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Sumo Wrestling Tournaments (Ryogoku Kokugikan)

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Attractions Details

📌 Address

1-chōme-3-28 Yokoami, Sumida City, Tokyo 130-0015, Japan

Opening Hours

9:00 AM - 9:00 PM

💸 Entrance Fee

Varies

Find it on google maps

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expert
Gede
Local tour guide
"Visit Ryogoku Kokugikan during the off-tournament days and you might catch a morning practice session at one of the nearby sumo stables – it's a lesser-known opportunity to see sumo wrestlers up close. Additionally, for a more fulfilling experience, be sure to check out the surrounding neighborhood for sumo-themed restaurants where you can try chanko nabe, the protein-rich stew that wrestlers eat."

What is Sumo Wrestling Tournaments (Ryogoku Kokugikan)?

Sumo wrestling is not just a sport; it's a living tradition. At its beating heart in Tokyo is Ryogoku Kokugikan, the premier venue for sumo wrestling in Japan. This is where the Grand Sumo Tournaments, known as 'Honbasho', spring to life. Six times a year, sumo wrestlers from across the nation and even from around the world come here to compete in a sport steeped in ritual and history. Clad in their mawashi, the wrestlers battle for glory and rank in an atmosphere that's electric with tension and excitement.

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The Ryogoku Kokugikan isn't just a place to watch sumo; it's a cultural immersion. The building's architecture itself pays homage to traditional Japanese styles, and the interior is bustling with fans, food stalls, and sumo memorabilia. For anyone aiming to get a glimpse into Japan's national sport and a taste of its culture, this is an unmissable destination. Did you know that the seats here are divided into different classes, resembling the Edo period seating arrangements? It's these details that really make the experience special.

History of Sumo Wrestling Tournaments (Ryogoku Kokugikan)

The history of Ryogoku Kokugikan is as rich as the sport it celebrates. The original Kokugikan was built in 1909 and has been synonymous with sumo ever since. Throughout the years, the arena has seen numerous relocations and reconstructions, with the current building being the third iteration, opened in 1985. The sumo wrestling tournaments themselves have a much longer history, tracing back over 1,500 years. Sumo was originally performed to entertain Shinto deities, and it evolved into a professional sport during the Edo Period (1603-1868).

In its modern form, Ryogoku Kokugikan has continued to uphold this traditional sport, surviving through an array of historical events, including severe damage during World War II. Rebuilt time and again, the arena has become a symbol of Japan's resilience and dedication to preserving its cultural heritage. And let me tell you, the spirit of sumo is palpable in its walls – every cheer, every stomp, resonates with centuries of matches and stories.

Why is Sumo Wrestling Tournaments (Ryogoku Kokugikan) Important?

Ryogoku Kokugikan holds an irreplaceable position in Japan's cultural landscape. This venue is important not merely as a sports arena, but as a cultural institution that celebrates and perpetuates the rituals, respect, and athletic prowess that sumo embodies. Sumo is not just a series of matches; it's a comprehensive cultural expression that extends to poetry, art, and even religious practices, making its prime venue in Tokyo a vital keeper of these traditions.

In modern Japan, sumo wrestling tournaments serve as a conduit for people to connect to their heritage. The venue is also significant for the way it brings together people from all walks of life: emperors and ordinary citizens, locals and visitors – all united by the thrilling spectacle. And, the impact on its local area has been profound, with the Ryogoku district itself becoming synonymous with sumo, and a rich culture has bloomed around it, including chanko nabe restaurants where sumo wrestlers dine.

Things to Do & See at Sumo Wrestling Tournaments (Ryogoku Kokugikan)

Attending a sumo wrestling tournament at Ryogoku Kokugikan is an experience unlike any other. From the moment you step into the arena, you're transported into a world of ancient rituals and gripping athleticism. Visitors can observe the opening ceremonies, witness the grand entrance of the wrestlers, or 'rikishi', and revel in the ceremonial aspects that precede each bout. These rituals are deep-rooted in Shinto tradition and add a level of spiritual significance to the matches.

Within the Kokugikan, there's also the Sumo Museum, an oft-overlooked gem where you can delve deeper into the sport's history. Here you'll find historical sumo paraphernalia, including prints, ceremonial aprons, and even portraits of legendary wrestlers. It's a fantastic primer before your foray into the sport or a deep-dive after the bouts.

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Don't forget to venture outside the matches themselves! The Ryogoku district is vibrant with sumo culture: stroll through the streets and you might just spot wrestlers in their distinctive yukata, or sample the famed chanko nabe, a hearty stew favored by rikishi to build their strength. And for those who are lucky, sometimes, just outside the arena, there are exhibition matches or public practice sessions where you can see the wrestlers’ technique up close.

Frequently asked questions

What is the Ryogoku Kokugikan?

The Ryogoku Kokugikan is Tokyo's largest sumo hall, primarily known for hosting the three Grand Sumo Tournaments or 'Honbasho' held in Tokyo every year.

When are the sumo wrestling tournaments held at Ryogoku Kokugikan?

The sumo wrestling tournaments at Ryogoku Kokugikan are held thrice yearly, specifically in January, May, and September.

How can one buy tickets for the Sumo Wrestling Tournaments in Tokyo?

Tickets for the Sumo Wrestling Tournaments can be purchased through the official sumo wrestling website, at convenience stores in Japan, or at the Kokugikan's box office.

What other events are hosted at Ryogoku Kokugikan apart from sumo wrestling?

Besides sumo tournaments, Ryogoku Kokugikan also hosts various other events such as boxing matches, pro wrestling, and concerts.

Is there a museum at Ryogoku Kokugikan, and what does it showcase?

Yes, the Ryogoku Kokugikan includes the Sumo Museum, which showcases artifacts and exhibits related to the history and culture of sumo wrestling in Japan.

Attractions Details

📌 Address

1-chōme-3-28 Yokoami, Sumida City, Tokyo 130-0015, Japan

Opening Hours

9:00 AM - 9:00 PM

💸 Entrance Fee

Varies

Find it on google maps