How Much Do Sumo Wrestling Tickets Cost?
As a tradition that has lasted over a thousand years, sumo wrestling is a highly competitive sport, but also an integral part of Japan’s cultural history. As a result, tickets to witness sumo wrestling in person are much-desired, and draw many national and international attendees every year. Listed below are several options to purchase tickets and the varying costs attached.
Since tournament tickets can be expensive or hard to come by, one of the most popular ways to watch sumo wrestling is by purchasing tickets to early morning sumo practice sessions. The absolute cheapest way is to go to the Arashio sumo stable located in Hamacho. One of the studio walls is fitted with large windows, through which visitors can watch the wrestlers practice for free.
If you want a better view, and to not stand outside for hours, you can also purchase tickets at any available sumo stable by yourself or through a tour site. These tickets generally range from 7,000 yen (US $52) to 12,000 yen (US $90).
Practice session tickets can also be purchased online through a travel agency, with various bundles included. Some of the cheapest bundles are simple behind-the-scenes experience combos, and these range from 3,300 yen (US $25) to 8,370 yen (US $63). There are also more elaborate and complex tour experiences that include a viewing of a sumo practice session and cost anywhere from 11,000 yen (US $82) to 17,500 yen (US $131). Finally, there are certain VIP practice session bundles, in which you watch all of the morning practice sessions and get to meet and greet the sumo wrestlers afterward, a special private experience that costs around 125,000 yen (US $935).
The cheapest way to watch an official sumo match, as opposed to a practice session, is to purchase tickets on the same day of the match from the stadium. Around 400 of these same-day tickets are made available for each match, and these are referred to as “free” seats because they are the farthest away possible from the wrestling ring and cost much less as well. The lines for these tickets start in the early morning and are often quite long, especially for weekend matches or matches late into a tournament. If you are lucky enough to obtain a numbered card from the queue, you can pay 2200 yen (US $16) in cash only for any adult and 200 yen (US $1.50) in cash only for any child aged 4-15.
The easiest and most reliable, but also the most expensive way to get sumo tickets, is through the Ticket Oosumo website. Unlike the queues, numbered cards, and cash payments of the same-day options, online tickets through Ticket Oosumo can be purchased through debit or credit cards, and can be picked up at the stadium in Tokyo on the day of the tournament.
The first type of seats available are Jiyuseki, which are standing-only areas at the back of the arena, and these cost 2800 yen (US $21) for adults and 200 yen ($1.50) for children aged 4-15. In front of the standing seats are chair seats called Isu, which are sold for around 3200 yen (US $24) in the A-section and around 4700 yen (US $35) in the B-section.
The third ticket option is called Masu, and these seats are also chairs divided into two sections. These generally cost around 10,300 yen (US $77) for Masu section A seats and around 11,300 yen (US $84) for Masu section B seats. At the very edge of the sumo mat are ringside areas where patrons are allowed to sit as close as possible to watch the sumo match. These are called Tamari, can be purchased in groups of one to six, and often cost about 14,300 yen (US $107) per person.
Since almost all major sumo wrestling events occur in different areas of Tokyo, pricing for a trip should take travel costs into account. The first main travel cost is to take the Tokyo Metro to make your way around the city, particularly from accommodations to the sumo venue. These tickets are priced based on distance traveled, and come in denominations of 170 yen (US $1.30), 200 yen (US $1.50), 250 yen (US $1.90), 290 yen (US $2.20), and 320 yen (US $2.40). Attending sumo wrestling is also a classic tourist attraction for international guests, and thus, the cost of airfare will need to be accounted for in those cases. Though travel costs may be high, you will find that a cultural institution as rich and storied as sumo wrestling is well worth the cost.