Subscribe and get a free lift ticket at Madarao when you book at Snowball Chalet*
This is simply one of best ground-shaking, chest-pounding, culturally-astounding experiences in Japan. Book tickets well in advance to the Grand Tournament in Tokyo in Jan (or Osaka in March) or special events such as the Retirement ceremony in Feb. Great for the whole family, especially in a box seat (yes, it's totally worth it).
We absolutely love the sumo because it is just so unique and is an incredible experience. If you splurge on a box seat which you totally should don't be surprised if the old grandmas in the box next to you share their sake with you and throw cushions at the rin when they are not happy about their favourite sumo losing.
The Sumo started way back in the third century and has been a feature of Japanese culture ever since. In the 1600's it was used to raise money for shinto temples and even now there are many shinto cultural elements included in the tournament. Salt symbolic of purification is tossed into the ring by the wrestlers. There is much ceremony around the start of each bout.
You may think sumo are overweight and unfit but underneath the rolls are massive muscles. These men are enormous and fit and there is no lack of intensity during battles. It really is an impressive site.
Watch out for people being squashed when the wrestlers tumble out of the ring.