Sumo wrestling is one of Japan’s most iconic sports, and attending a sumo training tour in Tokyo is an unforgettable way to experience this centuries-old tradition up close.
Watching the wrestlers as they go through their daily routine of training, stretching, and practice matches, visitors can gain a deeper appreciation for the history and culture of sumo.
If you are in a rush, here’s the 3 best sumo practice experiences
- #1. Challenge Sumo Wrestlers and enjoy lunch (book here): A more relaxed vibe with food and with plenty of opportunity to meet the sumo and even go up against them if you’re game
- #2. Watch Morning Practice at a Sumo Stable in Tokyo (Book here): This is the tour to choose if you want to see what it’s like inside a real sumo stable including the rigors of morning training
- #3. Tokyo Sumo Morning Practice Walking Tour (Book here): For the serious sumo fan with training and a history tour of the sumo heartland of Ryogoku
In this in-depth guide, we’ll dive into everything you need to know about how to watch sumo practice and taking a sumo training tour in Tokyo, including what to expect, where to book, and tips for making the most of your experience.
How To Watch Sumo Training In Tokyo
The best way to get a close look at the art of sumo is to join a tour that will allow you into the secretive world of Sumo where you can watch the sumo complete a morning practice session.
A sumo training tour in Tokyo is a guided tour that takes visitors to a sumo stable, where you can watch the wrestlers as they go through their daily training routine. These tours offer an intimate look into the world of sumo wrestling, allowing you to learn about the history and culture of the sport and gain a deeper appreciation for the skills and dedication required to become a sumo wrestler.
What to Expect on a Sumo Training Tour
When taking a sumo training tour in Tokyo, visitors can expect to:
- Meet at a designated location before traveling together to the sumo stable
- Remove shoes and bow to the stable master as a sign of respect upon entering the sumo stable
- Watch the wrestlers as they go through their daily routine of training, stretching, and practice matches
- Learn about the history and culture of sumo wrestling during breaks in the training session
- Meet and take photos with the wrestlers after practice (respectful behavior is expected)
- Enjoy a traditional Japanese breakfast or lunch (depending on the tour)
- Be led back to the designated meeting point to end the tour
A Quick Note On The Japan Rail Pass Price Hike
The price of the wonderful Japan Rail Pass is going up a massive 62% in October but there’s still time to lock in the old rates if you’re quick. Klook still offers the old prices so if you buy before September 30th you can travel with the old prices until December 28th, 2023.
Where to Book a Sumo Training Tour
There are several companies that offer sumo training tours in Tokyo, including Viator, Voyagin, and City-discovery. These tours typically include transportation, admission to the sumo stable, and a guide who can provide insight into the history and culture of sumo wrestling. Visitors should book their tour in advance to ensure availability and avoid disappointment.
Best Sumo Training Tours
There are a number of packages available for you to watch the Sumo morning training, meet the Sumo, take pictures, and even have a traditional chunko Nabe Lunch with them.
Here we’ll look at what we consider the best 3. They all have great reviews and all allow up-close viewing of the sumo training sessions. This is one Tokyo experience that you are surely not going to forget in a hurry.
Let’s check out the tours…
Sumo Tour #1: Challenge Sumo Wrestlers and Enjoy Lunch Tour
The Challenge Sumo Wrestlers and Enjoy Lunch tour is a fantastic opportunity to experience the world of sumo wrestling up close.
You will learn about the history, rules, and training rituals of sumo wrestlers as they watch real matches and even participate in a skirmish with a retired wrestler. The included authentic Chanko Nabe hotpot lunch is a filling meal enjoyed by sumo wrestlers to gain weight. This tour offers a rare opportunity to interact with sumo wrestlers and experience their daily life.
The two-hour tour includes admission, transportation, and hotel pickup and drop-off. The tour takes place in Ryogoku, where visitors can enjoy a sumo performance, learn about sumo techniques, and take photos with the wrestlers.
key points of the Challenge Sumo Wrestlers and Enjoy Lunch tour:
- Watch real sumo matches and learn about the history, rules, and training rituals of sumo wrestlers.
- Participate in a skirmish with a retired sumo wrestler if you’re feeling brave.
- Enjoy a filling Chanko Nabe hotpot lunch, a traditional meal enjoyed by sumo wrestlers to gain weight.
- Interact with sumo wrestlers and experience their daily life.
- The two-hour tour includes admission, transportation, and hotel pickup and drop-off.
- The tour takes place in Ryogoku, a famous sumo district in Tokyo.
- Learn sumo techniques and take photos with the wrestlers.
- Dietary restrictions can be accommodated if noted in advance.
- Cancellation is possible up to 7 days in advance for a full refund.
- Not wheelchair accessible, but near public transportation.
Reviews For This Tour
According to reviewers, the Challenge Sumo Wrestlers and Enjoy Lunch tour was an incredibly enjoyable experience. Visitors raved about the sumo wrestlers, who were engaging, entertaining, and even allowed the audience to challenge them.
The wrestlers were described as funny and informative, providing insight into sumo culture and history. Guests were also impressed by the Chanko Nabe hotpot lunch served, which was delicious and filling.
The sumo demonstrations were both informative and entertaining, showcasing the wrestlers’ strength, agility, and skill. Reviewers appreciated the opportunity to try sumo wrestling themselves and take photos with the wrestlers.
The staff was also praised for their friendliness and accommodating nature. It’s recommended to arrive early to secure the best seats for this must-do tour. Overall, reviewers highly recommend the Challenge Sumo Wrestlers and Enjoy Lunch tour for anyone looking for a unique and exciting experience in Tokyo.
Sumo Tour #2: Watch Morning Practice at a Sumo Stable in Tokyo
Looking for an insider’s view into the world of sumo wrestling? Then the Watch Morning Practice at a Sumo Stable in Tokyo tour is the perfect experience for you. This 2-hour tour offers visitors a rare chance to glimpse into the exclusive world of sumo wrestling and observe the rules and regulations of sumo.
During the tour, visitors will get a chance to watch sumo wrestlers practice their techniques at a sumo stable. The fighters live in communal ‘stables’ where every aspect of their daily lives is dictated by strict tradition. Many sumo stables are not open to foreign visitors, but this tour offers a unique opportunity for visitors to experience sumo culture firsthand.
However, it’s important to note that this experience requires sitting for long periods of time on the floor. Visitors are also expected to adhere to specific rules during their visit, such as refraining from eating, talking loudly, or taking photos with bright flashes or loud noises that could distract the wrestlers.
The experience is available throughout the year, but it’s subject to the sumo stable’s schedule, which can only be confirmed about one week before. In addition, the duration of the practice varies every day and is usually between 60 to 90 minutes.
During the sumo tournament season in Tokyo in January, May, and September (around 15th-25th), practice duration will be between 30 minutes to 40 minutes, although the price remains the same.
Overall, visitors have praised the experience and noted that it’s interesting to see warm-up routines and practice bouts up close and have described the tour guides as pleasant and accommodating.
If you’re looking for a unique and authentic experience of Japanese culture, the Watch Morning Practice at a Sumo Stable in Tokyo tour is a great choice.
- 2-hour tour to a sumo wrestling stable in Tokyo
- Watch sumo wrestlers practicing their technique at a sumo stable
- Gain access to a part of Japanese tradition that not many visitors see
- Unlike tour #1 food and drinks is not included in this tour
- The duration is between 60 to 90 minutes
- During the sumo tournament season in Tokyo, the practice duration will be between 30 min to 40 min.
- Good cancellation policy
- Total review count and overall rating based on Viator and TripAdvisor reviews: 176 reviews with a 4.5 overall rating
Reviewers noted that the Watch Morning Practice at a Sumo Stable in Tokyo tour provides a unique opportunity to observe the sumo culture and see how the wrestlers train. They found the experience fascinating, refreshing, and a great cultural introduction to the sport. Reviewers also appreciated the prompt communication from the tour operator and the ease of arranging the tour.
Overall, reviewers highly recommend this tour as a must-do for those interested in traditional Japanese sports and culture. However, some reviewers felt that the lack of explanation during the practice made it difficult to fully understand what was going on.
Tour 3: Tokyo Sumo Morning Practice Walking Tour
This Sumo Watching tour takes travelers on a morning practice walking tour to gain an inside look at Japan’s traditional national sport.
Points To Note:
- Local guide provides insider access to the Sumo practice
- Includes entrance fee, tour photos, and local guide fee
- Includes Sumo museum visit after practice (if open)
- Make sure to use the toilet before the tour starts
- You may need to sit on the floor
- Full refund if canceled up to 24 hours in advance
- Unlike some tours, you are allowed to photograph the training and wrestlers
For this tour, you will watch the Sumo practice in an unstaged setting, and tour photos are included. The local guide provides insider access to the Sumo practice and helps visitors understand Japanese culture and history through this fascinating sport.
The tour includes the entrance fee for the Sumo practice, tour photos, and the local guide fee but Lunch is not included.
The meeting point is in the heart of Sumo culture outside the JR Ryogoku Station East Exit, and the activity ends back at the same point. After watching the Sumo practice, visitors can visit the Sumo museum, unless it is closed.
The tour may require visitors to sit on the floor, and a maximum of 8 travelers can participate. The cancellation policy allows for a full refund if canceled up to 24 hours in advance, and the experience requires good weather.
The tour receives mostly positive reviews, but visitors should be aware that the timing may change, and there is no lunch or other activities with the tour. Visitors are allowed to photograph the training and the wrestlers and may have a posed photo opportunity with them at the end of the session.
Tips for a Successful Sumo Training Tour
To make the most of your sumo training tour in Tokyo, keep these tips in mind:
- Dress appropriately: Visitors should wear comfortable, conservative clothing and remove their shoes upon entering the sumo stable
- Be respectful: Sumo is a deeply respected and revered tradition in Japan, and visitors should behave accordingly. They should be quiet, respectful, and follow the instructions of their guide
- Don’t disturb the wrestlers: Visitors should refrain from touching the wrestlers without their permission, taking flash photography, or disrupting their training in any way
- Come hungry: If breakfast is included in the tour, visitors should come hungry and be prepared to enjoy traditional Japanese cuisine
- Follow the rules: Visitors should listen to their guide and follow any rules or guidelines provided to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone involved
Which Areas Can I Watch Sumo Training In Tokyo?
Sumo training in Tokyo is typically held in sumo stables or “beya” where professional sumo wrestlers live, train, and prepare for tournaments. These stables are scattered throughout Tokyo, but not all of them are open to the public for viewing.
However, as we have looked at above, a few stables do allow visitors to watch sumo training, provided that they follow certain rules and guidelines. Here are a few of the most popular sumo stables to watch sumo training in Tokyo:
Arashio Stable: Located in the Ryogoku area of Tokyo, the Arashio Stable is known for its friendly wrestlers and welcoming atmosphere. Visitors can watch sumo training from a designated viewing area, and may even have the chance to take photos with the wrestlers after practice.
Kasugano Stable: Also located in the Ryogoku area, the Kasugano Stable is home to some of the most successful wrestlers in the sumo world. Visitors can watch training from a designated area, and may even be served a traditional Japanese breakfast after practice.
Sakaigawa Stable: Located in the Asakusa area of Tokyo, the Sakaigawa Stable is known for its impressive wrestlers and skilled coaches. Visitors can watch training from a small viewing area, and may even have the chance to meet the wrestlers after practice.
It’s important to note that sumo stables have their own rules and regulations for visitors, and it’s crucial to follow them to avoid disrupting the wrestlers and their training.
You should be quiet, and respectful, and refrain from taking flash photography or touching the wrestlers without permission.
Rather than just showing up, it’s recommended to book a sumo training tour or contact the stable in advance to confirm that they are open to visitors on the day of your intended visit.
The Sum Up
A sumo training tour in Tokyo is a unique and unforgettable way to experience Japan’s rich culture and traditions. With a bit of preparation and respect, visitors can enjoy an intimate look into the world of sumo wrestling and gain a deeper appreciation for this fascinating sport. Whether you’re a lifelong fan of sumo or simply looking for a new and exciting cultural experience, a sumo training tour in Tokyo is not to be missed.
Book Your Tour Now
Book your sumo training tour today and get ready for a truly unforgettable cultural experience!