Things to Do in Tokyo
Japan’s national sport is sumo wrestling. There are 15-day competitions six times a year, which are of great interest in the country. In January, May and September, these competitions take place at Tokyo Ryogoku Kokugikan Stadium, 1-3-28 Yokoami, Sumida-ku (Tel: (03) 52 37 93 10), where tickets are also available. More information can be found on the Internet ( www.sumo.or.jp/eng/index.php).
Baseball ( Yakyu or Besubaru ) awakens even more passion and dedication , and the games always attract huge numbers of spectators. Of the 12 professional teams in Japan, several are based in Tokyo. One of the best places to watch a game is the Tokyo Dome, 1-3 Koraku, Bunkyo Ku (Tel: (03) 58 00 99 99. Internet: www.tokyo-dome.co.jp/e), which is also home to Japan’s most popular team, the Yomiuri Giants.
Football ( sakka ) is also extremely popular in Japan, which hosted the 2002 World Cup together with South Korea. Japan’s professional J league consists of 12 teams. Games are held regularly at the Tokyo Dome and the National Stadium, Kokuritsu Kyogijo (Tel: (03) 34 03 11 51).
In Tokyo there are two racecourses, the Tokyo Keibajo (Tel: (04 23) 63 31 41) and the Oi Keibajo (Tel: (03) 37 63 21 51), where horse races ( keiba ) take place regularly on weekends .
The largest ticket agencies with various outlets in the city are Ticket Pia (telephone reservations in English: (03) 52 37 99 99) and Lawson Ticket (tel: (03) 55 37 99 99). Events are regularly sold out, so get tickets early.
Since golf is a passionate game in Japan, there are over 500 driving ranges (often on the roofs) in Tokyo, but enthusiasts must be willing to travel long distances for the golf courses. They are surprisingly crowded at the weekend and the fees are high.
Sakawa Royal Golf Club (Tel: (04 65) 77 22 26) west of Tokyo can be reached in two hours by train and offers a view of Mount Fuji. Non-members can only play here during the week and on weekends outside the peak season.
Non-members are always welcome in the Kazusa Monarch Country Club (Tel: (04 39) 29 31 01. Internet: www.giganet.net/kmcc/index.html). This golf course designed by Jack Nicklaus is located southwest of Tokyo and can be reached in 90 minutes by train.
Most golf courses are closed on Mondays. Further information can be found in a guide to Tokyo golf courses (Internet: www.successstories.com/home.htm).
Joggers are most common in Tokyo’s parks. Yoyogi Park is particularly popular (arrival: Harajuku station on the JR Yamanote ring line or Meiji-jingumae subway station on the Chiyoda line).
A nice path for jogging also runs along the outer moat around the Imperial Palace, but there are quite a few car exhaust fumes here.
The centrally located Hibiya-koen tennis courts (Tel: (03) 35 01 64 28) are located in Hibiya Park near Ginza. They can be used daily from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. You have to register as a member, but this membership is free. Places should be booked early.