Japan is a country that is home to many sport fans, Japanese people love to do sports like soccer and running or visit the popular Grand Sumo Tournaments or the baseball games. 2021 is an important year in terms of many things including sport events, with the Olympic Games of 2020 being rescheduled for this years’ summer. With major sports events taking place, including the World Rugby Cup in 2019 and upcoming the Olympic Games, people get quite excited for watching all kind of sports. In this article we will highlight some of the sports events and popular competitions that can be enjoyed in Tokyo and how you can get tickets for it.
Read more about popular sports in Japan here
Sumo (相撲, sumō), the Japanese style of wrestling and watching a sumo game is a very popular activity amongst both locals and tourists. The national sport of Japan is also the oldest sport and has many traditional rituals coming from Shintoism, the indigenous religion of Japan. The rules are as follows: the games take place in dohyo, a circular playing ground, from which the two sumo wrestlers, rikishi, try to push the opponent out of the ring or force them to touch the ground. When either occurs, this sumo wrestler officially loses the match.
Every odd-numbered month, a so-called Grand Sumo Tournament takes place; three in Tokyo, one in Osaka, one in Nagoya, and one in Fukuoka. The tournaments last for 15 days with the lower ranked wrestlers meeting each other in the dohyo in the morning, but the real spectacle kicks off after 3pm when the stronger sumo wrestlers enter the ring. The matches involve many rituals and to make most out of your experience, we recommend to go together with a sumo-fan who can explain them all. We offer guided tours to the Grand Sumo Tournaments in Tokyo. On these tours, a local sumo-fan will explain everything you need and want to know about sumo.
Read more about this guided tour at our website Sumo Tournament with Guide.
Buying sumo tickets
The official tickets are usually released one month prior to the tournament’s first day and anyone can apply via Ticket Oosumo. Though, buying sumo tickets online can be difficult as they are very popular and often sell out within the hour! You can also try to get same day tickets at the stadium from 8pm onwards, these too tend to sell out very quickly. If you want to be sure of your tickets to the sumo tournaments play it safe and get your sumo tickets through us!
▼ The last Sumo Tournament this year will be held in Fukuoka. Make sure to don’t miss this big experience! Tickets are going quickly!
Baseball is Japan’s most popular sport and was introduced first in 1872 by a college professor teaching at Tokyo University. There are 12 professional baseball teams in Japan that play in the national league Nippon Professional Baseball League. The league is split into two separate leagues, the Central league and the Pacific league, and at the end of the season, the top 3 teams from each league compete one another in the Climax Series to win the annual national championship. The regular league takes places from the end of March to the early fall and Climax Series in October – November.
Next to the regular season, there is also the Nippon Life Interleague Play, a small tournament that takes place in midseason, and the non-professional Koshien. Koshien in the Japanese High School Baseball Championship, an annual nationwide event where high school teams take on each other. This event is incredibly popular too and seen by many young baseball players as the road towards a professional career.
The biggest baseball stadium in Japan is located in the centre of Tokyo; Tokyo Dome has a capacity of 55,000! Tokyo Dome is the home stadium of the Yomiuri Giants, the oldest and also the most successful team among the current Japanese professional teams, having won 22 Japan Series titles! Tokyo is also home to another team: the Tokyo Yakult Swallows who play their home games at Meiji Jingu Stadium. Whether you are a baseball fan or not, watching a baseball game will be and exciting experience for anyone! It is good fun to join the Japanese baseball spectators and cheer on the teams. The games usually start from 2pm or 6pm and last for about 3.5 hrs.
Buying baseball tickets
There are three ways of securing your baseball tickets; online, at convenience stores, and at the stadium on the day. Ticket prices will vary according to the stadium and your choice of seating, but will cost approximately ¥3,000 to ¥10,000 for a seat. The tickets to popular matched get sold quickly!
The cheapest way is to purchase your tickets online through the team’s official ticket sites, though there are often not available in English and can get rather complex. You can also purchase your tickets through Voyagin, the advantage of this is that the tickets, of different seating options, are available far in advance, the downside is that they are slightly more expensive.
After baseball, soccer in the second most popular sport in Japan. As of 2020, 56 teams are officially playing in Japan’s three levels of leagues: J1, J2 and J3. The soccer season season last typically from March till December and only the three teams that finish the season with the best results are eligible to compete at AFC Champions League. The AFC Champions League is held every year to decide the best soccer team in the Asian region.
Buying your soccer tickets
If you want to go and watch a soccer game in Japan, you can purchase your tickets at the official J. League website or on the matchday at the stadium or in advance at the konbini or the clubs official stores. Ticket prices range between ¥2,000 to ¥7,000. In Tokyo, you can watch a soccer game of FC Tokyo, they use Ajinomoto Stadium, in Chofu, as its home ground.
Sport is something that unite people together regardless of nationality or age. Cheering for your favourite team and enjoying the excitement of a game is a fun activity for many. Going to a sports event in Japan is a fun way to get to know another side of Japan: the sports traditions! If you think it is challenging to go and watch the tradition sport like sumo, make sure to visit with a sports fan who can tell you all about the rules and traditions involved. It will be a fun experience for sure!