A Hit Among Foreign Tourists: Tokyo's "Sumo Restaurant"
As travel restrictions related to the new coronavirus are lifted and the inbound tourism market begins to recover, Tokyo's "Sumo Restaurant" is drawing in crowds of foreign tourists. With an authentic dohyo (sumo ring) inside the establishment, guests can indulge in delicious tonkatsu dishes while being entertained by an exhilarating "Sumo Show."
Owner and former professional sumo wrestler Keishi Aoki, also known as "Kotoho," reached the prestigious Makushita rank during his 20-year career on the dohyo before retiring in 2019. Now, he passionately strives to promote the sport and increase its recognition both among international visitors and the local Japanese community. Aoki shares, "I wanted to introduce people to sumo. Although I hadn't envisioned something like this before, I genuinely hope that sumo gains appreciation from people around the world, as well as from the Japanese."
Many first-time visitors find themselves captivated by the sight of a real dohyo, eagerly watching the powerful "ichiban" (first bout) with gleaming eyes. One satisfied male customer enthusiastically expressed, "It was an amazing experience! The food was delicious, and the wrestlers displayed incredible strength and a great sense of humor."
The restaurant's owner, Yasuhiro Tanaka, who was formerly a Juryo wrestler known as "Kaido," opened the establishment last year when Japan reintroduced visa-free travel. Tanaka recognized the challenges that many retired wrestlers face, especially in finding post-career job opportunities. His goal is to provide a platform for former sumo wrestlers to shine once again. Tanaka explains, "We work hard to convey the difficult memories and traditional culture we experienced during our active sumo days to our customers. However, when we were active wrestlers, we couldn't afford to have fun or enjoy leisurely activities. I genuinely wish for all the wrestlers to receive fair compensation and lead fulfilling and joyful lives."
The restaurant offers a tonkatsu and sumo show set starting at ¥11,000. To enhance the overall experience, they have also created a corner where guests can dress up in sumo costumes and step onto the dohyo. The establishment is committed to constantly improving its services, leaving no stone unturned in providing an unforgettable experience for its patrons.
Source: (Reuters/Yorozu News)