With the Natsu Basho now wrapped up, the Sumo Association has finally released the schedule for the upcoming summer provincial tour (jungyō). There are 4 tours held every year (well if they aren’t canceled that is!). The Spring Tour is held in April and covers the Kanto, Tokai and Kinki areas. The Summer tour is held in August and covers the Tohoku, Hokkaido and Shinetsu areas. The Autumn Tour is held in October and covers the Tokai, Hokuriku, Kansai, Chugoku and Shikoku areas. And finally the Winter Tour is held in December and covers the Kyushu and Okinawa region.
These tours offer an exciting opportunity to get close to and meet many of the rikishi. It is a much more relaxed setting that an official tournament, and boasts (intentionally) comic sumo, sumo folk songs sung by the rikishi themselves, introductions to basic sumo techniques, demonstrations by the official hair dressers, and of course you can also watch some real sumo, too. The crew here at Sumo & Stogies make an effort to attend this very enjoyable event every year. We recommend if you have time, to try visit one yourself!
The Summer tour this year has been reduced from 8 days last year to just 4 this year. The Akita jungyo is being held in Oga for the first time in 36 years, the last time being in 1977.
Also of special note is that the Sumo Association is taking the rikishi abroad for the first time since 2008. On August 24 and 25 there will be a tournament held at the Senayan Sports Hall in Jakarta, Indonesia. This tournament will coincide with two specific events; the 40th anniversary of Japanese-ASEAN relations and the 55th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Indonesia and Japan. Exciting stuff for sure! And apparently this was the brainchild of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe!