Awa Dance at Tokushima


One of the fun activities when traveling to Japan in summer is summer festivals. In addition to the classic fireworks festivals, in cities there are also events such as beer gardens. Among the various festivals, Obon is the largest events. For Japanese, Obon is the when they pray to their ancestors. On top of the traditional ritual ceremonies, Obon festivals that vary depending on the regions are being held. Japan’s three biggest Bon Odori that are held during this period are Gifu’s “Gujo Hachiman Bon Odori (郡上八幡盆踊り)”, Tokushima’s “Awa Odori (阿波踊り)” and Akita “Nishimonai Bon Odori (西馬音内盆踊り)”. Among them, Tokushima’s “Awa Odori” has attracted public attention.

Tokushima’s Awa Odori Carnival

Tokushima’s Awa Odori Carnival

The festival is held in Shikoku’s Tokushima Prefecture from 12th to 15th August every year. The city itself turns into a huge carnival where vehicles are prohibited to enter. A famous story was that the Awa Odori was first held to commemorate the construction of Tokushima Castle. People in the city dance on the streets to celebrate. Its main feature is the hand gestures. Ladies wear beautiful and colorful yukata. Staffs of the many companies’ unions create “ren (succession)” and take part in the festival. On the long road, the “ren” comes one after another, dancing for about 2 hours without rest. It is free to see Awa Odori on the street and one can also participate and dance together. During these four days, Tokushima Prefecture is probably the most enjoyable city in Japan! If you visit Tokushima other than this period, you may still go to Owa Odori Kaikan to see the Awa Odori dance!

You can take a ropeway ride to Bizan (眉山) from the 5th floor of Awa Odori Kaikan

Oh, and don't forget this. You can take a ropeway ride to Bizan (眉山) from the 5th floor of Awa Odori Kaikan. On a sunny day, you can overlook Awaji Island and Kii Mountain Range of Wakayama Prefecture from top of Bizan. 

Going down Tokushima’s Oboke and Koboke in boat

Going down Tokushima’s Oboke and Koboke in boat

For nature lovers, you must not miss Oboke (大歩危) and Koboke (小歩危)in Tokushima. Oboke and Koboke are part of the valleys of Yoshino River (吉野川). Once you arrive at Oboke by bus, the best way to enjoy is to go onboard a sightseeing boat. On both sides of the valley are the V-shaped dark green mountain range and gray rocks; it feels exactly like the other-worldly peacefulness. Going down the river then you will reach Koboke. Then take a U-turn and return to the boarding area. Apart from the attractive summer scenery, the colorful autumn leaves are also superb views.

Okuiyaiju Kazurabashi

As you have come this far, it is advisable that you go visit the “Okuiyaiju Kazurabashi (奥祖谷二重かずら橋)”. It is a very famous spot of Iya River (祖谷川). During the famous history battle of “Genpei Gassen”, the defeated Taira Clan had escaped to Okuiya. The Kazurabashi was made in such way that it could be cut off anytime to prevent the invasion of enemies. Even though there is regular maintenance of the bridge, it is still very frightening with heart pounding so fast to walk on a bridge made from vines!

A travel plan that “kills many birds with one stone”

A travel plan that “kills many birds with one stone”

If you are good at sports and enjoy sport tournaments, you can also take the opportunity to participate in the “World Master Games 2021 Kansai” as well as watching the games when you go visit Tokushima in 2021. Sports like bowling, golf, weight lifting, canoe (slalom), triathlon, aquathlon, etc. are held in Tokushima. Travel and exercise are irreplaceable for leisure in life. Though disciplined exercise, one can train a strongly built body. Then live longer and play to the fullest. Nowadays, sport lovers are not bound by age at all. People engage in their favorite exercise and keep on practicing. Even bowling and golf are fine too. Those like these sports are from a wide range of age. Different generations can interact a lot through the same hobby. It is not late to start practicing from now!

If you would like to know more details about the games, please check it out here☞☞