Watching Sumo in the sumo stadium 国技館での相撲観戦

Watching sumo could be one of the things on the tourist to do list. Today I’d like to write what’s like to watch sumo in the national stadium.
相撲観戦は、観光のTO DOリストの一つに挙げられるでしょう。今日は、国技館での相撲観戦について書きます。

When I went to watch sumo in the stadium for the first time, I bought the cheapest ticket at 3600 yen. The day starts in the morning and lasts till 6pm, considering it’s a whole day event, the ticket isn’t expensive at all. It was definitely interesting to see the sumo bouts live, but where I sat was so far away from the ring.
初めて国技館で相撲観戦をした時、一番安い3,600円のチケットを購入しました。取り組みは午前中から夕方6時までと終日のイベントであることを考えると、高くはありません。相撲を生で観戦するのはとても面白かったのですが、座席の場所が土俵から遠すぎました。

Two months ago, my family and I had a chance to watch sumo in the stadium and this time we were very close to the wrestlers. Our seat was called masuseki (box seats). Masuseki is named after masu, which is a square wooden box to measure rice. So this seat is square-shaped and has a seating capacity of four. There are four cushions in the space and you’re asked to take off shoes and sit on the floor. The space is a bit tight for four people, but it’s nice to squeeze in and enjoy the atmosphere.
2ヶ月前、家族と一緒に国技館で観戦する機会がありましたが、今回は力士たちにとても近いところに座れました。今回はマス席を取ったのですが、升にちなんだ名前のこの席は正方形で、4人まで座れます。座布団が4枚敷いてあり、靴を脱いで座ります。4人で座ると少し狭いのですが、皆でギュッと詰めて座り雰囲気を味わうのは良い経験でした。

If you arrange your masuseki ticket via Ochaya (tea house located within the stadium), you’ll get A LOT OF food. We were shocked by the amount of food we found in the bag we were given. The following picture shows most of it, but not everything…An usher will come and get orders for drinks so you can enjoy drinking and eating while watching sumo. Eating and drinking throughout the day are also part of the experience of watching sumo in the stadium, which is similar to cricket in my opinion.
お茶屋さんを通してマス席を予約した場合は、たくさんの食べ物が付いてきます。私たちがもらった袋に入っていた食べ物の量は、衝撃的でした。下の写真にはかなりの食べ物が写っていますが、これで全部ではありませんでした・・・出方さんが来て飲み物の注文をとってくれるため、飲み食いしながら観戦することができます。一日を通して飲み食いするのも国技館での観戦体験の一部ですが、この点はクリケットと似ている気がします。

The sumo stadium opens at 8:00. Young and lower ranked wrestlers start fighting often before 9 am. You can go there anytime really. Some people seem to like watching young wrestler’s fights and others including us prefer to go there just in time to start watching wrestlers in the second higher division called Juryo. Normally all Juryo wrestlers appear on the ring at about 14:15 and hold a small ceremony. How they stand next to each other on the ring is quite impressive.
国技館の会場時間は8時です。会場には何時に行っても良いのですが、下位の番付の取り組みを見たいという人もいれば、私たちのように十両の取り組みに合わせて行く人々もいます。通常十両の力士たちは14:15分頃に土俵入りします。全員が土俵入りし隣り合って立っている様子はとても印象的です。

The same ceremony starts again just before 4pm with the top division wrestlers this time. They are called Makuuchi. After Makuuchi wrestler ceremony, it’s Yokozuna’s turn. Yokozuna wrestlers have reached the highest rank of sumo. After the ceremonies, finally the top division wrestlers start fighting.
4時前に、今度は最上段の番付である幕内の土俵入りが始まります。その後、横綱の出番です。土俵入りの後、幕内の取り組みが始まります。

Yokozuna’s ceremony

Obviously, you can really see the wrestlers’ fighting spirits very close, which is the best thing about Masuseki. In most bouts, two wrestlers step onto the ring, face each other, make eye contact to see when to start fighting. Audience can feel how their fighting spirits raise and start clapping during this process. Many people who sit in masuseki seem to be big fans of sumo and they cheer the wrestlers by calling out their names, which gives a lively atmosphere.
マス席の醍醐味は、やはり力士の闘志が間近で見えることです。多くの試合では、力士二人が土俵に上がり、視線を交わし、立会いのタイミングを見計らいます。観戦客にも、闘志を燃やしている様子が感じられ、拍手が湧き起こります。マス席に座っている多くの人々が大相撲ファンのようで、力士の名前を呼んで応援しており、臨場感がありました。

This post is now getting quite long, so I’ll write more about a day at the sumo stadium in the next post. 少し長くなったので、次回の投稿で国技館にでの体験をもう少し書きたいと思います。

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