Experience the thrill of live sumo in Tokyo
Sumo, japan‘s national sport, is an ancient form of wrestling that has been practiced for centuries. It is a unique and captivating spectacle that attracts both locals and tourists alike. If you are visiting Tokyo, you have the opportunity to witness this traditional Japanese sport firsthand at the Ryogoku Kokugikan, Tokyo’s sumo stadium.
The Ryogoku Kokugikan is located in eastern Tokyo, just a short walk from Ryogoku Station. It is the home of sumo in Tokyo and hosts three tournaments each year in January, May, and September. These tournaments are one of the major highlights of the sumo calendar and draw in large crowds of spectators.
During tournament season, the area around the Ryogoku Kokugikan is adorned with colorful flags, creating a festive atmosphere. People from all walks of life gather here to catch a glimpse of their favorite sumo wrestlers, from up-and-coming talents to the grand champions known as yokozuna.
If you are planning to attend a sumo tournament, there are a few things you shouldn’t miss. One of them is trying a bowl of chanko nabe, a rich stew traditionally eaten by sumo wrestlers. This hearty dish is made with various ingredients such as meat, vegetables, and tofu, and is known for its delicious flavors. You can find many restaurants near the stadium that serve this sumo staple.
While at the sumo stadium, don’t forget to sample some sake and yakitori, popular Japanese snacks that go perfectly with the excitement of the matches. Sake is a traditional Japanese rice wine that comes in various flavors and can be enjoyed hot or cold. Yakitori, on the other hand, is skewered grilled chicken that is seasoned with a special soy-based sauce. It is a favorite among locals and visitors alike.
Another highlight of attending a sumo tournament is watching the arrival of the high-ranking wrestlers in the afternoon. These wrestlers, known as sekitori, are the top contenders in the sport and are highly respected for their skills and dedication. Witnessing their arrival is a unique experience that gives you a glimpse into the world of sumo.
Now let’s talk about how to get to the Ryogoku Kokugikan. The stadium is conveniently located just a two-minute walk from the West Exit of Ryogoku Station on the JR Sobu Line. If you are coming from the Oedo Line, it is a five-minute walk from the station’s exits. However, during tournament season, the station can get quite crowded, so it is recommended to arrive early to secure your spot.
Once you arrive at the stadium, you will be greeted by the grandeur of the venue. The Ryogoku Kokugikan is a large and impressive structure that can accommodate thousands of spectators. The seating options vary, and it’s important to choose the right one for your preferences.
Ringside seats offer a close-up view of the matches, but they are limited in number and can be a bit dangerous as there is always a chance of wrestlers falling out of the ring. If you prefer a more comfortable experience, you can opt for masu-seki, box seats that can fit up to four people. These seats give you a great view of the matches and also allow you to enjoy snacks and drinks while cheering on the wrestlers. If you are on a budget, arena seats on the second level are more affordable and still provide a good view of the action.
To secure your sumo tournament tickets, it is best to book in advance. The Nihon Sumo Kyokai official site allows you to reserve box and arena seats. It is advisable to reserve your seats as early as possible, especially if you are interested in getting a box seat. Alternatively, you can also look for tour packages that include tickets for the sumo matches.
Attending a sumo tournament is an unforgettable experience that offers a glimpse into the rich cultural heritage of Japan. The atmosphere, the excitement, and the athleticism of the wrestlers all come together to create a truly unique event. Whether you are a fan of sports or simply interested in immersing yourself in Japanese culture, watching a sumo tournament in Tokyo is a must-do activity.
Now let’s delve into the details of sumo tournaments. The tournaments at the Ryogoku Kokugikan start quite early in the morning, usually around eight o’clock. The order of the bouts follows a specific sequence, beginning with the lowest-ranked wrestlers and gradually progressing to the matches between the top-ranked athletes. By late afternoon, the entire hall is packed with enthusiastic fans eagerly waiting to witness the final bout between the top contenders, known as musubi-no-ichiban.
The rules of sumo are straightforward. The objective is for a wrestler to force his opponent out of the ring or to make any part of his opponent’s body, except his feet, touch the ground inside the ring. The first wrestler to accomplish this wins the bout. Matches can be over in a matter of seconds or can last for several minutes, depending on the skill and technique of the wrestlers.
One interesting aspect of sumo tournaments is the presence of colorful banners that are paraded around the ring before each match. These banners are prizes offered by sponsors to the wrestlers. The more banners you see, the more hyped-up the match is considered to be. The banners add to the excitement and create a festive atmosphere inside the stadium.
Sumo tournaments are not only about the matches themselves. They are also a celebration of Japanese culture and tradition. Throughout the tournament season, you can find various food stalls and vendors selling traditional Japanese snacks and souvenirs. It’s a great opportunity to immerse yourself in the local culture and try some delicious Japanese street food.
In recent years, sumo has gained popularity worldwide, attracting fans from all over the globe. People travel from far and wide to witness the unique spectacle of sumo in its home country. The tournaments in Tokyo, with their rich history and tradition, are particularly sought after by sumo enthusiasts.
It is important to note that the information provided is subject to change due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. It is advisable to check the official websites and local guidelines for the most up-to-date information regarding sumo tournaments in Tokyo.
In conclusion, experiencing live sumo in Tokyo is a thrilling and culturally enriching experience. The Ryogoku Kokugikan offers a unique opportunity to witness this traditional Japanese sport in all its glory. From the intense matches to the festive atmosphere, attending a sumo tournament is an unforgettable experience that should not be missed. So, if you find yourself in Tokyo during the tournament season, make sure to secure your tickets and immerse yourself in the world of sumo.
Address And Maps Location:
1-3-28 Yokoami, Sumida-ku, Tokyo-to