The Sumo Museum is wheelchair accessible, and can be an interesting place to pop into while visiting the Edo-Tokyo Museum next door – but, being very small, is not something that should be a destination on its own.
The museum is located on the first floor of the Ryogoku Kokugikan (note: three places in Tokyo use the name “Kokugikan”, so make sure you go to the right one!). While the main use of the Kokugikan is sumo wrestling tournaments (honbasho) and hosts 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, and music concerts. In fact, it will be the host of the boxing competition for the 2020 Summer Olympics.
The Sumo Museum 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
Pictures are not allowed inside the museum, so here is a shot of the entrance!
There are two stations that serve the Ryogoku Kokugikan, so it will depend on where you are coming from. Here are the locations of wheelchair accessible exits:
- Ryogoku Station (JR Sobu Line, West Exit)
- Ryogoku Station (Toei Oedo Line, Exit A3)
Clicking on the station name will show you a map of station layout, showing exits with elevators and the location of accessible toilets. (Sorry, JR had no station map but is accessible.)
The museum is easy to miss. When entering the Kokugikan, the entrance is located on your right-hand side just before the stairs.
The Rogoku Kokugikan is accessible and the entrance is flat. The museum is only one room and has no physical barriers. 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.
As stated above, the Sumo Museum is a “if you’re nearby already” destination and it is nothing to make a trip out of in itself. If you do go, it is accessible but you should not bet on a washroom being available.