Yesterday was my first experience of live Sumo. Needless to say, for a girl who loves WWE and Japanese culture, it was extremely enjoyable. The matches go from about 8.30am and start with the most junior wrestlers, working up through the ranks until the Juryo (second tier) at about 2.30pm and then Makuuchi (the cream) from about 3.40pm. Your ticket is for the whole day but it's quite normal for people not to arrive until 3ish. I got there about 12.30 and the place was fairly empty. See below - photos when I arrived and just before I left.
The early matches were the junior guys but they were still pretty big.
While things were quiet I had a good look at the crowd and saw some lovely groupings. Old geezers, who are in fact very rudely pointing the soles of their feet towards the ring - not the done thing.
Once the junior matches have finished the Juryo wrestlers have their entrance which is very impressive. They parade in and surround the ring.
Then it was the turn of the very senior guys - the Makuuchi. They paraded in in the same way, led by the senior referee.
The only other matches to attract so many sponsors were those concerning the Yokozuna.
The final stage in the sumo day is the bow twirling ceremony. I think the judges choose someone who has performed well that day to do this but I am not 100% on that. In any case he was very impressive.
Leaving the stadium, the drums were being played from the top of a tall, free standing tower in the front of the stadium grounds, to let the neighbourhood know that events had finished for the day. The atmosphere outside was lovely - like a happy crowd after their team won at home. There were a number of elderly gents with their elderly friends who had obviously had rather too much beer and were heading back to the station like very gentle dodgem cars. Everyone was in high spirits and personally I would love to go back another day!