** For 2020, the venue for the July tournament has been shifted to Tokyo. **
Held every July, this is the fourth of Japan’s six annual Sumo Tournaments, known as honbasho. With sumo rankings released a few weeks before, it’s a chance to see the traditional sport up close and personal. While the fights are broadcast on NHK, nothing beats the atmosphere of the tense final matches of the day, complete with cushion-throwing and cheers. Seating is divided into box seating – tatami areas seating four people which start at about ¥38,000 and arena seats which start from around ¥3,800.
Tickets can be purchased online in advance with some released on the day. For these you have to be there very early, but it’s good for last-minute plans. Sumo matches take place throughout the day and you can leave to grab food before returning. The busiest times are as you may expect – weekends and towards the end of the tournament.
If you’re not here during a tournament but still want to see some sumo action, here are a few ways to make it happen in Tokyo.