Sumō in Ryōgoku
Ryōgoku is synonymous with sumo. This is where most sumo-tori live and practice. Yukata-clad sumo-tori are a common sight and if you are willing to get up early (5:00-6:00 am) you might have a chance to peep at their morning training session in one of the wrestling stables of the neighbourhood. "Chanko-nabe" restaurants are a good place to spot sumo wrestlers, since most of the restaurants cater for them and are managed by former sumotori and their family.
Sumo wrestling competition take place at the new Kokugikan sumo arena. Six major tournaments are held for 15 days each year in Japan, among which three at Ryōgoku's Kokugikan in January, May and September. The remaining three are held in Osaka, Nagoya and Fukuoka. The bouts starts at 8:30 am with the beginners, and ends around 6:00 pm with the best wrestlers of the day. The cheapest same-day tickets can be purchased from 2,100 yen. Good seats right next to the action can be very expensive though.
If you are yearning to learn more about the legendary giants, have a look at the exhibits at the Sumo Museum or at the some 50,000 "rikishi" (sumo) pictures in the small Sumo Photographic Museum.
For more information on Sumo, please visit the website of the Sumo Association of Japan.
Edo Tōkyō 江戸東京博物館
History buffs shouldn't miss the remarkable Edo Tōkyō Museum. Housed in a quirky and imposing modern structure, visitors have to go up three high-reaching escalators before penetrating inside.
The first zone is dedicated to the Edo period, and has a reconstruction of the original Nihombashi bridge, a several meters long miniature of the palace of Lord Matsudaira in Otemachi and another one the Nihombashi neighbourhood. Numerous other artifacts and documents are on display, but unfortunately little information is available in English (try to get a guided tour from an English-speaking guide).
The second part covers modern times since Meiji. It has a few reconstructed buildings as well as more miniatures of the late 19th-century Ginza. Another room is devoted to the Great Kanto Earthquakes of 1923 and illustrates the hardships of life in Tokyo during the Second World War.
Deep into the "shitamachi", Morishita is the northern part of Fukagawa. Mikoshi (portable shrines) from the Fukagawa Shinmeigū (深川神明宮) participate to the great Fukagawa Hachiman Matsuri (=>see Fukagawa).
The first attraction for the visitors is the Edo-style shopping mall.
Matsuo Bashō Museum
The famous poet and haiku master Bashō Matsuo (芭蕉松男) lived here from 1680 to 1682, along by the Sumida River, between the Shin-Ohashi Bridge and Kiyosu Bridge.
This museum is situated on the grounds of Bashō's former hermitage ("Bashō-an"). Several of Bashō's most acclaimed haiku and travel journals such as "Okuno Hosomichi" were composed while he was staying at Bashō-an. The Museum keeps the collection of materials related to Bashō.
The museum is 7 minutes walk from Morishita station (Address : 1-6-3 Tokiwa, Koto-ku).
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