Is it worth the money to go see sumo?
I have a friend of a friend visiting who says he would like to go see a sumo match. I'm not a big fan... Have people gone seen it and enjoyed it without much prior knowledge?
It seems like a long day and an a pricey affair... Should I just bring him to see a sumo stable?
For the sake of just a one-time experience, I wouldn't mind spending that amount (though I don't really know how much it costs), after all, experience has a more lasting impact in my life than just shelling a few amount of money.
We can recover the money, but the memory of a one-time experience lives on in our lives.
I'm sure it will also be something you'll cherish when you finally decide to leave Japan and retire in your home country. You can at least say to yourself, "Oh, I've been there once aupon a time."
I think there are merits to both. From what I know, the stable sessions start and end relatively early (around 6-10am). This leaves the rest of the day open to other activities if your friend is short on time or has only a passing interest in sumo. You have a better chance of getting closer to the wrestlers, for free. We had the chance to take a photo with the kind rikishi wrestler who came out after practice to greet all the tourists outside the stable.
However, at the stable you are likely to be standing the whole time and watching through a window, whereas you can sit and enjoy a relatively unobstructed view at sumo matches. I believe there are only four sumo tournaments each year. If your friend's holiday does coincide with the right dates, I think it may be worth it despite the negatives listed here. The limited number of annual tournaments and the quality difference of the wrestling could surely make for a memorable and special experience! Watching for a whole day also means you have the chance to hone your eye to the sport and truly appreciate their skill.
I read somewhere that you can try and get tickets on the day and they are cheaper as they are for any free seats. Only problem is you have to move around a bit if you are someones reserved seat and also need to get up early to get the tickets especially on the weekend.