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Tokushima

Whirlpools as fast as 10 knots in tidal speed and as large as 20 meters in diameter, Awa-odori (dance) attracting more than 1 million participants and spectators from all over the country
Situated in the east of Shikoku, Tokushima is surrounded with mountains topping 1000 meters on three sides. The prefecture is blessed with sightseeing spots highlighted by the magnificence of nature, such as the Tokushima-Naruto area which is part of Seto-naikai (Inland Sea of Japan) National Park, the Anan coastal area and Kenzan-Iya area.

The center of attraction in the Tokushima-Naruto area is a magnificent sight of whirlpools that occur at spring tide with a maximum tidal speed of 10 knots and diameters up to 20 meters in diameter. At the time of Urabon (the Feast for ancesters), a Buddhist event of summer, Tokushima City becomes the stage of the Awa-odori, in which men and women merrily dance in groups through the streets to the enlivening sounds of shamisens(Japanese guitar), gongs and drums, attracting more than 1 million spectators from all over the country. To the west of Naruto City stands the Ryosen-ji Temple, the first of 88 amulet-issuing points in the Shikoku holy land, which is always crowded with white-dressed pious people making a round of pilgrimages.

What makes the Anan coastal area attractive is a sea of deep blue that contains the Kuroshio (black) current. There are many spots of finishing from near-by rocks, bathing places and campsites on the shoreline, where many people come for a good time in summer. The Kenzan-Iya area, featured by beautiful mountains in green, attracts many sightseers all the year round with Oboke and Koboke boasting the magnificence and beauty of ravines and the Iya-kei Valley reckoned among the three unexplored regions of Japan.

Getting there
About 1 hour and 15 minutes to Tokushima airport from Tokyo Haneda airport; about 35 minutes from Osaka Itami airport. About 30 minutes from Tokushima airport to Tokushima Station by bus. About 3 hours and 20 minutes to Okayama Station from Tokyo Station by JR Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen Line; about 40 minutes from Shin-Osaka Station by JR Sanyo Shinkansen Line. About 1 hour and 56 minutes from Okayama Station to Tokushima Station by JR Seto-ohashi-Takatoku Line Limited Express.
 

  • Iya Valley
    Vine-made suspension bridge over the Iya-gawa River, with a 200-meter-high sheer cliff washed out by the river
    Situated in the west of Tokushima and nearly in the center of Shikoku, the Iya area is one of the three large hidden mountain regions in Japan, forming a part of Mt. Tsurugi Quasi-National Park. Deep in the bosom of Mt. Tsurugi-yama, the second tallest mountain in Shikoku, the region is girt with mountains in the Shikoku Mountain district, with a deep valley formed among mountains cut through by the limpid Iya-gawa River which is the source of the Yoshino-gawa River.

    Nana-Magari (seven curves) is known as the most dangerous spot in the valley. On an rock overhanging there stands a lovely Manikin Piss derived from a tale that travelers would take a leak to show their guts. The height of the rock, 200 meters above sea level, makes you cringe just at a glance down below. The vine bridge over the Iya-gawa River is a 45-meter long and 2-meter-wide suspension bridge with a height of 15 meters from the water level. Designated important folkloric property as one of Japan's three rare bridges, the bridge is rebuilt every three years. If you go deeper upstream into the recesses of Iya, you will find a double vine bridge made up of female and male bridges .

    Getting there
    About 1 hour and 15 minutes to Tokushima Airport from Tokyo Haneda Airport; about 35 minutes from Osaka Itami Airport. About 30 minutes from Tokushima Airport to Tokushima Station by bus. About 1 hour and 10 minutes from Tokushima Station to Awa-Ikeda Station by JR Tokushima Line Limited Express. About 50 minutes from Awa-Ikeda Station to Onsen-guchi by bus.

     

  • Naruto
    Raging whirlpools in the strait at the northeastern tip of Tokushima be in full and closer view from a glass-floored, above-the-sea promenade or a tide-viewing boat
    Naruto City, looking out on the Strait of Naruto known for whirlpools, is located at the northeastern tip of Tokushima. Linked with Tokushima, the Awaji-shima island and the Honshu by the O-Naruto-kyo Bridge (grand Naruto bridge) and Akashi Kaikyo O-hashi (grand Akashi Strait bridge), Naruto is a gateway to Shikoku.

    The biggest attraction in Naruto is whirlpools in the Naruto Strait. The phenomenon occurs when opposing currents from the Inland Sea of Japan and the Kii Channel meet in the Naruto Strait with as much a water level difference as 1.5 meters that is made by the ebb and flow of the tide. At the time of flood tide in the spring through the fall, there occur huge whirlpools that run at a speed of 20 kilometers an hour and exceed 20 meters in diameter. You can obtain a full view of these roaring whirlpools and surging currents from a tide-viewing boat, one of the Senjojiki observation platforms in Naruto Park or the top of Escahill Naruto.

    The place where you can look down at the dynamic swirls from right above is the Tokushima prefectural Uzu-no-michi (path of whirlpool) promenade opened in April, 2000. A 450-meter long above-the-sea walk built on the girders of the O-Naruto-bashi Bridge, it allows you to take a really spectacular view of the whirlpools through the glassed floor 45 meters above the sea. The best time to see them is once at high tide and low tide each a day. A tide schedule that shows the times when the tide is fastest is available at a tourist information office.

    Getting there
    About 1 hour and 15 minutes to Tokushima Airport from Tokyo Haneda Airport; about 35 minutes from Itami Osaka Airport. About 30 minutes from Tokushima Airport to Tokushima Station by bus. About 40 minutes from Tokushima Station to Naruto Station by JR Naruto Line.

     

  • Oboke and Koboke
    Great valleys created by the rapids of the Yoshino-gawa River, where you can enjoy active sports, as well as sight-seeing
    Oboke and Koboke are the valleys located upstream of the Yoshino-gawa River in the west of Tokushima. The dike of the Shikoku Mountains was washed out by the main stream of the Yoshino-gawa River, the largest river in Shikoku rising from the Mt. Ishizuchi and flowing down through three prefectures, Ehime, Kochi and Tokushima, and the valleys were formed as a result. "Boke" means "dangerous to walk along." O-boke (big Boke) and Ko-boke (small Boke) are said to have been so named because V-shaped sheer rocks make narrow paths there very dangerous to walk along, whether the strides are big or small.

    From the observation platforms and promenades along the Sanuki Line and on the state road No. 32, you can take a full view of the magnificent scenery in the whole valley area. For a better look to enjoy the natural beauty of the valleys, there is a sightseeing boat which shoots down the rapids from Oboke to Koboke. You can also see curious rocks, like Komori (bat) rock and Shishi (lion) rock, from the boat.

    Oboke and Koboke known for rapids are visited by many lovers of active sports like rafting for a closer touch with what nature offers in the valleys.

    Getting there
    About 1 hour and 15 minutes to Tokushima Airport from Tokyo Haneda Airport; about 35 minutes from Osaka Itami Airport. About 30 minutes from Tokushima Airport to Tokushima Station by bus. About 1 hour and 35 minutes from Tokushima Station to Koboke Station via Awa-Ikeda Station by JR Tokushima Line-Dosan Line Limited Express; about 1 hour and 40 minutes to Oboke Station.

     

  • Tokushima City
    Personal experience of heritage local arts, like Aizome (indigo dyeing) and hand-making of Japanese paper - A city of vigorous mid-summer Awa-odori
    Located in the northeast of Tokushima and spread out to the mouth of the Yoshino-gawa River, Tokushima is the center of administration and economy in eastern Shikoku. Full of nature with Bizan and Tokushima Central Park, the city is an aqua-metropolis listed in the selection of "100 homes of water" by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport. It also boasts deep-rooted heritage local arts, like Aizome (indigo dyeing) and hand-making of Japanese paper. If you want to see and try them, visit the Tokushima Handicraft Village at Astiy Tokushima.

    Tokushima is known for the Awa-odori (dance) throughout the country. It is in 1930's that "Bon odori," staged since old times in various villages on the day of "Urabon" (the Feast for ancestors), gradually came to attract public attention and began to be called by a popular name of "Awa-odori." "Urabon" is one of the summertime Buddhist festivals to pray for the souls of the departed, and "Bon odori" is the dance a lot of people gather to enjoy on the festival night. The event is held in August every year, when more than 100,000 people dance through the streets and more than 1,300,000 spectators throng the central area of the city and the dancing site set up at the park. If you wish, you can join the dance in the Moto-machi Square, Shin-machi Square, Ryogoku Square, Ryokoku-bashi South Dancing Square, etc.

    If you miss the event, there is the Awa-odori Kaikan Hall open for you to experience the Awa-odori at any time of year. The Awa-odori show is regularly performed on the second floor, and you can join the dance on the stage if you wish.

    Getting there
    About 1 hour and 15 minutes to Tokushima Airport from Tokyo Haneda Airport; about 35 minutes from Osaka Itami Airport. Rail: About 3 hours and 20 minutes to Okayama Station from Tokyo Central by JR Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen Line; about 40 minutes by JR Sanyo Shinkansen Line. About 1 hour and 56 minutes from Okayama Station to Tokushima Station by JR Seto-ohashi-Takatoku Line.

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  Information provided by Japan National Tourist Organization.

 

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