The American writer Alex Kerr brought Tokushima Prefecture to the hearts and minds of those in the West with his heartfelt book Lost Japan. In it, he documented the town of Iya, which became known for its thatched roofed homes with open-hearth cooking spaces.
Since the book was published, many romantic travelers have found themselves in this dramatic valley in search of what Alex Kerr found years ago. Iya is now part of Miyoshi City and still holds an attraction for those in search of Japan’s past.
Tokushima City is the prefecture’s capital and largest city. The city’s most famous event may be the Awa Odori Festival which is held every August during the Bon season when Japanese people pay their respects to their ancestors. The festival includes a rhythmic dance by women dressed in beautiful summer kimono and moving their hands in time with their feet.
If you cannot manage to catch the festival in August, there are regular performances at the Awa Odori Center in Tokushima City. You can learn about the history of the dance and get some pointers on how to perform it yourself.
Nature abounds in Tokushima as the Yoshino River, the Naruto Whirlpool, Oboke and Koboke Gorges, Mt.Bizan, Mt. Tsurugi, and Takegashima Marine Park display the range of possibilities in the prefecture for hikers, trekkers, and nature lovers.
Tokushima Prefecture is known for indigo and you can find all sorts of clothing and accessories dyed in this eye-catching color. There are even opportunities to participate in dyeing workshops.
Being next to the sea means that fishing is also an important industry. Accordingly, fish and shellfish are an important part of local food specialties.
Do not leave Tokushima without having a bowl of buckwheat soup. This hearty comfort food will keep Tokushima not only in your heart but in your stomach as well.