Sumo Wrestling

The Day I wrestled a Sumo Wrestler in Japan!

Disclosure: Basic Travel Couple, LLC has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Basic Travel Couple, LLC and CardRatings and MileValue may receive a commission from card issuers. This compensation may impact how and where links appear on this site. This site does not include all financial companies or all available financial offers. Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Enrollment may be required for select American Express benefits and offers. Visit to learn more.

Our eyes were locked, I took a deep breath and charged into this enormous Japanese Sumo Wrestler and……he…..didn’t…..move! 

Now let me backtrack just a tad to explain just how I ended up in this predicament. Sumo Wrestling has fascinated me for quite some time. Witnessing videos of these giants competing for space in the small rings or “Dohyo” has always been exhilarating and entertaining to watch. 

Japenese Legend

According to a Japanese Legend, a sumo wrestling match between gods took place to determine the location of various Japanese Islands. Early on in ancient Japan, these matches were viewed as a dedication to the gods to pray for a good harvest.

Today, Sumo Wrestling is Japan’s national sport and is often a hot ticket to acquire during the annual tournaments that take place throughout the year. 

Since we booked a last-minute trip to Japan; time certainly wasn’t on our side to get tickets ahead of time for the July tournament. The tournaments only take place 6 months each year and tickets sell out quickly!

If you are planning a trip to Japan, the months that the tournament takes place are January, March, May, July, September, and November. Tickets go on sale about a month before the event and can be pre-purchased here 

Now if you miss the boat on tickets but will be visiting Japan during a tournament you can sometimes get lucky and find tickets here. This is also great for travelers who like to have the added benefit of a guided experience. 

Sumo Lunch

Fortunately for us, a Sumo Tournament is not the only place where you’ll find Sumo Wrestling in Japan. After doing some research, I found that there are special lunches offered twice each week that also include Sumo demonstrations.


We booked the “Challenge Sumo Wrestlers and Enjoy a Chanko Lunch” option on Viator and started counting down the seconds.

The event began at 12:00 pm and was located upstairs above the Asakusa Chanko-ba which is located near the Sky Tree. We showed up a few minutes before noon and headed upstairs to see the show. 

Day of Sumo Lunch

Seating is given out on a first-come basis so if you want to be close to the action, I’d suggest arriving at least 30 minutes before the show begins. Since we were running a little late, we ended up in the back of the restaurant which wasn’t too bad but I would have preferred to be closer.

The show began with introductions and an overview of Sumo Wrestling. The Sumo Wrestlers demonstrated the various “moves” that are involved in each match. If you didn’t know already, there’s more to it then just pushing and shoving!

Next, the wrestlers demonstrated the moves that are NOT allowed in Sumo Wrestling like punching and eye-poking. 

The Sumo Wrestlers then went head to head for three rounds! It was exciting to see these guys use the moves they just demonstrated on each other and go back and forth.

In the end, there could only be one victor! 

Taking on a Sumo Wrestler

Then it happened, the announcement that I had been waiting for. “Anyone who is feeling brave can get into the ring and take on a Sumo Wrestler if they dare” I stood up like destiny was calling my name and got in line to go head to head with a Sumo Wrestler. I’m not going to lie, I had second thoughts. Given I only weigh about 180 pounds and these guys tower over me but despite logic, my legs moved continues to move forward. I put on a Sumo costume that was provided for participants and stepped onto the mat and….

As you can see, he didn’t move and I went airborne!


Once I touched back down on earth, I realized just how hungry I was.

Lucky for me; it was lunchtime and the Chanko Nabe was coming right out. This traditional Japanese Sumo meal includes a mixture of pork, noodles, rice, cabbage, mushrooms and more!

Sumo wrestlers typically eat this meal after morning practice and before a nap for slow digestion and bulking up. The afternoon ended with a delicious lemon sorbet treat and an open forum to ask the wrestlers questions. 

I’m glad that we had the opportunity to participate in this excursion and believe that it was worth every penny!

The admission cost for the show and lunch is $114 per person or 11,114 Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card Miles.

We ended up using some points leftover from the welcome offer to cross off my bucket list

Capital One Venture Credit Card

Earn 75,000 welcome miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening. This is equal to $750 in travel.

Basic Thoughts: We love these Venture Miles as they are incredibly easy to use and redeem. You also always earn an unlimited 2x miles on every purchase, every day.

Learn More Here.

Bucket List:

Take on a Sumo Wrestler in Japan [Check]

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.

The comments section below responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

5 Basic Travel Strategies

Need-to-know tricks for cheap travel.

Top Credit Card Offers

Chase Freedom Flex℠

Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening

Citi Premier Credit Card

Earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

American Express® Gold Card

Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.


We're Dave & Lisa

An easy-going, fun-loving couple who have a passion for adventure and exploring the world! Our strategies have saved us over $100,000 in travel over the last four years, and our goal is to help you do the same.

Keep Exploring