As November comes around, locals look forward to one thing: it’s time for Japan’s, and the world’s, sumo wrestlers to storm Fukuoka. The Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament, which opens in November, is one of those events that defines the season for locals. This year, the tournament celebrates its 50th anniversary, so it’s going to be a truly historic rumble. It’s running from November 12th to 26th at the Fukuoka International Center, so if you get the chance, get on down there! Ringside seats are pricey, but due to the 50th anniversary, all arena seats are just ¥3,100. If you want even more sumo, you can always try visiting the sumo stables. There are over sixty of them in Fukuoka and its suburbs, many boasting the champions of the day.
Takasago Stable in Chuo-ku is home to Japan’s only yokozuna (first-rank) wrestler, the mighty Mongolian Asashoryu (his fellow-countryman Ama Kohei can be found at Ajigawa Stable, on the grounds of Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine), while two of the current ozeki (second-rank) wrestlers, Kotooshu and Fukuoka-born Kaiyo, hang out at Sadogatake Stable and Tomozuna Stable respectively. The stables with famous wrestlers get a lot of visitors—no surprise there—so they can be hard to get into, but even the small stables offer the chance to have a chat with the wrestlers and their coaches. Why not look them up this November? Don’t forget, though; these are professional athletes training hard for their championships, so treat them and their stables with the appropriate level of respect should you visit.