Watch a private bull-fighting spectacle in Japan's most famous bull-fighting arena in Uwajima, Ehime! See powerful bulls lock horns in one of Japan's oldest traditional past times. After the bout, you can interact with the winning bull!
Uwajima, a large city in the southern part of Ehime Prefecture, is known as one of only nine locations in all of Japan where one can still watch traditional bull-fighting. Among all bullfighting venues in Japan, the Uwajima bull-fighting arena is the largest, hosting a total of five tournaments throughout the year. The bulls of Uwajima are said to be the most powerful in Japan. And seeing them lock their horns is a spectacle not to be missed! While the tournaments are only held on five days of the year, visitors can book and watch a private bull-fighting session, in which two bulls will lock their horns and compete until one of them runs away. The winner receives an ornamental apron, similar to those sumo champions wear, and visitors are allowed to enter the ring and visit with the bull. Uwajima bullfighting is said to have originated in the 1800s when rescued Dutch sailors presented two bulls to their local saviors as a thank you gift. However, some believe bull-fighting developed from the instinct to fight among bulls used in agricultural since ancient times. Japanese bullfighting is a form of traditional entertainment for local people. The matches rarely turn violent and rely on the bulls' natural tendency to lock horns. A ranking system similar to the one used in sumo (e.g., 'yokozuna,' 'ozeki' and so on) is applied to the animals. Generally, single matches last for 10–15 minutes or until the losing bull runs away. The winner is then declared and given an ornamental apron. One of the most interesting sights is the pride with which the winner marches over the stage, while the loser can often be seen shedding tears while walking off. As a sign of compassion for the losing bull, a larger award is given to its owner and smaller to the owner of the winning bull. This private session is available throughout the year, except on tournament dates (January 2, July 24, August 14, first Sunday in April, fourth Sunday in October).