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Tokushima Awaodori Airport

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The new terminal building as seen from outside. Parking is to the left and accessed by a covered walkway while a row of taxis wait in front for the last flight of the day.

This past April 8 saw the opening of the new and improved Tokushima Awaodori Airport, sporting a new terminal building and an extended runway capable of handling jumbo jets. The new terminal building has a wide range of services available, including teller machines for local banks, a convenience store, coin lockers, a nursing room, car rentals (8:00 – 20:00), and wireless internet zones.

One of the main attractions, however, is the shopping and restaurant area on the upper level. In addition to the standard fare of cakes, biscuits and other assorted goods can be found more specialist products such as indigo dyed clothing and accessories, and otani pottery. Those wanting a pre-flight bite also have plenty of options, from the ramen shop Marutaka serving Tokushima Ramen and Tokushima-don to R’s Cafe with its standard cafe menu and the (now) renowned Tokushima Burger.

Another new addition to the airport is a rest area for pilgrims on the first floor of the terminal. Fitted with seats and tables, a variety of magazines and books regarding the Shikoku 88 Temple Pilgrimage are available for perusal. There are also some change rooms, and notebooks for those on the temple trail to leave messages and notes for future travellers.

The first floor lobby of the new terminal building. Seen here are a large-screen video display of tourist attractions in Tokushima, indigo-dyed streams of cloth hanging from the ceiling and a colossal artwork depicting a scene from awa odori.

An LED archway leads to the observation deck, cycling through a myriad of different colours.

LED domes in the observation deck on 3F of the airport. The domes change colour and flash in time with music.

Flight Information
Flights to and from Tokushima Airport are available between Tokyo, Nagoya and Fukuoka. The extension of the runway gives hope to the possibility of more exotic destinations to come, but there are no flights that make use of this new capability just yet.

To Tokyo
07:15  →  08:25     JAL1430
09:25  →  10:35     JAL1432
12:20  →  13:30     JAL1434
14:45  →  15:55     JAL1436
17:00  →  18:10     JAL1440
18:40  →  19:50     JAL1442

From Tokyo
07:20  →  08:40 JAL1431
09:45  →  11:00 JAL1433
12:15  →  13:30 JAL1435
15:00  →  16:15 JAL1437
16:30  →  17:45 JAL1439
18:30  →  19:45 JAL1443

To Nagoya
13:00  →  13:50 ANA1816

From Nagoya
11:35  →  12:30 ANA1815

To Fukuoka
10:45  →  12:15 JAC3560
19:30  →  21:00 JAC3568

From Fukuoka
09:05  →  10:15 JAC3561
17:55  →  19:05 JAC3567

The new airport terminal is located on the same site as the old one, but a further two kilometres down the road. The highway bus leaving from Tokushima Station (430 yen) is still available to take passengers from A to B, and drivers need only take the left before the old terminal and make their way around.

The parking lot at the new terminal building has 726 spaces, and is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The cost is free for times under one hour, 150 yen for each hour thereafter until three hours, and then 600 yen for blocks of time between three hours to 24 hours and each subsequent 24 hours. The price for large vehicles is double.


The Nankai Ferry

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For those planning a trip to mainland Japan, the Nankai Ferry connecting Tokushima and Wakayama might not be their first choice of transport. But there are many merits to taking the ferry that warrant it a second look.

Perhaps most importantly, a trip by ferry offers a quick journey of just two hours in either direction, making it faster than both the highway buses and travelling by car. This is especially important during peak hour traffic when congestion in the Kobe and Osaka areas can tend to cause long delays in travel. Not so for the ferry, which bypasses all of this for a smooth trip from A to B no matter the situation on the roads.

Another advantage is that the ferry ports are strategically placed in some of the most well-connected areas of their respective prefectures. The port in Tokushima City is a quick bus ride from Tokushima Station and then to a variety of locations both in and outside the prefecture. Meanwhile, the port  in Wakayama sits right next to a train line that heads directly to Namba in Osaka, and connects to the train to Koya-san for those on the Shikoku 88 Temple Pilgrimage.

The Nankai Ferry "Tsurugi" as it passes by Awaji Island.

The ferry also allows for a level of comfort not enjoyed by other methods of transport. Passengers have plenty of space to lie down and take a nap while aboard, or go for a walk around the ship and even get a drink or a bite to eat! Combined with a set of three televisions throughout the deck, the two hours you spend on board will pass by very quickly.

Last but not least, good news for those wanting to drive while they’re abroad. For an additional charge you can take cars, motorbikes and other vehicles on board. Yet another opportunity to take a rest from driving or riding and save up your energy before you hit the other side. But be careful, as you need to make a reservation for vehicles, so call ahead in advance to let them know you’re coming.

Of course, taking the ferry is not without its downsides. Rough weather can sometimes force the boats to remain in port (although the bridges connecting Shikoku to mainland Japan are sometimes closed for the same reasons) and those susceptible to motion sickness can feel a bit queasy when the seas are choppy. But on the whole, the ferry is a very handy method of transport for those heading across the seas to mainland Japan. Next time you’re planning a trip, why not give it a go?

Ferry Times:

Tokushima – Wakayama
3:25 – 5:25
5:55 – 7:50
8:15 – 10:10
11:00 – 13:00
13:30 – 15:40
16:35 – 18:35
19:00 – 21:05
22:00 – 24:00

Wakayama – Tokushima
2:40 – 4:50
5:50 – 7:45
8:30 – 10:30
10:50 – 13:00
13:40 – 15:50
16:30 – 18:30
19:20 – 21:20
21:35 – 23:25

Tickets cost 3,800 yen for a round trip for adults, and 1,900 yen for elementary school children and below. Prices for vehicles differ according to the size of the vehicle, but a concise price list, along with directions on how to get to the ports and other information can all be found on the Nankai Ferry Homepage at the following address: www.

Moraes – ‘The Man’ of Tokushima

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Article by Matthew Lindsay

The challenges of language and cultural differences that accompany everyday life for foreigners here in Japan can sometimes seem overwhelming. At such times it’s usually possible to find some solace in the companionship of a fellow expatriate. Next time you’re feeling lonely spare a thought for Tokushima’s most famous foreign resident, Wenceslau de Moraes, a Portuguese writer who lived here in the early 20th century. Some people regarded him as a ‘hairy barbarian’ (admittedly he was hairy) and children sometimes would even hiss at him as he walked by. He lived a life of virtual solitude with only his pets for company.

A statue of Moraes with his dog at the summit of Mount Bizan.

These days Moraes is Tokushima’s adopted son. At the summit of Mount Bizan in a building adorned with picturesque azulejos tiles from Portugal is a museum dedicated to this unique character and his fascinating life. Admission is free if you take the ropeway or 200yen if you make your own way to the top. Here follows a rough translation of the brochure included with entry.

Moraes and Mount Bizan
Wenceslau de Moraes was born in Lisbon, Portugal on May 30th, 1854. He was attracted to the ocean from an early age and after completing Naval Academy served as a Naval Officer in the Portuguese Navy in Portuguese colonies such as Mozambique. After becoming Deputy Harbour Master in Chinese Macao he visited Japan a number of times and developed a strong interest in Japanese scenery and customs. After coming to Kobe in 1898 he served as consul then consul-general at the Portuguese consulate.

Upon retiring in July, 1913 Moraes came to live in Tokushima, the hometown of his deceased wife, Yone Fujimoto. While plagued by homesickness, Moraes could only correspond with his family and friends and didn’t return to his homeland for the remainder of his life.

From the time he was in Kobe, Moraes sent information about Japan to newspapers in Portugal through a column titled ‘Japan Correspondence’. After coming to Tokushima he pursued a career in writing while living with Yone’s niece, Koharu Saitou. Moraes lived in a terraced house on Iga Street (now commonly known as Moraes Street), where enveloped by the vast greenery of Mount Bizan he wrote many works that he sent out to the world such as Tokushima’s Bon Odori (徳島の盆踊り), Yone and Koharu (おヨネとコハル), and Japan’s Spirit (日本精神).

After Koharu’s death in 1916, Moraes remained in contact with her mother, Yuki Saitou and her family. Although he received care from them with the onset of old age, troubled by chronic rheumatism, kidney disease and strokes he died in solitude on July 1st, 1929 aged 75. Moraes, Yone and Koharu’s graves are located in Chou-on-ji, a temple adjacent to the Awa Odori Kaikan at the foot of Mount Bizan.

Following his death Moraes’ many writings were translated into Japanese and through the efforts of translator, Tomizo Hanano, his complete works were published.

A bust of Moraes at the site of his former home.

Moraes – Equal of Koizumi Yakumo
As Moraes spent 17 of the 33 years that he lived in Japan in Tokushima, he has become known as the “Koizumi Yakumo” of Tokushima. (Koizumi Yakumo, otherwise known as Lafcadio Hearn, was a renowned foreign writer/ translator of Japanese stories.)

The Moraes Museum was opened on July 1st, 1976 at the summit of Mount Bizan to commemorate Moraes. The second floor display room is a recreation of Moraes’ living room and study with a focus on the paintings, desk and armrest that he loved. The complete collection of his works in Portuguese such as Far East Travel Journal (極東遊記), Great Japan (大日本), Water For Tea (茶の湯), Tokushima’s Bon Dance, Yone and Koharu and Japan’s Spirit along with their translations, biographies and research papers are arranged to serve as a backdrop to introduce the atmosphere of Tokushima during the Meiji, Taisho and beginning of the Showa periods. Also hundreds of handwritten postcards he sent to his elder sister, a record of Moraes’ lifetime explained on panels and Portuguese handcrafts are displayed.

Moraes the Loner
“Moraes spent much time in lonely contemplation, (a sentiment used specifically for Portuguese known as ‘Saudade’). Abandoning his homeland, living in continual poverty in remote Japan, dreaming of his hometown from afar and yearning for the deceased – in this melancholy he contemplated in solitude day by day. Tokushima’s green mountains and blue rivers resembled his birthplace of Lisbon and Moraes the foreigner lived as though consumed by Tokushima’s blessed nature and beautiful humanity. You could say he was a loner that loved Tokushima,” says Jiro Nita, a writer who is very knowledgeable of Moraes.

Monuments to Moraes
There are a number of well-maintained monuments to Moraes within Tokushima City:

  1. A bust marking the site of Moraes’ former residence is on Moraes Street (Iga Town’s 3rd Avenue) at the foot of Mount Bizan
  2. A monument marking the 100th anniversary of Moraes’ birth can be found in front of the Awa-Odori Kaikan building at the foot of Mount Bizan.
  3. A statue at the summit of Mount Bizan to mark the 150th anniversary of his birth, titled ‘Nostalgia’
  4. The Lisbon Moraes Square alongside Portugal Leiria Boulevarde near the Tokushima Zoo and Botannical Gardens in Katanokami.

Furthermore, an annual memorial service is held for Moraes on July 1st at Anju Temple (安住寺) in the Teramachi (temple) area.

Further reading:

Japanese Lessons @ TOPIA 2010

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The first semester of Japanese classes for 2010 will start at TOPIA this April. Students are welcome to register at any time from now until the end of the semester. Check the chart below for more details on specific classes.

Time: All classes are held from 10:30am to 12:00pm on their scheduled day of the week.

Where: The meeting rooms at TOPIA, on the sixth floor of the Clement Plaza, JR Tokushima Station.

Cost: There is a  materials fee of 1,500 yen for a semester of 20 classes. If there are only 10 or less classes in the semester then the cost is only 750 yen. However, all classes require the Minna no Nihongo  textbooks (2,500 yen), available for purchase at TOPIA at any time.

Tuesday – Elementary 3
Ms. Tamura
We will study reasoning, causative, passive voice, and honorific expressions.
Text: “Minna no Nihongo 2” from Chapter 38.

Wednesday – General Group Lesson
A salon-style workshop where students can study freely according to their current level, needs or requirement.
Please buy Minna no Nihongo if you wish to use it.

Thursday – Elementary 1
Ms. Yamada
We will study various verb forms, and sentence patterns using those forms.
Text: “Minna no Nihongo 1” from Chapter 14

Friday – Elementary 2
Ms. Aoki
We will study various verb forms, and expand our range of expression.
Text: “Minna no Nihongo 2” from Chapter 26.

Saturday – Beginner
Ms. Motoki
We will take the first steps towards learning basic expressions, and study hiragana and katakana too. Text: “Minna no Nihongo 1” from Chapter 1.

Saturday – General Group Lesson
A salon-style workshop where students can study freely according to their current level, needs or requirement.
Please buy Minna no Nihongo if you wish to use it.

Sunday – Elementary 2
We will study various verb forms, and expand our range of expression.
Text: “Minna no Nihongo 2” from Chapter 26

Sunday – Beginner – Elementary 3 (Elementary 2 excluded)
Group Study
A class for those who are only able to participate on weekends. Chapters will be split into four groups according to level.
Text: “Minna no Nihongo 1” from Chapter 1-25, and “Minna no Nihongo 2” from Chapter 36-50.

Also, a free Japanese class is held every Wednesday by Ms. Murasawa to teach basic vocabulary and kana in preparation for the elementary classes. You can turn up anytime without enrolling in the class.

Tokushima AJET Musical – The Lion King

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This year, the crew of Tokushima AJET tackle the famous Disney story The Lion King in this, their 16th annual English musical. Last weekend saw the opening shows at Ishii and Hiwasa held to great success and record audiences, and another three shows are planned over the coming weekends. Don’t miss this local rendition of the classic tale!

March 13 (Sat.)
Kitajima Sousei Hall

March 14 (Sun.)
Tokushima Prefectural General Education Centre

March 20 (Sat.)
Wakimachi Odeon-za

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

Chifure Cosmetics

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Long time, no see, everyone!
It’s Lady Sudachi here.

The weather has gotten progressively colder and winter is now right at our doorsteps.

At this time of year the air can get very cold and dry, and it can be very harsh on women’s skin.

Why not make use of your time in Japan to try some of the local brands.

There are many well-known brands, but this time I’d like to introduce you to a brand called ‘Chifure’.

Chifure is one of the more inexpensive brands of cosmetics on the market right now, but it has a surprisingly high quality behind its low cost.

Chifure products cost around 1,000 yen at their most expensive and you can get many basic types of cosmetics for just 600 yen. They are scent-free and use no artificial coloring, and are known for being gentle to your skin. What’s more, the labels are clearly marked with the date of production and the ingredients so you know exactly what you are using.

Chifure products are also environmentally friendly. Once you buy a certain product, you can use the same bottle it comes in by simply buying refill packs. Refills are even cheaper than the original, bottled products, so you can make a saving here as well.

Chifure is a very easy brand of cosmetics to use and can be helpful for those who aren’t sure which brand to go with or who are looking for something light and easy to carry while on a trip.

In Tokushima, you can buy Chifure products from the seventh floor of the Sogo Department Store in Tokushima City. Most other general drug stores stock their products as well.

Please give it a go!

They even have an English website:

Also, a more full description of products is available for those who can read Japanese.


Cleansing Oil 220ml 735 yen (Refills – 630 yen)
Face Wash 150g 420 yen
Skin Lotion (Moist Type) 150ml 578 yen (Refills – 473 yen)
Moisturizer 50g 735 yen (Refills – 630 yen)
Foundation 840 yen (w/case) (Refill – 525 yen), Sponge 168 yen
Lipstick case 105 yen、Lipstick (Refills) 315 yen

Matara Sri Lankan Restaurant

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The entry to Matara

The entry to Matara, as seen from the roadside.



* Closed on Thursdays
* Five parking spaces available

Five star food in a friendly atmosphere!

If you’re looking for somewhere new to have curry or indian food, then you’re in luck. Matara in Joto-cho, Tokushima City, has a little something for everyone.

Chicken curry, Sri Lankan naan and more at Matara

Chicken curry, Sri Lankan naan and more at Matara

Found close to Tokushima Municipal High School and not far from the Suehiro Bridge, Matara is a small Sri Lankana restaurant with a big presence. The range of food available on its menu is extensive and there is sure to be something there to suit all tastes. Most notably, there are a variety of options for vegetarians of all sorts as well as seafood dishes and much, much more! Be careful, however, as prices tend to be a little more expensive at dinner time than during lunch, so you may want to plot ahead.

* Lunch sets 800 – 1,000 yen
* Matara Lunch – 1,300 yen
* Seafood risotto – 850 yen
* Yellow rice – 250 yen
* Sri Lankan Nan – 400 yen
* Coconut Roti – 600 yen

The interior of matara.

The interior of Matara.

Store Interior
The inside of the store is very welcoming and is easy on the eyes. All the tables are separated by dividers and there is a generally nice and clean aura throughout. But don’t be fooled – there is a air of quality hidden just underneath its approachable exterior, and one can’t help but get the feeling they are getting more than they paid for.