Opened in 1985, the Ryogoku Kokugikan has a capacity of 11,098 people. The arena houses sumo wrestling tournaments (honbasho), hosting the hatsu (new year) basho in January, the natsu (summer) basho in May, and the aki (autumn) basho in September. It is also used for boxing, pro wrestling, as well as music concerts. In fact, it is the host of the boxing competition for the 2020 Summer Olympics.
In addition to the main arena, there is a small Sumo Museum that was created to gather and preserve a wide range of materials related to the history of sumo, from woodblock prints and banzuke (official listings of rank) to the ceremonial aprons worn by the great rikishi of the past. There also some great pictures of former champions and a display showing video of historic matches. These items are then displayed in themed exhibitions held six times a year.
You can visit the museum for free on weekdays from 10:00-16:30 (Closed weekends and national holidays). Additional notes:
- The museum also closes on a regular basis in order to change exhibits
- During the three Grand Sumo Tournaments held in Tokyo annually the museum is open every day but only to people actually attending the tournament
There are two stations that serve the Ryogoku Kokugikan. There is a Ryogoku Station on both the JR Sobu Line and the Toei Oedo Line and both are wheelchair accessible.
The Rogoku Kokugikan is accessible and the entrance is flat. A sign guides those using a wheelchair to the correct entrance (but it is only in Japanese).
A door will open into the shopping stall area and staff will lead you to the accessible seating box. Please note that for the tournaments, seating is reserved and booking the accessible seats require calling the Nihon Sumo Kyokai. However, since the tickets need to be purchased in advance and require reserving in Japanese, a service like Wilgo can order for you.
An accessible toilet is available
When visiting the museum on days without a tournament, it is possible to use the main entrance. The museum is only one room and has no physical barriers. Pictures are not allowed inside the museum, so here is a shot of the entrance!
While there is a wheelchair accessible washroom available further back in the building, the area is blocked off on regular weekdays. You may be able to convince a guard to let you back there, but it may be easier to just use the washrooms at the train station or Edo-Tokyo Museum – both located next to the Ryogoku Kokugikan. The small Kyu-Yasuda Teien Gardens are nearby as well.
While the Sumo tournaments make for a great day of Japanese culture and sport, the Sumo Museum is a “if you’re nearby already” destination and it is nothing to make a trip out of unless you are particularly interested in sumo. If you do go, it is accessible, but you should not bet on a washroom being available.
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Place Category: Attractions