Ozato Pine Groves is the arch-shaped seashore with 50,000 green pine trees and white sand spanning about 4 km in Kainan Town, Tokushima Prefecture.
The pine trees were planted not only for tourism but they protect the land from salty wind and storm surge from adjacent towns. The pine trees were first planted along this coast in the middle of the Edo period (1603-1868). Though generation change has occurred, the groves are conserved by the efforts of local people, exterminating harmful insects three times and mowing grass twice every year.
If you stand on the beach, blown in the sea breeze and devoting yourself to the sounds of waves, you will feel totally refreshed. The beach is famous as a fishing spot and the waves near the estuary of the Kaifu River are suitable for surfing. Sea turtles come to lay their eggs on the full moon night in early summer, when the beach is alive with tourists.
A beautiful view of autumn leaves may be seen from late October to early November in Takanose Valley near Naga in Tokushima Prefecture.
This sight became famous in 1980, when it received the most votes in a poll for the 100 (Best) Tourist Spots in Tokushima. The poll was part of the commemoration of the prefecture’s 100th anniversary.
'Kouyou-no-nishiki' (a tapestry of autumn leaves) became the specialty of this region, along with the Kitou cedar and the Kitou yuzu.
The autumn leaves cover the sharply-sloping sides of the valley, which was formed by the headstreams of the Nakagawa River. This magnificent view stuns all those who see it. The turning maple leaves are especially beautiful, making the valley the best-loved scenic spot in Shikoku.
In other seasons, too, Takanose Valley is attractive for the tender green leaves of spring, the deep green leaves of summer, and the snow-covered landscapes of winter. This makes the area appealing to tourists all year round.
Tenguzuka is a mountain that is 1812m above sea level and is located in Miyoshi, Tokushima Prefecture. The mountain rises between the Ushinose and the Tengu mountain path (a.k.a. Izari path). It is counted as one of the 88 scenes of Tokushima, selected by the Tokushima Tourist Association and the Tokushima Shimbun Press.
On the slopes of the mountain can be seen panoramic views of azalea, broadleaf forests of 'dakekannba' trees, and coniferous forests of 'urajiromomi' trees, with no large trees blocking the view.
Other views include the mountain ridge called Ushinose, which is close to the top of the mountain and provides one of the best views. From here, a green carpet can be observed as far as the eye can see. Therefore, it is called the 'Japanese garden above the clouds'.
There is also a fine view from the top of the mountain. From here, you can see other 1500-m-high mountains of Shikoku, such as Mount Miune. When the weather is clear, it is possible to see Mount Ishizuchi, the highest mountain in Shikoku, and the Pacific Ocean beyond.
Tenguzuka is a mountain where you can observe many beautiful scenes.
Nishi-Iya Kazurabashi (Vine Bridge) is located at Zentoku, Nishi-Iya village, Miyoshi, Tokushima Prefecture. It is one of the three major 'strange' bridges in Japan. The bridge is a primitive suspension type using vines like 'shirakuchi' vines.
The origin of this bridge is uncertain: one story has it that the famous priest Kukai (Kobo Taishi) built it to help villagers cross the ravine; another story has it that an easygoing member of the Taira clan constructed the bridge with vines so that they could be cut immediately if an enemy was in pursuit.
The ravine of the Niya river is so deep that it was very difficult to cross between banks. The villagers most likely made this bridge after trying many ideas.
Now, Nishi-Iya Vine Bridge is 45m in length, 2m in width, and suspended 14m above the ravine. It has been designated an National Important Tangible Folkloric Property.
Crossing the bridge is a thrilling experience; even if a single person crosses the bridge, it shakes, while the crossing is simply made of rough logs. The ‘Iya Mill Song’ is a well-known song that describes the bridge.
Minoru Fujimori, born in 1916, is a craftsman in Awa Washi paper, a traditional handicraft handed down in Tokushima prefecture. He is the director of the Hall of Awa Japanese Handmade Paper in Yoshinogawa City, Tokushima Pref.
The history of Awa washi paper dates back to the early Heian period (794-1192). According to the old record, Awa washi paper was dedicated to the Imperial court then. The making of Awa washi was protected by the Awa domain and it developed into a local industry. It is characterized by Some-gami Some-gami paper is not only beautiful in color and design but also it is strong and mothproof.
He succeeded to his family business of washi making after World War II. While most of washi-makers closed down their business at the high-growth period, he switched to producing Some-gami and succeeded in reviving his business. For Mr. Fujimori, washi paper is a material that adds fascination to our life. With the tradition handed down from his predecessors, he keeps on making new challenges to confront the changes of the times.
Bando Jurobe is a real character, who is also famous as one of the main characters in the drama 'Keisei Awa's Naruto', a masterpiece of Joruri puppetry, which peaked in the Edo period. Awa's house has been preserved to this day and is a Joruri puppet theater.
The building dates back 300 years and embodies Awa's spirit in its stately gate and Genroku-style garden with its black pine trees and natural stones.
Awa was an informal rice smuggler. At that time, it was prohibited to sell rice independently. Because the farmers in Awa's area were encouraged to produce indigo and salt, there was a rice shortage and Awa was forced to smuggle.
When one of Awa's subordinates got caught, he was punished without the crime being named to avoid a government inquiry. People sympathized with Awa, which eventually led to his character being featured in Joruri puppet performances.
The terraced ricefields of Kashiharano-tanada are located in Kamikatsu-cho, Tokushima Prefecture. The ricefields are enclosed on all sides by mountains that rise 1000 meters high, and cover the hills to a height of approximately 650-700 meters.
The 500 ricefields are variously shaped and appear like a fortress rising up. In 1999, this site was chosen as one of Japan's 100 top rice-terraces because of its magnificent, exquisite scenery. When filled with water, the ricefields reflect the mountains and clouds like a mirror, and the scenery in which the tranquil arcs of the reflections string together is simply breathtaking.
On the outskirts of the tanada are many other places of interest including a temple called Akiba-jinja, which is famous for 'the three-moon' legend. This has it that three moons were seen rising at one time. Another point of interest is Mt Yamainudake (997 meters high), which presents an exceptional view like a painting when the autumn leaves surrounding it change color.
The Kashiharano-tanada and its captivating scenery will make any visitor feel nostalgic, and will soothe the hearts of the people who visit it.
The Chikara Mochi festival of Taisanji Temple is held every year on the third Sunday of January in Itano, Tokushima Prefecture. It is a traditional festival that has been held for over 400 years without change.
The festival features a competition to see how far a huge stack of mochi (rice cakes) can be carried within the temple grounds. The competitors show off their strength by carrying the mochi; 169kg for men, 50kg for women, 45kg for elementary school children and 10kg for the youngsters.
The diameter of the stacks of red-and-white mochi is 70cm and 80cm. The winner receives this mochi as a prize.
It is uncertain when this festival began, but it may be related to a festival of the lord of Nanajoh castle, Dewanokami Kanenaka. It is also said that it may have begun with warriors in the Warring States period who showed off their own strength. This festival has been adopted as a contest of strength at Daigoji Temple in Kyoto.