If there's one thing people know about Japan, it's sumo wrestling. Well, that and geisha, the iconic Mount Fuji, and those bullet trains. Sumo tournaments happen six times a year, and three of those take place in Tokyo. If you're fortunate enough to be here when there's a tournament on -- in January, May, or September -- then it's well worth checking out. Here's how to see sumo in Tokyo, for cheap(ish). Not here during the January, May, and September tournaments? Consider or try your luck . Sumo is a timeless sport and perfect for visitors. While there are intricacies and foot-trickery that only experts will spot, there's more than enough throwing, spinning, and near-misses to keep newcomers interested. Despite its honored position as the national sport, in recent times sumo has suffered from scandals and a\u00a0dearth of Japanese wrestlers in the top ranks. This really only matters if you're a hardcore fan, though -- watching the frankly enormous players step into that ring and square up is seriously impressive. Tokyo sumo tournaments Official\u00a0sumo tournaments (called "basho") are held three times a year in Tokyo -- in January, May, and September -- at Ry\u014dgoku Kokugikan, the national sumo stadium. Each tournament is held over 15 days, so there's a total of 45 days of top-class sumo in Tokyo each year. Tokyo sumo dates 2024 January Tournament: Jan. 14\u201328 (tickets on sale from Dec 9, 2023) May Tournament: May 12\u201326 (tickets on sale from April 6, 2024) September Tournament: Sept. 8\u201322 (tickets on sale from Aug 10, 2024) Tokyo sumo dates 2025 January Tournament: Jan. 12\u201326 (tickets on sale from Dec. 7, 2024) May Tournament: May 11\u201325 (tickets on sale from April 5, 2025) September Tournament: Sept. 14\u201328 (tickets on sale from Aug. 9, 2025) You can buy sumo tickets online in advance (before the official release date) with , Klook, and JTB Sunrise Tours. Opening, closing, and any weekend days are always the busiest. As you'll know if you've been to Tokyo Cheapo before, it's best to do things off-peak.\u00a0This means to see cheap sumo in Tokyo, your best bet is a weekday falling between days 3 to 6 and 10 to 12. Not in Tokyo? The March tournament is held in Osaka, the July tournament is in Nagoya, and the November tournament is in Fukuoka. Sumo seating options: box seats vs. arena seats There are many different types of seating available for\u00a0sumo in Tokyo, and a range of prices. Until recently, ringside tamari seats weren't open for the general public to purchase; these were reserved for sumo association sponsors and members. Now (in theory anyway) you can get the chance to have a 180kg sumo wrestler plant his rear-end on your face as he flies from the dohy\u014d -- but tamari\u00a0seats are still quite hard to come by. The rest of the seats are divided into "box seats" and "arena seats" and are fine for us Cheapos. Box seats: Good for groups Box seats, or masu seki, are basically a (small) square of tatami mat into which 2 to 4 people fit. You buy a whole box seat and not individual tickets. Note that these are not spacious: they'd typically fit four small Japanese grannies or one\u00a0sumo wrestler comfortably. Tatami has more give than wood or concrete, but most people bring their own cushions. The box seats are further divided into A, B, and C -- moving progressively further from the action. Arena seats: Easier to get The arena seats are on the second floor of the\u00a0gymnasium\u00a0and\u00a0are similarly divided according to proximity to the dohy\u014d. Since\u00a0box seats sell out fast, you're more likely to pick up an arena seat. Tokyo sumo tickets: How much do they cost, and where can I buy them? Masu-seki box seats range in price from a conservative to or more (seating up to four people). Expect to pay anywhere from per person. The arena seats start from around\u00a0 for the seats way in the back and go up from there. You'll probably end up paying closer to . You can reserve 2nd floor B-class sumo tickets online with , Klook, and JTB Sunrise Tours. JTB also sell A-class seats. If you run into any trouble, you can also check the official sumo website for up-to-date information on buying tickets (and snag them there, too). Pro tip:\u00a0Whatever sumo ticket you end up buying, it should give you all-day access to the tournament venue. Matches may start around 8:30 a.m., but the biggest, best wrestlers only roll out in the late afternoon -- so you can nip out for a bite to eat in between bouts. And, on that note... What to eat and drink at sumo Although not completely over the top, you're a captive audience at the sumo, so food and drinks are sold at a premium. You are not meant to bring any outside food or drink into the venue, so you'll have to make do with what they have inside: snacks, tempura, bento boxes, beer, and sake. Other ways to see sumo Not around during a tournament? Never fear -- you can still get your sumo fix by booking a morning training viewing experience on and Klook. You can also watch a training session for free through a window at Arashio-beya, but times and days are limited. If you happen to be in Tokyo during autumn, you might be able to watch student sumo wrestlers perfecting their technique. Each year at the Setagaya Autumn Festival, a ritual sumo session takes place in an outdoor dohy\u014d in front of the shrine. With a more playful element to their matches, the students are brilliant to watch, with tag-team challenges and impressive strength. If you just want to see sumo and not the fights, then also check out the Nakizumo Crying Baby Festival. While we do our best to ensure it's correct, information is subject to change. This post was originally published in December, 2014. Last update: February 2024.