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Ryogoku Kokugikan National Sumo Arena

Watch a Sumo Tournament live

Japan, Tokyo
4-6 hours

The Ryogoku Kokugikan is Tokyo's renowned National Sumo Stadium, dedicated to the Japanese sport of sumo wrestling and primary venue for professional sumo tournaments.

The stadium hosts three of the six annual Grand Sumo Tournaments (Honbasho) held in January, May, and September. These tournaments last for 15 days and attract thousands of sumo enthusiasts from Japan and around the world.

Apart from hosting sumo tournaments, the stadium also features a small sumo museum where visitors can learn about the history, culture, and traditions of sumo wrestling. There's also a souvenir shop offering sumo-related memorabilia. The Kokugikan's traditional Japanese architectural style, with its distinctive sloping roof and wooden construction, provides a unique and authentic setting for sumo competitions.

What is Sumo?

Sumo dates back centuries and is deeply intertwined with Shinto (one of Japan's religion) rituals and traditions. It's considered Japan's national sport and has historical ties to religious ceremonies.

Sumo wrestling involves two wrestlers competing in a circular ring (dohyo). The objective is to force your opponent out of the ring or make any part of their body (other than their feet) touch the ground.



For us this was one of the highlights of our Tokyo stay! Attending a sumo tournament at Kokugikan offers an immersive experience into Japanese culture, providing the chance to witness this ancient and highly ritualized sport up close. 

How to attend a sumo tournament?

  1. First, you need to be in Tokyo at the same time when a tournament is running. Find out the exact dates on the website of the Japan Sumo Association. The tournament usually lasts for 15 days and is held in Tokyo in January, May, and September every year.
  2. Buy official tickets well in advance! Sumo is highly popular and usually the tickets are sold out quickly on official pages. You can check out on the website of the Japan Sumo Association where to buy the tickets. Usually you can buy them approximately one month before the tournament starts.

Picking tip: Recommendation on how to visit the sumo tournament in Tokyo

The ticket sales can be a hassle especially if you do not speak Japanese. Also if you want to visit a sumo tournament last minute, it is nearly impossible to get tickets from the official website.

Do as we did and buy tickets from Klook which is a popular marketplace for travel activities. The Sumo Tournament Tour from Klook even includes an English speaking guide and lots of goodies (snacks and sumo fan merchandise). During the tour we learnt so much about the sport and could ask questions to our guide during the fights. It truly made the experience even better for us.

Check out the Sumo Tournament Tour on Klook.