How to Watch Sumo Wrestlers Training in Tokyo

by Kenzia - TripleLights travel specialist

I think we can agree that sumo or sumo wrestling is different from the usual sports/attraction, and it’d be very interesting to watch it and experience the culture of sumo wrestling whilst in Japan. But, you might not know where, when, and how much does it cost to see it?

 

No need to worry! With so much available information on the internet (especially this article), it only takes a few minutes to figure out how you can watch sumo wrestling in Tokyo.

 

In this article, I am going to share with you the when and where are sumo wrestling tournaments held in Tokyo, the ticket prices, how to watch sumo wrestling for free, the best way to experience a sumo wrestling watch, and more recommendations.

How to Watch Sumo Wrestlers Training in Tokyo

What is sumo?

Sumo is a Japanese style of heavyweight wrestling and also a national and professional sport in Japan. It started centuries ago and is believed that it is originated as a performance to entertain the Shinto deities. Since 1958, six grand sumo tournaments are held each year. Many aspects of Japan's traditional culture can be seen in sumo.

 

In Sumo, two people wearing mawashi, a loincloth in Japanese, face each other in a circular ring (dohyo), pushing, grappling and trying to throw each other. The winner is the first wrestler to force his opponent to step out of the ring, or successfully force his opponent to touch the ground with any body part other than the bottom of his feet.

 

More and more tourists are becoming more interested in sumo watching, and it is not only a sport but also considered as a cultural experience in Japan.

 

How can you watch Sumo in Tokyo? 

How to Watch Sumo Wrestlers Training in TokyoYou can watch sumo from the grand tournaments that are held 6 times a year in Japan. However, only 3 of them are held in Tokyo. So, if you want to experience a professional sumo wrestling watching in Tokyo, make sure your travel dates align with the tournament period in Tokyo. For this, you need to buy tickets to be able to watch sumo wrestling.

 

If you are not looking to spend lots of money for this experience, or the tickets are sold out, don't worry. I'll explain also in this article.

 

When and where are sumo tournaments held in Tokyo?

If you are traveling to Tokyo and want to watch sumo wrestling, it’s possible to find it quite difficult as there are only 6 sumo wrestling tournaments held each year, and only 3 are held in Tokyo. So, I’ll explain to you where and when you can watch sumo wrestling in Tokyo.

 

3 are held at the Sumo Hall, or known also as Ryogoku Kokugikan in Ryogoku, Tokyo in January, May, and September. The rest are held in Osaka (March), Nagoya (July), and Fukuoka (November).

 

Sumo wrestling tournament starts on every Sunday, running for 15 days, and ends also on a Sunday during the tournament period.

 

Tokyo’s 2020 Sumo Wrestling Grand Tournament schedule

Tournament

Venue

Date

Advanced Ticket selling date

January tournament

Tokyo

January 12, 2020-January 26, 2020

December 7, 2019

March tournament

Osaka

March 8, 2020-March 22, 2020

February 2, 2020

May tournament

Tokyo

May 10, 2020-May 24, 2020

April 4, 2020

July tournament

Nagoya

July 5, 2020-July 19, 2020

May 23, 2020

September tournament

Tokyo

September 13, 2020-September 27, 2020

August 1, 2020

November tournament

Fukuoka

November 8, 2020-November 22, 2020

September 19, 2020

 

Address of Ryogoku Kokugikan: 〒130-0015 Tokyo, Sumida, Yokoami, 1 Chome−3番28号 (map)

Phone: 03-3623-5111

 

How much does it cost to watch the grand tournament?

The price varies, but for a Japanese box, the ticket price starts at ¥38,000 (~US$ 358) with one box seating 4 people. For the arena seat, it starts at around ¥3,800 (~US$ 35).

For tickets purchases, you can click here.

 

Another way to watch sumo wrestling? How to Watch Sumo Wrestlers Training in Tokyo

If you are not in Tokyo or Japan during the grand tournament periods, you can still watch sumo wrestling, even up close and for free! You can still get the sumo culture experience by watching sumo wrestlers practice in stables in the mornings. This is also known as Asakeiko or Asageiko or Keiko.

 

Where to watch Keiko?

There are approximately 45 stables for sumo practice in Tokyo, mostly located in Ryogoku district. Here are some stables where you can watch Keiko that are used to foreign tourists:

  • Musashigawa Beya in Uguisudani (map)
  • Kasugano Beya near Ryogoku Station (map)
  • Takasago Beya near Asakusa Station (map)

 

You can also watch from Arashio Sumo Stable  (map), but you can’t enter the building and can only watch from a large window along the roadside. This is ideal if you only want to watch for a brief moment or take a quick picture. 

 

How to Watch Sumo Wrestlers Training in Tokyo

When to watch?

The time for Keiko to start and end vary from stable to stable, but usually, it starts at around 6:00 am or 7:00 am and lasts for around 3 hours.

Practice is not normally held on a weekend, and after tournaments, sumo wrestlers usually have a time off for a week. 

 

How?

You need to call ahead to check whether they hold a training that day, or whether it’s okay for you to come and watch, just to be safe.

 

You need to wake up early as it is considered respectful to come to the stable at the beginning of the practice and not leave until it ends.

 

Wait, there's more. 

Here is a list of some etiquette you should know before you come to a Keiko: 
– Keep silent throughout the whole practice to not disturb the concentration of the sumo wrestlers.
– Sit at the back of the room on a cushion (zabuton) that should be offered to you when you enter. 

–  Unless offered by the staff, don’t eat, don’t drink, and definitely don’t smoke.

–  Don’t take photos with flash and the shutter sound on.

– Bow to the stable master or other senior who is leading the practice when you enter and leave the stable, as well as to the wrestlers.



Can you enhance and make your sumo watching more convenient? Yes.

If you feel like enhancing your sumo cultural experience, you can hire a private guide or join a private tour. If you do so, rather than just watching, you can have a better and deeper understanding of sumo as a sport and culture because your guide will be able to explain to you and answer questions you have.

 

Guides can also make your experience more convenient as you don’t have to bother to make calls, figure out the locations and the directions to the stable. It can be hard for individuals to schedule morning sumo training, but guides can help and sort it out for you. It's hassle free!

 

There are many places on the web where you can hire one, but you can’t know whether they are good and trustworthy or not. So, my recommendation is the TripleLights. From the website, you can hire qualified private guides, and join great private tours. It's also convenient if you're short on time or unsure of your exact trip details. Just send a Tour Request and you'll be connected with a guide who will handle creating your custom itinerary.

How to Watch Sumo Wrestlers Training in Tokyo

Recommended private tours

You can join Early Morning Sumo Practice in Tokyo and the Sumo Museum tour for a better and enhanced cultural experience of sumo. You can watch the Keiko (sumo practice) and also visit the sumo museum with a licensed guide, to make your trip more interesting. You can also join the amazing tours Sumo Wrestlers Morning Training Watch, and Tsukiji and Ryogoku (Sumo, Ukiyoe, History).

 

I hope this article helps provide useful information of where and when are sumo grand tournaments held in Tokyo, another way to watch sumo wrestling in Tokyo for free, a way to enhance your sumo wrestling experience, and recommended private tours.

 

Recommended Blogs:

Shinto Shrine: Top 7 Shinto Shrines You Must Visit in Tokyo Japan

Japanese Buddhism: Facts to Know Before Visiting Japan

13 Top Tokyo Tourist Attractions by Local Guides

9 Best Tokyo Food Tours by Local Guides

The 7 Top Places for Matcha in Tokyo: The Real Japanese Flavor

 

Best Virtual Tours & Experiences in Tokyo

Looking for an authentic travel experience in Tokyo but still stuck at home? No problem! Why don’t you start by taking a Virtual Tour for a moment’s escape from the mundane and chaos with our professional guides in Tokyo?

Top Experiences:

More Tokyo Virtual Tours & Experiences

Plan your trip to Tokyo

Chat with a local tour guide who can help organize your trip.
Get Started

Recent Tour Reviews in Tokyo

“ Home away from home ”

Excellent
1 week ago Traveler: Sharon -   Tour Guide: YUKIKO

Japan is a fave destination for friends and family. I am glad that I took the leap and booked Yukiko. Made pre arrangements 2 weeks before the tour and she was very helpful in giving an itinerary tailor Fit for our group. We will definitely book again.
read more

“ in depth tour of Zojo-ji ”

Excellent
3 months ago Traveler: Prasanna -   Tour Guide: Kazuharu

We were looking for an in-depth understanding of Zojo-ji, and it is not one of the popular spots in Tokyo. Kazuharu prepared and came with lots of notes and tried his best to answer all our questions. He was patient and enthusiastic.
read more

“ The best way to get around Tokyo ”

Excellent
6 months ago Traveler: Catarina -   Tour Guide: Mitsuru

Mitsuru was very careful when planning our visit, and made sure we got exactly the experience we wanted from Tokyo, with the right balance of tourist hotspots and local finds. His patience when explaining local habits and teaching us how to ride the tube were the reason we were able to get around the rest of the country, and his impecable guidance made it able for us to cover all of Tokyo in the l...
read more

“ Delightlful .... ”

Excellent
7 months ago Traveler: Jerome -   Tour Guide: Aki

Aki was very easy to work with and accomodating to our group of 6. As requested, he put together a 3 day itinerary for us based upon our interests and desired activity level. He is quite knowledgeable about "all things Tokyo" as well as the Japanese culture and history. He is a master of the Tokyo transit system and without him we would have had a difficult time navigating around. We asked Aki...
read more

“ KOJI--OUR WONDERFUL GUIDE! ”

Excellent
7 months ago Traveler: JEFF -   Tour Guide: Koichiro

In the midst of the ongoing COVID drama sweeping the world, my partner and I decided to continue on with our trip to Japan. We were a bit nervous and wary but ended up having an incredible, once in a lifetime trip and a large part of this was our time with Koji. Koji has youth and energy, knowledge about Japanese culture, food and life, and was a wonderful host during our stay in Tokyo. We felt...
read more

“ Great guide ”

Excellent
7 months ago Traveler: Kerry -   Tour Guide: Yasuro

Though it rained most of the day we had a good look around Tokyo. Yasuro was a polite patient guide with great knowledge.
read more

“ March 7 2020 Tokyo ”

Excellent
7 months ago Traveler: Teresita -   Tour Guide: Noriko

Due to lack of time I decided to hire a Tokyo local guide to make use of our time,most especially for 7 hours. I did not regret to choose Noriko ,she was professional ,punctual ,very knowledgeable and she can feel the feelings of what we really wanted to see. We were so happy because we saw the places we wanted in 7 hours time. We recommend Noriko to all travellers who wanted to see in a short ...
read more

“ First day in Tokyo ”

Excellent
7 months ago Traveler: Nathan -   Tour Guide: Nobu

Nobu was wonderful. He accepted our last minute booking and met us at our hotel at 10am. A lot of things where closed, but Nobu had a great iteneriary for us. He spoke great english and did a great job of explaining the local culture and history.
read more

“ einen Tag in Tokio, einen Tag Teezermoniechmarkt. ”

Excellent
7 months ago Traveler: Maria -   Tour Guide: Yukiko

Es war wunderschön .Yukiko Hat uns mit ihren liebenswürdigen Art und viel Wissen über die Geschichte Tokios und besten Deutschkenntnissen, Tokio zu einer der Liebenswertesten Städte der Welt gemacht, man kann sie nur empfehlen und wir hatten wunderschöne Tage, sollten wir mal wiederkommen,Dann nur mit Yukiko.Liebe Grüße aus Rosenheim Marisa, Susanne und Tanja
read more

“ I had a wonderful time with Juliana. ”

Excellent
7 months ago Traveler: Arnold -   Tour Guide: Juliana

OMG, I had a fabulous day with Juliana. She was very informative and very professional while showing me around Tokyo. I've requested to Juliana to take me to the snoopy museum. Despite being closed because of the virus, she took me there anyway to visit the Peanut cafe and Snoopy town. That's when i learned she too was a Snoopy fan. Her command of the English language is very fluent. I have learn...
read more

Related cities

Plan your trip to Tokyo

Chat with a local tour guide who can help organize your trip.
Get Started