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Tokushima

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Starting point of Ohenro, the Shikoku Pilgrimage and 400 years of history of Awa Dance

Tokushima prefecture is located on the island of Shikoku. It is well known for Awa Dance Festival, a traditional dance festival of 400 years held during Buddhist observance of O-bon in August when spirits of the dead are believed to come back to their families’s homes.

Tokushima has 25 temples out of 88 for Ohenro, the Shikoku Pilgrimage, including a starting point of Ohenro. 

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Naruto Whirlpools are known as one of the three largest tidal currents in the world. It is caused by the collision of two different tides. Iya-no-Kazurabashi, a suspension vine bridge over the Iya valley, is one of the rarest bridges in Japan. It is said that it was built by Kukai, the founder of Shingon Sect of Japanese Buddhism, or by members of the defeated Heike clan to flee from their enemies by cutting it down. 

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Udatsu townscape preserves historic Japanese houses at the time when the town was flourished as a castle town and a center of merchants trading especially indigo. 

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Iya soba - Black, thick and short noodle that is 100% made by soba flour

Dekomawashi - A skew of Tofu, potatoes and Konjac

Tarai Udon - Udon noodles with boiled fish soup served in a big container called Tarai

Sudachi - Tokushima produced 98% of sudachi, green and small citrus fruit

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Ai-zome is a traditional indigo dying method. Tokushima produces sukumo, fermented Ai leaves, the most in Japan, and it has developed Awa-ai, dyed product using locally produced sukumo. Otani ware, a type of pottery in Tokushima, was developed to respond to large demands for pots to pour indigo liquid used for Ai-zome. It is made in a unique method called “ne-rokuro” where one person lies and spins a potter’s wheel and another person makes a shape of pottery. 

Indigo dyed cotton textiles called Shizira-ori are also popular in Tokushima. Awa washi paper that traces back to 1300 years ago are known for its resistance against water.