Tokushima Prefecture plays home to the most beautiful, natural landscapes that I had no idea even existed in Japan. I had the amazing opportunity to work with the Tokushima Prefecture Tourism Board over the course of 4 days to explore and promote this almost unknown location that often gets overlooked by tourists.
Tokushima is a place that has a much slower lifestyle compared to the busy cities of Japan, boasting incredible coastlines and beaches, deep valleys with flowing rivers, mouthwatering foodstuffs, a rich cultural history, fun-fuelled activities, and an all-round friendly atmosphere.
In this guide, I have outlined my complete 4-day itinerary with a list of all the locations I visited, my experience in these places, where I stayed, what I ate, and some other useful information to help you plan your own trip!
Arrival Tokushima Airport
Upon arriving at Tokushima Airport at around 2:00 pm, we rented a car from Budget Car Rentals and were swiftly on our way.
When renting a car from the airport, there is English-speaking staff that will be able to assist and answer any questions you may have about the road rules in Japan.
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Omatsu Daigonngen Shrine
With around 2 hours left of daylight, we headed straight from the airport to the Omatsu Daigonngen Shrine which is a dedicated place to pray for success in games, school entrance exams, trials, elections, and general good luck!
There are more than 10,000 Maneki-neko figures (ceramic cat dolls with paws) at the Omatsu Daigonngen Shrine along with statues of Buddha and magical creatures that you would usually find at other shrines.
The entrance is free and the Japanese owners are overly friendly, personally welcoming all guests when they arrive.
For dinner, we went to a traditional Okonomiyaki restaurant in Anan City called Ju Ju which I can highly recommend.
If you’ve never had Okonomiyaki before, it’s a Japanese-style savory pancake, made with flour, eggs, shredded cabbage, meat/ protein and topped with a variety of condiments. Once you try one, you will crave them every day!
The accommodation we stayed at on Day 1 was Hotel Sun Ocean, a modern hotel right in the center of Anan City. The rooms are cozy with free wifi, comfortable beds, a private bathroom, and a tv. The hotel also offers free breakfast, complimentary tea and coffee in the lobby and a communal Onsen for guests to use.
Tairyuji Ropeway & Temple
To kick things off on Day 2 of this Tokushima itinerary, we headed off to Tairyuji Ropeway and Temple in Naka Town when doors opened at 9:00 am. This amazing temple dates back 1,200 years!
Tairyuji Ropeway is the longest ropeway in western Japan, carrying up to 101 passengers. It’s a must-see during your visit.
The cost of the Tairyuji Ropeway is 2,470 Yen for a return trip or 1,300 Yen one way.
It takes around 10 minutes to reach the top of the mountain which holds the Tairyuji Temple, 1 of 88 pilgrimage temples here in the Shikoku region.
We visited the main temple and other smaller temples along the mountain ridge for around one hour before making our way back down the Tairyuji Ropeway.
Kawaguchi & Nagayasuguchi Dam
After a couple of hours spent at Tairyuji Temple, we drove through the valley following the river upstream to reach the Kawaguchi and Nagayasuguchi Dams.
During the warmer months, these dams are a popular spot for locals and tourists to enjoy kayaking and other fun water sports within the designated areas.
The edges of the river are lined with cherry blossom trees, so if you time your visit during Japan’s cherry blossom season, you’ll be in for a real treat!
For lunch, there are a number of restaurants in the area to choose from. We sat down at Momijigawa Onsen and enjoyed a Dam Good Curry with a view!
Next on the itinerary, we took a drive to visit Kiki Village, a cute seaside town that lies at the bottom of a gorgeous valley.
We stopped here for around 30-minutes to look around the village and take some photos before heading off the next location.
In Between Blues
From Kiki Village, we drove north along the coastline to another seaside town called Kaiyo. Here we visited In Between Blues, a rad little surf shop and cafe. They also do indigo dying in the store and have workshops from time to time.
The owner, Leki, is such a legend and we had a lot in common. He had even lived in my hometown in Australia for some months. We had a great chat about the surf culture and how the coastline and lifestyle here are similar to the Gold Coast in Australia.
I highly recommend adding In Between Blues to your Tokushima itinerary.
As the day was nearing an end, we decided to check out just one last location which is a popular surf spot known as Ikumi Beach.
We arrived just as the sun started setting, which had me in complete awe of how beautiful Ikumi Beach is and I had no idea that these sorts of landscapes even existed in Japan.
There were about a dozen local Japanese surfers in the water which I thought was insane being the middle of winter, but they were all wearing thick, full-length wetsuits to keep warm.
I sent the drone up and captured a number of aerial shots of the surfers and the surrounding coastline.
Ikumi Beach is another great spot you definitely don’t want to miss on your Tokushima trip!
Just up the road from Ikumi Beach, we stayed in a place called Hotel Riviera which is a stone’s throw from the ocean and offers sweeping views of the bay. The rooms here are spacious with private bathrooms, comfortable beds, flat-screen tv, a balcony, and free wifi. Breakfast is also included for all guests.
Shishikui Fish Market
If you’re up for an early start to the day, you can visit the popular fish market in Shishikui which is a free attraction that is open every day of the week except Saturday.
We didn’t end up going to the fish market, though it is an option if you’re interested in this sort of thing.
After an incredible morning spent exploring the coastline on the Blue Marine boat, we continued on to our next location, Takegashima Island.
Connected to the mainland by a bridge, Takegashima Island is a popular spot for locals and tourists to go kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding in the clear turquoise waters around the island.
The cost to rent a kayak is 4,000 Yen for a one-seater or 7,000 Yen for a two-seater kayak for a duration of two hours. The operating times are 10:00 am to 12:00 pm or 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm.
The cost to rent a SUP is 6,000 Yen per person for a duration of 1.5 hours. The operating times for this activity are 10:00 am to 11:30 am or 2:00 pm to 3:30 pm.
From Takegashima Island, we took a short drive to visit Jomanji Temple in Kaiyo Town which is the oldest Zen temple in the Shikoku region.
It is a popular temple for monks, even from overseas, to come and visit this particular temple. Surrounded by lush nature, it’s a very peaceful attraction to visit during your Tokushima trip.
For lunch, we decided to eat locally at a restaurant in Mugi Town which overlooks one of the beautiful bays and we each had a chicken karage set with miso soup, salad, and rice.
The next location on our Tokushima itinerary was Tebajima Island, an old fishing village just 15 minutes boat ride from the mainland.
The local boat from Mugi Port to Teba Island is 220 Yen for adults and 110 Yen for a child, each way.
Experience the local ways on Tebajima Island with no vehicles on the island, just hand-pushed carts, and bicycles. Time here on Tebajima Island flows slowly and the locals have a much more relaxed life.
The region is full of tropical plant life and fishing is the main activity to do on the island.
Sea Turtle Museum Careta
The last place we visited on day 3 of this itinerary was the Hiwasa Sea Turtle Museum located just a stone’s throw from Oohama Beach in Minami Town.
The entrance fee for the museum is 610 Yen for an adult and 300 Yen for a child.
Hiwasa Sea Turtle Museum was the first turtle conservation in Japan that has been operating for more than 60 years. It’s a museum dedicated to the conservation of sea turtles in the area and a place where visitors can learn about to ecology of sea turtles while watching them swim.
A great hotel in Minami is the Hotel Shirotodai which sits right on the top of the cliffs overlooking Oohama Beach. The rooms are very spacious with large comfortable beds, flat-screen tv, a private bathroom, and ocean views. Breakfast is also included for all guests.
Umigame Marine Cruise
Another awesome activity we did on our last day was the Umigame Marine Cruise. The boat took us on an incredible sightseeing adventure along Hiwasa’s rocky coastline, marveling at the towering cliff faces and the captain even navigated the boat through a natural rock archway in the ocean.
The cost for the Umigame Marine Cruise is 2,000 Yen per adult and 1,000 Yen per child.
Once again, I couldn’t believe these beautiful landscapes existed in Japan and they are so uniquely different compared to what you find in other prefectures.
After the awesome cruise, we continued on to Yakuouji Temple, another one of the 88 pilgrimage temples in the Shikoku region.
Yakuouji Temple is famous throughout Japan with one million people visiting each year. Yakuouji is a place that ensures the purification of one’s luck! Climb the steep steps to Yugi-tou (Pagoda of Yugi) for an incredible view of Hiwasa Town and the coastline.
For lunch, we walked from the Yakuouji Temple down into the main street in Hiwasa and had a meal at Mamebon Cafe which offers the most delicious Italian-style dishes for less than 1,000 Yen.
Tokushima’s Most Eastern Point
We then took a long drive to visit Tokushima’s most eastern point which features a rocky cove and a concrete walkway around the headland to a lighthouse.
This location was absolutely beautiful and worth checking out if you have the time during your visit.
Last but not least on this Tokushima itinerary we visited the famous Naruto Whirpools which are located beneath the Onaruto Bridge which divides Tokushima and Awaji.
The entrance fee to visit the viewpoint of the Naruto Whirlpools is 510 Yen per adult and 260 Yen per child. Opening hours are from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm, 7 days a week.
The current in the strait of Naruto is super strong and the best view of the whirlpools is from the glass floors on the Onaruto Bridge, forty-five meters above the sea! In certain conditions, the whirlpools can measure up to 20 meters in diameter!
From the Naruto Whirlpools to Tokushima Aiport, it’s approximately a 45-minute drive to drop off the rental car and then onwards to your next destination in Japan.
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MAP OF TOKUSHIMA
THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE YOU GO
The currency in Japan is Yen (¥) and the exchange rate is approximately $1 USD = 100 ¥.
Purchasing a sim card in Japan is very simple. You can do this at the airport on arrival or find a convenience store close to your accommodation. For approximately $40 USD, you can get a local sim card that comes with 10GB of data.
There are plenty of ATMs in Japan located in most convenient stores, in front of banks, inside hotels, etc. where you can easily withdraw cash to have with you during your 7 days in Japan.
Most Japanese people can speak English, so if you are ever lost or need help with something you will be able to converse in English. Also, all the signs at the airports, train stations, shopping malls, etc. are written in both Japanese and English.
BEST TIME TO VISIT JAPAN
The best time to visit Japan depends on what you plan to do. I personally prefer the spring and summer months in Japan (April – September) when temperatures are warm and the landscapes are vividly green.
However, visiting Japan in winter (December – March) is absolutely magical because the landscapes are completely covered in glistening white snow. Visiting Japan in winter also means you have to opportunity to go skiing and snowboarding in Japan’s alpine regions.
VISA FOR JAPAN
Japan is visa-free for travelers from over 65 countries and you can stay in Japan for up to 90 days on a tourist visa.
Click Here to see the full list of nationalities that are eligible for the free 90-day tourist visa.
You don’t need to apply online for this as you will be granted a 90-day tourist visa at the airport when you arrive.
MORE JAPAN TRAVEL GUIDES
- Japan Travel Guide: 7 Day Japan Itinerary
- Tokyo: Tokyo Skytree Observation Deck
- Tokushima Prefecture: 4 Days In Tokushima
- Hakuba: Best Hakuba Ski Resorts
TRAVEL RESOURCES FOR YOUR NEXT TRIP
Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or it’s your first trip overseas, here are some useful travel resources to help you kick-start your next adventure!
- BOOKING.COM – search and book accommodation worldwide
- SKYSCANNER – compare and book cheap flights to anywhere
- VIATOR – find tickets, tours, and experiences around the world
- BOOKAWAY – book buses, trains, and transfers online in advance
- RENTAL CARS – search all rental cars in your next destination
- GROUP TRIPS – join one of my epic small group trips
- TRAVEL INSURANCE – purchase World Nomads travel insurance
- TRAVEL MONEY CARD – get a Wise card today for free
Looking for more? Check out my Travel Resources page for further help with your trip planning!
I honestly didn’t know much about the Tokushima Prefecture before arriving, though, after four eventful days exploring the region, it by far exceeded my expectations!
With many fun activities to do and attractions to see, Tokushima is definitely worth adding to your Japan itinerary even if it is just for a few days. I guarantee you won’t regret it!
If you have any questions at all about this Tokushima itinerary, please leave me a comment at the bottom of this post and I will get back to you as soon as I can. For a quicker response, be sure to join Jonny Melon’s Travel Tribe on Facebook and post your questions or recommendations to our awesome community.
THANKS FOR READING
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