Here's what to know about Sumo: Big guys. Small Arenas. Easy to see.
Sumo arenas are square buildings with all the action in dead center. All seats have clear views.
Arenas are divided into two sections: Box Seats and Arena Seats.
The lower area is Box Seating, where you sit on mats and you generally must have at least four people per box. You can see those seats in the picture above. The Box Seats are below the upper red seats.
The upper area is Arena Seating, where individual chair seats are used. We offer these seats. These Arena Seats are shown as the red seats above.
We'll get seats in your price range as close to center arena as are available at the time you order.
Box Seating offers a seat cushion. You must buy the entire box. Seats are $130 or more per person.
In our experience visitors most often find this sitting-on-the-floor type of seating to be very uncomfortable.
Further, these Box Seats are tough to get. Sumo sponsors most often take them before public sale.
Since they are so difficult to obtain and we find few visitors interested, we don't offer them here.
Arena Seating uses individual fold-down chairs.
Arena Seating is the least expensive, most comfortable, and offers a good view in these small arenas.
We recommend these seats for Japan visitors.
We've taken many guests to Sumo as an option on our Japan Baseball Tours in which guests buy their own Sumo tickets. They've all found Arena Seating to be a good value.
Here's a general seating diagram for Arena Seats. Within the Arena Seating section, Arena Seats A (yellow) are closest to the action, followed by Arena Seats B (tan) and C (green).
The bulk of the interior white section on the diagram is taken up by Box Seating that, as noted above, we don't offer.
The Tokyo and Osaka arenas have all three Arena Seat sections.
The Fukuoka and Nagoya arenas divide their Arena Seat sections into A and B seats only, and sometimes configure to have their A seats centered and the B seats to either side of the central A section.
You never pay more than what the ticket costs.
We stand in your place in the ticket line. You pay what you yourself would pay using a credit card at the ticket window. We charge you only enough to take into account the currency exchange rate, credit card use, and ticketing fee, if any, that a particular arena may charge.
We figure you want to attend the event, so if your price range is sold out we'll get the the next lower available price range and refund the balance in your ticket envelope, unless you tell us otherwise during the order process.
Tournaments go on all day from about 9:00am to 6:00pm. Your ticket gives you access anytime throughout the day. When we go with our tours, we tend to visit in the mid-afternoon and find that a couple hours or so is plenty. We don't recommend going in the morning or very early afternoon since the matches during that time tend to have less pageantry, less proficient participants, and are often sparsely attended.
Please give us at least four days lead time. Note that the Opening and Closing days of a tournament sell out early. Avoid ordering for those dates if your schedule allows.
We buy tickets for you under the usual conditions you might expect: Once purchased they allow no refunds or exchanges.
Feel free to bring your camera.
SUMO ARENA LOCATIONS, MAPS AND PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION
The information below is from The Japan Times, the most widely read English-language newspaper in Japan. Their daily news and features on Japan and the world are available each day at news stands throughout Japan.
Arena: Ryogoku Kokugikan
Access: Just outside Ryogoku station (JR) on the yellow Sobu Line or five-minute walk from Ryogoku metro station (Oedo subway line)
Arena: Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium
Access: Five-minute walk from Namba station (subway line), five-minute walk from Namba station (Kintetsu line), five-minute walk from Namba station (Nankai line), 10-minute walk from Namba station (JR)
Arena: Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium
Access: Five-minute walk from Shiyakusho station (Meijo line)
Arena: Fukuoka Kokusai Center
Access: 13-minute bus ride from Hakata station (JR), eight-minute bus ride from Tenjin station (subway), 15-minute walk from Gofuku-machi station (subway)