Arts & Culture
Humbling insights and authentic interactions with the wrestlers honoring the tradition of sumo

Watch Sumo Wrestling Practice

With a history spanning more than 1,500 years, sumo wrestling is not only a fascinating spectacle; it’s a deeply rooted part of Japanese culture. The practice is even recorded in Japan’s earliest annals: Records of Ancient Matters and The Chronicles of Japan. Suffused with tradition, what began as a harvest ritual developed into courtly entertainment, and today is Japan’s national sport. Sumo is also a window into the Edo period (1603–1868), with many rituals and traditions unchanged since that time.

Although a Grand Sumo Tournament offers spectacle on an impressive scale, watching the rikishi (sumo wrestlers) practice early in the morning is a more exclusive and personal way to tap into the culture. It’s a fascinating and humbling experience that will provide a deeper appreciation of their skill, devotion, and even flexibility to those fortunate to be admitted.

Taking a private tour means a guide trained in the proper protocols will interpret and help you navigate a world steeped in etiquette. While learning from their knowledge, you’ll be able to respectfully observe genuine training without disrupting the wrestlers, ensuring a great experience. After the practice, join the rikishi for a meal of chanko-nabe — a fortifying hotpot they make themselves — for an authentic taste of their daily lives.

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