Ryogoku district sumo stables. What is left of the floating world of old Japan can be glimpsed in the north-east of Tokyo, home to the Yoshiwara pleasure quarters, the magnificent Asukusa Kannon temple and the sumo stables of the Ryogoku district. Some of the latter allow visitors to watch the practice sessions for free. You will have to set your alarm clock, though, as training can start as early as 4am, but it is worth the effort to get an insight into the traditional and hierarchical world of sumo. Seeing these giants limber up by slapping huge wooden pillars - or each other - is an impressive enough spectacle; watching them humbly sweep the floor is even more memorable. For those who want to probe a little deeper, there is a sumo museum in the area.
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