Day 8

 Sumo, Sumida river, Hokusai, Unagi, Bridges and waterways. 

In normal times, one can go see the morning training of one of the Sumo stables in Tokyo. You better call in Japanese to make sure it is taking place, and there are rules to follow, but you can peek through the window and watch from 8am to 10am, Officially, or on the webpage of the Arashio-beya Sumo Stable at least, this event is cancelled. And the call only got us to an automated reply that was not scripted on the site (there is a conversation scripted on the site to help you make the call in Japanese and understand the answers). We decide to go for a stroll around the Sumida river and try our luck. Waking up early, but breakfast is a bit long, we are late. We sprint to a train station, take the Shinjuku metro line, get out near Hamacho Park, and we are lucky and watch 15 minutes of Sumo training. The wrestlers are tired, at least some seem so, it is clearly the end of the session. 

Next we head towards the Sumida river, pass the Shi-ohashi (New great) bridge, and walk around the Sumida neighborhood towards the Sumida Hokusai Museum. Hokusai was born in these parts, and you can find many references along the way. At the museum, after a temperature check, we can buy tickets. Gadea gets a reduction as it is her birthday month! And they tell us we will receive a pack of chips exceptionally today when we exit. The special exhibit is about Hokusai and demons and is very interesting. Hokusai has contributed countless drawings to illustrates a lot of tales and stories, and we get to see many old books with Hokusai prints, and prints. The whole exhibit is very instructive. In the permanent exhibit, some reproductions of famous Hokusai prints are exhibited, and interactive screens allow us to learn more about Hokusai and about each print. 

After getting our packs of chips (with Hokusai themed packaging, which explains the situation), we had towards a very local and traditional restaurant that only serves Japanese eel, or Unagi, in the season. This is something Noe has wanted to do in all of her trips here, but you can only eat them during summer. The place is quaint, with an old lady greeting us, accepting to receive us (it is already close to 3pm) and her husband (presumably) getting ready to prepare the dishes. 4 Unagis are ordered… and eaten. Delicious!

Time to burn the calories. We have already walked a lot, but we decide to reach the Yokojikken river, go along with it until we cross the Onagi river, them follow the Onagi river back to the Sumida river. We pass by many nice bridges, two watergates, and some invitable shrines. We head back to Hamacho park, take the train back to Shinjuku Sanchome station and walk home. Tired. But a fun day it was. 

More photos.



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