Want to see big guys grappling in a stadium? Ryogoku is the home of sumo wrestling in Tokyo and this district houses the sumo stadium - Ryogoku Kokugikan, sumo stables where the wrestlers live and train, chanko restaurants where they eat and other sumo-related attractions. Sumo tournaments are held at Ryogoku Kokugikan during January, May and September annually.
Known as the centre of the sumo world, Ryogoku has played host to sumo events which used to be held outdoors in shrines and temples before the first permanent sumo hall was built in the area in 1909. Ryogoku Kokugikan, with its distinctive green roof, is the fourth stadium to be built in the district and has hosted three of the six annual sumo tournaments since 1985. The Kokugikan can accommodate 10,000 sumo attendees and also houses a small sumo museum. The Sumo Museum displays centuries of sumo history including woodblock prints, ceremonial aprons and banzuke (official rank listings). Entry to the museum is free, but is only open to ticket holders during tournaments.
If you are in Tokyo during the tournament months it is well worth going to see the sumo wrestlers in action. Outside of the tournaments, phone ahead to one of the many sumo stables in the district for the opportunity to view wrestlers practising in the early morning. Want to eat the food of champions? Chanko nabe in the mainstay meal of sumo wrestlers and there are several restaurants in Ryogoku that serve this dish with many owned by former sumo stars. Chanko nabe is a Japanese hotpot of variations of vegetables, seafood and meat.
To see the action of a Grand Tournament at Ryogoku Kokugikan in January, May or September, box seat and arena seat tickets can be pre-purchased a month prior to the match or on the day of the tournament from the box office. General admission prices are ¥2,100 for adults and ¥200 for children aged four to 15 years. Ringside tickets are ¥14,300 yen each, but come with the caveat of potential injuries from falling wrestlers. To visit, Ryogoku Kokugikan is a two-minute walk from JR Ryogoku Station.