Reader Request – Visiting A Sumo Stable?


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A Tachiai reader named Tom is looking to visit a sumo stable to watch practice on a weekend morning. For an outsider, it seems like it could be a challenging goal – how do you contact the heya to request permission? What sort of things should a visitor keep in mind?

Having never tried this myself, I have a bit of curiosity as well. For any of our readers who have successfully visited a sumo stable, please post any hints, tips, instructions or general impressions of the experience.


6 thoughts on “Reader Request – Visiting A Sumo Stable?

  1. From my experience: In all honesty it is easier to go with a Japanese Sumo friend. I have Aussie friends going over in December who want to visit a stable, so one of my kind friends I met when I was in Nagoya said they should contact her and she would take them.
    Most of the heya websites have a number to call the evening before to ask if the training is on and if you can observe. The people who take these calls speak Japanese. Even when we contacted Musashigawa, which is owned by an English speaking oyakata, the manager speaks only Japanese.
    You also have to remember while it is facinating to us, it is very serious for them and we need to be completely quiet. A couple of the trainings I went to there were repeated requests for people to be quiet. There were also signs at a couple asking for photos not to be taken, so maybe check before you pull out the camera.
    Arashio Heya actually has a script on their website that English speakers can follow to ask if training is on the next day.
    I really enjoyed going to the training sessions of the heya’s that don’t have any sekitori. It felt a lot more intimate and the wrestlers were very kind afterwards.

      • This gives me an excuse to log into my Instagram. Thank you! I need to build my profile on there. Not many sumo-related photo opportunities around here so that account has been rather dormant.

  2. When I visited Tokyo there was a heya where they leave the windows open so you can go and look in on the practice. Some rikishi were doing excercises outside as well. I took lots of pictures and it was easy to come and go as needed (from memory practice starts quite early!).

  3. I visited Musashigawa stable back in 2002 with my scholarship group. As it was all organized by the scholarship program team, I cannot say much about what went into organizing it, but it was a thoroughly enjoyable experience but for the early rising.
    As an observer, you will be sitting on the dais behind the stablemaster, expected to be quiet. You will be able (usually) to see the entire training sequence, which is quite interesting.

    If you can swing it, I recommend it.


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