Culture of Tokushima
Trip to Tokushima by the Nankai Ferry and local bus services. The ferry crosses the Kii Channel between Main Island and Shikoku Island and the local buses are in regular service in the prefecture.
Starting at Kansai International Airport, use the Nankai Electric Railway and Nankai Ferry services, and you will arrive at Tokushima Port in about three and a half hours.
From the port, take a city bus toward the center of Tokushima City. The time is coming to get started on the adventurous trip to Tokushima, the region in the east of Shikoku Island.
On the cultural front, you can enjoy the Awa Odori Dance Festival and indigo dyeing. Historically, the 88 sacred places in Shikoku. As a natural spot, the Naruto whirlpools, and for cuisines, the Tokushima ramen noodles and many others. Using reliable regular bus services, experience the charms to discover in Tokushima, Japan.
Awa Odori Kaikan
The Awa Odori festival is arguably Tokushima’s most well-known and well-loved cultural event. This 400 year old dancing festival is held around the Obon holiday, where participants dress in traditional clothing, play music and dance through the streets. Though the Awa Odori only lasts a few days in August, here at The Awa Odori Kaikan (museum) you can experience the festival all year round with performances several times a day. Not only can you dig a little deeper into the artistry and cultural history of the festival but smiling local performers will also guide you in the simple steps!
Tokushima Prefectural Awa Jurobe Yashiki Puppet Theater & Museum
The Tokushima Prefectural Awa Jurobe Yashiki is a theatre and museum dedicated to puppet theatre. This form of theatre, whilst similar to Bunraku, is an entirely unique regional art and as such has been designated as a nationally important intangible folk-culture asset. Awa Ningyo Joruri combines dramatic storytelling, puppetry and the music of the Shamisen to create a wonderful performance. This traditional Tokushima art uses large glossy puppets which are engaging and dynamic to watch on stage. Here at the Tokushima Prefectural Awa Jurobe, you can enjoy a performance set in an idyllic Japanese house, then check out the exhibition space to learn about the deep connection between puppetry and Tokushima.
Whirlpool Sightseeing Boat
The Naruto Straight connects Tokushima to Awaji Island, and its current is the fastest in Japan, creating a spectacular series of whirlpools which can be up to 20 meters wide. The Whirlpool Sightseeing boat allows you to experience the whirlpools on an intimate level. There are two types of boat; the slow and smooth ‘Wonder Naruto’ and the smaller ‘Aqua Eddy’, which features an underwater observatory. The mesmerizing whirlpools, or Uzumaki, have become ingrained in Japanese culture as world famous ‘Naruto Uzumaki’ was named after this exhilarating natural phenomenon. This is one of the only places in the world where you can get so close to such impressive whirlpools on large sightseeing boats.
It is said that by visiting a eighty-eight sacred sites in Shikoku that is about 1,460 kilometers in total, the 88 earthly desires of human beings disappear and hope comes true. It takes about 6 weeks for Ryozen-ji to become a “temple of hope” and to complete this pilgrimage related to Kukai, the founder of Shingon sect, on foot. Often used as the first and last stop on this pilgrimage, this temple is a great place to pray for a safe journey and to pick up traditional white robes, walking sticks and good luck talismans for the arduous path ahead.
Awa indigo dyeing (Ai-no-Yakata Museum)
The mighty river Yoshino running in Tokushima Prefecture frequently flooded and provided a fertile ground for indigo plant. Since over 400 years ago, the quality indigo produced there was called “Awa Ai” and took the Japanese market by storm and brought enormous wealth. This indigo received enthusiastic reviews from a foreigner who visited Japan more than 130 years ago, saying “Japan is full of mystic blue.” In other words, indigo dyeing became widespread in the lifestyle of Japanese.
Recently the naturally derived indigo dyestuff is used and attracts attention from the fashion industry as a sustainable fabric.
In Tokushima, there are many facilities to get hands-on experience with indigo dyeing. Among others, the Ai-no-Yakata workshop provides not just for indigo dyeing experience. This museum also has the Ai-Yashiki compound and exhibit room to learn about the history and culture of Awa Ai indigo.
Amagoi Waterfalls are called the Couple Waterfalls because there is a Husband and Wife set of falls. On the right side, the Wife stands in three steps at 45 meters tall, while at left the Husband stands vertically at 27 meters. It is considered one of the top 100 best Japanese waterfalls. Taking a short hike toward this falls, you pass through a few other high spots; Uguisu Falls, Fudo Falls, Jigoku-no-Fuchi, Momiji Falls, Kannon Falls, etc. Each waterfall basin is easily accessible and good for breaks and playing with water. After about 20-minute walk along the trail, you will find the big scale of the Amagoi Falls that appears suddenly from behind a rock. “Ooh and aah!” over the landscape. As a popular destination for hikers, lots of people visit this place. There are some slippery slopes. You are supposed to wear hiking boots.