Tokyo and its Surroundings
Ryogoku is a district entirely articulated around sumo, this traditional Japanese sport. It is here that many sumo players live and train in “stables” (or heya 部屋) near the largest sumo arena in the country.
The kokugikan (国 技 館) is Japan's most famous sumo arena. Each year, in January, May and September, and for 15 days, three of the six national sumo tournaments are organized there. During these periods competitions take place every day from morning to night, with the strongest sumos fighting last.
The building also houses, on the first floor, a free museum dedicated to the art of sumo.
In addition to the tournaments, you can watch sumo practice early in the morning almost every day in one of the neighborhood stables. Sometimes these stables are open to the public free of charge but, be careful, not all of them accept visitors where conditions are imposed (warning in advance, speaking Japanese or being accompanied by a translator, etc.).
While in Ryogoku, it is traditional to eat a chanko-nabe, the sumo meal. They can be found in most restaurants in the area. Chanko-nabe is a kind of very rich soup containing meat or fish and vegetables. The most popular with sumo players is the chicken one because the animal has only two legs, and, like sumo in a fight, cannot put its hands on the ground.