NOTES ON VISITS: February and March－the wrestlers will be outside Tokyo for the entire period.
There are no practice sessions in Tokyo during this time.
For April: Training resumes in Tokyo and will be available to watch for the entire month.
If the timing of your visit doesn't allow you to see the Sumo Tournament in Ryogoku (held for 15 days during January, May and September - more information here), you still have a chance to get a front row seat to a morning practice held at one of the 45 sumo beyas (stables)
The practices start from around 7:30am (we usually enter from around 8:00 to 8:30) and continue until about 10, though the intensity and duration will be adjusted by the stable master based on the condition of the wrestlers.
There is no weight division in sumo; the small guys try to beat the bigger guys using technique. You will be surprised at how flexible the wrestlers are; they are not just someone that is big but actually very athletic!
At the end, you might have an opportunity to take photos with the wrestlers.
How to book: Please inquire first for availability and details.
Rates: 7,500 JPY per person
*Details will be provided over e-mail on how to go the facility yourself. There is no guide accompanying you.
*Transportation fees from your hotel to the sumo stable is not included.
OPTION: You may also choose to add a guide for additional fee of 15,000 JPY per group
*Example: If you are a group of four and you would like a guide to join you, the total fee 45,000 JPY(7500x4, +15000)
Note that for April 2020, there will be a different rate structure owing to high demand. Please inquire for details.
If you decide to hire a guide, you will be met at your hotel and be taken to the sumo stable using trains or a taxi (you will need to pay the transportation fees yourself). Along the way you can receive explanations on what to expect and also not have to worry about finding directions.
Visits are not available during March, July and November when the wrestlers are playing a tournament outside Tokyo.
Strictly NO talking, eating, drinking allowed during practice...
You will have to sit directly on the floors during practice with your legs crossed. Sumo is a sport that has close relations with the Shinto religion and the ring is considered a sacred place - do not show the soles of your feet to the ring or the wrestlers. Tattoos are seen with a very negative image in a traditional environment, so please cover them if possible.
The exact location of the practice will not be available until a few days before training. Usually the location is within the Asakusa/Ryogoku area in the downtown Tokyo but occasionally it is further out in the suburbs. You cannot request for a specific stable to visit.
Important : In a few occasions, the practices may be shortened due to the condition of the wrestlers.
Please acknowledge the sumo practice is not a show for tourists and understand this possibility when you book. The duration can vary from anywhere between 30 minutes - 2 hours.
Photography without flash is permitted, but the Sumo Association that governs each of the sumo stables strictly prohibit visitors from taking any video.
Just so you know - The photo shows the usual environment for watching the training...directly sitting on the floor with a thin cushion provided. While the Japanese are used to this kind of sitting style, obviously this will not be ideal for anyone with leg or back pain...
Some publications will mention the possibility of tourists calling the sumo stable directly to secure a visit. This indeed was possible until about 2015, when the number of international visitors were much lower than it is now. Now with more interest in the sumo training, many sumo stables have simply shut the doors to avoid any hassle so the athletes can concentrate on the training.
If you want to just take a few quick photos and move on, it is possible to see the training of the Arashio Beya sumo stable for free from the outside through a window. You can't make any reservations - you simply show up at the right time hoping it's a practice day and quietly watch the training. Normally the training continues until about 10 am. On a warm day the windows might be opened, allowing for better photo opportunities.
You are not allowed to enter the building at any point- if you see anyone inside, it is a sponsor or a friend of the sumo stable. Visitors can only watch from the outside. Also make sure you don't disrupt the training by talking/making any noise. The stable is located at 2-47-2 Nihonbashi Hamacho, Chuo-ku. It is about a minute away from the A2 Exit of the Hamacho Station on the Toei Shinjuku subway line.