Bullfighting, where the only harm comes to the losing bull’s pride, is a traditional sport that has been practiced for centuries in various cultures around the world. One unique form of bullfighting, known as bull sumo or ushi-tsuki, takes place in several locations in japan, most famously in Okinawa. However, there is evidence to suggest that it originated in the Oki Islands in the early 13th century as a form of entertainment for the exiled Emperor Go-Toba.
Bull sumo is a spectacle that showcases the brute strength and will of two snorting black bulls. With their heads down and horns interlocked, these powerful creatures push and shove each other until one gives up and retreats. The competition is organized into six tournaments held throughout the year at four bullrings around the island of Dogo, the largest of the Oki Islands. Three of the rings are open-air, while one is located under the dome of the Momo Dome Bullring.
Unlike traditional bullfights that involve the use of swords and capes, bull sumo is more of a trial of strength than a violent sport. The bulls compete in different weight categories to ensure fair matches, and each bull is accompanied by a handler who holds a rope attached to its nose. This unique form of bullfighting has garnered significant popularity on the Oki Islands, and large crowds gather to cheer on their favorite bulls.
The Momo Dome Bullring, located near the main port town of Saigo, is a popular destination for visitors who wish to witness the spectacle of bull sumo. In addition to the regular tournaments, the bullring also hosts weekly demonstration bouts for tourists. Visitors can also explore a small display of paraphernalia and photos of past champion bulls, providing a deeper insight into the history and significance of this traditional sport.
To reach the Momo Dome, visitors can take a local bus from the main town of Saigo, as the bullring is located just four kilometers away from the ferry port. Timetables and other transportation information can be obtained from the hotel or the tourist information office. It is important to note that due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the information regarding the bull sumo tournaments and access to the Momo Dome may be subject to change. Therefore, it is advisable to check for any updates or restrictions before planning a visit.
Bull sumo is not only a thrilling sport but also a cultural tradition that holds great significance on the Oki Islands. The champion bulls are revered and honored throughout the island, symbolizing the strength and resilience of the local community. This unique form of entertainment has become an integral part of the local festivals and events, attracting both domestic and international tourists who wish to experience the rich cultural heritage of Japan.
In conclusion, bull sumo is a captivating form of bullfighting that showcases the strength and will of these powerful animals. Originating in the Oki Islands and believed to have been enjoyed by the exiled Emperor Go-Toba, this unique sport has stood the test of time and continues to be celebrated on the island of Dogo. With its fair matches, enthusiastic crowds, and cultural significance, bull sumo offers a fascinating glimpse into the rich traditions of Japan. Whether you are a sports enthusiast or a cultural explorer, witnessing a bull sumo tournament at the Momo Dome Bullring is an experience that is sure to leave a lasting impression.
Address And Maps Location:
Okinoshima-cho, Oki-gun, Shimane-ken