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Regions of Japan

Hokkaido Tohoku Hokuriku
Shinetsu
Kanto Tokai Kansai Chugoku Shikoku Kyushu Okinawa Islands SAPPORO TOKYO NAGOYA OSAKA FUKUOKA FURANO KUSHIRO AOMORI SENDAI FUKUSHIMA NIKKO HAKONE SADO TAKAYAMA KANAZAWA ISE KYOTO NARA HIROSHIMA NAGASAKI KAGOSHIMA NAHA
Hokkaido
Hokkaido
  • Hokkaido
Japan's great white north offers wild, white winters and bountiful summers—a haven for dedicated foodies, nature lovers and outdoor adventure fans seeking an adrenaline rush Japan's great white north offers wild, white winters and bountiful summers—a haven for dedicated foodies, nature lovers and outdoor adventure fans seeking an adrenaline rush
Tohoku
Tohoku
  • Aomori
  • Akita
  • Iwate
  • Yamagata
  • Miyagi
  • Fukushima
Fearsome festivals, fresh powder snow and vast fruit orchards—the rugged territory of Tohoku offers a new perspective on travel in Japan Fearsome festivals, fresh powder snow and vast fruit orchards—the rugged territory of Tohoku offers a new perspective on travel in Japan
Hokuriku Shinetsu
Hokuriku Shinetsu
  • Niigata
  • Toyama
  • Ishikawa
  • Fukui
  • Nagano
An easily accessible slice of rural Japan offering unrivaled mountainscapes and coastlines, endless outdoor adventure and amazing ocean fare An easily accessible slice of rural Japan offering unrivaled mountainscapes and coastlines, endless outdoor adventure and amazing ocean fare
Kanto
Kanto
  • Tokyo
  • Kanagawa
  • Chiba
  • Saitama
  • Ibaraki
  • Tochigi
  • Gunma
Jump from the neon glow of Tokyo to Gunma's mountain retreats, Kamakura's cultural heritage and the Ogasawara Islands' exotic wildlife Jump from the neon glow of Tokyo to Gunma's mountain retreats, Kamakura's cultural heritage and the Ogasawara Islands' exotic wildlife
Tokai
Tokai
  • Yamanashi
  • Shizuoka
  • Gifu
  • Aichi
  • Mie
Hallmark attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama coexist with major cities and famous heritage in the center of Japan Hallmark attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama coexist with major cities and famous heritage in the center of Japan
Kansai
Kansai
  • Kyoto
  • Osaka
  • Shiga
  • Hyogo
  • Nara
  • Wakayama
The Kansai region is one of contrasts, from the glittering lights of Osaka and Kobe to the cultural treasures of Kyoto and Nara The Kansai region is one of contrasts, from the glittering lights of Osaka and Kobe to the cultural treasures of Kyoto and Nara
Chugoku
Chugoku
  • Tottori
  • Shimane
  • Okayama
  • Hiroshima
  • Yamaguchi
Welcome to Japan's less-explored western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower Welcome to Japan's less-explored western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower
Shikoku
Shikoku
  • Tokushima
  • Kagawa
  • Ehime
  • Kochi
Island-hopping, cycling, soul-warming spiritual strolling and red-hot dancing—the island of Shikoku gets you up and moving Island-hopping, cycling, soul-warming spiritual strolling and red-hot dancing—the island of Shikoku gets you up and moving
Kyushu
Kyushu
  • Fukuoka
  • Saga
  • Nagasaki
  • Oita
  • Kumamoto
  • Miyazaki
  • Kagoshima
The southern island of Kyushu is home to hot springs, rugged geography, undeveloped beaches and volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky The southern island of Kyushu is home to hot springs, rugged geography, undeveloped beaches and volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky
Okinawa
Okinawa
  • Okinawa
Fly to Okinawa and discover a distinct island culture born of subtropical sun, white sand, coral, mangrove jungles and the age of the Ryukyu Kings Fly to Okinawa and discover a distinct island culture born of subtropical sun, white sand, coral, mangrove jungles and the age of the Ryukyu Kings

A vibrant city of dancing

The capital of Tokushima Prefecture on Shikoku's northeast corner, Tokushima City, becomes a vibrant explosion of color every summer during its lively Awa-Odori Festival. Sitting at the mouth of several major rivers, the city was once a center for indigo dye. Now, it's a busy port city that comes alive with Awa-Odori dancers every summer.

Don't Miss

  • The view from the top of Mt. Bizan
  • A stop off at the Awa-Odori Kaikan Hall, where you can learn the city's famous dance
  • The free boat cruise around the city

How to Get There

Tokushima is accessible by Shinkansen and airplane from Osaka and Tokyo.

From Tokyo: The flight from Haneda to Tokushima Airport is approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes.

It takes around three hours from Tokyo to Okayama on the Tokaido or Sanyo Shinkansen. It then takes just under two hours from Okayama to Tokushima Station on the JR Seto-Ohashi Kotoku Line.

From Osaka: It takes about 40 minutes from Shin-Osaka to Okayama on the Tokaido or Sanyo Shinkansen

Alternatively, a highway bus from Osaka Station to Tokushima Station takes around two hours.

The city on the rivers

Tokushima City is generally the entry point for most visitors arriving by air or ferry. It's an aqua-metropolis of sorts, with several rivers and canals passing through. Get a different perspective of the city from the water by taking the free Hyotanjima Boat Tour that circles around the city center in about 30 minutes.

Explore the site of Tokushima Castle

Just behind JR Tokushima Station is Chuo Park, and the large hill in this park is the site of the Tokushima Castle ruins. The park is a pleasant area in which to stroll, and you can enjoy great views from the hilltop.

Stop by the Tokushima Castle Museum to learn more about the castle's history and enjoy the Japanese garden.

Glittering night views

Mt. Bizan is easily accessible from Tokushima City. A 10-minute walk from the train station will take you to a ropeway that whisks you up to the summit in even less time. This is a great place to see cherry blossoms in the spring and the gorgeous changing leaves in the autumn. The night view, with the city lights reflected in its rivers, is a must-see.

Learn the fool's dance

At the base of the ropeway to Mt. Bizan is the Awa-Odori Kaikan, an interactive museum dedicated to the Awa Odori Festival, an event which thrusts Tokushima into the national spotlight every August during the Obon holiday season. Known as the "fool's dance", there are exhibits with photos and videos of the festival, and daily performances of Awa-Odori by musicians and dancers from a local dance group that encourages audience participation.

The city comes alive in August

While Tokushima City usually is fairly reserved, the city transforms each year from August 12 to 15 as nearly 1.2 million people including spectators and dancers from all over Japan and the world, gather in the downtown area for the Awa-Odori Festival. Awa-Odori dance has a history of more than 400 years and is so popular that it is performed in other regions of Japan including Tokyo.

During this festival, major thoroughfares are cordoned off and spectator stands are set up at various points for specific dance competitions. Numerous street food stalls known as yatai appear around the river areas, and the entire downtown area of Tokushima takes on the air of a lively outdoor festival, drawing comparisons with Rio de Janeiro's Carnival.

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