Awa Odori

No discussion of Tokushima is complete without mentioning Awa Odori! This festival, held from August 12-15 every year, is one of the largest dance festivals in the world, drawing last year over 1,390,000 visitors to the prefecture.

There are many places you can come and see the dance, the largest of which is in Tokushima City. Here you can come and see the dance in one of several large dancing stages throughout the city. Tickets for paid seating costs from 800 yen to 1800 yen, with an additional cost of 200 yen if bought on the same day. These seats are used during dance displays from 18:00 to 20:00 and 20:30 to 22:30 on each day of the dances. Tickets can be purchased at most convenience stores.

In case of rain, you can still enjoy Awa Odori indoors at the Awa Odori Kaikan, the Kyodo Bunka Kaikan and the Bunka Center.

Regional Awa Odori
You can catch the action of Awa Odori all around the prefecture.

Wakimachi Udatsu:
August 13, 19:00-22:00
Thirteen dancing groups from in and outside the town will come and dance in the historical streets of Wakimachi.
Inquiries: Call the Mima City Chamber of Commerce and Industry at 0883-53-7393.

Ikeda:
August 13, from 19:00 (opening ceremony)
August 14 - 16, 19:00 - 22:30
Thirty dance groups will dance throughout Ikeda-cho, Miyoshi-shi. Paid and non-paid seating is available.
Inquiries: Call the Miyoshi Tourism Division at 0883-72-7620.

Tsurugi-cho in Sadamitsu:
August 15 - 16, 19:00 - 22:00
Awa Odori will be held in the Sadamitsu Shopping Arcade and other places in the city, including various famous dance groups from Tokushima City.
Inquiries: Call the Sadamitsu Chamber of Commerce and Industry at 0883-62-2222.

Katsuura:
August 16, 18:00 - 22:00
Awa Odori in Katsuura will be held on Saturday 16, with performances from dance groups from inside the town, as well as children's groups. Free to watch.
Inquiries: Call the Katsuura Industry and Construction Division at 0885-42-1505.

Tokushima Airport:
August 11 - 15, 11:00, 12:30, 13:40.
During Awa Odori there will be a display at the Tokushima Airport to welcome visitors to the prefecture.
Inquiries: Call the Airport at 088-699-2831.

Naruto City:
August 9 - 11, 19:00 - 22:00
The Naruto Awa Odori is the earliest in the prefecture, with over 30 dance groups dancing in the city shopping arcards, by the JR Naruto Station West Entrance, and fixed locations each day. Cost is 800 yen, or 600 yen pre-paid.
Inquiries: Call the Naruto Commerce, Industry and Tourism Division at 088-684-1157.

Higashi Miyoshi:
August 13, 13:00 - 19:00 (opening ceremony)
August 14 - 16, 13:00 - 17:30
Awa Odori will be held all throughout the town. There is no cost for viewing.
Inquiries: Call the Higashi Miyoshi Commerce, Industry and Tourism Division at 0883-79-5345 or the Yoshinogawa Oasis at 0883-79-5858.

Kamojima:
August 14-16, 19:00 - 22:00
Over 25 dance famous dance groups and local groups will be dancing each day along the main road through the town of Kamojima. Seating is free.
Inquiries: Call the Yoshinogawa Chamber of Commerce and Industry at 0883-24-2274.
Naruto Ohashi Memorial Museum Eddy

This museum by the base of the Naruto Ohashi connecting Naruto to Awaji Island is a whirlpool themed area for young and old alike to learn more about the whirlpools of the nearby straits and the construction of the bridge. A range of exhibitions and hands-on games are available.

Entry:
Standard admission: 600 yen
Senior and junior high school students: 400 yen
Elementary school students: 250 yen

Group discounts are also available for groups of over 20 members, at 480 yen for general admission, 320 yen for senior and junior high school students and 200 yen for elementary school students and below. Other discounts apply for those with disabilities and for school excursions.

Hours: 9:00-17:00 every day of the year. Last entry from 16:30.

Access: The museum can be accessed on foot from Naruto Ohashi and the Naruto Park () bus stop. Parking is also available at 410 yen a day for standard cars.

Displays:

  • 1F: An information center with tourist pamphlets for the prefecture.

  • 2F: A whirlpool theatre, whirlpool Q&A corner, adventure simulator, etc.

  • 3F: Naruto Ohashi exhibits, bridge cycling simulation and fishing game.

  • Roof: Open panorama of the Naruto Straits and surrounding area.

Bunka no Mori

Just south of the central Tokushima City Area can be found the Bunka no Mori, a cluster of culture and arts related facilities run by the prefecture. Host to numerous art exhibitions, concerts, displays and other shows throughout the year, the Bunka no Mori makes for the perfect spot to get in contact with some local culture. What's more, the grounds also sport a large park area with walking tracks, playground equipment and plentiful parking for those looking for a nice spot to enjoy some time outdoors.

All together, the grounds of Bunka no Mori are home to five facilities run by the prefectural government. Namely, the Prefectural Library, Prefectural Museum, Prefectural Modern Arts Museum, Prefectural Archives, and the 21st Century Culture Information Center.

Tokushima Prefectural Library
Open: Tuesday to Friday, 9:30-19:00 and Saturday, Sunday and Public Holidays, 9:30-17:00. Closed on Mondays and every third Thursday.
Cost: Entry is free!

Tokushima Prefectural Museum
Open: Tuesday to Sunday, 9:30-17:00. Closed on Mondays.
Cost: Entry is free!
Website: English can be found here.

Tokushima Prefectural Modern Art Museum
Open: Tuesday to Sunday, 9:30-17:00. Closed on Mondays.
Cost: Entry is 200 yen for adults, 100 yen for university and high school students, and 50 yen for junior high school students and below.

Tokushima Prefectural Archives
Open: Tuesday to Sunday, 9:30-17:00.
Cost: Entry is free!

Tokushima Prefectural 21 Century Culture Information Center
Open: Tuesday to Sunday, 9:30-17:00.
Cost: Entry is free!
Higashi Iya Tourist Monorail

Higashi Iya is home to a tourist monorail over 4,600 metres in length that travels through terrain varying some 590 metres in elevation! Some of the areas along the track even run at 40 degrees, and the monorail reaches its peak height at 1,380 metres above sea level, providing a varied and exciting 70 minute trip through the wilds of the iya valley.

The monorail leaves from the Iyashi no Onsen-kyo grounds.

Open Hours:
8:30-15:30
(October to November)
8:30-16:00
(April to September)

NB: Please note that there are limited places each day, and when this quota is reached the monorail may close early. Also, the monorail is closed each week on Wednesday.
Awa Ningyo Joruri

Awa Ningyo Joruri is a form of traditional puppet theatre in Tokushima where each puppet is operated by a team of three people, and was commonly performed at stages set up in the grounds of Shinto shrines across the prefecture.

One of the main features of Ningyo Joruri that sets it apart from other styles of puppet theatre is the large size of the head used by the puppets. Since most viewers of the plays sat far from the stage, the puppets heads needed to be larger in order to properly convey the impact of the play. The size of the heads furthermore made it necessary to increase the size of the parts used to move it, requiring a new style of theatrical operation.

The Awa Jurobei Yashiki
Even today it is still possible to see regular displays of Awa Ningyo Joruri at the Awa Jurobei Yashiki. This facility, said to be the former home of Jurobei Bando, a character in the famous puppet play Keisei Awa no Naruto, is home to a small stage area and a museum as well where you can also see the tools and puppets used in the plays.

When: Displays of the puppet theatre are held from 11:00 on weekdays, and 11:00 and 14:00 on weekends.

Where: Tokushima-shi, Kawauchi-cho Miyajima Motoura 184. Twenty minutes by bus from Tokushima Station on the Tomiyoshi Danchi line, just north of the Yoshino River.

Cost: 400 yen for adults, 300 yen for university and high school students and 200 yen for junior high school students and below.

There are also several outdoor stages for the theatre left in the prefecture (called Noson Butai ¼). Keep an eye out and you may just find a notice for local performances!
Skiing in Ikawa

For those of you looking for snow this winter, come along to Tokushimas Ikawa Ski Grounds for some fun over the New Years break!

Open Hours
Now until Sunday, April 6, 2008

Lift Operation
Weekdays - 900-16:30
Weekends and public holidays – 8:30 – 16:30
Night Operation – 17:30 – 22:00

Night operation is held on Saturdays, the day before public holidays, during the new year holiday break, and on Fridays during January and February.

Location
Miyoshi City Ikawa-cho, Kainayama Ikawa Ski Grounds

Lift Costs
One-way ticket – 250 yen
Eleven trip ticket – 2,500 yen
Morning Ticket – 2,000 yen
Afternoon Ticket – 3,000 yen
All-day Ticket – 3,500 yen
Children All-day Ticket – 3,000 yen
Night Operation Ticket – 2,000 yen

Courses
A Tukwilla Course (advanced)
390m, 12-15 degrees
B Panorama Course (semi-advanced)
430m, 12-20 degrees
C Nadeshiko Course (beginners)
800m, 5-10 degrees
D Night Course (beginners)
200m, 8 degrees
E Finland Course (semi-advanced)
240m, 8 degrees
F Soligelende for Children

Contact
Ikawa Ski Grounds General Information Booth:
TEL 0883-78-3003
Gelende Booth
TEL 0883-78-2000

Access
By the ski bus leaving from the JR Awa Ikeda station, on weekends and public holidays from December through to March.
Fifty minutes from the Ikawa Ikeda interchange (23km)
One hundred minutes from Tokushima City by highway (80km)
Two hours from Takamatsu City on the R32 (70km)
Two hours and twenty minutes from Kochi City by highway (100km)

Five hundred parking spots are available. For more information, check the Ikawa Ski Grounds homepage : http://www.ikawaski.jp
Indigo Dyeing

The Indigo Dyeing industry has a long standing history in Tokushima, and even to this day roughly 90% of indigo dyed products in Japan are produced right here in Tokuhsima. In many ways the region has been greatly affected by the Indigo trade over the centuries, and it has given birth to several forms of traditional craftswork employing dyed goods, such as shijira weaving.

For those interested in trying their hand at dyeing, it isn't necessary to become an artist or manufacturer. Indeed, there are several facilities throughout the prefecture offer short indigo dyeing sessions in which you can take part all year long:

The Aizome Kogei-kan

Open Hours: 9:00-17:00
Closed: New Year's Holidays, on Sundays and during Awa Odori.
Entry Fee: 200 yen
Indigo Dyeing: Handkerchief - 1,000 yen
Located: Tokushima-shi, Oujin-cho Higashi Sadakata Aza Nishikawabuchi. Parking available.
Tel: 088-641-3181
HP: http://www.awaai.com/

The Ai no Yakata

Open Hours: 9:00-17:00
Closed: Tuesdays, New Year's Holidays
Entry Fee Adults 300 yen, University Students 200 yen, Children 150 yen
Dyeing: Handkerchiefs 500 yen - Scarves 3,000 yen
Location: Itano-gun, Aizumi-cho, Tokumei Aza Maesunishi. Parking available.
Tel: 088-692-6317
HP: http://www.town.aizumi.tokushima.jp/kanko/ainoyakata/
Bus Service to Mt. Tsurugi

At a height of 1955m, Mt. Tsurugi is the second highest mountain in west Japan. On a clear day, the view from the peak stretches far out across Shikoku and even as far north as the Seto Inland Sea.

While there are both roads and a lift service available to climb Mt. Tsurugi, you can also make use of a special bus service to help make your trip that little bit easier:

The Anabuki / Koyadaira Route
This bus route leaves from Anabuki station at 8:20am and arrives at Minokoshi at 10:45. The return trip leaves Minokoshi at 14:15 and arrives back in Anabuki at 16:41.

Running on weekends and public holidays from now until November 5, everyday from July 21 to August 31, and from October 10 to November 5.

Cost: 2,400 yen.

Ikeda / Higashi Iya Valley Route
Two services will be available, one leaving from Ikeda at 8:15 and arriving at 11:07, the other leaving Ikeda at 11:15 and arriving at14:07. The returns leaves Minokoshi at 11:10 and arrives in Ikeda at 14:05, and at 15:10 to arrive in Ikeda at 18:10.

These buses will be running on weekends and public holidays from now until November 25, as well as everyday from July 21 to August 31.

Cost: 3480 yen.

Sadamitsu Route
Three buses will be leaving from Sadamitsu Station for Minokoshi. The first leaves at 7:39 and arrives at 9:20, the second leaves at 11:03 and arrives at 12:40, and the last leaves at 13:50 and arrives at 15:30. For the return, the first bus leaves at 11:10 and arrives in Sadamitsu at 12:58, the second leaves 14:00 and arrives at 15:51, and the last leaves at 15:30 and arrives at 17:00.

These buses run on weekends and public holidays from July 14 to August 26, and everday from August 13-15.

Cost: 1800 yen.
The Naruto Whirlpools

From the end of March through to the end of April is prime viewing season for the whirlpools at Naruto. The tides during this season are the largest of the year, and the whirlpools can grow to sizes of 20m in diameter!

Where: The whirlpools are best seen from the Uzu no Michi (adults 500 yen) or from aboard the various sightseeing boats in the region (adults 1,500 yen). Both can be accessed by the O-Naruto Bridge by the Naruto Straits.

Access: Take the JR Naruto Line to Naruto Station, then the Naruto City Bus service to Naruto Park (20min).

Information: Calling the Naruto City Commerce and Tourism Division at 088-684-1157.
Asutamu Land

Asutamu Land is a science-based recreation facility located in Itano, Tokushima. Entry to the grounds is free, and entry to the Science Facility is 500 yen for adults, and 200 yen for Elementary and Junior High students. There is plenty of fun to be had for the whole family.

There is bus access several times a day from both Itano Station and Tokushima Station. See the timetable and a map online here.

See the Asutamu Land Homepage.

2008Tokushima Prefecture