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Glimpses of Ryogoku, Japan’s sumo wrestling mecca

by Satoko Kawasaki

Staff Writer

Home to the Kokugikan sumo stadium, Tokyo’s Ryogoku district in Sumida Ward has long been known as the mecca of the sport.

Around the stadium, where three of the six national tournaments are held every year, are stables where rookie and veteran wrestlers alike engage in rigorous daily practice.

The area’s history as a tournament venue dates back to 1833, when the nearby Eko-in Temple hosted one to help raise funds for a public construction project.

Nearly 200 years on, the traditional ambience still permeates the district.

In addition to Kokugikan, tourists flock to the Edo-Tokyo Museum, which has recently seen a jump in foreign visitors interested in the capital’s history. Volunteer guides at the museum help explain its displays in English, German, Spanish and Chinese.

This section, appearing on the first Monday of each month, offers a snapshot view of areas that may interest tourists.