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Tokushima LED Art Festival 2010

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Saturday, April 17 to Sunday, April 25

Welcome to Tokushima’s first ever LED Art Festival, an art exhibition held on the banks of the Shinmachi River and throughout the streets of Tokushima to celebrate one of Tokushima’s finest industrial resources.

Spread across 27 different locations, this large-scale exhibition features a huge body of work from professional artists as well as university students, representatives of the Nichia Corporation and more. Held with the aim of stretching LED-based artwork to its limits, each work offers its own unique style, combining light, shape and sound to make a mesmerising display. A truly must-see event.

The "Luminous Band Camp" by the Shinmachi Bridge

Being spread over so many locations, it might seem difficult to see all of them in one go. But this is not necessarily the case. For example, the Hyotan Jima River Boat Cruise is offering a special night-time course from 18:00-21:00 every day of the event. The cruise costs 100 yen for insurance, and lasts approximately 10 minutes, taking those on board to see the more spectacular displays on offer. Bicycle rental is also available for free from the Awa Odori Dance Hall during the hours of 9:30-21:00 upon presentation of an LED Art Festival coupon. Coupons are available on page 16 of the event’s program, available online for free, here.

The coupons can also be used to receive discounts at nearby tourist facilities:

Awa Odori Dance Hall
Daytime sessions of Awa Odori are discounted by 100 yen for adults and senior high school students, and 50 yen for junior high school students and below. Night-time performances are discounted by 140 yen for adults and senior high school students, and 70 yen for junior high school students and below.

Bizan Ropeway
Ropeway tickets are discounted by 200 yen for a round trip for adults and senior and junior high school students, and 100 yen for elementary school students and below.

Tokushima City Castle Museum
Entry is discounted by 60 yen for adults, 40 yen for senior high school students and university students, and is free for junior high school students and below.

Tokushima Zoo
Entry is discounted by 100 yen for adults and senior high school students, and is free for junior high school students and below.

An array of Valentine's Day presents displayed as LED Art.

Stamp Rally
A stamp rally is being held for the duration of the event. Here’s how to participate:

  1. Collect the stamps from all exhibition sites and mark them on the first page of the program.
  2. Take your completed sheet to the information desk on the Shinmachi Boardwalk.
  3. Show the staff and vote for your favourite exhibition.
  4. Receive a raffle ticket for LED-related goods.

The raffle will be held on Saturday, April 25 at the Tokushima Children’s Traffic Park in Tokushima City, between 18:00 and 19:00. Prizes include a set of LED candles, LED world clocks, desk clocks, tag lights and more, and the raffle will be accompanied by a variety of other events such as a mini concert, LED workshops and more.

For detailed information on individual exhibitions and events, please refer to the LED Art Festival Homepage or post a comment here!


Christmas Illuminations

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The Christmas illuminations display at Kenchopia in front of the Tokushima Prefectural Government Office.

With Christmas only four days away, it’s time to bring in the annual Christmas illuminations displays. And Tokushima has no lack of these, so let’s take a look at a few of the more popular destinations in town.

Ikeda Fuyu no Obuje
The illuminations in Ikeda, Miyoshi City can be found near the JR Awa Ikeda Station and nearby parks. A few other buildings in town are also lit up during the end of year season, so if you have a car or other way of getting around town then it makes for a nice trip.

When: Now until Sunday, January 10, 2010, from 17:00-22:00.
Cost: Free!

The yacht harbour in front of the Prefectural Government Office is one of Tokushima’s classic Christmas lights displays. Organised by the Tokushima Yacht club, the boats along the Shinmachi River area west of Kachidoki Bridge are decorated with an array of lights that make for a beautiful display on the water. The area is perfect for an evening walk or a date, but you might want to pick your moment as the wind can be a little strong near the water.

When: Now until Friday, December 25, from 17:00-23:00.
Cost: Free!

A heart-shaped display by the waterside at Kenchopia.

Anan LEDs
In a word, the display at Ushiki Joushi Park each year in Anan City is blinding. The hill here is literally covered in blue LEDs (including the stairs used to climb to its peak!) and it is a fascinating sight to behold.

Also keep an eye out for the Kirakira Dome, whose name was decided upon this very day! Literally translated as Sparkle Dome in English, this dome is made of over 38,000 LEDs and is programmed to display a variety of patterns to music.

In addition to the lights display, there will be a variety of events held from Wednesday, December 23 to Friday, December 25. On Wednesday, December 23 there will be a concert from 18:00-22:00 as well as other events, and on Thursday, December 24 there will be a Christmas Bridal Fashion Show from 19:00 and 20:00. Come have a look!

Where: Ushiki Joushi Park, Anan City
Cost: Free!

Astutamu Land Christmas Lights and Concert
This Wednesday, December 23, Asutamu Land in Itano is going to be the host for a Christmas Concert arranged by FM Tokushima. Featuring artists Kai Natsu, SHAKE and sasanqua, it is the perfect event for couples or even those looking for something special. The concert will be followed by fireworks, and there will be a large-scale illuminations display throughout the park.

When: Wednesday, December 23, from 17:30
Cost: Free!!!

Bunri University
While lesser known, the lights display at Bunri University in Tokushima City is simply stunning. Entire rows of trees are covered with blue LEDs that give the area an ethereal glow. Definitely worth a look!

When: Now until Friday, December 25, from 17:00-23:00.
Cost: Free!

Got any hidden spots for illuminations in the prefecture? Any power-surging houses in your street? Post them here!

August Fireworks – 2009

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While the majority of fireworks displays in Tokushima are held in July, the fun isn’t over yet. In fact, it has only just begun! A total of two major fireworks displays are going to be held this August, including the largest annual fireworks display in the prefecture!

Come and enjoy a display of over 900 volleys.

When: Thursday, August 6, 20:00-21:00
Where: The Athletics Grounds at Kamojima in Yoshinogawa City.
Inquiries: Call the Yoshinogawa City Industry and Commerce Association at 0883-24-2274.

This riverside display is the largest in the prefecture, with more than 3,500 volleys planned for the event!

When: Friday, August 7, 20:00-21:00
Where: Next to the Naruto City Bunka Kaikan, on the banks of the Muya River.
Inquiries: Call the Naruto City Industry and Commerce Division at 088-684-1157.

Awa Odori Events in Tokushima

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Senbatsu Awa Odori Taikai
Professional dancing troupes present highly refined dancing performances on stage. A total of three different troupes will be dancing each day of the event.

Wednesday, August 12 to Saturday, August 15

Tokushima-shi Bunka Center
11:30 – (August 12 and 15 only), 13:30 -, 16:00 –

Awagin Hall
13:30 -, 16:00 –

Tickets are 1,800 yen for reserved seats (指定席 – shitei-seki) and 1,200 yen for free seating areas (自由席 – jiyuu-seki). All tickets cost an additional 200 yen if bought on the day.

Senbatsu Awa Odori Taikai – Zenyasai
A stunning combined performance by all awa dance troupes belonging to the Awa Odori Promotions Association and Tokushima Prefectural Awa Odori Association. Hundreds of dancers come together for this once in a year event to mark the opening of the festival.

Monday, August 11
13:00 -, 16:00 -, 19:00 –

Asty Tokushima

2,000 yen for reserved seats and 1,500 yen for free seating areas.

Awa Odori at Tokushima Airport
Performances of Awa Odori will be held in front of the arrivals lobby at Tokushima Aiport to welcome visitors to the prefecture.

Wednesday, August 12
10:15 -, 11:45 –

The area in front of the arrivals lobby at Tokushima Airport, in Matsushige-cho.


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KAIR Fund Raiser Concert

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KAIR Fund Raiser Concert

This Friday, April 24th local residents Josh McClain, Shawn McGinn and Ai will be performing a selection of cello, guitar, trumpet, voice and electronica music from a variety of forms and styles in support of the Kamiyama Artist in Residency Program. The concert is set to take place at P’s Paradise (see below) in Tokushima City, and entry is just 1,500 yen with one drink included.

Doors open at 19:30 and the concert starts at 20:00.

For those with a facebook account, the concert has been registered here as an event. Check it out for details and a high resolution copy of the poster.

See you there!

The Big Hina Matsuri Oku Zashiki

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Dolls in the mist - an outdoors display of hina dolls by the roadside.

Dolls in the mist - an outdoors display of hina dolls by the roadside in Katsuura.

The Big Hina Matsuri is one of Tokushima’s most famous yearly festivals. And while the spotlight sits squarely on the thousands of dolls on display at the Ningyo Bunka Kouryuu-kan, it isn’t the only way for you to enjoy this festive time of year. Katsuura is a town known for the hina dolls, and travellers further down the road can enjoy an even rarer and more interesting sight in the form of the inner hina matsuri (奥座敷 – oku zashiki).

Almost seven kilometres down the road from the Ningyo Bunka Kouryuu-kan, the residents of Sakamoto enjoy a different form of hina matsuri. Proudly displayed on long stands and cases by the streets are hundreds of hina dolls both new and old, mixed amongst flowers and bamboo in a myriad of different, home-grown displays.

This is the home of the inner hina matsuri. Started almost four years ago, the displays are less a large collection of dolls than staggered, separate displays through the streets of the town. Almost every store and house front has something to show, and there is a lot for visitors to see.

The Main Stage
Almost every street in the area is a part of the inner hina matsuri, but the main stage is located in the private garden of the Morimoto family. Found a little further down the road from most of the displays, visitors head down a steep path to a large traditional Japanese house where the displays are held.

The sign by the roadside showing the way to the Morimoto residence.

The sign by the roadside showing the way down the hillside to the Morimoto family residence.

Walking through the old wooden gates to the residence and away from the sounds of the modern world, you feel as though you have come across a real treasure. The displays of the Morimoto residence are like something you would expect to see in a tourist guide extolling the wonders of traditional crafts in Japan, and amongst them you can see a whole history of hina dolls from over a hundred years ago to the modern day.

A small selection of older dolls in one of the simpler displays of the Morimoto residence.

A small selection of older dolls in one of the simpler displays of the Morimoto residence.

But amongst the many indoors and outdoors displays, perhaps the most striking sight can be found in a large Japanese style tatami room deep in the residence. Taking off your shoes and going inside, you are greeted with the sight of hina dolls playing the koto, enjoying a game of karuta, and even having a picnic with yusanbako. Every inch of the room exudes an aura of traditional Japan and the undeniable presence of authenticity.

One of the elegant doll displays at the Morimoto residence.

One of the elegant doll displays at the Morimoto residence.

But while the residence is open to visitors, visitors need to remember that it is still a private home and that it requires the same respect as would be given to any such place. Shoes are to be taken off when going inside tatami rooms, and some areas are naturally out of bounds. However, the displays don’t leave anything to be desired, and it is very clear as to where visitors are and aren’t allowed.

Last of all, one big difference from the Big Hina Matsuri is that it is entirely free to see the displays at the inner hina matsuri and the Morimoto residence. However, you may want to donate a few hundred yen to the residence in the box provided to help support their activities. Of course, it is entirely up to you.

NB: The official period for the inner hina matsuri is the same as the big hina matsuri, from around late February to late March each year.

The title ‘inner’ prompts the question of exactly just how far deep into Katsuura you have to go. Once you reach the Ningyo Bunka Kouryuukan where the Big Hina Matsuri is taking place, you need to keep going seven kilometres down the road. Just before you enter the Shin Sakamoto Tunnel (新坂本トンネル) you will see a small road heading off to the right, and a banner in Japanese to lead you in the right direction. Hop on this and follow the winding track around until you see displays along the roadside, and you’re there.

If you do happen to miss the turnoff, however, don’t worry. Just stay on the road, go through the tunnel just up ahead and then take the first right after you get out. This will lead you up into the hillsides and then back around on track from the opposite direction.

For those using public transport, simply take the bus on the Katsuura Line (勝浦線) and get off at stops between Kubo no Uchi (久保の内) and Sakamoto Kami (坂本上) and go for a walk in the streets. At around 76 minutes and 960 yen from Tokushima Station, it is a long ride, but well worth the trip.

The 2009 AJET Musical – Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

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It’s been 15 years since the first ever performance of the AJET English Musical, and since then the ever changing cast and crew has challenged a myriad of stories from both the East and the West. From well-known stories such West Side Story and Alice in Wonderland to self-created stories such as Harry Potter and the Big Beckham Rescue, Tokushima AJET has just about covered it all.

But not yet.

This year, following on from last year’s success with the story of Momotaro and the Revenge of Akaoni, the cast and crew tackle the very big, and very sweet story of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. As per tradition, the musical will be held in five places around the prefecture, and is set to run for just over two hours in total including a 15 minute break. Plus, all performances are totally free to watch, and all you need to do is turn up at the door! See below for full details.

Musical Poster

Performance Dates

March 7 (Sat.)
Ishii-cho Chuo Kominkan

March 8 (Sun.)
Minami-cho Community Hall

March 14 (Sat.)
Tokushima Prefectural General Education Centre

March 15 (Sun.)
Hanoura Joho Bunka Centre – Cosmo Hall

March 21 (Sat.)
Wakimachi Odeon-za

If you want to find out more about the musical, call TOPIA at 088-656-3303 and ask for Mario or Andrew.