Ryogoku Kokugikan

Home of the Heavyweights—Sumo’s Main Stadium


Located in the sumo-obsessed neighborhood of Ryogoku, Tokyo, the Ryogoku Kokugikan is a massive stadium that dominates the area. It is the main venue for sumo tournaments and is a hub of excitement during the tournament season. Built in 1985, this stadium can accommodate over 10,000 visitors and is dedicated to japan‘s national sport, sumo. In this article, we will explore the history and significance of the Ryogoku Kokugikan, the experience of attending a sumo tournament, and the cultural aspects associated with this ancient sport.

The History and Significance of Ryogoku Kokugikan

The Ryogoku Kokugikan has a rich history that dates back to its construction in 1985. It was designed to be a state-of-the-art stadium that could host national sumo tournaments and promote the sport to a wider audience. The stadium’s architecture reflects the traditional Japanese style, with its distinctive roof and wooden structure. It has become an iconic landmark in Tokyo and has played a crucial role in preserving the tradition and heritage of sumo.

The stadium’s location in the heart of the Ryogoku neighborhood further enhances its significance. Ryogoku is known as the sumo capital of Japan, with many sumo stables, training facilities, and sumo-related attractions. The presence of the Ryogoku Kokugikan in this neighborhood cements its status as the home of sumo and attracts thousands of visitors from around the world.

Getting to Ryogoku Kokugikan

The stadium is conveniently located just a one-minute walk from Ryogoku Station on the JR Sobu Line. It is also easily accessible from the Oedo Line exits for the same station, which is a five-minute walk away. The proximity of the stadium to public transportation makes it easily accessible for both locals and tourists.

The Experience of Attending a Sumo Tournament

Attending a sumo tournament at the Ryogoku Kokugikan is an unforgettable experience. The tournament season takes place three times a year, in January, May, and September. These tournaments are the most anticipated events in the sumo calendar and attract a large number of spectators.

Upon entering the stadium, visitors are greeted by the electrifying atmosphere filled with anticipation and excitement. The main event takes place in the center of the arena, where the wrestlers, known as rikishi, engage in intense matches. The matches are fast-paced and filled with skillful techniques, showcasing the strength and agility of the wrestlers.

The calls of the crowd add to the thrill of the matches, creating a lively and energetic ambiance. Spectators cheer for their favorite wrestlers, creating a sense of camaraderie among the audience. The traditional rituals and ceremonies performed before each match further enhance the cultural experience of attending a sumo tournament.

In addition to the matches, there are various snacks and refreshments available at the stadium. Visitors can enjoy traditional Japanese cuisine, such as chanko-nabe, a hot pot dish that is popular among sumo wrestlers. The food options reflect the cultural significance of sumo and add to the overall experience of the event.

Exploring the Sumo Museum

For those interested in delving deeper into the history and culture of sumo, a visit to the Sumo Museum is a must. Located within the premises of the Ryogoku Kokugikan, the museum offers a comprehensive insight into the world of sumo. It showcases a wide range of artifacts, including sumo costumes, historical documents, and trophies.

Visitors can learn about the origins of sumo, its evolution over the years, and the prominent wrestlers who have left their mark on the sport. The museum also provides interactive displays and multimedia presentations, allowing visitors to engage with the exhibits and gain a deeper understanding of sumo’s significance in Japanese culture.


The Ryogoku Kokugikan is not just a stadium; it is a symbol of Japan’s rich sumo heritage. Attending a sumo tournament at this iconic venue offers an immersive experience into the world of sumo. From the intense matches to the vibrant atmosphere, every moment spent at the stadium is filled with excitement and cultural significance.

Whether you are a fan of sumo or simply interested in experiencing Japanese traditions, a visit to the Ryogoku Kokugikan is highly recommended. It is a chance to witness the power and skill of the wrestlers, learn about the history of sumo, and immerse yourself in the unique atmosphere of this ancient sport.

So, if you find yourself in Tokyo during the tournament season, make sure to obtain tickets and be prepared for an unforgettable experience at the home of the heavyweights—Ryogoku Kokugikan.

Address And Maps Location:

1-3-28 Yokoami, Sumida-ku, Tokyo-to

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