The atmosphere of Edo is prevalent in Ryogoku. Tourists can encounter sumo wrestlers in the streets, and the mood of the old towns in Tokyo prevails throughout.
Ryogoku bustles with parties for viewing the blooming cherry blossoms in spring along the Sumida-gawa River and is animated with firework exhibitions in summer. This town has two major symbols: Ryogoku Kokugikan (sumo stadium), with its large copper-sheeted roof (shaped like a square with rounded corners), and the Edo-Tokyo Museum, best described as "enormous" with its height of over 62 meters and its appearance of a high-floored storehouse. A realistic diorama in the museum and the sumo wrestlers add to the "old town charm" of Edo, and the architectures also add to this feel.
The Edo-Tokyo Museum provides a glimpse into both past and present Tokyo. The permanent exhibition rooms, named Edo Zone and Tokyo Zone are superb. Edo Zone reproduces the town during the Edo Period (1603-1867) by utilizing broad space and extending the height by removal of the flooring between the 5th and 6th floors. Edo Zone is separated from Tokyo Zone by the restored wooden Nihonbashi Bridge of the Edo Period. This bridge is half the length of the original. Elaborate models of feudal lord mansions and tenements, as well as meticulously crafted dioramas make visitors feel as if they can actually "hear" conversations among the townspeople. On the other hand, Tokyo Zone was designed with the themes of war and reconstruction. In the museum, narrative arts and comic shows called "Edohaku-Yose," which are Japanese traditional acts, are held on a regular basis. The arts and entertainments of Edo and Tokyo are apparent.
A 15-day tournament is held at Ryogoku Kokugi-kan every January, May and September. During the tournament, the colorful flags of sumo wrestlers whip around, and sumo wrestlers in kimono (Japanese traditional dress) or yukata (Japanese summer dress) can be viewed strolling through the town. Visitors enjoy the Sumo Museum inside the Kokugikan all year round, and in Ryogoku, there exist sumo-beya (stables) where sumo wrestlers live and exercise. Although visiting a stable is not permitted, enough sumo wrestlers can be encountered in the town for this to be enjoyable. The abundance of the restaurants of chanko-nabe (sumo wrestlers' stew) characterizes Ryogoku.
In addition, smaller museums featuring wooden crafts, dyed goods and other traditional products are scattered throughout the town, and tourists can glimpse Japanese culture and history in many locations.
From Tokyo station:
[Rail] "Ryogoku" station is 13 minutes from Tokyo station by JR Yamanote Line and Sobu Line, changing at Akihabara station.
From Shinjuku-Nishiguchi station:
[Rail] "Ryogoku" station is 22 minutes from Shinjuku-Nishiguchi station on Toei Oedo Line.
Around the Ryogoku Area
- Ryogoku Tourist Information Center Tourist Information Offices Ryogoku Tourist Information Center
- Tobacco and Salt Museum Industrial Tourism Tobacco and Salt Museum
- Ryogoku Kokugikan (sumo stadium) Sports Facilities Ryogoku Kokugikan (sumo stadium)
- Sumo Museum Museums Sumo Museum
- Kiyosumi Garden Japanese Gardens & Parks Kiyosumi Garden
- Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo Museums Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo
- Edo Tokyo Hakubutsukan Museums Edo Tokyo Hakubutsukan