See the World's Best Whirlpool! 5 Must-See Locations in Tokushima

See the World's Best Whirlpool! 5 Must-See Locations in Tokushima

23 Jun 2021

The KANSAI Guide

Tokushima Prefecture has recently been catching the eyes of many seasoned travelers making their way to Japan. The highly popular Naruto Whirlpools exemplify the area's majestic scenery, while mountain villages that have endured for generations tell of the area's lifestyle. This article will tell you all about some of the best places in Tokushima for taking in a humbler side of Japan.

Where Is Tokushima?

Tokushima is situated in the eastern portion of Shikoku, one of the four main islands of the Japanese archipelago. Although Shikoku is not often visited by travelers, it has since caught the attention of many after ranking as a great location for seasonal trips in Lonely Planet's 2019 "Best in Asia Pacific" list. The Naruto Whirlpools and the Iya Valley are two spots in Tokushima that you must check out, not to mention the beauty of other picturesque natural scenes found throughout Tokushima. Beyond the natural world, you can look forward to the Awa Odori Festival, a traditional event that has carried on for nearly 400 years. For food, look no further than Tokushima Ramen and Iya Soba. Tokushima is about a 3-hour trip via train, bus, or ferry from the Osaka area.

1. Onaruto Bridge

The Onaruto Bridge stretches across the water linking Tokushima to Aojima Island on the Seto Inland Sea. The Naruto Whirlpools swirl beneath this bridge, which measures 1,629 meters in length and 144.3 meters in height at its tallest point. A 450-meter long pedestrian path known as the Uzu-no-Michi Walkway runs under the bridge, allowing visitors to view the whirlpools on the surface from 45 meters above. Viewing times vary from day to day, so be sure to check the homepage in advance before taking a stroll under the bridge. It's a highly recommended experience!

【Facility Name】 Onaruto Bridge Pedestrian Path Uzu-no-Michi Walkway
【Opening Hours】
Summer (March - September): 9:00 am - 6:00 pm *Last entry at 5:30 pm
Golden Week, Summer Vacation: 8:00 am - 7:00 pm *Last entry at 6:30 pm
Winter (October - February): 9:00 am - 5:00 pm *Last entry at 4:30 pm
【Days Closed】 Second Monday of March, June, September, and December
【Price】 Adults: 510 JPY, Middle & High School Students: 410 JPY, Elementary School Students: 260 JPY
Official Homepage
KANSAI Tourism Bureau Homepage
【Address】 Naruto-cho, Naruto-shi, Tokushima
【Google Map URL】 GoogleMap

2. Iya Valley

The Iya Valley is a place of scenic beauty located in Tokushima's Miyoshi City. Extending nearly 10km and varying in depth from a few dozen to a few hundred meters, this V-shaped valley is included among Japan's three "greatest unexplored regions". The valley also enjoys great popularity among the Japanese, who visit for the gorgeous fresh greens of spring and the brilliant colors of changing autumn leaves. There's also the Iya-no-Kazurabashi Bridge, a suspension bridge made entirely of natural vines from the mountains. Each step is thrilling as the bridge sways to and fro. Give it a try sometime!

【Facility Name】 Iya-no-Kazurabashi Bridge
【Opening Hours】
April - July 20: 7:00 am - 6:30 pm
July 21 - August: 6:30 am - 7:00 pm
September: 7:00 am - 6:30 pm
October - November: 7:00 am - 5:30 pm
December - February 12: 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
February 13 - March: 8:00 am - 6:00 pm
【Days Closed】 None
【Price】 Adults: 550 JPY, Children (elementary school age): 350 JPY
Miyoshi City Tourism Bureau Official Homepage
KANSAI Tourism Bureau Official Homepage
【Address】 162-2 Zentoku, Nishi Iyayama-mura, Miyoshi-shi, Tokushima
【Google Map URL】 GoogleMap

3. Oboke and Koboke Gorges

The Oboke and Koboke gorges formed thanks to nearly 200 million years of erosion from the Yoshino River's rushing rapids. If it's nature you're looking for, then these valleys absolutely won't disappoint! They stretch for nearly eight kilometers, offering breathtaking views of scenic natural beauty. Relax on a spacious, leisurely sightseeing cruise while you take in the views, or try your hand at rafting if you're feeling adventurous.

【Facility Name】 Oboke Gorge Sightseeing Cruise
【Opening Hours】 9:00 am - 4:30 pm
【Days Closed】 None
【Price】 Adults: 1,200 JPY, Children (3 - elementary school age): 600 JPY
Official Homepage
KANSAI Tourism Bureau Homepage
【Address】 1520 Nishiu, Yamashiro-cho, Miyoshi-shi, Tokushima
【Google Map URL】 GoogleMap

4. Ochiai Village

Ochiai Village is a mountain village tucked away in the Iya Valley with a simple, rural lifestyle not much different from ages ago. The village spans a change in elevation of nearly 390 meters, and its steep slopes are dotted with houses and fields, giving off the feel of a miniature garden. For beautiful views of this classic Japanese village, we recommend visiting the Ochiai Village Observatory located on the opposite side of the valley. The scenery of the village changes depending on what time of day you view it, and that alone makes the views all the more magical.

【Facility Name】 Ochiai Village Observatory (Nakaue Observatory)
【Opening Hours】 Free Tours
【Days Closed】 None
【Price】 Free
【URL】 Official Homepage
【Address】 Higashi-Iya Ochiai, Miyoshi, Tokushima
【Google Map URL】 GoogleMap

5. Bizan

Bizan's name (literally meaning "eyebrow mountain") comes from the beautiful, gentle-sloping appearance that this beautiful symbol of Tokushima City takes on, no matter what direction you view it from. Though Bizan rises to a humble height of just 290 meters, gazing down at night upon Tokushima City from atop the mountain is said to be the best view in all of Shikoku. Enjoy gazing upon the entirety of the city on a ropeway ride to the summit that takes about six minutes.

【Facility Name】 Bizan Ropeway
【Opening Hours】
April - October: 9:00 am - 9:00 pm
November - March: 9:00 am - 5:30 pm
January 1st: 6:00 am - 5:30 pm
【Days Closed】 None (closed until March 7th for inspection)
【Price】 General (junior high school and above, roundtrip): 1,030 JPY, Elementary School Students (round trip): 510 JPY
【URL】 Tokushima City Tourism Bureau Official Homepage
【Address】 Hachimancho Higashiyama, Tokushima City, Tokushima
【Google Map URL】 GoogleMap

Come view the best whirlpool in the world! What do you think about these five experiences that you can only find in Tokushima? There are tons of other places exclusive to Tokushima beyond these five spots, so be sure to head on down and enjoy the charm of the laid-back, humbler side of Japan!

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