Don’t miss the opportunity to see a traditional sumo tournament when you’re in Tokyo. Ride the subway with fellow sumo fans to the ‘kokugikan’ (sumo amphitheater) and enjoy several sumo-wrestling matches in the afternoon. Beforehand, visit the fascinating Sumo Museum to see sumo-related objects from the Edo period to the present. Upgrade your experience to include dinner at a chanko restaurant with delicious Japanese stew.
You can now pre-book your tickets for the 2016 season. Available dates in 2016 are Jan 10-24, May 8-22 and Sept 11-25.
Meet your group at Hamamatsucho Bus Terminal after pickup from selected hotels in the afternoon, and ride the subway or JR line to Ryogoku Station.
Stop by the Sumo Museum where you can learn about this 1,500-year-old Japanese cultural tradition before you continue to the arena to watch the real thing. See important sumo-related items on display, such as woodblock prints, folding screens and ceremonial aprons from as far back as the Edo period.
Next head into the the Grand Sumo Tournament at Ryogoku Kokugikan. Feel the excitement during an opening ceremony called dohyo-iri, where your guide will start to explain what’s happening at the amphitheater.
You’ll watch a series of sumo wrestlers grapple in the elevated ring — made of clay and covered in a layer of sand — from your B-class reserved seat on the second floor. Consult your brochure and sumo-ranking list for the day’s events; junior division sumo matches are held first, proceeding the higher-ranked matches slated for later in the day. Another way you’ll know when the big matches are on: the makuuchi (senior-division wrestlers) wear kesho-mawashi, or ceremonial apron.
Put on your headphones and listen to English commentary throughout the approximate 2.5-hour match, following along during each lightning-speed match of one minute or less.
Watching the sumo matches is the main event, but there are other things to enjoy at the arena. Check out the championship flags in the entrance lobby, purchase a bite to eat from one of the vendors at any time, and don’t forget to browse the various sumo-related goods on sale.
Afterward, your guide accompanies you to Hamamatsucho Bus Terminal and explains directions back to your hotel. If you select the dinner option, you’re taken to a nearby restaurant.
Optional Upgrade: Dinner Upgrade your experience to include dinner at a local chanko restaurant, most likely run by a former sumo wrestler. Enjoy chankonabe, a hearty stew that is the traditional food of sumo wrestlers. Your guide will not join you for dinner, leaving you to make your own way back to your hotel.
Please note: You may have to wait to be taken to your seat if a sumo match,
ring-entering procession, ritual stomping ceremony or a speech by the
Sumo Association is already underway.