The Grand Sumo Tournament takes place in Tokyo in September, and is the biggest of the six sumo tournaments in the year. Unfortunately, this also means that tickets sell out very early in the morning. Not knowing this, a few friends and I went to attend the tournament, arriving before the start to discover that tickets had sold out hours before. If you want to get a general admission ticket, be prepared to be at the stadium the moment tickets go on sale. Other tickets are available of course, but prices go up to several hundred dollars for other seats, and also sell quickly.
The day was not wasted though, as right next to the stadium is the excellent Edo museum. This museum has full scale building replicas throughout, including housing examples from the Edo period up through the 1960s. You can’t go inside the buildings, but they show the slice of life of Japanese citizens very well, and tell great stories intrinsically. There are also dozens of scale models of architecture and cities throughout the museum with beautiful attention to detail.
Tokyo has been built and rebuilt many times throughout its history, and the museum shows how the city has evolved throughout these changes, whether the changes were natural disasters like the great Kanto earthquake, fires, or caused by man and war. It is sobering to see some of the devastation, but the city and the people of Japan have always gone to rebuild something greater than it was before.
We ended the trip with a flight at a local brewery built under a train line, and the always delicious sushi train, where you can eat great food for cheap prices. It’s a great way to try samples of many different dishes without breaking the bank. Beer in Japan is heavily taxed (due to a malt tax on top of liquor tax) but the industry is starting to try novel styles lately to cater to westerners and adventurous Japanese alike. I’ll go more in depth into Japanese breweries in a later article.