There is no mistaking where you are when met with this picture at the train station. Ryogoku, Tokyo's sumo district! There are many sumo stables (training centers) and the famed Kokugikan, sumo arena in the area.
There were also hand prints and autographs lining the wall. The girls enjoyed this.
And heights, though some of them didn't seem overly tall, to me.
Walking the streets, we saw many sumo statues. As you can see, sumo is revered in this country!
We were even lucky enough to see a few sumo in person.
There are many rules that govern the life of a sumo wrestler, including only being able to wear traditional clothing, to include geta (flip-flops), even in the winter. Needless to say, they are pretty easy to spot when you are out and about.
The sumo museum, adjacent to the Kokugikan arena, had these wonderful, enormous murals outside.
Ella's new love!
Chanko nabe is known as "sumo stew", and is a hearty meat and vegetable soup. Sounds pretty healthy right? Now add in copious amounts of rice and beer (up to 10,000 calories per day) and you have a typical sumo meal! I was just so excited that I read the sign, and knew what it was, that I included the pic.
Next stop, the Edo-Tokyo Museum, which was a very unique building, to say the least! I guess the stilts are some sort of earthquake bumper.
This was an awesome, and very hands on museum, that led you through ancient Edo (old Tokyo), to current Tokyo. We even had our own English speaking tour guide. This is a replica of Nihonbashi Bridge. The original, in downtown Tokyo, is still the spot from which all distance's are measured in Japan.
Also, a replica of the old Kabuki-za Theater. It has since burned down many times over, but they continue to rebuild.
Inside was a scene of a kabuki play. Kabuki is always a very ornate production, and even today, only men are allowed to play all parts, even the ladies parts. I guess way back when, it was considered improper for ladies to act, and today remains so to keep the cultural significance in tact.
There was a musical instrument section, that allowed the kids to try making the sound effects used for the plays.
This is what a shoguns wife would ride in, and it took four men or six women to carry. Women? The guide explained that there were areas in the home where men were not allowed, so the women would carry her in those places. What a life!
There were lots of life sized replicas of homes, so interesting!
Fires have been a HUGE problem throughout Japanese history. This pole was carried by firemen (and it was heavy!) in a district to alert those in nearby districts of fire. Thereby, hopefully containing the fire more quickly.
People sold their own excrement, in buckets such as these, as fertilizer. This actually helped keep Edo very clean. (Too bad they missed out on the heated toilet seats!)
In 1868, Edo was renamed Tokyo, and entered the modern era. The rickshaw was invented here, and you can still ride in them around the city today.
With growing western influence, brick buildings were built, rather than all wood, as a way to help combat the spread of fire. This was the trendy district of Ginza, in the 1800's, it looks so European! Now cue, the great earthquake of 1923, which reduced it to ruble anyway. They just can't catch a break!
This European inspired building didn't stand a chance when the large earthquake hit!
This was the official surrender document of the Japanese to the Allies in WWII.
I had to laugh that the Canadian representative signed the wrong spot, and everything that followed had to be crossed out and fixed. How horrifying for that poor man!
And, finally, a model of a typical 1960's Japanese home. LOVE the sliding screens!
Tokyo held the 1964 Summer Olympics, and was also recently awarded the 2020 summer games. I am hoping to return as a spectator!
Such a great day! This museum was so colorful and informative and interactive, I highly recommend it!