The ancient art of Sumo wrestling requires years of dedicated training in a ‘heya’, or stable, and this is a chance to visit one of these to observe a morning training session and appreciate the complete devotion of the wrestlers to their sport.
Japan’s national sport, Sumo is an iconic, dramatic spectacle that is shrouded in tradition and wrestlers will eat, sleep and train in a heya, or stable, for years to attain the level of skill and fitness required by this demanding sport. While there are 47 stables in Tokyo, a wrestler will train with the same stable throughout his Sumo career and visiting one of these is fascinating introduction to the ancient sport. Having been met at your hotel at around 8.30am by an English-speaking guide, you’ll take the subway to a stable to watch the asageiko morning training session. Your guide will enlighten you on the intricacies of the sport, including the strict spectator etiquette, which includes sitting relatively still for the full 90 minutes, and forbids flash photography, smoking, eating or drinking throughout. As the stables may close at short notice, this experience is liable to change.