Love the 47 Rōnin?
Love chanko nabe?
Love Japanese History?
Love Japanese girls with glasses?
If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, then Ryōgoku is the place for you!
If you’re into the 赤穂浪士 Akō Rōshi the 47 Rōnin, the bitch that they stalked and hunted down and killed like a fucking sick dog had a residence here. Some of the walls and gate of that residence are preserved and are a stone’s throw from the Edo-Tōkyō Museum.
お相撲さんo-sumō-san sumō wrestlers have traditionally eaten ちゃんこ鍋 chanko nabe[i] in order to fatten up. Ironically, it’s super healthy. There are tons of chanko nabe restaurants in Ryōgoku because there are many 相撲部屋 sumōbeya sumō training schools located there.
If you love Japanese history, you can find the 江戸東京博物館 Edo-Tōkyō Hakubutsukan Edo-Tōkyō Museum in Ryōgoku. It’s easily one of the best museums in all of Japan and a must-see tourist destination for anyone who wants to visit Tōkyō[ii]. Also, it looks like a giant space craft which just adds to its badassness[iii]. Also, they have volunteer English guides who will give you a tour for free!![iv]
And finally, if you love Japanese girls who wear glasses, Ryōgoku is the place for you. Because Ryōgoku is in Japan, and there are a lot of Japanese people there. Statistically speaking, about half of them are female. And statistically speaking, about half of those females are wearing glasses!!![v]
How much better can it get???
Let’s talk about the etymology of Ryōgoku. After all, that’s my shtick, baby.
In the past I’ve talked about 藩 han domains and 国 kuni provinces. Well, in the old days, as they say, there were two 国 kuni provinces divided by the 隅田川 Sumidagawa Sumida River. Those provinces were 武蔵国 Musashi no Kuni Musashi Province and 下総国 Shimōsa no Kuni Shimōsa Province. The Tokugawa Shōguns’ direct authority ruled over the city of Edo, and the greater Edo area sprawled across these two provinces. In 1659, The shōgunate built a bridge spanning the Sumida River and, voilà!, linked the 2 provinces. Hence the area is called Ryōgoku, or the place where both provinces met in Edo. Oh, how the shōgunate was magical like that!
So, anyways, if you visit Tōkyō, you have to come to this place. The museum alone is worth your time. I’m a long term resident of Tōkyō and I regularly return to this museum for the special exhibits. If you go there, or have gone there, I’d like to hear about your experience!!! There’s a comments section just for that!
[i] Not to be confused with チンコ鍋 which is something entirely different.
[ii] Pro Tip #1: Read my blog before you go. Bring my blog with you as you go.
[iii] Pro Tip #2: Don’t eat at the restaurants in the museum.
[iv] Pro Tip #3: I’ve never used a free English guide, but if you can read Japanese, they have a study room with access to thousands of maps and documents about the history of Edo-Tōkyō. It’s free to use and I can’t recommend it enough.
[v] DISCLAIMER: I have no idea about the statistics of glasses wearers in Japan.