Known for its outstanding natural scenery, sea turtle preserve and unspoiled beaches that draw surfers, divers, kayakers and other ocean sports enthusiasts, the Anan Coast on the island of Shikoku is a secluded stretch of paradise.
The Anan Coast area is best reached by train.
From Tokyo, begin with a ride on the JR Tokaido Shinkansen to Okayama Station, which takes around three and a half hours. From Osaka, riding the JR Tokaido Shinkansen to Okayama Station takes around 45 minutes. From there, ride the JR Uzushio (limited-stop express) train to Tokushima Station, which takes two hours.
The trip from Tokushima Station to Anan Station on the JR Mugi Line takes around 45 minutes. The JR Mugi Line stops at major towns along the way, with its terminus at Mugi. Transfer to the Asato Line to go further south toward Kaiyo.
Just south of Tokushima City, the vast Anan Coast area is part of the Muroto-Anan Coast Quasi-National Park. The Kuroshio or Black Current, which brings warm waters from the Philippines to Japan, has an enormous effect on the ecology of the area, nurturing the coral and vast diversity of sea life along the coast.
The city of Anan includes the westernmost point of Shikoku, Cape Kamoda, and the small peninsula upon which the cape lies is known for its beautiful scenery. Between late fall and winter, the sun at the cape sometimes takes the unusual shape of a daruma doll as it rises, a phenomenon known as daruma asahi.
Cape Kamoda also has open-air hot springs reputed to be the hottest in the prefecture. You can also enjoy a panoramic view of the sea to Awaji Island from the high ground. Free rental bicycles are also available if you'd like to tour the area.
The Naka River runs through Anan, and upstream of this river are mountain towns, dams and rustic countryside to be explored.
Anan is the headquarters of Nichia Corporation, an electronic materials manufacturer that produced the first blue LEDs. Visitors to Tokushima Prefecture will likely encounter decorations and displays created with Nichia LEDs.
The Kaifu district is comprised of the three towns of Minami, Mugi, and Kaiyo, and each offers great marine activities and coastal scenery.
Minami is home to the wide, sandy beach known as Ohama where sea turtles come to lay their eggs every year from the middle of May to the middle of August. You can watch the turtles giving birth as long as you follow the instructions and guidance of the Sea Turtle Preservation staff. You can learn more about the ecology of the turtles at the Hiwasa Sea Turtle Museum Caretta, and watch one-meter-long sea turtles swimming in the pool.
You can kayak in the waters just off Ohama.
The sheer cliffs at Senba rise to a height of about 250 meters and stretch for two kilometers. If you're traveling by car, you can view this coastline from the free sightseeing road called the Minami Awa Sun Line. Alternatively, there is a walking path called “Shikoku-no-michi”—the Road of Shikoku—that follows the ridge along the cliffs.
The beaches around the towns of Mugi and Kaiyo have clean ocean waters great for a variety of marine activities. Mugi is a popular diving spot, while Kaiyo boasts several surfing locations, such as the coast of Shishikui, which is known as western Japan's surfers' mecca.
Board a glass-bottomed boat at Takegashima Marine Park for a tour of the coral reefs and close-up views of colorful tropical fish. This is an ideal area for diving, snorkeling and sea kayaking as well.