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Pound for pound, these Tokyo hotel experiences pack a punch

An upscale Tokyo hotel is inviting its guests to delve into Japanese culture with new packages featuring sumo wrestling and kabuki.

The new activities are the newest inclusions in the Palace Hotel Tokyo’s Palatial Pursuits program.

Guests get a behind-the-scenes look at sumo wrestling, Japan’s national sport, with the Grappling Tokyo package.

During annual tournaments in January, May and September, a sumo sportswriter and announcer will accompany guests to the revered Ryogoku Kokugikan arena for a full day of action plus a visit to the arena’s museum. Two-night packages begin at about $4,100.

In the weeks leading up to the tournaments, a more intimate experience is offered. Participants travel to a sumo “stable,” where they meet wrestlers in training.

There’s also the opportunity to learn more about the sport during a lunch with the athletes. On the menu is chanko nabe, a hearty stew prepared by the wrestlers themselves. They eat it to add to their substantial bulk.

Rates start at about $5,100 for that two-night package.

With the Unmasking Tokyo experience, hotel guests enjoy a production at the recently restored Kabuki-za theater. Over lunch before the show, a kabuki journalist explains the ancient stage tradition. After the show, guests can don traditional costumes.

The two-night package begins at about $3,700.

The hotel’s other guest experiences include Transcendent Tokyo, an exploration of the local art scene, and Savoring Tokyo, described as a “gastronomic getaway.”

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