Sumo with kids in Japan


October 18, 2013 by Terumi

sumo caricature at stadium station

It might be my fault that I’ve had to buy one of my guys a sumo costume.

sumo caricature at stadium station

It started with a book we read.

And then he decided that he’d like to see Sumo in real life.  (And if you’re in Tokyo in January, May or September, you’re definitely in luck.)

I thought we might chance getting same day of seats (they are WAY cheaper!), but when we arrived in Japan and couldn’t book Ghibli tickets, I decided we better just get them so we didn’t miss out.  I’m glad we did because the day we went the seats were sold out.  We used this site to help us buy the tickets.

sold out sign at sumo staidum

And because kids have a short attention span and the tournament lasts the whole day we arrived around 2:30pm (Another perk of pre-buying tickets.) Apparently this is when the more known Sumo wrestlers have their matches and the whole thing typically ends around 6:30pm.

sumo ring at train station

train station sumo cut-out

Even the train station near the stadium was pretty amazing.  There were sumo handprints and a mock sumo ring and food-trucks everywhere.





We saw a bunch of people lined up and apparently they were waiting to see the wrestlers arrive and leave.  We joined the crowd and the lady next to us gave us candy.  It was neat hearing them cheer loudly for some wrestlers as they left the stadium and then we knew who the popular wrestlers were.

Some of them even let us take pictures.


In the stadium there were many people there to help us find our seats.  The will-call station outside was very well-marked.  I was worried that figuring out how to get our tickets would be a problem but this was very easy.

will-call tickets English sign


The hubby heard you need to have yakitori chicken and beer and we also found popcorn and yummy ice cream.



The guys were both thrilled to see the wrestlers.  Each match (bout? round?) is very short, but intense and I couldn’t believe how flexible sumo wrestlers are. They can lift their legs almost to their ears!  Sometimes the wrestlers would fall off the stage in the middle and roll into the audience and that was pretty exciting too.

I’m not sure how much we all understood what was going on, or if we would ever need to see another tournament, but it was amazing to be there and the guys definitely knew this was a special event.  We ended up leaving a little before it ended, giving us enough time to get to the train station before the crowds and by then the guys were ready to go.  (We even saw wrestlers on the train and the guys couldn’t believe that they take the train too.)


Ultimately I’m not sure how long the sumo wrestler craze will last in our house or how much I’m going to encourage this sport.  The costume apparently arrives in the next few days but I’m trying to locate a cool backup just in case.




(PS. there were lots of food trucks outside the stadium, so I think you could bring food in.  I noticed that some food was selling out and that there was only one place I found hot food and that was on the upper floor.  I think you were allowed to go in and out once but I wasn’t sure how that worked and didn’t want to chance it.

PPS. Kids under 4 are free.)



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