Travel Japan: Watching Sumo Wrestlers Practice!


Training the fat, muscles, and speed

Training the fat, muscles, and speed

Sumo is Japan's national sport, so you can expect a lot of people want to watch a match when they're in Japan. Unfortunately, Sumo matches don't occur on a weekly basis, so it may not always line up when planning a vacation. If there isn't a match going on when you're in Japan, no worries, you can always watch a sumo wrestler practice session. Keep in mind that it isn't as easy as just walking up, so here's a few steps on what to do to find that practice arena!

  • Find a stable. Be sure to look around for a stable need you that allows for spectators. Be sure to call ahead or check their website to make sure you are allowed to watch.
  • Get there early. Remember, you're watching professional athletes train. You wouldn't want anyone disrupting you when you do your work, so it goes the same here.
  • Follow the etiquette. While this may sound strange, there are rules and etiquette to follow when watching a sumo practice. Don't worry, we made sure to outline some basics for you all below!

What to Do!

If watching professional Sumo Wrestlers is on your mind for your next Japan tour, be sure to book tickets to a professional match, or drop by a practice. If you do, just remember these rules/guidelines for when you go:

  • Remember, this isn't meant for tourists. So be respectful to the wrestlers, their managers, and the stable master.
  • Stay quiet throughout the practice. Try not to talk too much or move around really, as even in practice, the wrestlers are bound to be giving it their 110 percent.
  • Do NOT stand on the ring. Just don't do it.
  • Also, Don't sit in the Tokonoma (alcove)
  • Take off your shoes before stepping on any tatami mats. You'll most likely be asked to take off your shoes at the entrance anyways!
  • Keep your legs crossed. It's impolite to show the soles of your feet to the wrestlers.
  • No outside food, drinks, gum, hats, sunglasses, etc. Also, turn off your cell phone and other electronic devices while you're at it.
  • Try to remain seated until the end of practice. You came all the way out here to watch anyways, so why would you want to leave?
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