One of the highlights of our Japan trip was seeing a sumo wrestling tournament at the Ryogoku Kokugikan (sumo stadium) in Tokyo. I learned that the Japan Sumo Association is only in Tokyo for 3 months of the year (January, May and September), so we were super lucky to be in Tokyo at just the right time.
The Ryogoku Kokugikan sumo stadium has two floors. The first floor comprised of ringside and box seats, which are classified into three classes A, B, and C, depending on the distance from ring. Majority of the box seats are for 4 people, but there are some that are for 2 or up to six people. The second floor comprises of rows of Western-style theater seating. These seats are also divided into A, B, and C classes depending on the distance from the ring. Ev’s parents didn’t think that they could sit on the floor the entire day so we elected to buy Class A theater seats on the second floor.
I would highly recommend purchasing tickets in advance because I’ve been told that tickets often sell out by the day of the event. I purchased tickets on the day they went on sale, so I was able to get really good seats in the second row of the A class seats. I purchased my tickets on the Ticket Oosumo – the official English online ticketing site for sumo -http://sumo.pia.jp/en/. They charge a $10 fee for each ticket, but it was very convenient, and I was able to pick up the tickets at the will-call kiosk at the entrance. The tickets ended up being 9,500 yen per person and well worth the price.Although the tournament officially started at 8:30 with the lowest ranking sumo wrestlers competing first and ending with the highest ranked wrestlers at around 18:00, we got there at around 13:30. Most people arrived at the stadium between 14:00 – 15:00. Watching sumo was surprisingly entertaining. Even though the actual round often only lasted a few seconds, there was always something interesting to watch. I would really recommend reading up on the basics of sumo so that you have some idea what you’re watching.Finally, no sumo visit would be complete without a visit to a Chanko nabe restaurant, which is a staple food for sumo wrestlers. Chanko nabe is a hot pot dish that contains vegetables, seafood, and meat. Prior to our visit to the sumo stadium, we ate at Chanko Tomoegata, which was about a 10 minute walk from the stadium.I ordered the lunch set which included a bowl of chanko nabe, rice, potato croquette, three different tsukemono sides, and a shoyu-miso sauce, which we added to the soup base, all for about 2,000 yen. Overall, the Chanko nabe had a very mild soup base and was comforting to eat.
Ryogoku Kokugikan – Tokyo Sumo Wrestling ♦♦♦♦♦
1-3-28 Yokoami, Tokyo
Tournament Hours: 8:30-18:00
Chanko Tomoegata (ちゃんこ巴潟) ♦♦♦
Address: 2-17-6, Ryogoku, Sumida-ku, Tokyo
Nearest Station: JR Ryogoku Station
Hour: [Mon～Fri] 11:30～14:00, 17:00～23:00