Watching a Sumo Tournament! – Tokyo

Sumo – The National Sport of Japan

Every year, in January, the Grand Sumo Tournament is held in Tokyo. When we lived in Japan before, we spent all our winters skiing on the fantastic slopes of northern Honshu and spent all our summers traveling. We just never seemed to make the time to do the sumo tournament. On a return trip to Japan, one of the first things we booked was the tickets for tournament. We were not disappointed.

Sumo Tokyo Japan

Disclaimer: Some of our articles may contain affiliate links; when you click on these links you'll have the option to purchase or register for a service at no extra cost to you, but doing so helps us run this blog. That's awesome!

 

Sumo Tokyo Japan

Instead, we flew in for just a few days, during the worst time of the year, just to make up for some lost time.

The tournament doors open pretty early in the morning, with the youngest sumo wrestlers going first. The real action gets started later in the afternoon, about 2:00. That’s when the heavyweights, the stars, battle it out for the top slot, and that is also when the majority of the spectators arrive.

Sumo Tokyo Japan

We arrived at the stadium a little before noon. When we got there the stadium was pretty empty. There were people lolling about, eating lunch, and even a few were paying attention to the bouts, but it didn’t really get hopping for another couple of hours.

Sumo Tokyo Japan

 

Sumo Tokyo Japan

Sumo Tokyo Japan

After watching a number of matches, we noticed the routine was always the same. The announcer would call in the contestants, who would face each other in a squatting position. But then, they would get up numerous times to complete a cleansing ritual.

Sumo Tokyo Japan

Sumo Tokyo Japan

Sumo Tokyo Japan

Sumo Tokyo Japan

The cleansing ritual was facilitated by the last sumo wrestler that fought on your side. He would assist the new guy in cleaning his face, nose, and throwing salt on the sand platform.

Sumo Tokyo Japan

Then the two contestants would once again face off with a few false starts, intimidating their opponent. And in a flash, it was the real deal. Both pushing and pulling, and trying to trip the other. We saw some pretty exciting bouts, where wrestlers were falling completely out of the ring. Too much fun!

Sumo Tokyo Japan

The Sumo Grand Tournaments are held a few times a year in Tokyo, such as January, May, and August. They are well worth going to, one of the most entertaining sporting events I’ve ever been to.

Practical Info:

Getting There: Since the tournament is right in Tokyo, it’s easy to fly in to Narita and take the train.  The arena is found in the Ryōgoku part of the city, and there are plenty of hotels and restaurants nearby as well as many other attractions.

To order tickets, you can go to this site.

Have you witnessed a real sumo tournament?

2 Comments

  1. Ok, this is now on my bucket list. Is there a web site (in English) where we can get info on dates, tickets, wardrobe tips, etc.?

    1. There’s plenty of info out there, but here is one I really liked: http://sumo.goo.ne.jp/eng/ozumo_joho_kyoku/shiru/kiso_chishiki/beginners_guide/ . We bought tickets ahead of time, because my daughter lives in Japan. I’m not sure how you can do that, but going at the time we did, people were still buying tickets for that day. They cost about 8400 yen each for a good seat. Try to get a corner seat for the best photos. Good luck with your planning!

Post a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Send this to a friend