Hi guys, thanks for reading and following my blog, I hope you’ve enjoyed the previous North Korea series and are enjoying this ‘Nippon over to Japan’ series. Welcome to Part 2 where I’ll be taking you to a small district of Tokyo called Ryogoku, the home of Sumo.
If you’re lucky enough to visit Tokyo in your lifetime you need to visit Ryogoku. Ryogoku is quite possibly the most quintessentially Japanese district of Tokyo; it’s home to the Kokugikan sumo stadium and also dozens of sumo stables, the places where sumo wrestlers live and train.
If you walk around Ryogoku, what you see will depend on the weather. I was in Tokyo during August when it was ridiculously hot and humid, and while this may have been a bit of a drag at times it was a godsend when I was in Ryogoku as the sumo wrestlers came outside to train and cool off which allowed me to get a lot of good shots.
It was really enjoyable to watch these guys train, they are like the premier league football players of Japan, the most revered athletes of the country. They are absolute beasts yet they didn’t have any problems with us taking photos as you can see in the photo above.
Ryogoku is also home to to Tokyo Skytree, Tokyo’s tallest structure standing at a whopping 634m, it is also the second tallest structure in the world after the Burj Khalifa in the UAE. There is a stark contrast in the architecture of Ryogoku, you have ancient shrines and temples from the Edo period, really old sumo stables and looming over it all is a gargantuan megastructure like the Skytree. My trip to Ryogoku was almost perfect, it would have been great to see some competitive sumo wrestling in the Kokugikan but you can’t have it all 🙂
If you go to Ryogoku you should try eating what the sumo eat…but maybe not as much. Chanko Nabe is a very important dish in the diet of sumo wrestlers, it is a kind of hotpot dish, which I guess similar to Sichuan hotpot but not as spicy, it is packed full of vegetables, meat and seafood in a fatty broth which provides massive amounts of calories and protein essential for the wrestlers to gain mass, provide energy and the building blocks for muscle growth. It’s a common misconception in the west that sumo wrestlers are just fat guys, they have massive amounts of muscle and are immensely powerful.
Well this concludes this short segment on Ryogoku, Tokyo. I hope this has given a bit of an insight into how much of an interesting place it is and I hope you too get to visit it someday and chow down on some Chanko Nabe.