Famed for its Awa Odori dance festival, Tokushima is a vibrant city overlooking Shikoku’s east coast. It’s home to an outstanding modern art gallery and a charming puppet theatre, as well as a museum highlighting its annual festivities.
Things to do
If your visit doesn’t coincide with the annual Awa Odori, you can get a taste of the festival atmosphere and its traditions at the Awa Odori Kaikan museum. Traditional clothing and instruments are exhibited and daily dance performances are held, with video displays to help you learn the dances.
For some of the best views of Tokushima, climb to the hilltop Tokushima Castle, constructed in the 16th century by the Hachisuka Clan. Its beautiful Japanese gardens feature a small museum where you can learn about the castle’s dismantlement during the Meiji era and the bombings during World War II.
Want to experience traditional Japanese puppet theatre? Attend one of the daily shows at the Awa Jurobe Yashiki, a bunraku theatre set in the former samurai home of Jurobe. It has been designated as a national folk cultural asset, with the ningyo puppets manipulated by three puppeteers and accompanied by a three-stringed instrument known as a “gidayu-shamisen”.
Art enthusiasts should visit the Tokushima Modern Art Museum, one of Japan’s most renowned contemporary galleries. The collection includes notable works by Picasso and Paul Klee, as well as pieces by prominent Japanese master Kiyokata Kaburagi and manga artist Seishi Kishimoto.
Tokushima Airport is 20 minutes’ drive from the city centre and there are regular trains connecting Tokushima to Osaka. Overnight ferries depart for Tokyo and the city centre is small enough to explore on foot or by bicycle.
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