7 Things to Do in Ryogoku, the Traditional Town of Sumo

  • Ryogoku is a district most commonly associated with the popular Japanese sport of sumo. Sumo tournaments have taken place in the Ryogoku Kokugikan (sumo stadium) and sumo stables in the area for over a century and attract visitors from far and wide who come to get a glimpse of the giant wrestlers. The neighbourhood is so well-known as being the local sumo hangout place that there is even a sumo-sized dish specifically for the wrestlers which is a huge, filling hot pot.

    As a town that was around in the Edo period, Ryogoku has a rich history to discover which can be found in the streets and museums. With all this culture to discover, it’s time to get exploring with these 7 things to do.

    For more things to do in other areas, check this list out!
    Would you like to stay in Ryogoku? Check out all the hotels in the area here!

    1. Learn to Play the Taiko Drum


    Taiko is a traditional Japanese drum which lets out an impressive sound when beaten with two bachi drumsticks. Taiko is usually played as a group and when the taiko drums are beaten in unison you’ll understand the fascination of a taiko performance.

    Why not have a go at the taiko drums with a professional teacher in Ryogoku? Lessons are held on Tuesdays and Fridays 7 pm-8.30 pm, Thursdays at 10:30 am-12 pm and Sundays 12:30 pm-2 pm. As taiko drums are played standing, they are played in a particular stance that also involves moving and chanting. Usually accompanied by other instruments such as the takebue (bamboo flute), you will also have the chance to have a go at these.

    Booking details: Learn to Play the Taiko drum in Tokyo!

    2. Taste Boar Hot Pot

    Boar Hot Pot

    While the chanko nabe is the most popular dish in Ryogoku, you can savour the taste of an altogether unique hot pot in this district as well: Boar hot pot. The delicious, tender meat is seen as a healthy, lower calorie alternative to other meats and is served up in a delicious soup with some vegetables and herbs to top it all off.

    As an added bonus, you’ll be awarded a discounted ticket to the Robot Restaurant in Shinjuku so your next dinner out is already organised!

    Booking details: Boar-meat hot pot dinner with a Robot Restaurant ticket

    3. Take a Trip Back to the Edo Times

    The history of Ryogoku means there are plenty of stories to be uncovered around town. Take a trip to the Edo-Tokyo Museum where you can learn about the history of Toyko and see replicas of the 400 year Edo period that ran from 1603 to 1868. Also, discover the many spiritual places that Ryogoku is home to and learn how they are linked to the tradition of sumo. Visit all these attractions with a tour run by a knowledgeable local that will give you an in-depth insight into this area’s fascinating history.

    Booking details: Stroll around the sumo district and feel the spirit of Edo!

    Discover Ryogoku and Its Surroundings
    4. Explore with a Sumo Wrestler


    You can’t go to Ryogoku with at least catching a glimpse of a sumo wrestler. Heading to see them training or at a tournament is a great way of getting the sumo experience but how about taking it that one step further and having a sumo wrestler show you around Ryogoku?

    Be shown around the streets of the area where you can see where the wrestlers spend their time, get your hands on some sumo-inspired souvenirs and eat your way around like a sumo wrestler with the famous chanko nabe.

    If you’d like to discover more of Tokyo’s old, traditional side, you can also take the tour over to Asakusa where you’ll find one of the biggest temples in Tokyo, Sensoji Temple. Very few Japanese people can even say they’ve had this experience, so think up all your sumo questions and get ready for an all together different way of touring Tokyo.

    Booking details: Tour Asakusa and Ryogoku with a sumo wrestler

    5. Photograph Your Way Around Old Tokyo

    Behide of woman has backpack in Autumn season at Senso-ji temple in Asakusa District, a major tourist attraction in Tokyo, Japan

    Have you ever got home from an amazing holiday and realised you only took a few photos and they don’t reflect how good your trip was? We’ve all been there and, while it’s good to live in the moment, it’s such a pleasure to have good photos to look back on.

    Exploring the Ryogoku area and other must-see places around Tokyo with a local photographer that knows the area well will not only give you a full understanding of each area but the photographer will also get some great shots of your day out to make sure you have some good snaps to take home with you.

    Booking details: Deep Tokyo Photo excursion with a professional Photographer

    6. Cycle Around the Area

    Attractive athletic young male in sunglasses, helmet and sports clothing standing on desert street with his beautiful blonde girlfriend, waiting for their friends before having morning ride together

    If you’re the type of traveller that likes to get a lot done but without too much effort, cycling your way around is the best way for you to discover Tokyo. On the Asakusa and Nihonbashi course, not only will you be able to check out some of the highlights of Ryogoku but you will also see many other sights including parks, Kabuki theaters, the famous Tsukiji market, Ueno Zoo, the Imperial Palace and much much more.

    With bike tours going every day and on different courses around the city, there’s no excuse to not join in with at least one tour of the city on two wheels. So, on your bikes!

    Booking details: Enjoy a full-day cycling sightseeing tour of Tokyo!

    7. Dress Up As a Ninja and Discover the Streets


    It might not seem like the most obvious thing to do on a day out in Tokyo but dressing up as a ninja before getting your tourist on is most certainly one of the most fun things to do.

    Discover some of the oldest parts of Tokyo including Sensoji Temple and Nakamise Dori before munching on okonomiyaki, a delicious Japanese pancake. Finish it all off with a trip to Purikura, the unmissable Japanese photo booths, to get some unforgettable photos of the day you dressed up as a ninja. This is a great day out for both children and adults, so let’s get exploring ninja style!

    Booking details: Take an exciting tour in Tokyo dressed as a ninja!

    While the Ryogoku area may be small, it has a sumo-sized history and culture which guarantees a fun and fulfilling day out. Whether you’re a big sumo fan or not, a trip to Ryogoku is a good insight into the sumo world and the perfect way of finding out more about Japan’s fascinating history and typical traditional activities. Ryogoku is also in a good location if you’re looking for a hotel with a handy Haneda Airport shuttle service which will take you straight from Haneda Airport to Ryogoku.

    For more things to do in other areas, check this list out!
    Would you like to stay in Ryogoku? Check out all the hotels in the area here!