England had been scheduled to play their pool matches against Argentina and Georgia, as well as a potential quarter-final, at the recently renovated AMI Stadium.
Although Christchurch's role as host city survived the earthquakes on September 4 and Boxing Day last year a further a 6.3-magnitude tremor on February 22 devastated the area.
The disaster claimed 182 lives and caused substantial damage. The AMI Stadium, formerly known as Lancaster Park, had just been given a £30million facelift but the two main stands have sunk into the ground.
"When you see such a severe quake, it is not about rugby. It is tragic," said Johnson at the stadium.
"When we saw what happened in February, we knew rugby wasn't top of the agenda. We just go and play somewhere else - for the people here it is home.
"This is a famous and iconic stadium and it is sad to see it in this state. We should be here playing.
"To see Lancaster Park, as I always think of it, in this state is really sad. It was a no-brainer for us to come up and show our support."
Johnson was joined in the city by scrum coach Graham Rowntree, captain Lewis Moody, Shontayne Hape, Lee Mears, David Wilson and Alex Corbisiero - with the squad also visiting the maternity unit at Christchurch Hospital and Woolston School.
"It is great to get down here and show our support," said Moody.
"I sat in the stands for the first Lions Test in 2005 - I was injured then as well - and seeing it as it is now is sad."
"It would have been great to be here. This is a fantastic opportunity to get down here and show some support for a place we would have called home at one stage."
Meanwhile the England management have refused to comment on reports winger Mark Cueto has been ruled out of Saturday's game against Argentina.
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