Reported by Isao Tokuhashi
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One day we heard about an event, in which many foreigners in yukata would participate in, from Noemi Inoue, a woman from Bolivia who’s dedicated herself to attracting foreign tourists to Sumida City. Actually, there are many landmarks such as Tokyo Skytree, Ryogoku Kokugikan (National Sumo Stadium) and Edo-Tokyo Museum that must be quite attractive to foreigners in the city.
We really got interested in the event and joined it on August 1, 2015. The event, which celebrates its 10th anniversary, was organized by Visit Sumida Tourism Office, Sumidagawa Edo Cultural Sightseeing Promotion Association and Sumida City.
People in beautiful yukatas from 24 countries/areas gathered at the 360 year-old Jodo Shinshu temple called “Ekoin (回向院)” in Ryogoku, a neighborhood in Sumida City. Some brought their own yukatas for this event and others bought ones at the temple.
Taiwan & Japan
Costa Rica, Panama, etc.
A New Yorker getting interviewed for a TV news show.
Attendees are welcomed with a comical dance performance called “kappore (かっぽれ, 活惚れ)”.
Let’s get on!
Ryogoku is famous as a “sumo town”. So our 1st destination is…
1. Ryogoku Kokugikan (National Sumo Stadium)
An indoor sporting arena, which is mainly used for sumo wrestling tournaments.The current building was opened in 1985 and has a capacity of 13,000 people.
… to show attendees a bathroom for sumo wrestlers!
Do you think this is big enough for a wrestler?
These bathrooms are only for audience. A bill says, “Bathrooms use in wrestlers are PROHIBITED”
They seem to be enormously amused by the new experience!
2. The Former Yasuda Garden
A Japanese garden located behind the Kokugikan in Ryogoku that was once owned by Zenjiro Yasuda, founder of the Yasuda Financial Group.
What is about to start?
They are serving something like cake…
How do you like it?
“I love this tea bowl!”
Geisha cat in the garden!
She is called “Mukojima Kototoi Nesan”, a costumed mascot character (Yuru-kyara) of Sumida City. The word “Nesan (姐さん)” is used by geisha to refer to their superiors. “Mukojima (向島)” and “Kototoi (言問)” are the names of the former geisha towns in Sumida.
3. Sumida River Cruise
Traveling back and forth between Ryogoku and Tokyo Bay.
Some people enjoy a bento box as soon as they get on board.
Ladies from Balkan countries.
Shamisen live show!
A little bit nervous, but it’s fun!
A woman, in the right, seems to be crying… Why? “Because I’ve dreamed of coming to Sumida River for a long time. I saw movies that are set in the Sumida River area, so I really wanted to come here. My dream has come true!”
Finally; Let’s join the local bon dance festival!
They had fun until the festival ended…