Updated: March 18, 2017
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Perfect Guide To Watch Sumo Wrestling In Japan

One reason why foreigners flock to Japan is to watch the exciting sumo wrestling tournaments. So we will tell you what tournaments are available, how to buy tickets and how much these tickets cost!

Rules of sumo wrestling

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Dating back some 2,000 years, sumo wrestling has deceptively simple rules: each wrestler must force his opponent out of the ring (dohyo) or make him touch the floor with a body part other than his feet. Seems a tad mundane, but with eye-opening new moves foreigner wrestlers, most notably the Mongolians, have brought to the sport, sumo wrestling matches promise to be adrenalin-pumping events!

Ranks in sumo wrestling

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Sumo wrestling tournaments are whole day events, so it would be good if you know how they are run so that you can prioritize your time and energy. These matches typically start as early as 8.30am, with the lowest-ranking wrestlers scheduled to compete first. Better ranked wrestlers will appear around 4pm while a yokozuna (highest ranked wrestler) will fight in the last round just before 6pm.

In 2017, Kisenosato was promoted to the rank of yokozuna - the first Japanese yokozuna the world has seen in almost two decades!

Number of tournaments

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The Japan Sumo Association holds six tournaments every year, three times in Tokyo (January, May and September) and one time each in Osaka (March), Nagoya (July) and Fukuoka (November). These tournaments last for 15 days and receive widespread coverage on national television and new media.

In Tokyo, the tournaments are held at the impressive 10,000-seat Ryogoku Kokugikan (National Sumo Association).

How to buy tickets

Booking tickets online is not as daunting as you may fear since you can do it conveniently at sumo.pia.jp/en or at buysumotickets.com. Balcony seats start from about 4,000yen while boxed seats start from 10,000yen. If you want to get up close with the sumo wrestlers, consider forking out 15,000yen for an exclusive ringside seat which is located rather close to the ring.

Or if you can't quite confirm your travel itinerary, you don't even have to reserve tickets in advance. Same-day general admission tickets are available for a wallet-friendly 2,200yen!
I hope this article addresses some of your doubts about watching a sumo tournament in Japan. Hurry now! Book your ticket now and enjoy a slice of good old traditional Japanese action!
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