Hotspot #7 and #8: Masterless Ronin Graveyard and Sumo Place
“From smelly fish market to Ronin? Wow…that’s…weird!”
As much as I am obsessed with Geisha during this trip, hubby is obsessed with Samurai and Ninja. He decided to include in this hotspot, a burial site of 47 Ronin who died by seppuku ritual, right after their master, Lord Asano, who was sentenced to death due to corruption, who later committed seppuku harakiri as well (a.k.a suicide la, ape lagi…)
Read for more details on Dead Ronins Tell Tales by hubby, here.
From Tsukijishijo, we went to Daimon Station on Oedo Line and changed to Sengakuji on Asakusa Line. It was just a few steps from this station (ok, I lied), where you can see the entrance of this “masterless samurai” graveyard.
Sengakuji Temple admission is free and no closing days, so having this small-yet-famous temple in our list went well with my motto “cheap but fun”.
Right before the temple, there was a statue of Samurai lead, Oishi Kuranosuke, stood still in his yukata. (But…oishi means delicious…can you imagine people calling him “delicious, come here.” KINKY! Hahaha!)
Ok, back to business. Where was I? Ooo…the delicious statue. Hehe. We then, walked in, where we saw a symmetrical shrine with huge compound right before us. There were locals sitting quietly on the benches and some were in the midst of paying respect to the Akoroshi by burning incense sticks (sekno). It was a calm situation. Until both of us positioned a tripod, set a 10-sec self-timer, and posed! Hahaha!
“Let’s move to the graveyard.”
Unlike Taj Mahal at India, or HCM Musoleum at Hanoi, Lord Asano is buried in a graveyard. When I said graveyard, it was REALLY a graveyard, with memorial stone written in Kanji on it.
We then walked up and stopped, to watch a grave-keeper, burning some green incense sticks. He offered us but we rejected with smile. Few meters from there, I saw rows of the dead, I believed, where the 47 Ronin were buried.
It was a mind-blowing, to imagine, how loyal someone could be. Choosing to be a follower, rather than a leader. Deciding to give over yourself to someone you trust into. And committing seppuku? Hmmm.
It’s been said that these masterless samurai waited for over one and half year, before they retaliated. They killed Lord Kita (the culprit who caused the killing of Lord Asano) in his mansion, and carried Kira’s head to this temple (Sengakuji), before all of them committed suicide. Scary huh? Like…here’s the head, now you kill me, no, you kill me, wait, you kill me first, no, no, you kill yourself, I kill myself, so we kill ourselves.
Now, my question, who was the last to watch and be killed by himself?
“Ayang, take my photo.”
I searched for hubby. “Where are you?”
“Here. Here. Down here.” He was jumping next to the fountain.
“Owh ok. What’s that?”
“Ala…47 fountains for 47 Ronin…with their name on it.”
“Ooooookayyyyy…” Like I care. I focused on sakura instead. Hahaha!
We then took a break and had lunch at on of the area. That was right after we saw locals having bento on the bench. So, we took out our own “bento”, please welcome, none other than, serunding and nasik impit. Hahaha!
After hubby finished his last puff, we moved on and walked down towards the exit. We were pretty amazed with Suikinkutsu at the end of the walkway. The info board explained that water that trickling down at bottom of the basin echoes and sounds like a Japanese harp. Cool…
It was nearly 12 noon when we walked out from the temple. Alongside the street, there were shops selling samurai-related souvenirs.
“Samurai use shuriken?” I pointed to flat piece of metal with spikes.
“More aero dynamical compared to straight blade (sword).”
I looked at hubby…speechless. Coz sometime, I really can’t tell when he is lying.
“Wait till you see Sumo’s weaponry.”
“Sumo use weapon?” This time, I didn’t buy it.
From Sengakuji on Asakusa Line, we stopped at Daimon Station and changed to Oedo Line to Ryogoku Station. Finding Kokugikan wasn’t that easy, though you already see that HUGE green roof from afar.
Wondering whether we should walked to the left or to the right, I started to amuse myself and became one big fat ass sumo wrestler. When we supposedly chose the right way, we didn’t notice that we chose the longest route, where we finally end-up encircling the whole enormous multifaceted, consists of Edo-Tokyo Museum, schools, park, etc.
Letih ok! Rasa nak sepak-sepak je batu tepi jalan! But, we endured and enjoyed the sight. Thanks to beautiful sakura and roses that soothed the pain.
We finally reached the entrance and were welcomed with beautiful and colorful sumo murals. Suddenly, there he was…
One BIG guy in yukata and selipar jepun, passed by.
“AYANG! TANGKAP! TANGKAP! CEPAT!!!” I shouted to hubby, where at the end, I was the one who successfully captured the guy!
"SORANG LAGI! TU! TU!" I started to get crazy. (It was actually the same guy who went in and went out. Pfft!)
“HUIYOOOO! LIKE…FINALLY, I SAW A SUMO WRESTLERRRRR!” And I had no idea whether he is a sumo wrestler or just a cook. But who cares. He looks like one.
We then entered the Sumo Museum but this hall was restricted for video and camera. They demonstrated (visually) of sumo history, routine, ritual, winners and etc. We had the opportunity to watch few tournaments where Baruto Kaito (whom real name is Kaido Höövelson), an Estonian sumo wrestler, who is famous for his technique and outstanding performance. Man…he’s a mammoth!
“Jom.” Hubby had to drag me out from the hall, since I wasn’t stop blinking looking at those fat guys. He said he can do better.
On my way out, we passed by the stadium entrance, and saw one attention-grabbing situation. There were old folks, sitting (and some were sleeping) on the floor, with tents and chairs next to them.
“They are camping? Why?” I tried to capture more pictures, but I was too afraid to do so.
“There must be a big tournament coming up. Oh ya, I read somewhere, but…it will be somewhere next month.” Hubby remembered hard.
“Maybe they are selling tickets tomorrow, who knows…wow…hardcore fans la ni."
"So where’s next?” I asked, I flipped the page, and I answered “Asakusa bebeh!”
Read HERE for Travelista version.