Attending a sumo tournament 本場所
A ticket to a sumo tournament.
Inside a Sumo Stadium.
A statuette of sumo.
A somo bearing the Banzuke, the official list of all sumo wrestlers
Larger than life
Sumo is a rare sight: six tournaments are held each year in four Japanese cities. Here's a short guide to help visitors attend with confidence.
The hon-basho (official sumo tournaments) are held on odd-numbered months. The competition lasts 15 days, the last being reserved for the most prestigious matches. On a match day, the matches of the junior wrestlers begin at 9 am, and experienced wrestlers from around 3 pm.
- Tokyo in January, May and September, the Kokugikan Sumo Hall.
- Osaka in March (2nd to 4th Sunday) at Furitsu Taiikukaikan.
- Nagoya in July (2nd to 4th Sunday) at Aichi ken Taiikukan.
- Fukuoka in November (2nd to 4th Sunday) at Kokusai Center.
Check here for the tournament schedule.
Most seats are available as individual seating in the balcony, but true fans of sumo reserve masu, a small square box for 4 people complete with tables and cushions. Ringside seats, giving the spectator an up close and personal show to the fighting, are also available. But be careful: it's not uncommon for wrestlers to fall on spectators!
Tickets should be bought in Japan for the most part, except on the site Ticket Oosumo (in English).
Unreserved seats (the least well positioned) are sold every day of the tournament (350-400 seats), from 8am or 9am, available at the arena and limited to one per person.
They are also found at Ticket Pia, machines that sell all kinds of seats for shows (only in Japanese). In Tokyo these are found in Shinjuku (in front of Isetan Keio) or Ikebukuro (at Tobu).
The easiest way to buy tickets is probably at a konbini, since they are found everywhere (Lawson, Family Mart and 7/11).
General admission seats are 2,000 yen, and reserved seats are between 3,000 and 9,000 yen. For up close box seats, several options are available, costing from 15,000 to 40,000 yen per person.
The "15 days" ticket allows entrance every day of the tournament, and is for sale (20,000 yen) at the stadium.
And of course bento can be booked to satisfy your hunger during the show (from 3,000 to 10,000 yen, reservation is required).
Note that booking fees are generally added to the ticket price (usually around 1,000 yen).