Major Attractions and Events
Ryogoku, the town of sumo wrestlers
This is the Kokugikan, the heartland of sumo.
The Kokugikan was built as a permanent home for sumo wrestling.
Its capacity is eleven thousand spectators.
Sumo wrestling is a bout between two, loin-clad wrestlers in a 4.55 diameter ring.
Simmons became a frequent visitor to the Kokugikan and has met and spoken with seventeen of those grand champions in person.
Exploring the world of sumo wrestling！
The Eko-in temple, which has long been associated with sumo.
This is where the present sport of sumo began. Public bouts were first held here in 1768 to raise money for public works.
This is the Chikara-zuka – literally Power Monument – which was erected by the Japan Sumo Association before the war to honor the spirits of former wrestlers.
“Very often as I’m going off to work in the morning I’ll see a young sumo apprentice standing in front of here, praying to the souls of all the greats who’ve gone before. ”
Along the pavement of the Kokugikan-dori street which leads from the stadium to the temple, we find the statues and hand prints of the wrestlers.
Ryogoku really is steeped in the world of sumo wrestling.
The sumo wrestlers’ shopping street
It is a clothing shop with extra large sizes in everything from suits to socks.
For Simmons, who is a little over one meter forty tall, it is a bit like being lost in the land of the giants.
Shigeru Kubota, the shop keeper:
“We have never turned a customer away because he is too big. If we don’t have things in the right size, we will make them. ”
Well-balanced nutritious meal“ the chanko-nabe”
This restaurant used to be the base – called stable in English – of the Miyagino-beya group of sumo wrestlers. These stables are where the wrestlers sleep, train and spend their daily lives, and the old training ring has been left exactly as it was.
The famous chanko-nabe contains seafoods, meats, and various vegetables. There are seventeen main ingredients in all.
“It’s very good food. The sumo people eat it all the year around, every day. It makes you strong and gives you a lot of protein and vegetables.”
Ryogoku is about one and a half hour from Narita Airport by train.