The Palace Hotel Tokyo invites guests to learn about two of Japanese culture’s more mysterious elements, sumo wrestling and Kabuki, with a pair of new Palatial Pursuits packages.
Guests who select the Grappling Tokyo experience will have a chance to spend the day at Ryōgoku Kokugikan arena and witness one of three annual sumo-wrestling tournaments (held in January, May, and September) with a guide who is both a sumo sportswriter and announcer. The day also includes a visit to the arena’s sumo museum. In the two weeks before each tournament month, guests have the rare opportunity to visit a sumo stable—where the wrestlers live and train—and share a traditional lunch of chanko nabe (a high-calorie, protein-rich stew that aids in weight gain) with the athletes.
For those fascinated by the hidden world of Kabuki, the Unmasking Tokyo experience includes tickets to the famed, and recently restored, Kabuki-za theater for a performance of the highly stylized, storytelling dance that dates back to the early 17th century. Prior to the show, guests will lunch with a local Kabuki expert who will explain the meaning behind what they are about to see. If prearranged (and depending on availability), those interested may be able to meet the performers backstage, be dressed in an authentic Kabuki costume, and dine with the performers.
The new packages are offered in partnership with Toki, a Tokyo-based cultural travel agency, and complement the Palace Hotel Tokyo’s other Palatial Pursuits that immerse visitors in the worlds of Japanese gastronomy, fine art, and etiquette. Cost per person for the sumo and Kabuki offerings start at about $4,000 and $3,700, respectively, and include a two-night stay. (en.palacehoteltokyo.com)