Captain's Run Japan

Guide For Rugby Fans
Osaka Pref.
Higashi-Osaka City
Around the
Hanazono Rugby Stadium
Venture to the “Mecca of Japanese High School Rugby” Hanazono, and “ Eat-Yourself-to-Death” Osaka!

About the Stadium

Hanazono Rugby Stadium
Address:1-1-1 Matsubara-minami, Higashi-osaka,Osaka Prefecture
Access:located a 10 min walk from Higashi-hanazono Station

  • Getting to the stadium

    Higashi-Hanazono Station

    To get to Higashi-hanazono Station, take a Shinkansen to Shin-Osaka from Tokyo, then change trains (Osaka Municipal Subway Midosuji Line and Kintetsu Nara Line) for a total journey of about 3 hours and 20 minutes.

    Higashi-hanazono is also located about 1 hour and 20 minutes from Kansai International Airport.

    Kintetsu Railways Nara Line


“Mecca of Japanese Rugby”

  • The Hanazono stadium, the first rugby stadium to open in Japan.

    The stadium under construction for the RWC2019™ .

    In 1929, Japan’s first rugby stadium opened in Osaka. Now, nearly 90 years later, the stadium is preparing to host RWC2019. For the occasion, the stadium is getting a new look to increase its capacity. Each year a famous high school championship takes place there, which has lead the stadium to gradually become known as the mecca of Japanese rugby players. “Go to Hanazono” has been a strong slogan among high school rugby players who want to make it big in the sport. During half-time you can take a tour of the stadium library, which documents the history of rugby in Japan.

    You’ll see many tributes to rugby at Hanazono.

  • Rugby, a Well-established Sport in Osaka

    Higashi-Osaka city’s cute mascot

    Along the street known as “Scrum Road”, be sure to check out the manholes.

    Higashi-Osaka, where the stadium is located, has made rugby a local institution, and for good reason: the district saw the birth of the Kintetsu Liners, one of the famous rugby teams in Japan. Just outside the train station, you’ll notice the mascot – a cute little rugby player – and gradually discover that all the streets are filled with nods to rugby. Floor lamps, statues, manholes … A real treasure hunt for anyone who wants to find them all!

  • Hanazono’s Famous Rugby Ball-Shaped Manju

    Like a rugby ball?

    The small shop, Kinuya, is known for its hanaragu-manju, small pastries made in the shape of a rugby ball. If you want to stay in the mood after the match you can even order a rugby meshi (rugby-themed meals) in the restaurants around the stadium. Here you can witness a contemporary twist on the Japanese tradition of making cuisine an aesthetic practice. A meal in the shape of a rugby ball can be enjoyed with the eyes before enjoyed with the taste buds!

  • Rugby Meshi, the Background

    Rugby meshi” Sukiyaki-style udon”

    Currently, Higashi-Osaka is developing rugby meshi for rugby fans to fit the after-match function of social gatherings of players and others following a sports match. For us rugby fans, it means that the excitement doesn’t let up, even after the match!

Exploring Local Spots

  • Danjiri, an Impressive Traditional Festival

    Experience the vibrant and energetic atmosphere of the festival

    From September to October, you can attend the Danjiri Matsuri in Kishiwada, located just 20 minutes by train from Osaka. In attending this festival, you can see why rugby has found such a place in the hearts of Osakans. Far from the typical matsuri, which can be seen everywhere in Japan, the Danjiri Matsuri gives way to a demonstration of brute force and physical endurance.
    For several hours, brave locals pull a mikoshi – a huge wooden cart sheltering a deity – to make it hurtle down the streets of Osaka. Never stopping, never slowing down, all the while, its escorts are running and shouting. It sometimes happens that the tank is overturned during a turn a little too tight. There are sometimes even a few injured, but that has not prevented the festival from being held every year for over three hundred years. In the words of the locals. ” It’s dangerous, and because it’s dangerous, it’s fun’’!

    A giant mikoshi for the Danjiri festival

    Can you climb on the top ?

    If you don’t have a chance to attend the festival, Kishiwada Danjiri Kaikan Museum will allow you to discover its history, and experience a (much safer) version of the event with a 3D projection. You can even climb on one of the tanks used during the festival! Visitors will also have a chance to see the beautiful Kishiwada Castle, and walk along Honmachi Street, an area that still reflects the traditional Japan of the sixteenth century.

    A replica of Kishiwada old city dating back to Edo Period

  • A Kishiwada Castle and its Old Town

    Kishiwada Castle

    The former Kishu Kaido road connecting Osaka and Wakayama since the Edo Period boasts the nostalgic townscape of an old castle town surrounding Kishiwada castle. Serving as one of the area’s most iconic landmarks, Kishiwada Castle stands solid to this day.

    Kishiwada’s Old Castle Town

  • The birthplace of Japanese Whisky, Yamazaki Distillery

    Yamazaki Distillery

    The construction of Yamazaki Distillery began in 1923, and it is the oldest malt whiskey distillery in Japan. It has been producing many whiskeys which received praises from around the world. It can be accessed in 25 minutes from JR Osaka Station. (Requires reservation)

Night Life

  • Shinsekai Area, Surrounding Tsutenkaku Tower

    Tsutenkaku Tower

    The popular district of Shinsekai, overlooked by the Tsutenkaku Tower, bombards visitors with the thousand colours of its luminous signs. The neighbourhoods attracts locals to enjoy the many restaurants and bars located there. Here you can taste the local gastronomy in small inexpensive stalls. At the turn of an alley, you might even stumble upon carnival attractions, or an arcade.

  • The Must-See of Osakan Nightlife

    Dotonbori ©Osaka Convention & Tourism Bureau

    A few subway stations from Shinsekai, Dotonbori (also known as Namba) is an area not to be missed for those who want to discover the nightlife of Osaka. When night falls, crowds gather around the canal under the light of oversized screens that cast a special charm to this neighbourhood. Wherever you look, the streets are filled with shops, restaurants, bars or arcades, so you can have fun all night!

  • A Narrow Street Lined up with Izakaya and Bars

    Hozenji Yokocho ©Osaka Convention & Tourism Bureau

    Hozenji Yokocho, a particularly interesting alley for its ambience in contrast with the modernity of Dotonbori. This narrow alley dating back to the Edo Period (1603-1868) retains its appearance despite centuries having passed, making visitors feel as though they have stepped through time. Around 60 small izakayas (typical bars of Japanese restaurants) perpetuate the tradition of authentic Osaka nights. This change of scenery guarantees a friendly and warm atmosphere, for those needing a break from the liveliness of elsewhere in Dotonbori..

  • Osaka, the gastronomic capital of Japan

    A must-try Osakan specialty: Takoyaki! ©Osaka Convention & Tourism Bureau

    It’s impossible to leave Osaka on an empty stomach!
    The fame of the culinary specialties of Osaka is well-established. Often nicknamed “Japan’s gastronomic capital,” Osaka’s cuisine is not simply tasty – beyond that, Osaka has coined the culture of Kuidaore – literally meaning to ruin one’s self by extravagance in food ! Inventive and ubiquitous, you can try anything in the street as well as in a restaurant, or check out  an Izakaya to taste the local craft beer, from local breweries such as Minoh.

    Included in the Michelin guide, it is particularly recommended to taste takoyaki and okonomiyaki. Takoyaki, literally “grilled octopus” (tako = octopus, yaki = grilled) is perhaps the staple Osakan street food. They come in the form of small balls made from dough, containing a piece of octopus in the centre. Takoyaki stands are ubiquitous in the streets of Osaka, and it is fascinating to watch the cooks turn and flip with a quick gesture and mastered these little balls in their mold.


    Okonomiyaki, literally ”whatever you like to grill” are as varied as their name suggests. The content of okonomiyaki will depend on your tastes and desires. Meat, seafood, vegetables … take what you like, mix it with a little batter, put all that to grill on a plate, and do not forget to add on okonomiyaki sauce once it’s done, and your okonomiyaki is ready to be enjoyed!

  • Grab the Local Craft Beers for a Rugby Talk!

    Beer Belly

    Osaka’s craft beer

    Looking for a craft beer pub? In this case, just a short walk from Tenma Station on the North side of Osaka is Beer Belly, a Western-style pub offering a huge variety of locally-brewed craft beers. Here we can find Osaka’s main craft beer – the world-famous Minoh Beer brewery.

Other Venues