Going to See Sumo, the Final Event of the 2006 Winter Tournament

(Updated: June 15, 2013 with high resolution photos)

On January 22, 2006, it was the day we got to go see sumo. We had signed up in December and there were only 50 places available so I was lucky I signed up early. The sumo ticket was worth around 4300 yen, also we were given a free bento lunch box.

The scene outside the Ryōgoku Kokugi-kan, the arena where sumo is held.




The event actually starts at 8:30 am with amateur sumo wrestlers until around 10:30 am. Then after it’s the lower ranking professional matches. The real matches involving higher ranking sumo wrestlers started at around 2 pm. So we arrived at the sumo arena at around 2 pm. We were seated at the middle level seats, since near the front, there were no seats, but a futon were 4 or 5 people can seat on in that space to watch sumo.

How the sumo arena looked like when we first arrived.


The free "Sumo Bento" given to us. Note: everything was cold and that is how people usually eat bento here.



The start of some matches.



There were so many foreign people there watching sumo that I was pretty surprised. At the beginning it was kind of boring because it involved lower ranking wrestlers and the arena wasn’t full, but as time passed by, the arena gradually filled up. All the lower level seating was full, but the upper levels, where we were sitting never filled up. I thought it would have been a sell out.


At the last matches, involving the titles, the action got intense. A sumo match is really short, usually lasts less than 5 minutes. This day, the Japanese sumo wrestler beat the Mongolian-born reigning champion. At after he won, the crowd went crazy and started throwing the futons that they were sitting into the ring.

Advertisements before the match, the more there was, the more important the match was.


The match in action.


People throwing their cushions onto the ring.


The trophy presentation ceremony for the champion.



Nobu said...

I have to admit the bento box might be more my thing than the sumo matches themselves, but there's one thing I'm wondering. Why are they throwing their cushions up there?

kinkinsoba said...

That must have been a sight to see sumo. I've never been to a sumo match before except on those travel specials. The free bento looks awesome.