When we were planning our recent trip to Japan we decided early that we were keen to see the sumo wrestling in Tokyo during our visit as a different way to experience the Japanese culture – and it certainly was a great experience which I would definitely recommend to other visitors to Japan! When researching options to purchase tickets I came across a large number of ticket purchase options, usually at premium prices. After extensive research I managed to work out how to book the same tickets online directly from the vendors at a much reduced price.
Read on to find out how to purchase your sumo wrestling tickets in advance online and not miss out or be at the mercy of ‘premium’ ticket sellers or scalpers.
- Sumo Wrestling Schedule in Japan
- About the Ryogoku Kokugikan Sumo Wrestling Experience in Tokyo
- Options to Purchase Your Sumo Wrestling Tickets Online
- How to Use the Ticket Oosumo Booking Website
- Purchasing Your Sumo Wrestling Tickets
- Picking Up Your Sumo Wrestling Tickets
- How to use the viaGoGo Booking Website
- Wrap Up
Sumo Wrestling Schedule in Japan
Sumo Wrestling tournaments are held approximately every two months and can shift between different venues across Japan. I researched both the sumo wrestling and baseball schedules before finalising our Japan visit itinerary, to ensure that we had the best opportunity to attend both events during our Tokyo visit.
The dedicated sumo wrestling arena in Tokyo is Ryogoku Kokugikan, which is located in the north east section of Tokyo. Other major sumo venues are located in Osaka and Aichi. We were fortunate that a Grand Sumo tournament was scheduled to occur in Tokyo during our visit.
The official website to use to both see the upcoming matches and to purchase your tickets is Ticket Oosumo. If you want to learn more about the overall sumo competition and information about the competition then the website to visit is the official Sumo website. Both websites have English language options and are easy to use and navigate. The Ticket Oosumo website also clearly articulates when the tickets are scheduled to go on sale for each tournament, so ensure that you note the date so you are ready to purchase your tickets shortly after they are released.
About the Ryogoku Kokugikan Sumo Wrestling Experience in Tokyo
The typical sumo wrestling tournament goes for 15 days. Each day of the tournament usually commences at 8am and concludes at around 6pm. While you can attend for the full day, the majority of spectators gradually arrive during the day. The reason why is that the tournament commences with the junior ranks and then progresses to the more senior wrestlers, and finishes with the professional level wrestler competition.
Each wrestler only participates in a single match on each day of the tournament and progress using a ‘round robin’ approach to wrestle with the other competitors within their division, so by the end of 15 days they have wrestled with every other competitor. This approach also means that often they already know who will be the winner of each division several days prior to the end of the tournament. As a result a great time to plan to attend is 3-4 days prior to the end of the tournament. If you would like to learn more about the tradition of Sumo there is a great compact guide which you can download.
We decided that with three young children that we did not want to attend for the full day. As a result we arrived by train at Ryogoku Kokugikan at around 2pm, and entered to see few other spectators. We had only arrived in Japan very early on the previous day and were quite tired so it was lovely to sit and just relax and watch the competition. Of note is the fact that the tournament seating was sold out when we entered, so it is definitely worthwhile to pre-purchase your tickets to avoid disappointment – or having to purchase via ‘premium’ ticket sellers…
The sumo areas are set up with the immediate area around the ring being Japanese style box seats, with a mostly flat of shallow graduation of the floor height. Behind this area are more conventional seating options with a steeper rise so that every seat can see the action. We had purchased western style ‘Chair Seat’ tickets which were quite comfortable and at an affordable price. We were close enough to see the action easily, and with few people around we were also able to explore the arena.
While the ‘Japanese Box Seat’ style seating was closer to the arena (and a lot more expensive) I don’t think I would have been able to sit on the floor on a thin cushion for over four hours. If you think you can cope then go right ahead – but be wary of purchasing the inner ring tickets – we saw several bouts where the wrestlers landed on the spectators!
The professional division (Makuuchi) starts at around 4.15pm, and we saw a definite surge of spectators in the period leading up to this time. The arena environment went from mostly empty to mostly full which really changed the dynamics of the crowd to be quite exciting!
Overall we had a great experience which I would definitely recommend to other visitors to Japan.
Options to Purchase Your Sumo Wrestling Tickets Online
While there are many premium (and vastly expensive!) options to purchase sumo wrestling tickets, with some additional research I worked out that it was also easy to pre-purchase your own tickets online and print your own tickets.
There are two main affordable options to purchase your online sumo wrestling tickets:
- the official website is Ticket Oosumo – it is mostly easy to use but takes a little bit of working out, and if you miss the ticket release date you may quickly miss out being able to purchase tickets.
- a great alternative option, particularly if the tickets are sold out for the day you wish to attend, is to purchase reseller tickets using the viaGoGo website – the prices are reasonable and they have a good reputation, and it is a good affordable option to purchase the tickets you want even close to the match date.
How to Use the Ticket Oosumo Booking Website
When we first looked at the Ticket Oosumo website the tickets for our preferred event were not yet on sale. The main page shows all of the upcoming tournaments for the next year ahead, with clear information on the tournament dates and the dates that the tickets will go on sale, which is approximately two months prior to each tournament. If tickets are open to be purchased for a tournament then extra buttons appear which enable you to click through to purchase your tickets.
I suggest that you first click the ‘View Available Seats’ button to see what is still available. In the below image you can see that the majority of the arena has already sold out for the full tournament (if you are too late Plan B will be described shortly).
To see a description of each kind of seat and associated pricing go back to the home page and then click on ‘Detailed Ticket Information’. The next page shows a summary of the extra costs to purchase a ticket, and at the bottom is a detailed description of each type of seat and the associated price. Check this out before you proceed with your booking, and check whether your preferred seat type is available.
Purchasing Your Sumo Wrestling Tickets
Once you have completed your research you are ready to make your booking! At the midpoint of the ‘Detailed Ticket Information’ page are the buttons to select which kind of seat you wish to purchase. There are a series of drop down boxes to select the date you wish to attend, the type of seat you want to purchase and the number of tickets you wish to purchase. The page also details the booking fee you need to pay. Once you have selected all of these items then press the ‘’Next’ button.
The following screen enables you to enter your name and personal details, and in particular you need to ensure that your email address is correct, as that is how you will receive your booking confirmation. I used the email address that I intended to use during our trip so that I could receive updates as required. Once this is complete then again select the ‘Next’ button.
You then proceed to the payment and delivery screen, where you enter your credit or debit card information, and your delivery method will be listed as ‘Will-Call’ – this means that you will pick up your tickets at the venue. Ensure that you use the same credit or debit card to book the tickets as you plan to use while in Japan, as you need to use your card to pick up your tickets!
Once you have entered this information, select the ‘next’ button which will take you to your final confirmation page to proceed with your ticket order. When you have confirmed your order you will receive a confirmation email. Note that you do not select your specific seats – you only purchase a type of ticket, and they will issue you the specific seats when you pick up your tickets at the venue.
From my experience the process worked smoothly, and we promptly received our confirmation email.
Picking Up Your Sumo Wrestling Tickets
At this stage there is nothing left to do until the day of your visit. When you arrive at the arena there are automatic machines which you will use to obtain your tickets. You need to ensure that you have a copy of your confirmation email, you need the debit or credit card you used to make your booking, and your passport or photo identification.
We found that the process to obtain our tickets was very easy and we quickly were able to enter the arena. You can obtain an arena guide at the entrance which has a English language map of the arena to help you find your seats. If you want to look at the arena guide in advance here is the link.
As you will see there are many food and drink options also shown on the map as well as the timetable of events. You should also receive a sheet which details the current status of the tournament competitors, and shows who has won and lost their matches so far.
How to use the viaGoGo Booking Website
ViaGoGo is a great reliable and affordable option to purchase your Japanese sumo wrestling tickets after they have been released for sale. When you click on the link you will see the main viagogo site – in the ‘Search for an event, venue or city’ type in ‘sumo’ and a list of upcoming sumo wrestling matches sorted by date with minimum pricing information will appear.
Click on the date you are interested in and it takes you to the booking page for that match, which also includes a seating match for the venue. A pop up asks for information about how many tickets you are interested in purchasing. Click on the appropriate number to see the available ticket options. There is a healthy reseller market for the sumo wrestling tickets so you should have a reasonable of ticket options available – the resellers compete against each other on price which is why you should not have to pay exorbitant scalper prices for the tickets.
After considering the options available click on the ‘View’ button to commence the checkout process. You can purchase either as a guest or set up an account if you wish. You then go through a standard shopping cart process to pay for your tickets.
ViaGoGo guarantees provision of the tickets in the week leading up to the event, and in the event that there is a problem guarantees to provide comparable tickets or a refund. Once you receive your tickets, you print them off and then you are ready to see the sumo wrestling match!
The online option resulted in us purchasing tickets for the sumo wrestling which cost one third of what I had budgeted when I researched the premium online options.
We really enjoyed seeing the sumo wrestling in a full stadium when we visited. We also visited a Japanese Baseball match so if you are interested please click through on this link to see how to purchase your Japanese baseball tickets.
Disclaimer: This article contains affiliate links. If you book after clicking on one of these links then we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.
Have you purchased tickets to see a sumo wrestling match in Japan? Please leave a comment below to share your experience.