment and cultural performances lining routes to the stadium. Fans are also encouraged to visit the 16 official Rugby World Cup 2019 Fanzones, the locations of which can be found via

With tickets distributed as individual printed tickets, stadium or team pack bundles or self-print e-tickets, fans are advised to check the information on their tickets and ensure they are ready for entry into the stadium. Holders of self-print e-tickets are strongly advised to print their tickets well in advance of arriving at their match venue as access to mobile networks and Wi-Fi in and around stadia on matchday cannot be guaranteed.

Latest information

Fans should also keep up to date with all the latest Rugby World Cup 2019 information, including the location of the Fanzones and official merchandise stores via the multi-lingual official App, Twitter and website, including the @Japan2019_ENG fan information Twitter handle for all the latest travel, weather and venue information.

Limited quantities of 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

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.