We were invited to join the Discover Tokushima Tourism Seminar in early February and there we got to learn what a wonderful and mystical place Tokushima is. By the time we left the seminar we were ready to pack our hiking boots and be on our way to enjoy all that Tokushima has to offer.
In recent years, there has been a rapid increase in the number of Australian and other overseas visitors to Japan. One of the key factors in this growth is the rise of regional tourism in Japan. More Australians and others are looking to explore non-major city locations all across Japan, including Tokushima.
Tokushima belongs to the Shikoku region in South East Japan – one of four prefectures that divide the island. Tokushima is most known for its abundant mountainous landscape and the Awa-odori festival – a traditional dance festival of Awa, Tokushima’s original name.
The tourism seminar began with a performance by two Awa-odori dancers, lifting up the mood of the seminar room. Later on, we even got to learn how to do the dance ourselves! From how vibrant the room became, we can only imagine the fantastic energy that fills the atmosphere during the actual Awa-odori festival, held between 12-15th of August every year.
Within the mountainous landscape of Tokushima, there are many attractions that combine local heritage and culture with nature. From hot springs to beautiful traditional Japanese accommodations – there’s much hidden in Tokushima’s mountains and valleys.
One of the most popular spots to visit is the Kazurabashi Bridge, deep within Iya Valley. This 45 metre long bridge is made of perennial vines and is maintained by locals to this day. US Magazine, TRAVEL + LEISURE selected Iya Valley in Tokushima as one of top 50 places to travel in 2018. This was the only place selected in Japan.
Because of the mountainous backdrop, the scenery in Tokushima changes each season. The most popular time to visit is during Autumn, when the leaves of the trees change to hues of red, orange and gold. The gorgeous Japanese maple trees found throughout Tokushima makes it one of the most picturesque places in Japan to visit during Autumn – it’s a hiker’s dream!
We were surprised to learn that there is so much variety in what Tokushima has on offer. One of the most unique and unexpected attraction is whitewater river rafting. Tokushima even hosted teams from 22 countries, including Australia, for the 2017 International Rafting Federation World Rafting Championships. So you know it’s a world class rafting spot!
Shikoku is also a deeply spiritual place, and people from all over Japan visit to complete the ‘Ohenro’ pilgrimage at the 88 temples on the island. Tokushima is a part of the pilgrimage journey of course. And the pilgrimage is open to all people no matter what background. The locals are particularly welcoming to the pilgrims known as ‘Ohenro-san’; offering food and drinks to aid pilgrims during their long journey.
Speaking of food, Tokushima is known for many noodle dishes in their local cuisine. From ramen to soba, to somen and udon, you will want to try every kind! There is also a great selection of local sakes and blends of tea available – you will never tire of eating and drinking here.
With so much traditional culture still alive and well in Tokushima, you are able to not only interact with the locals but be a part of the Tokushima lifestyle in some way or another during your stay.
From hiking to rafting, to eating noodles and just plain enjoying the picturesque landscape, needless to say what a one of a kind destination Tokushima is.
We’d like to thank the organisers for inviting us to such an exciting seminar! We hope to see them in Tokushima soon.
You can visit the Discover Tokushima website to find out more info on Tokushima!