Ryogoku (Sumo Town) – A Complete Travel Guide

Ryogoku, famed as the heart of Japan's sumo culture, is an excellent area to explore. We've got all the info you're going to need, right here.

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Provided by zh.wikipedia

The east Tokyo district of Ryogoku is synonymous with that most Japanese of sports: sumo wrestling. The area is home to Tokyo’s main sumo stadium, a number of sumo stables, chanko nabe (sumo wrestler’s stew) restaurants and various other sumo-themed attractions. Use our guide to discover all this, plus much more that Ryogoku has to offer. 

Ryogoku Kokugikan

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Japan’s national sport has become an emblem for the country as a whole, a uniquely Japanese sport dating back thousands of years. The sheer spectacle of a sumo bout is hard to beat and following the rules is easy: the first wrestler to exit the ring or have any body part except his feet touch the ground loses. Bouts are normally over in seconds and though thrilling, much of the fun for the spectator is in watching the pre-fight mind games and complex ritual observed by the wrestlers. 

The Ryogoku Kokugikan is the spiritual home of Japanese sumo wrestling, which, during the three yearly sumo tournaments in Tokyo fills with spectators from all walks of life. Tourists are a common sight, unsurprisingly, as this is very much an only-in-Japan experience. 

Tickets and Seating

Tickets for the tournaments go on sale roughly a month before the start date. Tickets should be reserved on the official website (in English) and can then be picked up from convenience stores or delivered to your apartment or hotel. A limited number of tickets are put on sale on the day of the tournament but make sure you get there early to avoid disappointment. 

Tickets vary in price, with four-person boxes starting at around 36,800 yen and standard chair seats starting at 3,600 yen. The unreserved seats only available on tournament day are the cheapest at 2,100 yen. Find a full seating chart here

Sumo Stables 

Photo Credit: amanderson2 via Flickr cc

Photo Credit: amanderson2 via Flickr cc

Another option for those who want to see the sumo wrestlers up close and personal is to visit a sumo stable and watch the morning training session. These are the places the wrestlers both live and train but many are open to the public. In Tokyo alone there are around 45 stables, many of them situated in Ryokoku. 

To visit a stable, first, find one near you which is open to visitors. A good selection can be found here. Next, if you don’t speak Japanese, you may need to enlist the help of a Japanese speaker to ring ahead and one, make sure the stable is open on the day of your planned visit, and two, that there will be room for you to visit. Once confirmed, all you need to do is set your alarm for early o’clock. 

Other Things to Do in Ryogoku 

Eko-in Temple

Photo Credit: DocChewbacca via Flickr cc

Photo Credit: DocChewbacca via Flickr cc

Eko-in Temple was built as a resting place for souls lost in Great Fire of Meireki and continues to honour all victims of disasters. One of the few temples in Tokyo where morning prayers are open to the public, this is the perfect place to see some ancient religious practices up close. For full immersion, you can even stay at the temple. With cheap rates and excellent vegetarian food on offer, a more interesting room for a night or two will be hard to come by. 

­ Mon-Sun: 06.30 – 17.00

­ 03-3632-5600

­ Reservations can be made on the website

 ¥  120 (entry fee), 10,000 (1 night, 2 people)

 2-2-10, Ryogoku, Sumida-ku, Tokyo

  ­ Official Website

 

Kyū Yasuda Garden

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Located conveniently in central Ryogoku, Kyu Yasuda Garden is a beautifully landscaped Japanese garden, complete with koi ponds, pagodas and a whole host of lush flora and fauna. A great retreat from the bustle of the streets when exploring Ryogoku. 

­ Mon-Sun: 09.00 – 18.00

­  Closed over New Year (Dec 29-Jan 1)

 ¥   Free          

 1-12 Yokoami, Sumida-ku, Tokyo                       

 

Yokoamicho Koen Park

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Provided by Foursquare

Yokoamicho Park, housing both the Tokyo Metropolitan Memorial Hall and the Great Kanto Earthquake Memorial Museum, is another excellent Ryogoku pitstop. Built on the site of a former military clothes depot which saw the greatest loss of life following the Great Kanto Earthquake, its function is fitting and the profundity palpable. 

­ Open 24 hrs (Park), 09.00 – 16.30 (Museum) 

­ 03 3622 1208

­ Museums closed on Mondays

 ¥   Free          

 2 Yokoami-cho, Sumida-ku, Tokyo     

   ­ Official Website

 

Ryogoku Bridge

File:Sunset across the Ryogoku bridge from the bank of the Sumida river at Onmagayashi.jpg

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Ryogoku bridge is one of the districts great landmarks. Built in 1659 in the wake of the Great Fire of Meireki it was originally a link between Musashi no Kuni and Shimosa no Kuni, two separate provinces at that time. Although rebuilt on several occasions over its lifespan, it remains one of the area’s great historical attractions. 

­ Many Festival is displayed across the bridge and near the Sumida river

 2-14 Higashinihonbashi, Chuo-ku, Tokyo  

 

Ryogoku Fireworks Museum

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Ryogoku Fireworks Museum is dedicated to the history and artistry of Japanese fireworks. Legend states that back in the 13th century it was from Ryogoku Bridge that the first fireworks were launched in the country, making this a fitting site for the museum. Within, find a chronology of the famous Sumida River Fireworks display, beautiful firework-themed paintings and screens plus a whole lot more.  

­ 12.00-16.00 

­ 03 5608 6951

­ Jun-Aug closed on Mondays

 ¥   Free          

 2 2-10-8 Ryogoku, Sumida-ku, Tokyo     

   ­ Official Website

 

Edo-Tokyo Museum

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Provided by Foursquare

Tracing the history of Tokyo from an Edo settlement to the largest city on earth, the Edo-Tokyo Museum is a must for those with even a passing interest in Japan’s history and culture. With recreations, performances, hands-on exhibits and much more, it offers something for all ages and guided tours are even available in English. 

­ Mon-Fri: 09.30 – 17.30 (until 19:30 on Saturdays)

­ 03-3626-9974

­ Closed on Mondays and over New Years

 ¥   600                  

 1 -4-1 Yokoami, Sumida, Tokyo

  ­ Official Website

Ryogoku Chanko Nabe Restaurants

Chanko nabe is a stew-like-dish traditionally eaten by sumo wrestlers to gain weight before a tournament. As you can imagine, it is a hearty stew packed with vegetables, meat and tofu. Ryogoku has a host of chanko nabe restaurants that make the perfect choice for a sumo-themed day out. 

Kappo Yoshiba

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Provided by Foursquare

Kappa Yoshiba is one of the oldest chanko restaurants in the area, located in a former stable. The restaurant has retained the look of a stable, complete with a ring in its centre. The chanko here is top notch and the environment is perfect for enjoying it to the full.   

­ Mon-Sat 11.30 – 13.30, 17:00 – 22:00

­ 03 3623 4480

­ Closed on Sundays and Public Holidays

 ¥  900 (Lunch) 3,500 (Dinner)                  

 2-14-5 Yokoami,Sumida-ku, Tokyo

   Official Website

 

Chanko Tomoegata

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Provided by Foursquare

Chanko Tomogata is one of Ryogoku’s most popular chanko restaurants due to its use of fresh, seasonal ingredients and the depth of flavour in each any every pot. You’ll be offered three different chanko variants: komusubi, makuuchi and juryou. Each of these feature different ingredients and different combinations of flavours, but whichever you choose you won’t leave disappointed. 

­ Mon-Fri 11.30 – 14.00, 7:00 – 23:00

­ 03-3632-5600

­ Jun-Aug: Closed on Mondays and New Years 

 ¥   1,400 (Lunch), 5,500 (Dinner)                  

 2-17-6, Ryogoku, Sumida-ku, Tokyo

    Official Website

 

Ami Ryougoku Souhonten

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Provided by Foursquare

Located only a minute away from the Ryogoku Station, Ami Ryogoku Souhonten specialises in seafood chanko. The base soup is made from a delicious miso paste, into which is thrown chunks of fresh fish, scallops, prawns and squid. Prices are very reasonable considering the quality, making this a top choice.   

­ 11.00 – 02.00                                                   

­ 03-5669-1570

 ¥   999 (Lunch), 4,000 (Dinner)

 2F, 3-26-6, Ryogoku, Sumida-ku, Tokyo

Other Ryogoku Restaurants

Hananomai

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Provided by Foursquare

If you’ve caught sumo fever, head to Hananomai, a sumo-themed izakaya (Japanese pub) featuring its own sumo ring, weekly sumo events and live sumo-themed music. With a great selection of food and drink, you can’t go wrong with this place. 

­  Mon: 11.30 – 14.00, 16:00 – 24:00
       Tue-Fri: 11.30 – 24.00                  
       Sat: 11:00 – 24:00                             
       Sun and Holidays: 11:00 – 23:00    

­ 03-5619-4488                                

 ¥  720 (Lunch), 2,800 (Dinner)                  

 1-1-15 Kamezawa, Sumida-ku, Tokyo

  ­ Official Website

 

Ramen Marutama Ryogoku  Honten

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Provided by Foursquare

Marutama is a great Ryogoku ramen restaurant. The creamy chicken bone broth is endlessly slurpable, providing a depth of flavour that will satisfy even the most stringent ramen connoisseur. 

­ Mon-Fri: 11.30 – 14.30, 17:30 – 21:00

­ 070-5201-5690

­ Can close early if the ramen runs out

 ¥ 650 – 999 (Lunch and Dinner)                  

 2-11-1, Ryogoku, Sumida-ku, Tokyo

     Official Website

 

Popeye Beer Club

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Provided by Foursquare

Popeye Beer Club is a popular izakaya with, unsurprisingly, a focus on beer. With over 70 beers on tap, most sourced from Japanese breweries, you’re in for a long night if you want to try them all. The food is also good and complements the beer nicely. Get there between 17:00 and 20:00 to enjoy happy hour where all beers come with complimentary snacks from the food menu. 

For more places in Tokyo to grab some great beer, check out our Tokyo craft beer guide.  

­ Mon-Fri: 17.o0 – 23.00                                          

­ 03-3633-2120

­ Closed on Sundays 

 ¥   1,000-1,200 (Pint), 17,000 (Sampler set)                  

 2-18-7 Ryogoku, Sumida-ku, Tokyo

    Official Website

Ryogoku Hotels

Dai-Ichi Hotel Ryokogu

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Provided by Foursquare

A huge 25-story complex with 334 rooms and three restaurants, Dai-Ichi Hotel is a modern hotel with all the facilities, amenities and services one could ask for. Rooms are spacious and most enjoy dazzling views of the Tokyo skyline. 

­ Check in: 14:00, Check out: 11:00

­ 03-5611-5211

­ Restaurants close at 22.00

 ¥   15,000 – 30,000                 

 1-6-1 Yokoami Sumidaku,Tokyo

   ­ Official Website

 

Pearl Hotel

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Provided by Foursquare

Located roughly a minute away from Ryogkoku Station and 15 minutes from Tokyo Station, this is a good option for travellers after a convenient location. A well-regarded chain hotel with comfortable, clean and moderately spacious rooms, it is another great mid-range option.   

­ Check in: 15:00, Check out: 10:00

­ 03-3625-8080

­ Restaurants closes at 22.00

 ¥   8,000- 14,500             

 1-2-24, Yokohami, Sumida-ku, Tokyo

   ­ Official Website

 

Anne Hostel Yokozuma

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Provided by Foursquare

Budget options can be hard to come by in Tokyo, but Anne Hostel Yokozuma is one of them. Minutes from Ryogoku Station, the hostel is large and bright, includes a communal games room and kitchen and the rooms are extremely private and comfortable. A great yen-saving accomodation option.

­ Check in: 16:00, Check out: 11:00

­ 03-5600-9090

­ The reception is open everyday 7:00 – 1:30

 ¥   3,000 – 8,000                

 4-38-5 Ryogoku, Sumida-ku, Tokyo                       

   ­ Official Website                           

 

Ryogoku View Hotel

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Provided by Foursquare

With spacious rooms, elegantly furnishings and a reasonable price-tag, the Ryogoku View Hotel is another good choice. If you’re in town for the sumo, the hotel is conveniently just minutes from the stadium.   

­ Check in: 15:00, Check out: 10:00

­ 03-3631-8111

Restaurants close at 21.00

 ¥   9,000 – 12,500                

 2-19-1 Ryogoku, Sumida, Tokyo

   Official Website

Access

1 Chome-3 Yokohama, Sumida, Tokyo

Take the JR Sobu Line or Oedo Subway Line to Ryogoku Station. Most of the area’s attractions are close by. 

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Ines Smaili

Ines Smaili

Hi, I'm Inès, I love to travel all around the world especially in Japan, I will share with you all the information needed to have the best trip of your life!



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