Ryogoku is an area in the Tokyo district of Sumida that is most famous for being home to the Kokugikan Sumo Stadium and the amazing Edo-Tokyo Museum. At the end of April/early May each year it is time for the Ryogoku community to celebrate with a great street festival with so much to see and take in.
The festival is spread over a few different sights close to the JR Ryogoku Station and it is worth exploring them all. The Kokugikan Stadium is open to the public and you can even get all the way down to the area where the sumo ring is. If you have never been into the stadium or have not got the money to sit ringside at a sumo tournament, then this is a great opportunity not to be missed. You can also see and hug the sumo mascots as they waddle around the stadium or buy some chankonabe (a type of hotpot that sumos eat everyday) dished out by sumos.
Another area of the festival is along the main street next to the JR Station where there were many stands selling chankonabe as well as businesses giving away prizes and a stage with different performances including taiko drumming and a beautiful kimono dressed singer.
At the end of this street is the Ekoin Temple which had more performers including a group of older ladies in colourful costumes that were doing tricks with these sticks that are tied together and they make all different shapes with them. You can also go into the temple and watch the monks performing service with drumming and chanting. If you have never been part of a tea ceremony you can also participate in one here. Whilst in the temple grounds make sure to explore the grounds and see if you can spot the monuments to children and pets.
Next to the temple is another stage with dancers, magicians and even jugglers that you can sit down and watch for a while and you can still easily enjoy it without knowing Japanese. There are a few other sights as well so it's worth getting a program so you can see where all the sights are.
If you are in Tokyo during the first weekend in Golden Week make sure you visit Ryogoku and enjoy this great community festival which has so much to see and enjoy.
Find out more about Ryogoku Kokugikan.
Currently in Japan on a Working Holiday Visa and absolutely loving it. Keen to help other people with travelling Japan.