Annual Contests in Japan

Japan, where tradition seamlessly blends with innovation, hosts numerous annual contests that showcase the talents, skills, and cultural heritage of its people. These competitions range from the physical prowess of sumo wrestling to the intellectual challenges of technology, celebrating not only individual and collective talents but also Japan's diverse interests. Here’s an overview of some of Japan’s most notable annual contests, each offering a unique insight into the competitive heart of the country.

Sumo Tournaments (Honbasho)

  • When & Where: Six times a year across Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, and Fukuoka.
  • What: Sumo, Japan’s national sport, sees its highest level of competition in these grand tournaments. Sumo wrestlers, or rikishi, compete in matches that blend strength, technique, and tradition, striving for victories to elevate their ranks within the sumo hierarchy.

National High School Baseball Championships (Koshien)

  • When & Where: Annually during spring and summer at Koshien Stadium, Hyogo Prefecture.
  • What: This fiercely competitive high school baseball championship is a cultural phenomenon in Japan, symbolising youth, perseverance, and the dreams of young athletes. The tournament is a testament to the high level of skill and dedication among Japan's youth baseball teams.

All Japan Robot Sumo Tournament

  • When & Where: Typically in December in Tokyo.
  • What: Merging traditional sumo with modern robotics, this contest challenges participants to design and build robots that compete in sumo-style matches. It’s a showcase of engineering prowess, strategic thinking, and technological innovation.

Nihonshu Awards

  • When & Where: Annually, with locations varying across Japan.
  • What: Celebrating the art of sake brewing, this competition pits breweries against each other in various categories to determine the finest nihonshu (sake). It’s a contest that highlights the craftsmanship, tradition, and innovation in sake production.

World Cosplay Summit

  • When & Where: Summer in Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture.
  • What: This contest celebrates the art of cosplay, attracting participants worldwide to showcase their creativity, craftsmanship, and passion for anime and manga characters. It's a colourful and imaginative competition that highlights the global influence of Japanese pop culture.

Japan Open

  • When & Where: Annually, with dates and locations varying within Japan.
  • What: The Japan Open is a prestigious tennis tournament that attracts top international players to compete on Japanese soil. It's part of the ATP Tour, showcasing high-level tennis and offering fans the chance to see world-class athletes in action. The event contributes to the global recognition of Japan as a host for international sporting competitions.

Tips for Experiencing Annual Contests in Japan

  • Plan Ahead: These events can attract large crowds, and accommodations may fill up quickly. Booking well in advance is advisable.
  • Respect the Culture: Understanding and respecting Japanese customs and etiquette will enrich your experience at these contests.
  • Explore Beyond the Contest: Attending these contests provides a perfect opportunity to explore the surrounding area, dive deeper into Japanese culture, and discover the country’s many attractions.


Japan’s annual contests offer a unique perspective on the nation's culture, showcasing a blend of traditional values and modern innovation. Whether you are drawn to the intensity of sumo, the creativity of cosplay, or the sophistication of sake brewing, these competitions provide a window into the competitive spirit and cultural pride of Japan. They not only celebrate skill and achievement but also foster a sense of community and national identity among participants and spectators alike.