Sumo is a traditional Japanese sport that has captivated audiences for centuries. It is a form of wrestling that has deep cultural and historical significance in Japan. Sumo tournament, “basho” in Japanese, is held six times a year. It offers a unique spectacle for both locals and tourists.
The Essence of Sumo
Sumo wrestling involves two rikishi (wrestlers) facing off in a circular ring, called a “dohyo.” The aim is to force the opponent out of the ring or make any part of their body, other than the soles of their feet, touch the ground. Matches are intense. They often last just a few seconds. But they are steeped in ritual and tradition.
The Heart of Sumo: The Basho
Sumo tournaments occur across Japan, with the most famous ones held in cities like Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, and Fukuoka. These events span 15 days, where wrestlers from various divisions compete for prestige and ranking. The highlight is the top-division matches, featuring the highest-ranked wrestlers.
Experiencing a Sumo Tournament
Attending a basho is a must-do for anyone visiting Japan. It offers a deep dive into Japanese culture, from the ceremonial aspects to the passionate cheers of the crowd. Tickets can be purchased in advance, with various seating options available, from ringside seats to box seats and general admission.
Sumo Beyond the Ring
Sumo is more than just a sport; it’s a way of life for the wrestlers. They live in training stables, where they practice daily and follow strict traditions. Sumo wrestlers follow a special diet, with “chanko-nabe” being a staple. This hearty stew helps them maintain their considerable size and strength.
Plan Your Visit
When planning to attend a sumo tournament, it’s wise to check the schedule well in advance. Tournaments take place in odd-numbered months, starting in January. Each location offers a different experience, from the vibrant atmosphere of Tokyo’s Ryogoku Kokugikan to the historic charm of Osaka’s Prefectural Gymnasium.
If you are not sure how the ticket purchase process works, you can take a tour. Of course, tours are only available while Sumo Tournament is open.
Grand Sumo Tournament Tokyo – Osaka – Nagoya provides opportunities to see Sumo Tournament in Tokyo, Nagoya, Osaka and Fukuoka. Follow the link to check the tournament schedule and the available dates.
If you are not in Japan during the tournament period, why not visit a sumo wrestler’s practice?