We spent a day at the sumo to better understand Japanese sumo culture, customs of sumo in Japan and to be honest to have fun at another great traditional Japanese sporting event! We loved the baseball the day before and had high hopes for our day at the sumo. We weren’t disappointed.
Sumo was high on our todo list when planning for our trip to Japan. A number of friends and family members had been to Japan, but regretted their timing in not being able to go along and see a Grand Sumo Tournament. These are held 6 times a year, every two months. Most are held in Tokyo, although a few are in other regions of Japan. We went to the sumo in Nagoya, at the Dolphins Arena.
We purchased our tickets to the Japanese sumo online, well in advance. There are some tricks to getting your sumo tickets, so be sure to check out our article on how to go about purchasing tickets to the sumo in Japan. Each ticket allows one pass out during the event, which makes it a good opportunity to find your seats and get some footage from various locations around the arena when not many people are around early, but still come back in the mid-afternoon to see the top tier sumo divisions. Early in the day most of the sumos are amateurs, meaning those watching are mainly family and friends or die hard tragics. Maybe the odd tourist too! Most turn up around 3pm, in time to see the top tier professional sumos participate in the opening ceremony, complete with stomping by the Grand Champions of the East and the West.
Bentos and drinks are plentiful at the sumo, and pricing was really reasonable. Around lunchtime they had available some really big (and expensive) bento boxes that we were keen to try, but they did sell out by 2pm. So if you want to give the local delacacies a try, make sure you secure one early during lunch.
We ended up leaving about halfway through the top tier, although by that time had been at the sumo for a solid 5 hours. The kids were getting restless and Tokyo Disneysea awaited us the next day. If you are there without kids it would be fine tospend the whole day there, but if you have kids along perhaps time your run for around 2:30pm when the second division comes out. They too have a ceremony with all sumo wrestlers out on the arena.