The rest of the players are expected to arrive later on Tuesday with coach Rassie Erasmus and captain Siya Kolisi expected to land around 7pm with the trophy.
"We had a great time and hopefully it wasn't the last one", he added. "We really are stronger, together".
"Rugby has united us".
Pieter-Steph du Toit and forwards coach Matt Proudfoot also arrived after the first group. "Majority operate far away from the public eye, but they poured every ounce of energy into this campaign and helped to make it a success".
Mtawarira won his first worldwide cap in 2008 and also has the most appearances of any South African in Super Rugby with 159, all for the Durban-based Sharks franchise.
South Africans are gearing up to welcome the Springbok champions and the Web Ellis trophy home after their stellar performance at the Rugby World Cup finals.
"The coaching staff has been really awesome, they work really hard".
"I would like to agree with Siya - the support here at the airport made all the hard work and sacrifices over the last two months worth it. Thank you to everyone who came out to greet us".
"None of this would have been possible without the support of our family of sponsors, many of whom put their trust in us when times were tough and friends were few".
"The people back in South Africa know exactly what it feels like to have your back against the wall... people might be learning from us, but everything we took and did there, we got it from the people in South Africa", Kolisi said of the support.
In Yokohama, there were six black starters: Kolisi, fellow forward Tendai "The Beast" Mtawarira and Bongi Mbonambi, and backs Cheslin Kolbe, Lukhanyo Am and Makazole Mapimpi. "We are truly grateful".