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Where to See Sumo and Grappling in Tokyo

by Angelique Platas

Jul 21, 2019

J. Henning Buchholz | Dreamstime.com

Destinations / Asia

Most families can agree Tokyo is a dream destination. Between the fun nightlife, incredible food, otherworldly sightseeing, shopping and everything in between, Tokyo is a bucket-list locale, to say the least.

One piece of that history that’s quintessentially Japanese? Sumo. Your kids may know of the sport — they may have even slipped on the inflatable costume and bumped chests with friends at parties and events —but you don’t know the intense ins-and-outs of grappling, tradition, honor and professionalism. That’s where Palace Hotel Tokyo comes in.

For families looking to experience the age-old tradition, this hotel and excursion package is ideal for the super fans in the family. Sumo originated in Japan and is still only professionally practiced there, which makes the Palace Hotel Tokyo offer exclusive.

The Sensationally Sumo package is an elite inside look at grappling in Tokyo and all of its inner workings. Additionally, Palace Hotel offers this package in partnership with high-end, authentic, cultural experiences tour company TOKI — this package rolls out the mat and the red carpet.

Begin with a tour of the arena. Like a gladiator to the Coliseum, the Ryogoku Kokugikan arena is where it all happens. Guests watch grappling matches with expert companions, including a sumo sports writer and announcer, during one of three annual tournaments. Another option, guests can go behind-the scenes and actually have lunch with sumo wrestlers in the “stable” during the off-season.

Sumo Museum, Tokyo.

Sumo Museum, Tokyo. Photo: Origamiplanemechanic | Dreamstime.com

With such a high-demand for sumo wrestling in the city — it’s a big deal, highly professional and not about to be interrupted for guests — there are two options for the package: on-season and off-season, with some wiggle room in between.

During tournament season, the Palace Hotel offers accommodations for two for two nights, daily breakfast, including access to the Club Lounge, private transfer to and from the Kokugikan sumo stadium, a personal guide and sumo sports broadcaster, accompanying translator, guided tour of the Kokugikan stadium and museum and two tickets to the day’s sumo wrestling tournament with a choice of either box or theater seats.

During the off-season, Grappling Tokyo experiences include a bit more, due to the flexibility of the wrestler’s schedule and arena availability. This offer also includes a two-night stay for two, daily breakfast and access to the Club Lounge, private transportation to and from the sumo wrestling stable, sumo sports broadcaster as your personal guide, accompanying translator, but additionally offers a private viewing of morning wrestling practice and the option for lunch and a photo-op with sumo wrestlers. Guests can opt out of the exclusive lunch and picture taking option and simply tour the arena with an expert guide.

Prices range for both tour options $5,435–6,690. The Palace Hotel Tokyo rooms typically start at $510 a night for a deluxe room, but look into family discounts and promotions. With the hotel’s great location, your family can split up the tours and explore the city, then rotate, or stay in and enjoy the hotel’s high-end services and amenities.

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