Chichibunomiya Rugby Stadium
|Former names||Tokyo Rugby Stadium (1947–1953)|
|Location||Kitaaoyama, Minato, Tokyo, Japan|
|Owner||Japan Sport Council|
|Operator||Japan Sport Council|
|NTT Shining Arcs
Chichibunomiya Rugby Stadium (秩父宮ラグビー場 Chichibunomiya Ragubī-jō) (also called Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium) in the Aoyama district of central Tokyo is the spiritual home of Japanese rugby union and the headquarters of the Japan Rugby Football Union. Named for Prince Chichibu, the late brother of Emperor Hirohito, the venue is used mostly for rugby sevens and rugby union matches.
It will be used for the 2019 Rugby World Cup and then demolished. The space will be used for a parking lot for the 2020 Summer Olympics. Meiji Jingu Stadium will be demolished and the space used to build a replacement rugby ground.
The stadium currently can accommodate 27,188 spectators, but only part of the stands are covered. A large electronic scoreboard was added to the grounds as a step toward modernization before the fifth Rugby World Cup in 2003.
On April 19, 2007, it was announced that the stadium was to be equipped with lights for night games by the end of July, to assist with the RWC 2015 bid. The first rugby game under lights was Japan v Asian Barbarians in August 2007, the send-off for Japan going to RWC 2007. Since then it has been used for the first Top League game of the 2007–8 season between Suntory Sungoliath and Toshiba Brave Lupus, also played under lights and won 10–3 by the former on October 26, 2008.
Originally completed in 1947, it was at first called Tokyo Rugby Stadium. In 1953 the name was changed to Chichibunomiya Rugby Stadium. The stadium also served as a venue for football matches in the 1964 Summer Olympics.
The name Chichibunomiya commemorates the sporting prince, Prince Chichibu, who was not a rugby union player but was passionately fond of the sport and died in 1953. His statue is in the stadium.
On February 3, 2008, snow prevented two Top League games being played in the 13th and final round of the fifth season. They were postponed to February 9.
From 2012 through 2015, the stadium hosted the Japan Sevens, a newly created event on the circuit for men's national rugby sevens teams now known as the World Rugby Sevens Series. When inaugurated, the tournament was the seventh on the circuit schedule, and was held in late March/early April. After the 2014–15 series, Japan was removed from the schedule in favor of a return to former series host Singapore.
- "Tokyo to rebuild iconic Jingu, Chichibunomiya stadiums". Japan Times. Tokyo, Japan. April 2, 2015. Retrieved May 27, 2017.
- "Japan joins expanded HSBC Sevens World Series" (Press release). International Rugby Board. 18 August 2011. Archived from the original on 27 September 2011. Retrieved 29 August 2011.
- 1964 Summer Olympics official report. Volume 1. Part 1. p. 120.
- 秩父宮ラグビー場, National Agency for the Advancement of Sports and Health
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