15 Things To Do in Tokushima

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Source: Mike B in Colorado

If you follow the Buddhist faith or want to spend a summer taking a traditional island-wide pilgrimage around one of the most adventurous islands in Japan you should head over to Tokushima Prefecture. There the traditional 1200km walk begins, traversing island and passes through 88 Buddhist temples while experiencing thrilling challenges such as steep gorges, fast paced rivers, and vine suspension bridges. If you don’t feel like taking a long trek there are lots for you to do in Tokushima City. Tokushima Prefecture has long been the preferred retreat for refugees and defeated warriors due to its isolated nature. Check it out below!

1. Go to the Puppet Theater

The Awa Jūrobe Yashiki Puppet Theater is in what used to be the private residence of a samurai who allowed himself to be executed in order to preserve the honor of his master. AKA he didn’t commit the crime but he took the blame! His story even inspired one of the shows put on, the drama Keisei Awa no Naruto which was first preformed in 1768. Shows are preformed at 11am, and at 11am and 2pm on the weekends.


  • Name: Awa Jūrobe Yashiki Puppet Theater
  • Address: 184 Miyajima Motoura, Kawauchi-chō
  • Price: ¥410/ $4 USD
  • Hours: 9:30-17:00
  • Website: http://joruri.info/jurobe

2. Take the Bizan Ropeway for a Ride

Source: ume-y

Hop on the Bizan Ropeway for a fun ride to a lookout spot at the top of Mt. Bizan National Park, looking north you can see all the way out to Awaji Island, a good 55km away. It takes about 12 minutes round trip but spend some time on top to take in those beautiful views.


  • Name: Bizan Ropeway
  • Address: about a 10 minute walk from JR Tokushima Station
  • Price: ¥610 – ¥1020 / $6 – $10 USD one way/return
  • Hours: 9:00- 17:30

3. Yakuō-ji (Temple 23)


Source: Reggaeman

In the small coastal town of Hiwasa, Yakuō-ji Temple is famous for warding off bad luck. The tradition, dating back to the creation of the temple in 726, is for pilgrims to put a single coin on each of the 75 steps leading up to the temple in order to ward off bad fortune. The unluckiest ages for men is 42 and for women 33, therefor there are 33steps in the first flight of stairs and 42 in the second. You can view the basement gallery at the top pagoda for a small fee.


  • Name: Yakuō-ji
  • Address: 〒779-2305 Tokushima Prefecture, Kaifu District, 美波町奥河内285−1Japan
  • Price: ¥100/ $1 USD

4. Chūō-kōen

Source: 663highland

Close to the train station is Chūō-kōen, Tokushima’s central parks. Enjoy the beautiful rock bridges and tranquil ponds of Senshūkaku-teien and check out a replica of what the ruins of what Tokushima Castle used to look like at the Tokushima Castle Museum.


  • Name: Chūō-kōen Park
  • Price: Free!
  • Hours: All hours

5. Eat Some Local Variations

While in Tokushima try some Iya soba, you’ll get cold buckwheat noodles with delicious dipping sauces. You can also munch on a local dish such as dekomawashi which has taro, tofu and konnyaku (devil’s tongue) grilled on a skewer. Another local delicacy is grilled boar and wild vegetables.


  • Name: Varies
  • Address: Varies
  • Price: Varies

6. Cross the Kazura-bashi

Source: さや

One of only 3 left in the entire valley, this terrifying vine supported bridge sways gently above a quickly moving river and goes straight to a less than impressive car park. But angle the camera just right and you can have an amazing photograph. Anyone who wasn’t there will never know.


  • Name: Kazura-bashi
  • Price: ¥500 / $5 USD
  • Hours: 8:00-17:00

7. See a Sea Turtle at Ōhama Beach

Source: 大浜海岸

The lovely sandy beach of Ōhama is home to several sea turtles every year when they lay eggs in between May. If you are lucky you can see the baby sea turtles make a break for the water starting midway through June to August.


  • Name: Ōhama Beach
  • Price: Free!
  • Hours: All Hours

8. Dance at Awa Odori

Source: d’n’c

The famous dance festival Awa Odori has been around for the last 400 years and is such a well attended event that Tokushima is famous for it! This colorful riot of music and movement serves as a memorial service for the spirits of friends and family which happens every year in mid-August.


  • Name: Awa Odori
  • Date: Aug 12-15
  • Hours: 18:00 – 22:30
  • Website: http://www.pref.tokushima.jp/english/attraction/culture/

9. Ryozenji (Temple 1)

Source: Reggaeman

This temple is the beginning of the Buddhist pilgrimage, the first of 88, Ryozenji Temple is the start of a long journey for the pious or the curious. It is customary to return to this temple after completing the pilgrimage, so if you go in summer you will hopefully have the opportunity to see pilgrims in their costumes returning to the temple.


  • Name: 7:00-17:00
  • Address: Bando,Ooasa-Cho,Naruto-Shi,Tokushima
  • Price: Free!
  • Hours: 7:00 – 17:00

1o. Check Out Machi☆Asobi

If you are a manga (Japanese comic book) fan then you will definitely want to visit Tokushima. Not only is it a land of ancient and traditional culture, but there is also an animation festival held twice a year. It is put on by the studio “ufotable”, with the first animation festival happening in 2009. The dates for the next festival are coming up in May 2016. Even if you aren’t interested in Japanese comics, definitely stop by to see all the people in costumes and experience one of Japan’s largest subcultures.


  • Name: Machi☆Asobi
  • Dates: May 3, 4, & 5
  • Website: http://www.machiasobi.com/ (need translation app)

11. Uzu-no-michi

To get a great look at the whirlpools that surround Tokushima without getting too close, take a walk along the 500m walkway that goes along the underneath of the Naruto-ōhashi. This lets you get some really great photos without the chance of falling in. There is even a super terrifying glass floor area directly over some of the whirlpools to helpfully give you the feeling of plummeting into a force of nature.


  • Name: Uzu-no-michi
  • Price: ¥510/ $5 USD
  • Hours: 9:00 – 18:00
  • Website: www.uzunomichi.jp

12. Take an Uzushio Boat Tour

For those of you who like your whirlpools up close and personal, take a sightseeing cruise to get the closest look. There are 2 companies, both on Shinkoku who run tours as well as one that operates out of Awaji Island if you are coming from the opposite side. Boat tours leave 2 times per hour, and last 20-30 minutes.


  • Name: Uzushio Boat Tour
  • Price: ~¥1550 / ~$15 USD
  • Hours: 8:00 – 16:30

13. See the Manneken Pis

Source: メルビル

Who would have thought a traveler in Japan would get a little bit of Brussels all the way in Tokushima? But in Iya Valley, aside from the steep gorges, fast paced rivers, and vine suspension bridges, there is a statue of a little boy who is peeing over the edge of the gorge. Although the statue is clearly urinating over the edge, the park asks visitors to not do the same as the gorge drops down 200m and they don’t want anyone to fall.


  • Name: Manneken Pis
  • Address: Iya Valley, Tokushima Prefecture, Japan
  • Price: Free!
  • Hours: All hours

14. River Rafting down the Yoshino River

Sourcec: (WT-en) Prestonpreston

One of Japan’s best known destinations for white water rafting, several outdoor adventure companies offer different packages to visitors. Go for either a half day or a full day and take int he beautiful Yoshino River as it winds it’s way through the gorge in Iya Valley.


  • Name: Yoshino River Rafting
  • Address: Iya Valley, Tokushima Prefecture, Japan
  • Price: Varies
  • Hours: 8:00 – 20:00

15. German House

Source: 663highland

During WWI Japan took German prisoners of war from surrounding colonial territories. Almost 1000 German soldiers were held at Camp Bando just outside Naruto. However unlike most POW camps, the prisoners were allowed to live freely and interact with the local Japanese community forming strong friendships. After the war the German House was built as a goodwill gesture and currently houses a museum of Camp Bando.


  • Name: German House
  • Address: 55-2 Higashiyamada, Hinoki, Oasacho, Naruto 779-0225, Tokushima Prefecture
  • Price: ¥400/ $4 USD
  • Hours: 9:30 – 17:00
  • Website: http://www.city.naruto.tokushima.jp/contents/germanhouse/ (need translator app)

There is so much to do in Tokushima. Best known for the Awa Odori festival, the Naruto whirlpools and the mysterious Iya Valley. Travel here to get away from the big city image of Japan and enjoy the vast spread of nature.

Have a good trip and travel!

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Asia, Japan, Shikoku Region, Tokushima Prefecture