About the Grand Sumo Tournament

A Honbasho in Grand Sumo is the official location that serves as the basis for creating the Banzuke, which determines the rank and salary of sumo wrestlers. These tournaments are held six times a year: the January Hatsu Basho (Tokyo), March Haru Basho (Osaka), May Natsu Basho (Tokyo), July Nagoya Basho, September Aki Basho (Tokyo), and November Kyushu Basho (Fukuoka). This article will explain about these Grand Sumo Tournaments.

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Tokyo Basho

Sumo wrestling, Japan’s national sport, boasts a history and tradition of 1400 years. Of the six tournaments held annually, the January opening tournament, the May summer tournament, and the September autumn tournament are referred to as ‘Tokyo tournaments’. The heated matches between the sumo wrestlers take place at the Kokugikan Sumo Hall, located by the Sumida River in Ryogoku, Tokyo

The Hatsu Basho, or the first tournament, takes place immediately as the New Year begins. Starting in mid-January, it lasts for 15 days. This period is when the Hatsu Basho is held, in conjunction with New Year’s celebrations. For fans, it’s an exciting time to see how the new sumo wrestlers will perform. Many spectators, including women in traditional Japanese clothing, fill the venue, creating an atmosphere reminiscent of the New Year.

The Summer Grand Sumo Tournament, or Natsu Basho, is held in May. During this time, tourists from all over Japan come to enjoy the intense matches in the warm weather. The Natsu Basho presents a stern challenge for the sumo wrestlers, making it all the more thrilling to watch. Moreover, for tourists, it’s not just about watching sumo; it’s also a great opportunity to visit the tourist spots in Tokyo

The Autumn Tournament is held in September. During this time, sumo wrestlers compete in the ring against the backdrop of Japan’s beautiful autumn. The Autumn Tournament is a time when wrestlers start new challenges with the beginning of a new season. It’s also a great opportunity for spectators to enjoy sumo in cool weather. In addition, new wrestlers may appear. This shows that the wrestlers are constantly evolving.

Osaka Basho

The March tournament held at the Edion Arena Osaka (Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium) is located just a short walk from Namba Station. The venue is smaller than the Ryogoku Kokugikan and other venues, accommodating about 8,000 people, which is somewhat fewer. However, even from the back seats, you can clearly see the expressions of the sumo wrestlers. When a local wrestler appears, the audience’s enthusiastic cheers echo throughout the venue. The path leading to the wrestlers’ waiting room must pass in front of the concession stand, making it the venue where wrestlers and spectators are closest. It is also a place where new disciples are admitted and is also referred to as a job placement site. This place, which has nurtured Osaka’s unique sumo culture, turns into a sumo color every March. In addition, tours are held in various parts of the prefecture every autumn, and the national women’s sumo tournament is also held in Sakai.

I also made my debut at this Osaka tournament. Osaka has many delicious gourmet foods and wonderful tourist spots. Please enjoy watching sumo and exploring the wonderful land of Osaka.

Nagoya Basho

The Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament is one of the annual grand sumo tournaments held every July. This event is characterized by intense battles that symbolize Japan’s hot summer. Despite the scorching heat in which the Nagoya tournament is held, the venue is air-conditioned. Also, this is the only venue with two electronic bulletin boards.

Spectators can watch the wrestlers fight on the dohyo (ring) up close. During the tournament, many wrestlers can be seen around Nagoya city, providing opportunities for interaction with the general public.

The Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament is an excellent opportunity to experience Japan’s traditional culture, which combines strength and beauty. Please come and experience this excitement and emotion for yourself.

Kyushu Basho

The Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament is one of the annual grand sumo tournaments held every November. This event takes place at the Fukuoka International Center in Fukuoka City. The Kyushu Tournament is a stage where wrestlers showcase their achievements throughout the year. The tension rises from the first day and intensifies towards the final day.

At the Kyushu Tournament, many wrestlers demonstrate impressive techniques. You can see various techniques such as throwing, pushing, and pulling. Wrestlers also value politeness on the dohyo (ring). Rituals performed before entering the dohyo, such as the initial charge and ring-entering ceremony, are also highlights.

The Kyushu Tournament has also played an important role in the history of grand sumo. This tournament, which began in the early Showa era, served to heal the hearts of the people even during the post-war reconstruction period. The Kyushu Tournament has continued to contribute to the development of grand sumo, and today it is a popular venue visited by many spectators from both inside and outside Japan.

This venue, which has wider box seats than the Ryogoku Kokugikan, is a recommended venue where you can watch comfortably. Wrestlers travel in groups from Tokyo Station to Hakata Station on a Shinkansen called a sumo train, taking six hours. They look forward to the lunch money they receive from the Sumo Association during this time.


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