Photo by Antoine
As you know, Sumo is Japan’s national sport and a type of martial arts, but it originally was a religious ritual of Shinto (Japan’s indigenous religion). The story can be traced back to ancient times and the ritual was used to tell the harvest would be rich or poor, by seeking the divine intention of the Gods.
In the 16th century, it became an entertainment sport and during the Edo period many people enjoyed watching Sumo at shrines and temples, and this is the origin of current professional Sumo.
Photo by M. Abe (TGCT)
(He is wearing a mask! To protect himself from the swine flu!?)
There are six Grand Sumo tournaments (Hon Basho) each year, three of them are held in Ryogoku, at the Sumo Hall (Ryogoku Kokugikan) in Tokyo. They are called Tokyo Basho and have tournaments in January, May and September every year. This year’s May Grand Sumo Tournament (Tokyo Basho) started on May 10th and will end on the 24th.
Everyday the wrestling match (bout) starts in the early morning for lower rank wrestlers and continues until late afternoon for higher rank wrestlers’. During this period, many Sumo wrestlers can be seen around the Sumo Hall and you will know right away who the low rank wrestlers are and who are high. The high rank wrestlers are walking together with their assistants and the lower rank wrestlers are walking by themselves carrying their own belongings. You might also be able to tell the difference from their Kimono (traditional Japanese clothing) – those wearing simple cotton Kimono are lower in rank, and those wearing luxury silk Kimono in beautiful colour are of course higher in rank!
The general admission tickets are available at 8:00 AM at the Sumo hall main gate at 2,100yen. With this ticket, you can stay for the whole day ! Maybe worth a try!?
We have a bike tour riding through Ryogoku area every Sunday. Please check here!