** Due to COVID-19, the November 2020 tournament will not take place in Fukuoka but rather in Tokyo at the Ryogoku Kokugikan, with audience restrictions in place. **
Held every November, this is the final 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 or from the Sumo association. You can also purchase tickets at the hall each morning—you have to be there pretty early but works great for last minute plans. Sumo matches take place throughout the day and you can leave to grab food before returning for more battles. 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.