Before my first visit to Japan, I had in my mind a few things that everyone in my home country associates Japan with: high technology, beautiful nature, sushi and of course sumo wrestlers. Being a person who loves to experience the country by exploring its culture, I knew that I needed to attend at least one day of the sumo games.


I started my preparations by checking out all the important information at the official website of the sumo tournament. In the beginning, I choose in advance the city where I would like to attend the game. Due to the location of my university, I chose Nagoya.

It is important to know that sumo tournament takes place in different locations around Japan in various months. You might be interested to read my other article with location details.


There was one thing that I didn’t take into account while planning my first visit to a sumo tournament. I was not aware that the online tickets will get sold so fast. Luckily, there is one more option for those who would like to attend the game but didn’t get their online tickets – there is a limited number of tickets available at the counter each day of the game and they are also the cheapest tickets. Your seat will be on the upper floor but when you arrive in the morning most of the lower seats will be empty. This will give you an opportunity to walk around and observe the wrestlers from a closer distance.

Picture of the author with a sumo wrestler

Together with my friends, we were queuing as early as 6:00 a.m. to get our tickets and after one and a half hours we finally were able to buy them. The game starts at 8:30 a.m. so after getting our tickets we still had time to grab a coffee and some snacks. Remember that you can’t buy tickets for your friends. There is a one-ticket-per-person policy which is stickily followed.

If you were able to buy the online ticket, there is a seat number on it. In this case, you can enter the stadium whenever you want and it will save you lots of time for standing in the queue.

The game

Picture of a sumo match

Honestly, I thought that after one hour or two I would want to get out of the stadium but how wrong my first assumptions were! I attended the entire day of the games and probably if I have the opportunity I will do it again. Sumo tournament is not only a game but it is full of traditions, respects, and rules, which are so related to the Japanese culture. If you pay a close attention during the game, you will be able to spot details such as socks of the judges. Yes, even socks do matter during the game.


Picture of a signpost about sumo matches

  • During the opening day, the queue for counter tickets might be even longer, so try to be there before 6:00 a.m. On other days it shouldn’t be so crowded.
  • You can bring your snacks and drinks. You will see many Japanese doing it. They come fully prepared with bento boxes and bags of rice crackers.
  • Remember that you can re-enter the stadium only once.
  • In the stadium, you can find small shops selling souvenirs, food, and drinks. There are many funny souvenirs which you might like to bring home.
  • With your sumo tournament ticket in Nagoya, you get a discount to get inside of Nagoya Castle.

Nagoya grand sumo tournament information


  • Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium is just outside the Nagoya Castle grounds.
  • It is a 5-minute walk from exit 7 of Shiyakusho Subway Station.

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