It's at Ryogoku Kokugikan, the national sumo hall of Tokyo, that you understand the spirit of sumo.
5 must-do's at Kokugikan in Tokyo
1) Greet Rikishi
Would you like to see rikishi (sumo wrestlers) up close? Then wait for them near the west entrance. Only Yokozuna and Ozeki, the two highest ranks, can use cars to get to Kokugikan (so you are unlikely to see them). The rikishi of other ranks must walk there. Be there around 2 pm.
2) Eat chanko and yakitori
Rikishi eat chanko, a type of soup. The recipes vary, depending on the schools or the cooks. During tournaments, the schools take turns serving their chanko in the basement. Yakitori (grilled chicken skewers with a soy-based sauce) are probably the most famous snack at this venue.
3) Visit Sumo Musuem
You can visit this museum if you have a ticket to a tournament. Learn everything there is to know about sumo, and in particular about the history of this noble sport. The exhibit changes every two months so visitors have good reason to return.
4) Buy goods
There are several shops in Kokugikan. And some of the staff are larger than life. These retired rikishi now work for the Sumo Association as shop assistants. Some of the original merchandise is very practical, such as the tenugui (hand towel) and notebooks.
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The 500 Hidden Secrets of Tokyo reveals off-the-beaten-track places and interesting details for anyone who's keen to explore Tokyo's best-kept secrets.
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