Sumo Wrestling in Tokyo: Buying Sumo tickets, Schedule, Best seats for foreigners, How to get there, what time the Professional wrestlers appear, visiting the Wrestling Stables and the Sumo museum.
The Sumo tournaments in Tokyo are a big Happening.
Fans ride together on the subway, and there is a lot of before and after drinking and eating in the right places around the Arena.
When Are Sumo Tournaments Held In Tokyo?
Professional Tournaments take place six times a year. Each tournament begins on a Sunday and lasts 15 days.
During January, May, and September tournaments are held in Tokyo.
In Osaka, Tournaments are held in March, in Nagoya in July, and in Fukuoka in November.
How To Get To The Sumo Arena In Tokyo?
The Sumo Arena in Tokyo is called Ryogoku Kokugikan.You need to get to Ryogoku Station on the JR Sobu Line. From the station, it’s a 2-minute walk to the Ryogoku Kokugikan stadium.
Rates and Reviews: Sumo Organized Tour
Which Are The Best Sumo Tournaments To Watch?
The competition begins at 9:00 AM every day with the amateurs. The professional wrestlers start around 2:30 PM. But the real excitement begins at 3:50 PM when the top-ranked competitors enter the ring.
During tournaments in Tokyo, tickets for the Best division’s matches are hard to get.
Which Seats To Buy For Tokyo Sumo Tournaments?
The first rows in the Arena are tiny cabins. The Japanese sit there on their knees for hours, but it’s unlikely that you can do that too. So you need specific tickets.
How To Get To The Sumo In Tokyo
Part of the fun of going to a sumo tournament is taking the Tokyo subway with fellow fans to the Amphitheater and enjoying the atmosphere. That’s why I like this Sumo Tour which combines all 4 Fun elements – Riding with the fans on the subway, sitting in the back rows for comfortable seats, arriving in the Arena for the more advanced Matches, and checking in on the museum to get some background on the origins of Sumo.
Rates and Reviews: Buy Sumo Tickets in Advance.
More Things To Do Near The Sumo Stadium
The Sumo museum is inside Ryogoku Kokugikan Arena. Sumo is the national sport in Japan.
Visiting the museum will give you some background on the origins of this ancient sport.
Sumo Wrestler Rules
The wrestlers are called Rikishi- ‘strong man’ in Japanese. Wrestlers are professional competitors weighing between 160 – 250 kg.
The rules of Sumo are very simple: A Wrestler loses when he is forced out of the wrestling ring, or if any part of his body, except the sole of the feet, touches the ground.
At the center of the ring, there are two white lines, behind which the wrestlers position themselves at the start of the bout.
Every Wrestler wears a thick silk belt (more like a small diaper…) to their waist which can be grabbed by the opponent and used to throw the Wrestler out of the ring. The wrestler performs a number of rituals when entering the ring: He claps his hands and then does some leg-stomping to drive away evil spirits. Then both wrestlers squat facing each other and spread their hands wide (to show they have no weapons).
Returning to their corners, they pick up a handful of salt which they toss onto the ring to purify it.
Finally, the wrestlers crouch down at the starting lines, staring each other in the eye.
Then they spring from their crouch and start the fight.
In the upper divisions, they typically do a few rounds of this mental preparation. In the lower divisions, they are expected to start more or less immediately.
In contrast to the time of preparation, Matches usually last only seconds, as one Sumo wrestler is quickly thrown out of the circle or onto the clay and sand floor.
Around the ring, there is finely brushed sand, which is used to determine if a Sumo wrestler has touched his feet, or other parts of his body.
There are no weight classes in this sport, meaning that wrestlers can easily find themselves fighting against someone many times their size.
That’s why weight gain is an important part of a Sumo Wrestler’s life.
Life In The Japanese Wrestling Stables
Professional wrestlers live together in ‘stables’, where all aspects of life – sleeping, eating, training, and free time, are strictly controlled by the stable master. Wrestlers start training at age 13.
They eat a special diet to put on as much body weight as possible while building up their muscles. A wrestler’s day begins around 5 am with morning training. Working out on an empty stomach helps slow down the body’s metabolism. Lunch is typical ‘chanko-nabe’ – a heavy dish made from fish, meat, and vegetables. It is eaten with rice and washed down with beer.
After lunch, the wrestlers take a long nap. This system helps the wrestlers put on weight quickly.
Junior wrestlers have to train and attend school, and also serve the whims of the seniors. Sumo wrestling is a very strict hierarchy.
All wrestlers are given wrestling names by their trainer, stable master, or supporter. The wrestlers wear traditional sumo wrestler attire in public.
They also have to grow their hair long and make a topknot, similar to the samurai hairstyles of the Edo Period. They wear wooden sandals in public.