Ryogoku Kokugikan

Ryogoku Kokugikan, Sumida: Hours, Address, Ryogoku Kokugikan Reviews: 4.5/5

Ryogoku Kokugikan
Arenas & Stadiums
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10:00 AM - 4:30 PM
10:00 AM - 4:30 PM
10:00 AM - 4:30 PM
10:00 AM - 4:30 PM
10:00 AM - 4:30 PM
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More than 3 hours
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875 reviews
Very good

Kobe, Japan293 contributions
If you're reading this and still undecided, then i urge you to attend! It's unique experience that you can only get in Japan. Currently the seating is limited due to Covid-19 and the viewing time is from 13:00 to 18:00.

Seat advice: The best place to watch is from the ground floor. These are not chairs, but mass seats where you sit on the floor. Normally 4 to a box, but due to Covid-19 there are only 2 to a box. If you are not accustomed to sitting on the floor for many hours, this can be your advantage because you can now stretch out your legs with only 2 people pre box. The chair seats are on the 2F level. There are box seats with a table and chairs at the back of the 1F level, these look to be very nice.

The wrestlers are split into East and West for each tournament. The Kokugikan is also arranged in East and West. If you sit on the "north" or "main" side you will have the front view which is the same as you see on the TV. The wrestlers enter the arena from the SE and SW corridors.
Written April 5, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

London, UK155 contributions
I am watching a sumo event while typing

No I am not being disrespectful as it’s a long event but what a feeling watch an type in between matches

It started at 8 but I got here for 9 as I had to travel 2 hours

I bought a ticket from a website called buy sumo tickets or something like that

I got a meal and ticket, you pick the meal up gate 1. You will see lots of bags and they food and gifts. If you don’t drink alcohol like me then you can swap the can for 2 soft drink bottles plus I got a bottle of green tea in the bag.

The seats I got were good as they had a bottle opener attached plus a foldable table to put my food on

This was the middle row with tables which I THINK Arena B is where I sat

It is a 2 min walk from Ryogoku train station from the west exit. If you read English then a person sells a ex sumo referee life biography in the Ryogoku venue which believe me is a good read.

There is also a museum in the arena which is worth visiting but I don’t think you are allowed to take photos in there

This is a full day and if you cone with friends it is even more enjoyable. Just remember to put your phones on silent.

I even included a live match photo wise of someone winning
Written January 15, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Sierra McLeod
Armidale, Australia80 contributions
I visited in January of 2020 and was lucky enough to experience the sumo tournament I had been watching online in real life! The food available to purchase inside the stadium was surprisingly varied, and of high standard!

However, tall people beware, the seating can become quite uncomfortable after an hour or two. Plan to bring a pillow, or to book more than one box. Each box is appropriate for two people around 5 ft 7 and up. My family of four are all above 5ft 7 and struggled to fit into the box without sitting on top of each other.
Written February 14, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Okinawa City, Japan375 contributions
Experiencing sumo Wrestling was one of the best memories.
The tradition behind the wrestling matches takes some getting used to but it's still great to watch.
The day is long, the seats are uncomfortable so be prepared or stay for a couple hours to get your fill. There's a museum near by and other things to see and do.
Written February 18, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Michael B
Suffolk, UK316 contributions
First off, let me preface this review about the arena seating. Nearly every seat has an excellent view, because the arena is fairly small. So you don't have to pay top money for box seats or front upper level. I have seen Sumo twice at this stadium and both times have been great experiences.
Here is the breakdown, box seats are most expensive and are just mats you sit on and start at approx 10,000 yen per person for the back and then go up in price as you get closer to the ring. No chairs, just the floor and a small mat.
Then you have the 2nd level with four different sections, Arena Chairs A, B, C and general admission. Section A has nice movie theater style seats with little trays for food and drinks (about 8500 yen per ticket). Section B has the same seats with no tray (about 5000 yen). Section C has smaller seats and not as cushioned (about 3700 yen).The general admission is the last row and only sold on the day of the tournaments. The whole upper sections has a total of only 18 rows, so the sight difference is not much between front and backs of section.
Now if you have kids, i think it is fine to bring any aged child, never that loud in there. My kids enjoyed it in fact. Under age 3 does not need a ticket (but has to sit on lap). There is plenty of legroom for them to "move" around, because we all know it is hard to still still for five or more hours.
I would always sit in Arena Chairs B, simply because they are comfortable, lots of leg room, even for American standards, and still great sights for children to see and move around.
The food selections are somewhat limited with mostly Japanese foods and things like hot dogs and French fries. However you can leave the tournament once with reentry, so you could eat at one of the many places nearby. In addition, you can bring your own food and drinks into the stadium, which is a plus for people with kids.
If you do not want to be there all day, I suggest getting there at around 1330-1400, that's when the pros start and it gets more lively. It all finishes at around 1800 (6pm).
For transportation, the train is the best bet as the Ryogoku train station is right next to the stadium. From Hachioji, Tachikawa, Ome, Yokosuka or Fussa areas, it is approximately 55-75 minutes by train, depending on starting point. If you are coming from the Yokohama, Saitama or Chiba areas, it is only about 40-45 mins by train. If you are staying in Shinjuku or Tokyo, it is only 15 mins by train. Driving is not really an option as for there is no parking at or around the stadium.
So to review, best seats are Arena Chairs Section B, you can bring children with no issues, and you can bring food inside on your own. And lastly, many of the workers speak English and are very helpful.
Written January 25, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

London, UK480 contributions
I was fortunate to be in town when the May tournament was on, (it's also held in January and September). Seeing a sumo match was one of the best things I did in Tokyo. I've split my review into the event and then tickets, seating and getting there.
1) I arrived at 2.30 although you can get there for 8am but the morning is for low ranked wrestlers. If you do go early you are allowed to leave and re-enter, so you could go visit the Edo museum next door or grab lunch as there weren't many decent eating options (or bring your own food). On arrival I first rented an English audio guide for 100 Yen with 2000 Yen deposit. Before getting to my seat I waited in the side alley where the wrestlers enter the stadium and are applauded by the awaiting fans. It also allows a good photo opportunity close up. At 4 PM the top ranked wrestlers enter the arena and are introduced to the crowd. It was a good atmosphere especially for the later bouts and I found it really interesting with the pre fight rituals and subtle psyching out. The final bout was about 6 PM and rounded off a great experience.
2) I bought my tickets online at buysumotickets.com about a week before the event and had them delivered to my hotel. If ordering early they also ship to your home address. A really good efficient service from them for a small handling fee.
In terms of the seats you can have "Box" or "Arena" seats, with box being Japanese style mats which you sit cross legged on and are for groups up to 6 people. Box seats are the lower level. I went for an Arena seat which is upper tier and are normal western style chairs. Cat A is the first 6 rows, Cat B are rows 7-11 and Cat C is 13-15. I went for Cat B which still provided a good view and had sufficient leg room but in hindsight I would have paid more and got the Cat A which are closer and more "comfy" as this is a one off experience.
To get to the stadium go to Ryogoku (E12) station on the metro and take exit 3. The stadium is directly behind the Edo museum.
In summary a classic Japanese experience that should not be missed. Enjoy!
Written June 1, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Sydney110 contributions
Everything about a sumo tournament at Kokugikan Stadium is great. The gates open at 8am, but don't go that early. All the good bouts are in the afternoon. I've been a couple of times, and these are my hints. Arrive at about 12.30pm. Use the morning to visit the Tokyo Edo Museum (the spectacular building right next door). When you arrive at the stadium, before you go in, spend a little time on the footpath out the front of the stadium to the right. This is the route that many of the Sumo wrestlers take to walk to the stadium from their sumo stables. You will probably see sumo groupies on the footpath, and if you do, join them! You can certainly ask to have your photo taken with some of the less "important" sumo wrestlers. (You can tell the important ones by the young sumos following them, carrying their gear. The really important ones have two young sumos to attend to them.) The fans on the street will shout out encouragement to their favourites as they walk past or as they arrive in their cars, and they create quite an atmosphere. After about half an hour go into the stadium and find your seat. In the entrance foyer of the stadium is a brochure stand with excellent brochures in English talking about the stadium and sumo and its history, customs and rules. Take them to read.
After you've found your seat, if you haven't eaten, buy a bento box from one of the stands. They sell out quickly. Then go back out to the sumo entrance, inside the stadium grounds. From about 1.30 the big sumo stars start to arrive, and it's fun to watch the fans get very excited, as well as to see how truly "big" these stars are close-up. Get back to your seat by around 2pm, because the first procession of competitors happens between 2 and 2.30. Then enjoy the bouts. As the afternoon progresses so does the level of competition. The most important bouts are right at the end. After you've seen a couple of early bouts, go and have a look at the sumo museum, in the stadium. After the final bout of the day, when everyone else starts to leave, stay so that you can watch the traditional bow dance. If you're lucky enough to be there on the last day of the tournament, stay for the prize giving ceremony - the trophies are so big, you'd have to be a sumo to lift them!
When you buy seats, remember that some of the best seats in the house are the worst for foreigners. The seats on the ground floor of the stadium, including the box seats, are simply flat cushions on the floor, with no room to spread out. You have to be capable of sitting cross-legged or folding your legs under you for hours if you have these seats. We got a box the first time we went, and we spent a lot of time standing at the back, in the aisle. Second floor seats are regular chairs.
We bought our tickets before we left for Japan at www.buysumotickets.com. They were helpful via email with seat choices and the tickets came within a fortnight. They charge a small commission, but it's worth it to know that you've got a seat. The tournament we attended was sold out weeks in advance.
The sumo tournament is a sporting event filled with customs and ceremonies that are hundreds of years old. It is definitely a cultural experience, as well as a sporting event. There's nothing quite like it - the extraordinary physiques of the competitors, the costumes of the officials, the arena, the attendants, the singing announcements, the posturing and gamesmanship, and so many other things unique to sumo. Don't miss it!
Written January 13, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

New York City, NY5 contributions
My time in Tokyo coincided with a tournament, and this was definitely one of the most memorable parts of the trip. Tournaments do not happen often, but even if there isn't one going on when you're in town, you can go to the sumo stables for a morning practice session. Somehow or another, I recommend you get your taste of sumo!

There are few experiences in the world that offer visitors both: a) a wildly unique experience that can only be had in that place and b) cultural authenticity (aka not a tourist trap). The robot restaurant, for example, is unique but also a tourist trap. Museums, for example, offer cultural insights but can be found in many places. Sumo is one of those rare things that ticks both boxes.

In the stadium, there were passionate local fans cheering for their favorite sumo wrestlers. But, it's also an accessible and captivating experience for visitors. Even though I'm normally not a sports fan, I was on the edge of my seat during the sumo tournament, watching the traditional rituals and trying to guess who would win each of the matchups.

One tip on booking a ticket: I found it difficult to get a ticket for the actual tournament from abroad. The official website was sold out, and the tickets on Stubhub had a complicated delivery process. Then, I found a tour on Japanican that was actually cheaper than the Stubhub tickets. This tour was operated by JTB Sunrise Tours. The tour guide gave some helpful explanations, and then took us to the stadium. The cost was well- orth it, because it was the cheapest way I could find to get into the stadium. My guess is that this happened because perhaps the tour companies buy a lot of cheap seats in bulk right when sales open. So, even after the tour company's fees are added, the tour tickets are still cheaper than what I as an individual could find online.
Written July 11, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Weston, FL3 contributions
You will have a great time with your family. One big warning, DO NOT BUY TICKETS FROM: BUYSUMOTICKETS.COM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

They bait and switch their tickets. Beware, they will promise you something and give you something else in return.
Written February 23, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Gail S
Sydney, Australia124 contributions
This is my 5th visit to Japan in January for skiing. Each time I have been here I have been drawn to watch Sumo on the local TV. it is truly fascinating. I am addicted and as a female I am on my own amongst my friends:) it is rich in tradition and ceremony and gives a great taste of one aspect of the Japanese culture. If you have the chance go and see it "live".
Tickets are best purchased on line before you leave. the tickets go on sale approx a month before the Basho ( comp ) starts. There are 4 Basho per year but not all are in Tokyo. the January tournament is always in Tokyo at the Ryogoku Kokugikan ( Sumo stadium ). You can check details at Nihon sumo kyokai website.
Unless you are happy to sit on floor cushions for a couple of hours, you are best to get seats on the 2nd floor (2F on map ). Viewing is great from this position.
You can hire a radio at the stadium that you can tune into the English commentary or maybe bring your own radio and tune in yourself. The hire is 100 yen with a 2000 Yen deposit.
Plan to be seated by 3pm and you will see some of the Juryo division and be there for the ceremony introducing the senior wrestlers Makkuchi division at about 1545. The day will finish at 1800hrs.
The stadium is right across the road from Ryogoku station and directly in front of the Tokyo-Edo museum. There is a small Sumo museum in the stadium area.
Written January 25, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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Ryogoku Kokugikan is open:
  • Mon - Fri 10:00 AM - 4:30 PM
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