Free Sumo in Tokyo

August

Had your heart set on seeing sumo, but you arrived in Tokyo between tournaments, or all the cheap sumo tickets were sold out? You may still be able to get a dohyo-side seat for absolutely nothing. Free sumo in Tokyo, you say?

How? By attending the free sumo wrestling practice (asa-keiko) at Arashio-beya in Hamacho.

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Viewed through the stable’s large windows while standing in a quiet backstreet, the practice does lack the salt-tossing ceremony and silken pageantry of an actual sumo tournament. Nonetheless, pressing your nose against the glass rewards you with an authentic glimpse of the daily lives of aspiring sumo wrestlers. The mixture of exertion, expression, muscle, sweat and sand is intimate enough to feed your inner voyeur. If you are really lucky, you won’t have to share the experience with too many other tourists on the morning you attend.

free sumo
Photo by amanderson2 used under CC

Arashio-beya practices sumo between 7:30am and 10am on most mornings except in March, July and November. The wrestlers also take a week off after each of the grand sumo tournaments. If you are not immune to disappointment, it is best to call the stable between 4-8pm the day before you wish to attend to make sure the practice is actually taking place—and to ask for exact starting and ending times. For non-Japanese speakers, the stable’s website has a dialogue in romaji to help you through the conversation.



Photo by Gregory Lane

Arashio-beya doesn’t require reservations to watch through the windows, but the courtesies expected in return for the privilege are outlined on the website. For example, no flash photography is allowed.

The sumo stable is closest to Exit A2 of Hamacho Station on the Toei-Shinjuku line, and just a stone’s throw from the lovely Sumida riverside Hamacho Park.

It is also a mere 10-minute walk from Exit A1 of Ningyocho Station on the Hibiya Line, so watching a sumo practice would be an easy follow-up to an early morning at Tsukiji Fish Market.

Guided tours inside sumo stables

To get a closer look, there are tour operators that can take you inside a sumo stable to watch the training close up. Here’s one tour with access inside—the venue varies depending on season so contact them for more details.

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REThink Tokyo

This article was originally published in September 2014. Last update September 2017.

Written by:
Filed under: Things to do
Tags: Culture, Free, Japanese Tradition, Sports, Sumo, Tourists
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Name: Arashio-beya (荒汐部屋)
Pricing info: Free
Address: 2-47-2, Hama-cho Nihonbashi Chuo-ku Tokyo
Location(s): Nihonbashi, Ningyocho,
Web: http://www.arashio.net/tour_e.html
Phone: +81-(0)3-3666-7646 +81-(0)3-3666-7646
Business hours: Practices take place between 7:30am-10:00am
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