Rikishi, the art of Sumo wrestlers

02 Dec 2016 in Discover Japan

Sumo wrestling is an extremely popular sport in Japan, but it remains primarily an artform that requires an strong discipline ...


Sumo wrestling is a combat sport that is greatly enjoyed by Westerners. Like the geishas, ​​it is a tourist attraction eagerly sought out by visitors.

The origins

Sumo arena in Japan

Sumo wrestling is believed to have developed 1,500 years ago through Shinto religious rituals. At that time, arranged fights were dedicated to the gods to whom people prayed for fruitful harvests. Sumo wrestling contests were subsequently introduced into the ceremonies of the imperial court during the 8th century, but in a more violent form than we are familiar with today. In those days it was a combination of boxing and wrestling. During the 17th century, groups of sumo wrestlers were formed to entertain the middle classes, and that was when the sport took on its current guise.

Sumo wrestling in the present days
Professional sumo wrestling is managed by the JSA (Japan Sumo Association). The Association organises six major annual tournaments – hon basho – which are held around the country. They take place during January in Tokyo, March in Osaka, May in Tokyo, July in Nagoya, September in Tokyo and November in Fukuoka.

The rules
During your stay at HOSHINOYA Tokyo, take the opportunity to attend a wrestling match and discover this ancient art.

HOSHINOYA Tokyo hotel

Sumo fight in Japan

The rules are simple: the two wrestlers fight in the combat arena, a ring with a diameter of 4.55m, and the objective for each of them is to put his opponent out of the arena, or to make him touch the ground with a part of his body (excluding the soles of his feet). The rikishi, as the wrestlers are called, wear only a mawashi, a strip of fabric wrapped tightly around the waist and between the legs. This provides the only firm hand-hold allowed during the combat. This is definitely a spectacle not to be missed.


Photo credits : Edward Dalmulder & Better Than Bacon



3 things to know about “yukata”, the Japanese trendy outfit

13 Oct 2016 in Discover Japan

Perfect your style and immerse yourself in Japanese fashion and history with the Yukata, the favorite summer outfit of the Japanese. Read more


The magical spectacle of Kenroku-en gardens

10 Feb 2017 in Discover Japan

Visit Kenroku-en Gardens to discover the beauty and magic of the Japanese garden. Read more

Traditional Matsuri celebration

Japan, land of celebration

06 Jul 2016 in Discover Japan

Do you know that the Japanese celebrate more than 300 festivals each year? These are called Matsuri in Japan. Discover the must-attend events that draw crowds throughout the nation… Read more



Higashi Chaya, Kanazawa’s authentic tea-house district

24 Feb 2017 in Discover Japan

Welcome to Higashi Chaya, a picturesque neighbourhood that's a focal point of Japanese heritage... Read more


5 reasons to love Hoshino Resorts KAI Aso hotel!

03 Feb 2017 in Discover Japan

When you've read this article, you’ll have only one thought on your mind: to discover the island of Kyushu and Hoshino Resorts KAI Aso! Read more


Understanding Japan’s drinking culture

27 Mar 2019 in Discover Japan

Master the rules of Japanese drinking etiquette with an insider bar tour! Read more

most popular articles