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A-Z

Tokushima Prefecture
Tokushima Prefecture is the eastern most prefecture on the island of Shikoku, its coastline connecting with the Seto Inland Sea and the Kii Channel. The inland areas are very mountainous and rugged, and over 80% of the prefecture’s total area is covered in mountains.

One product of these natural surroundings is an abundant supply of varied farming ground. Tokushima is responsible for the highest production of sudachi in the country, and is also responsible for production of awa odori chicken and many other products.

Tokushima is also home to many tourist locations that make use of the prefecture’s natural surroundings, such as the whirlpools of Naruto, the Oboke and Koboke Gorges, Mt. Tsurugi and many others. It is also a very popular spot for surfing, scuba diving, rafting and many other outdoor sports.

-A-

  • Aizome (藍染): Aizome, or indigo dyeing, is one of the traditional crafts of Tokushima. It saw huge popularity for a long time, and is practised even today in several areas about the prefecture.
  • Awa Ai: Awa indigo dye – the dye used in aizome.
  • Awanokuni (阿波国): The old name for Tokushima. In olden times, the north of the prefecture was called awanokuni (粟国 – land of millet) due to the large quantity of millet being grown there. The south was called naganokuni (長国). When the two were eventually combined, they were collectively called awanokuni (阿波国 – land of awa).
  • Awa Odori (阿波踊り): A traditional dance for which Tokushima is particularly noted. The dance is primarily held during the O-bon period from 12-15 of August each year, but can also be seen during other times in the year as well. During the dance in August, over 1,100,000 guests are said to come to watch and join in, and the festival is known as one of the largest dance festivals in the entire world.
  • Awawa (あわわ): A local publisher whose main work centres around local town magazines. Namely, Awawa (for 10-20 year olds), ASA (for 20-30 year olds) and 050 (for 40-50 year olds). The first issue of Awawa was created in March 1981, and it formally became a company three years later on April 27, 1984.
-B-
  • Bamboo Dolls (竹人形・木工製品): Bamboo dolls of Awa Odori dancers, along with other items made from wood, are popular as local souvenirs.
  • Benten, Mt. (弁天山): The smallest natural mountain in all of Japan, at 6.1m in height. The mountain is just south of the Tokushima City area near Jizoubashi Station on the JR Mugi Line, and has a detailed website with a 24 hour web camera filming the mountain. 
  • Bunka no Mori (文化の森): The Bunka no Mori facility, formally known as the Tokushima-ken Bunka no Mori Sogo Koen (徳島県文化の森総合公園 ) in Japanese, is a large facility comprised of the prefectural Library, Museum, Modern Art Museum, Archives and 21st Century Cultural Information Centre. The grounds cover a total of 40.6 hectares, also including an outdoor stage area, walking tracks, parkland with play equipment and other facilities.
-C-
  • Central Park, Tokushima (徳島中央公園 – Tokushima Chuuou Kouen): A large park surrounded by the remains of Tokushima Castle in the midst of Tokushima City. Formerly the grounds of Tokushima Castle, the park is now home to the Tokushima Castle Museum and a nationally designated Japanese garden, and is filled with places to walk and find a little peace and quiet. The park looks beautiful in the spring when the cherry blossoms are in bloom.
-D-
  • Deutsche Haus: See “German House”.
  • Dogama: A series of four, pot-shaped rock pools found along the Sadamitsu River. The flow of water across the rocks here over the passage of many years is said to have been the reason behind their formation, and they were prefecturally designated as significant natural monuments on February 7, 1956. The rush of water as it enters each of the pools creates a fine water spray that adds to the atmosphere of the pools.
  • Doitsu-kan: See “German House”.
-G-
  • Gaku-eki (学駅): A train station on the JR Awa-Ikeda Line. The name uses the character for ‘study’ and the station is a popular place for students to come and pray for good luck for coming exams.
  • German House (ドイツ館 – Doitsu-kan): The Naruto City German House was originally built in 1972 as a museum for materials concerning the prisoner of war camp that had been built in the area during WWI. However in 1993, 20 years after its creation, it was re-built and shifted position to its current location. Visitors can learn about the camp and the people connected with it, as well as buy German food, drink and other assorted goods.
  • Gokurou Matsuri (五九郎まつり): A local festival held each year in June in the area around the JR Kamojima Station in honour of the famous, Kamojima-born actor Soganoya Gorou (曽我廼家五九郎, 1877-1984). Held from 18:00-22:00, the event is marked by the appearance of many street stalls, a taiko drumming display, Awa Odori and much more.
-H-
  • Hyotan-jima: Literally translated as ‘gourd-shaped island’, this term refers to the river-bound area that forms the heart of Tokushima City. The area is so called because of its shape like that of a gourd. Also known for the Hyotan-jima Boat Cruise.
-I-
  • Indigo Socks: The Indigo Socks is the local Baseball Team in Tokushima, created in 2005. They play in the Shikoku Island League. The team colour is naturally indigo blue, and the mascot is a spider that can run, throw, catch and bat all at the same. Now that’s versatility!
-K-
  • KAIR: Kamiyama Artist in Residence. An annual programme held in the town of Kamiyama in which three artists (two from overseas, one from Japan) are invited to the town for a period of several months to work on art and interact with the local townspeople. This is an ongoing project that is currently enjoying its 10th year running.
  • Kamouda Misaki (蒲生田岬): A cape in the Anan City District that is the eastern-most point on Shikoku. Known for the red sea turtles that come and lay their eggs there in summer each year, the cape is a prefecturally designated natural monument. The lighthouse that stands there was built in 1924.
  • Komatsu Beach (小松海岸 – Komatsu Kaigan): Komatsu Beach is a beach just above the north side of the Yoshinogawa River mouth. It is open for swimming from mid July to mid August every year.
  • Kurozou Marsh (黒沢湿原 – Kurozou Shitsugen): A marsh area found deep in the mountains of Miyoshi City. The area here is home to many rare marsh plants and has a long walking track that allows visitors to walk through the marsh area and enjoy the scenery. In total there are over 200 different types of plants growing in the marsh area, including the fringed orchard (サギ草 – sagisou).
  • Kyoudo Bunka Kaikan (郷土文化会館): The ‘Tokushima Arts Foundation for Culture’. A cultural centre in the heart of Tokushima City with exhibitions of dolls used in the Awa Puppet Theatre, rooms for meetings, performances and other events. Nicknamed ‘Kyoubun’.
-M-
  • Mima Motorland (美馬モーターランド): Found close to the border of Kagawa Prefecture in the north of the Mima City district, Mima Motorland is one of Japan’s few major off road courses for motor racing. The track is approximately 2km long, around 5-8m in width and covers terrain varying as much as 20m in height over the course.
  • Miyagawauchi Dam: A dam found in the town of Donari in the north of the prefecture, created in 1964 for general agricultural use. The dam is located nearby the Donari Michi no Eki and several famous stores for tarai udon.
  • Momo Ichigo: A type of strawberry grown only in the village of Sanagouchi in Tokushima. Called ‘peach strawberries’ due to their unusually large size and juicy, sweet taste, production of the strawberries first began in 1992 through a connection between the Osaka Central Seica and JA Sanagouchi. Only a few, rigorously selected farmers are allowed to produce them, and it is the mountainous environment of Sanagouchi that forces the strawberries to be grown over a long time, slowly bringing them to ripeness.
  • Monorail, Oku Iya: A tourist monorail operating in the Iya Valley. Starting at the grounds of the Iyashi no Onsen-kyo, the monorail takes passengers on a 70 minute ride through 4.6km of local forest and mountain scenery. The cost is 1,500 yen for adults and 700 yen for children, and the monorail operates from April through to November each year.
  • Moraes, Wenceslau José de Sousade: A Portuguese scholar who came to live in Tokushima, the hometown of his wife. Famous for various writings regarding the state of Japan at the time, Moraes is now celebrated via a monument to him and his work that can be found on top of Mt. Bizan.
  • Muroto Anan Coastline Quasi National Park: The Muroto Anan Coastline Quasi National Park (室戸阿南海岸国定公園) is a nationally designated and locally maintained national park that runs from Anan City in Tokushima Prefecture to the Cape of Muroto in  Kochi Prefecture to the south. First designated on July 1, 1964.

-N-

  • Naruto Tai (鳴門鯛): The Red Sea Bream found living in the Naruto Straits are a local delicacy, and the strong current of the waters there helping the fish to grow strong, making the meat especially tasty.
  • Naruto Kintoki (鳴門金時): A type of sweet potato grown in the Naruto City area. The region is very close to the sea and the soil here is said to provide a very good environment for growing sweet potatoes. Also one of the regional specialities of Tokushima.
-O-
  • Ookawara Highlands (大川原高原): A highlands area in Sanagouchi Village of 150ha in size. Home to farmlands and forestry plantations, this highlands area also commands a stunning view out towards Tokushima City.
  • Ootani Yaki (大谷焼): Ootani Yaki is a style of pottery made in the Ootani region of Naruto City. The style is noted for the creation of large-sized pots, and the use of a nerokuro (寝轆轤) or ‘sleeping pottery wheel’. The wheel can only be operated whilst lying down, and it takes two people to work on the same item, requiring perfect timing in order to be successful. Ootani Yaki is the only style of pottery in Japan still using this type of wheel.
  • Odeon-za (オデオン座): A small traditional theatre found in the town of Wakimachi that was constructed in 1934. Noted for its hanamichi, revolving stage and other theatrical devices, it was originally used for kabuki shows and silent movies. In 1995 the building was closed and set to be destroyed due to its age, but it was restored soon after having appeared in a movie.
-P-
  • Poppo-gai (ぽっぽ街): A small shopping arcade just to the west of the JR Tokushima Station. It was created in 1971, and houses approximately 50 stores.

-S-

  • Shiozuka Kougen (塩塚高原): A highland area covering some 100 hectares in the mountains on the border with Ehime Prefecture. At an average height of 1043m above sea level, the highlands are a popular spot for camping, hiking and also paragliding.
  • Sobagome Zousui (蕎麦米雑炊): A type of porridge using buckwheat grain (soba) as its base. One of the traditional foods of Tokushima, it is said to have started in the west of the prefecture in the Iya Valley where the steep mountain slopes are unsuitable for rice paddies and forced the creation of a substitute – buckwheat.
  • Sudachi (スダチ): A small citrus fruit grown commonly in Tokushima and listed as one of the region’s specialities.
-T-
  • Take Chikuwa (竹ちくわ): Chikuwa is a kind of fish paste that is quite versatile and used in various recipes. Take Chikuwa is a local speciality in Komatsushima City, in which the Chikuwa is prepared on a small bamboo stick.
  • Tanuki (狸): Called racoon-dogs in English, these animals are a favourite symbol in Tokushima, and specifically in Komatsushima City. Characterised as having a mischevious nature, they represent a wide range of ideals and appear often in local folktales.
  • Tarai Udon (たらいうどん): A type of udon originally eaten in the Miyagouchi Valley area in the north of the prefecture. It is know for strong noodles that are served in a bamboo basin called a tarai. Also nicknamed kamanuki senbon.
  • Todoroki no Taki (轟滝): A waterfall in the upstream area of the Kaifu River. Known as one of the greatest falls in the prefecture, and one of the best 100 waterfalls in the country.
  • Tsurugi, Mt. (剣山): Mt. Tsurugi is the second tallest mountain in West Japan, standing at 1,955m tall. It lies across the border of three towns in Tokushima, namely Kisawa in Naka-gun, Koyadaira in Mima City and East Iya in Miyoshi City. The mountain also has a second name, Tarougyuu (太郎笈) and has been selected as one of the best 100 mountains in all Japan.
  • Tsurugi Super Rindo (剣スーパー林道): The longest forest road in all Japan, this road covers 87.7km, starting in Kamikatsu-cho and ending near the Konose Gorge in Naka-cho. The road features many tourist spots and runs at an average height of 1525m above seal level.
  • Turtles, Red Sea (アカウミガメ – Aka Umigame): The coastline of Hiwasa in the town of Minami is one of 10 places in all Japan that sees visits from sea turtles throughout the year. Each year in summer, around 30 turtles come to lay their eggs there on the beaches.
-U-
  • Uzushio (渦潮): The Japanese name for  the whirlpools at Naruto. Also the name of Tokushima’s locally produced beer.
-V-
  • Vortis, Tokushima (徳島ヴォルティス): Tokushima Vortis is the local Soccer Team in Tokushima, and competes in the J-league. The company running the team was created on September 8, 2004, and the team’s home stadium can be found in Naruto City.
-W-
  • Washi no Mon (鷲の門): The old gates to Tokushima Castle, and one of the only remaining parts of the old castle complex. They now stand at the entrance to Tokushima Central Park, but once served as the main entrance into the castle district.
  • Whirlpools: The city of Naruto in the north of Tokushima Prefecture is known for the whirlpools that occur in the straits just off the coast. A large volume of water rushes through the straits during the tides into and out of the Seto Inland Sea, and its movement over the rock formations here cause large swirling currents. Spring and Autumn are said to be the best times for viewing.
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