The USA has actually baseball and Canada has actually ice hockey. Yet what is the national sport the Japan? Sumo wrestling!

Japan is the only nation where sumo fights are hosted professionally. The sport dates earlier to ancient times and to this day has actually preserved many of the god s religion rituals and also traditions native which it first arose. A sport unlike any type of other martial arts or wrestling event on the globe, sumo wrestles is a must-see for travelers come Japan.

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Though recognized by the IOC, sumo wrestling will certainly not it is in an official component of the 2020 Summer gamings in Tokyo. However that doesn’t average travelers come Tokyo because that the gamings shouldn’t do it a point to evil a sumo fight during their time in Japan. Sumo is a wonderful possibility to learn around Japanese culture and construct an appreciation because that a totally different sort of athleticism.


Here is everything you require to know to know sumo wrestles rules and traditions, as well as where and also how to see sumo wrestling in Tokyo and also the neighboring area:

What is sumo wrestling?

Sumo wrestles is a full-contact rings sport. Two wrestlers, or rikishi, complete to either force their contender out the the ring or to reason him to fall. The ring, or dohyo, is make of clay v a class of sand on top and is about 15 feet in diameter. Sumo rings matches commonly last just a couple of seconds each, however in rarely cases, it can take over a minute before a rikishi is moved out of the dohyo or falls. Unlike most martial arts sports, sumo does not have any kind of weight divisions, so occasionally wrestlers may confront off against an opponent substantially larger 보다 themselves. Japan’s champion sumo wrestler dead the title yokozuna.

What space some sumo wrestles traditions?

Because sumo wrestling dates back much more than 1500 years and is intimately tied v so numerous Shinto traditions, every sumo fight begins with number of rituals:

The sumo slap and also pre-match dance

Before the enhance begins, the 2 rikishi carry out something the a routine dance. Very first they slap your hands with each other to tempt the gods’ attention. This is a Shinto routine that you might observe elsewhere in Japan – plenty of devout worshipers perform this as soon as they entire a shrine.

Next, the rikishi revolve their hands as much as the heavens, in order to proving that they don’t have any type of weapons.

Finally, the wrestlers will certainly squat, raise your legs, and stamp the ground repeatedly. This is meant to scare poor spirits away that may be hiding in the dohyo.

Salting the sumo ring

Rikishi likewise throw salt right into the dohyo prior to each match to to wash the ring and protect against injury. They may do this in mix with the pre-bout dance because that up to four minutes prior to beginning the fight.

While this can seem prefer a lot of construct up because that a struggle that typically only lasts a couple of seconds, this rituals space hugely necessary for the rikishi. Not only is the routine an chance to enter the right attitude before the match, that is additionally a chance to dimension up and potentially intimidate your opponent.

The sumo outfits

While mawashi might look silly to westerners, like over-sized thongs or diapers, they space a sacred and practical item of devices for sumo wrestlers. Mawashi space the official sumo wrestling outfit, and also are much less like loincloths 보다 they are favor belts.


Mawashi are made native a 30′ x 2′, 10-pound piece of silk that demands to be expertly folded come fit the athlete. The wrestler may also attach stiffened silk fronds to the mawashi, marking the components that room illegal for their enemy to grab. For numerous wrestlers, over there is a good deal that superstition bound to their outfits, and they will readjust the color of their mawashi to affect luck.

There is strategy to exactly how tightly the mawashi is tied. A rikishi whose an approach revolves about lots of contact will normally wrap the tightly and also splash it v water therefore his enemy can’t grip it. Wrapping the mawashi much more loosely, ~ above the other hand, protects the wrestler from being thrown.

What are the sumo wrestling rules?

There are numerous things that space strictly forbidden in sumo wrestling: no striking through closed hands, no choking, no kicking the chest or waist, no hair-pulling, no jabbing the eyes or the solar plexus, no double ear slaps, no bending your enemies fingers and also no grabbing your opponent’s mawashi in the groin region. Breaking any of this rules is grounds for instant disqualification.

Otherwise, the rule of sumo are an extremely strictly observed: action one toe out of the dohyo and you lose; touch the floor the the dohyo through any part of her body that is not the single of your feet and you lose.

A gyoji, the sumo tantamount of a referee, stands surrounding at every times come ensure that all rules space followed and to recognize the winner. The main gyoji uniform is an elaborate silk outfit that consists of a one-of-a-kind hat and also several props.

How perform sumo wrestlers train?

Sumo wrestlers’ resides are strictly regimented follow to the prescriptions the the Sumo Association. Much more than daily training and also diets, sumo wrestlers need to thrive their hair lengthy to form a topknot and are forbidden native driving their own cars. They also need to wear the traditional silk outfit, the chonmage, if in public, which provides them automatically identifiable.

Sumo wrestlers live in a communal maintain stable well-known as a heya. in ~ the heya, the wrestlers’ stays revolve roughly tradition. Once they rise, eat, train, and sleep is every dictated by doctrine. Lower level wrestlers may have to do chores favor cleaning and cooking, or even preparing baths for the senior wrestlers.

Rikishi train intensely every morning, act a range of strenuous stretching, strength, and also combat exercises. While the wrestlers may not watch muscular or flexible, they are actually remarkable athletes. Their bodies need to be all set to dish out and endure forceful collisions. Learning to maneuver their heavy bodies bring away a lot of practice and skill.

Wrestlers do not eat breakfast. Rather they have a very huge lunch v a many meat, fish, rice, and vegetables and along with beer to wash it down. ~ this lunch, the wrestlers are compelled to take it a nap. This regimen is supposed to assist the wrestlers put on weight.

Where have the right to I view sumo wrestling in Tokyo?

Three expert sumo tournaments take location in Tokyo every year. One throughout January, one during May, and one during September. Every tournament starts on a Sunday lasts because that 15 days and also gives girlfriend the opportunity to see hundreds of bouts.

The meet is the Ryogoku Kokugikan, likewise known together the Ryogoku Sumo Hall. Originally constructed in 1909, this large stadium deserve to accommodate end 11,000 spectators. This is the same venue that will host the Boxing occasions for the 2020 Summer Games.

Since sumo is no an official component of the Summer Games and also Tokyo’s main sumo venue will certainly be in use throughout that time, there won’t be any kind of professional sumo to check out in Tokyo throughout the 2020 Games. However, this must not stop visitors from see sumo rings in person.

Every July over there is a professional sumo tournament in Nagoya, around 160 miles southeast the Tokyo. Ticket to the bouts expense anywhere between 4,800 to 13,400 Yen ($34 – 120 USD) relying on the seating friend choose. They can be booked online, via phone, or by lining increase the work of.

Another alternative for watching sumo wrestling during your time in Tokyo is to visit a sumo stable. There are over 45 beya in Tokyo and many that which permit travelers come visit the stable and observe the practice. Part stables, like Arashio, deserve to be saw without a reservation, yet don’t permit you to enter the building and also instead ask the you clock from an exterior observation deck.

Other beya like Musashigawa, Kasugano, and Takasago allow tours within of the studio so long as guests have a guide who is expert in Japanese. The reasoning behind this is the there are plenty of rules and customs that should be respected, and also they don’t desire anything come be shed in translation.

Furthermore, there is additionally the Tokyo Sumo Museum. With complimentary entry and a vast collection that sumo artifacts, this museum is a an excellent place because that interested travellers to spend the day.

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Ready to check out the world’s many incredible athletes compete for the gold? Travel through Bucket List events to the 2020 Summer gamings in Tokyo, Japan because that a smooth experience complete with hotels, transportation, city tours, and special events.