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Let's Go and See a Grand Sumo Tournament!

Inés is enjoying a homestay in Tokyo. She asks some questions to Akiyo, her host mother, about grand sumo tournaments.

Let's Go and See a Grand Sumo Tournament!

Inés

How does one go about seeing a grand sumo tournament?

Akiyo

So you have an interest in sumo?

Inés

Actually, my family in France is talking about coming to Japan for a holiday….

Akiyo

I see. Would it be the first time in Japan for your family?

Inés

Yes. Speaking of my father, he is a fervent sumo fan since seeing the grand sumo tournament held in Paris. Thus, he really wants to see some sumo in Tokyo as well.

Akiyo

Grand sumo tournaments are held six times each year. Only three of these are held in Tokyo; the New Year's Tournament in January, the Summer Tournament in May, and the Autumn Tournament in September.

Inés

Really, I assumed sumo took place all the time, and it was merely a case of going down to Ryōgoku Kokugikan to see it!

Akiyo

No, that isn't the case. If your father really wants to see some sumo, I would suggest that their schedule be organized so that they come to Japan while there is a tournament taking place in Tokyo.

Inés

I see what you mean. I will pass on the information to my father immediately.

Inés wants to know about how to buy tickets for a grand sumo tournament.

Inés

How do I go about buying tickets?

Akiyo

Advanced purchase tickets go on sale about one month prior to each tournament. While tickets are sold at the Kokugikan Box Office, you can also buy them online. Just a moment, let me use my smartphone to search for the details. If you go to this "Ticket Oosumo" website, you can see that they also have an English information page.

Inés

Being able to buy tickets online really is convenient. Wow, they seem to have a wide variety of seats available.

Akiyo

Yes, in addition to Chair Seats, they also offer Box Seats where a number of people can sit together. Furthermore, there are also Ringside Seats available right up next to the dohyo, these are very popular with hardcore sumo fans.

Inés

I see. I might feel a quandary about which type of seat to buy.

Akiyo

Well it's permitted to bring along food and drink if you're sitting in the Box Seats, however, you can't do it with the Ringside Seats. It also seems that using cameras and smartphones to take photos from the Ringside Seats is banned.

Inés

I see. And looking at the prices, all of them seem more expensive than I had imagined.

Akiyo

Yes, I suppose the seats might seem a little expensive, however, grand sumo tournaments are a form of traditional Japanese culture that is unchanged since the Edo Period. There is also a certain intensity when you see grand sumo tournaments live; it is almost like stepping back in time to the Edo Period. Moreover, in that you can enjoy watching different bouts throughout the entire day from morning until late afternoon, I feel your father would really enjoy himself.

Inés

The entire day? It is almost as if I knew nothing at all about sumo. I want to know so many things about it before taking my family to see it.

Akiyo

Yes, if you do some homework in advance, I believe you will enjoy it even more. Now I think of it, I haven't been to see a tournament in quite a while. Could I perhaps join your family when you go?

Inés

Of course you can! When it comes time to book the seats, could we decide together which type of seat would be most suitable?

Akiyo

Certainly, please tell me your family's schedule for visiting Japan when it has been decided.

●Nihon Sumo Kyokai (Japan Sumo Association)
http://www.sumo.or.jp/en/
●Ticket Oosumo
http://sumo.pia.jp/en/