1. A camera (with a good zoom) or binoculars.
If you are not willing to shell out several hundred dollars for a prime seat, you will probably end up in the discount ticket zone. For information on how to buy these discount sumo tickets, click here.
I brought my camera because I love taking photographs; my friend brought his binoculars so he could see the sumo match up-close. Because of the distance and rapid movements of the sumo wrestlers, most of my shots turned out blurry. Between my friend and I, we got a couple good ones.
2. Snacks and Drinks
Ignoring the length of lines, food was expensive. This is pretty standard. Hungry patrons can wait twenty minutes in line for a 600 yen hotdog ($7) and a 250 yen bottle of water ($3).
3. A light sweater or fan
In winter the arena is cold; in summer the arena is hot. Plan accordingly. The in-between months are kind of a coin toss, so make sure to bring a sweater and fan.
4. A back pillow
If you’re going to buy one of the cheapest sumo tickets (purchased the day of at 8am), the seats are not comfortable. If you can, try to bring a back pillow – especially if you plan on staying in the stadium for a couple hours. The seats didn’t bother me at all, but I saw quite a few middle aged Japanese men and women with dark black back pillows.
5. A friend to chat with
Sumo is fun. Sumo wrestlers grapple through the stage, when one falls, the crowd erupts with applause. Good bouts also receive mid-game cheers. However, the rate of actual wrestling to rituals, preparing for sumo, and salt throwing is about 1 to 7.
If you’re alone, those empty spaces can be awkward. Sumo is best enjoyed with friends.
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