January is one of the Grand Sumo Tournaments, and for our final day in Tokyo before flying back to Osaka we decided to spend the day watching the Sumo.
You can pre book tickets; however, we just bought the tickets on the day which were for the very back row and were 2100 yen for the cheapest seats. The morning when all of the low level or non ranking fighters fight had basically no one present – it was completely deserted! After a while we went for a walk and food (you can exit and then re enter only once) before coming back afterwards to eat a delicious lunch of chyanko nabe – the food of sumo champions – and watch the higher ranking fights.
We definitely noticed the difference to the morning when coming back to the Sumo building. There were suddenly a lot of people around, and as we got closer and closer to the highest ranking fighters of the day the stadium was eventually full.
There are a number of rituals with sumo including attempting to intimidate the opponent, the throwing of salt and sing-song method of calling out the next fighters. I personally thought the very old school advertising (using banners) was pretty cool, and you could tell which fights were the popular ones by how many banners were in the advertising! There was a great atmosphere, and if you’re in Tokyo during the grand tournament season I would recommend checking it out.