Tokushima (徳島) is the main transport hub of eastern Shikoku. It has only a few famous attractions, but its palm-lined boulevards are pleasant enough to pass through on your way to more interesting places.
Tokushima AirportPint-sized airport has daily services to Tokyo, Nagoya, Fukuoka and Sapporo. Buses to JR Tokushima Station take 25 minutes and cost ¥430. The schedules are synchronized to flight departures/arrivals.
Buses run to the station from Kobe Airport every hour at 55 minutes past (2½ hours, ¥3200). Airport Limousine buses operate from the nearest international gateway, Kansai International Airport in Osaka (2 hr 45 min, ¥4000 — cheaper if you purchase a round trip ticket).
By trainFrom Okayama, take a Marine Liner rapid train to Takamatsu, then transfer to the Uzushio limited express for the run to Tokushima (2 hours, ¥4420). Two daily Uzushio trains run directly from Okayama, with no change of trains required (¥5050). If you are coming from Kansai or the east (i.e. Nagoya or Tokyo) then changing to a bus at Shin-Kobe will result in an easier trip to Tokushima - a wise investment for Japan Rail Pass holders, even if the pass doesn't cover the bus. (See By bus below)
The JR Tokushima Line runs toward Ikeda (2 hours), for connections south towards the Iya Valley.
By busIf arriving from Kansai via Awaji Island, you're pretty much guaranteed to end up in Tokushima. JR Bus operates many services to Tokushima: Awa Express bus service leaves from Kobe and Kobe Airport (2 hours from Shin-Kobe station, ¥3200, 15 daily round-trips), Osaka (2 hr 45 min, ¥3600, 23 daily round-trips), Kyoto (3 hours, ¥4100, 7 daily round-trips), and on weekends and holidays, Nara (4 hours, ¥3900, 2 round-trips). Keihan Railways has its own highway bus that travels to and from Kyoto and Hirakata.
The overnight Dream Tokushima bus runs from Tokyo and Shinjuku (10 hours, ¥10,000 each way).
phone: +81 3-5148-0109A ferry service between Tokyo, Tokushima and Kitakyushu. Both the Tokyo and Kitakyushu runs are overnight; passengers can book Western-style bedrooms, bunks, or sleep on the floor. If you're sleeping on the floor, this is one of the cheapest ways to get to Tokushima.
phone: +81 73-422-2156A ferry to Wakayama, which is easily accessible from the Osaka/Kyoto/Nara area. The ride takes two hours, and it operates both day and night.
JR Tokushima Stationphone: +81 88-622-8556
phone: +81 88-622-4010address: 2-20 Shinmachi, Awa-Odori Keikan
phone: +81 88-656-3303address: 1-61 Terashima Honcho Nishi, 6F Clement PlazaAn excellent place to drop in with Internet access (¥50 for 10 min) and lots of guidebooks and other information to borrow. Staff can help find accommodation and recommend things to see and do.
address: 2-20 ShinmachiAn interesting museum devoted to the Awa Odori Festival. Exhibits include video and panoramas of the festival, and even a dancing Odobotto robot to show you how it's done! There are several daily performances of the Awa Odori dances (¥500).
phone: +81 88-656-2525address: 1-8 Tokushima-choA brisk uphill walk from Chuo Park, behind the station, takes you to the castle ruins and a view over the city. The castle museum (9:30AM-5PM) is set in an exquisite traditional Japanese garden — come early in the morning for a misty, meditative, and crowd-free experience.
address: 184 Ichikawa Naimachi Miyajima HonuraOnce the home of the samurai Jurobe, this is now a bunraku (puppet theater) museum. Performances are held at 11:00 weekdays, with an additional show at 14:00 weekends.
address: Itano-gun, Aizumi-choLocated in an old house formerly owned by an indigo merchant. For a small fee (¥500-3000), you can dye your own piece of fabric with real indigo, and learn how to create one of the traditional patterns.
phone: +81 88-668-1088One of the most acclaimed modern art museums in western Japan, with work by contemporary Western and Japanese artists.
phone: +81 88-668-3636Natural and geological museum covering pre-historic Shikoku to the present day, with some hands-on exhibitions.
- The Awa Odori (阿波おどり) festival, held August 12-15 annually, is by far Tokushima's largest claim to fame. With a history of over 400 years, people dance in the streets according to the complex choreography. As the proverb says, "The dancing fool and the watching fool are both fools, so why not dance!"
Mount BizanThis mountain 1500 cherry blossom trees, making it an impressive sight at blossom time. At the Awa Odori Kaikan, there's a ropeway to the top of Bizan. The walk down takes about 15 minutes.
Tokushima Chuo ParkSome nice gardens and ponds. It makes for a pleasant walk while waiting for your bus, or at night, when people are out exercising and you can listen to the frogs, birds, and other animals. You can climb up to the top of the hill to the castle ruins to overlook the city.
address: 1-5 Terashima Honcho NishiHas a Kinokuniya bookshop with English-language books on the 8th floor.
Tokushima is famous for its wonderful strawberries and sudachi, a small round green citrus fruit with a lime-like flavour. In the summer, sugata sushi is available, wherein a whole small fish is stuffed with sushi rice. Another popular local treat is narutokintoki, a kind of sweet potato.
There are some nice places to eat on the 5th floor of Clement Plaza, which is above the train station, and also in the department stores nearby.
Inotaniphone: +81 88-653-1482address: 4-25 Nishi DaikumachiThis shop represents Tokushima ramen (pork, seafood, lots of vegetables) at the prestigious Ramen Museum in Yokohama. Back home, it's a busy lunch spot.
phone: +81 88-623-3848address: 2-15 IchibanchouA shrine for all things related to 60s surf culture. The owner, Takeda-San, appears in many of the surfing pictures on the walls; he cooks and serves customers himself, so don't arrive in a hurry, but the food is great and the atmosphere is fun. It's on the second floor up a tiny staircase, but it has a sandwich board out front and the awning is white with black lettering.
address: 2-11 ToudaikouBusiness hotel about ten minutes from the station. All rooms have a free Internet connection, and PC rentals are available.
Hotel Clement TokushimaLuxury Western-style rooms, with a few Japanese-style. There are three restaurants, including one on the 18th floor with a bar. It's directly connected to JR Tokushima Station.
phone: +81 88-655-5005Decent, clean, and inexpensive business hotel close to the station. Exit JR Tokushima Station and turn left along the main street. From there walk about 3 minutes until you reach a small private bus company on a corner on your left. Turn down this street APA will be in front of you. The hotel is a thin white 10-story building.
phone: +81 88-663-1505Somewhat inconveniently but beautifully located in the green seaside hills of Omiko (大神子).
- Naruto - Check out the tidal whirlpools, but confirm the times before you go — they can only be seen at certain times.
- Hiwasa and surrounding area - See the beautiful and wild Anan coast in southern Tokushima prefecture. Area around Hiwasa (2 hours, about ¥1000 from Tokushima) is especially beautiful.
- Mima - a small city to the west of Tokushima city, about one hour by train on the Tokushima line. The city is mostly known for several historic locations, as well as campsites, and outdoor/nature activities (hiking, kayaking, fishing, etc.).