It's the turn of Shirahama, in Wakayama prefecture, to try and attract more people and especially children to sumo. A community dohyo, located at a shrine (Kotohira, I think it's called) has undergone a general refurbishment over the last six months. The ageing main building was extended and given air-conditioning and a new car park has also been constructed, as the authorities want the facilities to be used for many purposes. Work started in September 2011 and was completed in March 2012, with the dohyo work being finished in about one month. In addition, wheelchair access ramps have been installed for the first time, with the hope that elderly people from a nearby care home will come to the shrine. 40 cherry trees have been planted in the grounds and an "observatory" (probably reading that wrong) has been built so that visitors can enjoy the views out over the Pacific Ocean.
The previous dohyo at the shrine was junior-sized, with a diameter of only three metres, but the new one shares the proper dimensions of ozumo. In the future a roof will be added as there are plans to host a proper sumo tournament, and also the sumo club of Ritsumeikan University plans to hold training camps at the shrine. Some kind of sumo festival for local children is held every April, apparently, and the refurbishment was timed so that the new dohyo could be ceremonially opened in time for this year's edition, which will be held this Sunday, the 8th of April.
Happy Easter everyone.
Edited by Yubinhaad, 06 April 2012 - 20:15.