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Tokushima – People, Nature and Ancient Traditions

Located on the eastern side of Shikoku, Japan’s fourth largest island, Tokushima prefecture is very rich in nature and offers extremely varied landscapes: from its blue sea and beautiful coastlines in the East to the wild mountains, steep gorges and pristine rivers in its central and western regions. Similarly to its landscapes, local culture is also very rich: many areas in Tokushima used to be secluded regions for centuries and managed to preserve their ancient traditions and fascinating stories. Take the chance to experience these ancient, rural and authentic communities with our special cultural journeys through Tokushima.


Private cruise to Naruto’s whirlpools

Enjoy the sight of Tokushima’s coastlines in style with this private cruise along the shores of Tokushima’s Naruto area. The inland sea facing these shores is famous for its whirlpools, created by the unique tidal patterns in this area where the Pacific Ocean meets the inland sea close to Naruto strait. You will also be able to appreciate the spectacular view of the bridge connecting Tokushima to Awaji Island. Sit back in full comfort while your skilled captain takes you on a pleasant ride aboard this elegant Sea Ray cruiser, one of the top-ranked vessels for private cruising.

Exclusive Naruto sushi experience

Visit a sushi restaurant which has been one of the culinary institutions of Naruto for more than 50 years. Using only the freshest fish and shellfish caught locally, the menu changes throughout the year, continuously offering seasonal products. Sea bream, flounder, flatfish, mackerel in the spring and luxurious hamo in the summer are just some of the recommended delicacies you will be able to enjoy for lunch. However, instead of roaming the menu looking for your favourite seafood, be guided by the chef with his “omakase” menu: just like a real Japanese sushi connoisseur, letting the chef guide you through an overview of the best he has in store for the day is the best way to enjoy an excellent sushi lunch. Counter seats have been booked for you as this allows you to witness this top-quality sushi being crafted and served before your very eyes.

Magical blue: Aizome indigo dying - an always-fashionable traditional art

Aizome is a traditional dyeing technique frequently used for fabrics. Using naturally fermented leaves, it is still very appreciated today as a stylish and sustainable way to dye fabrics in the “Japan Blue” colour typical of this dying technique. Visit an aizome studio where a local artisan of this craft shows you the dyeing process as well as many of his artistic works created by using this fascinating technique. You will notice his blue-stained hands, a sign of his daily work with this traditional art and his commitment to keeping it thriving. After receiving an introduction to this timeless craft, try your hand at it with a simple workshop: choose an item such as handkerchiefs, scarves, wood or other leather products and create your own aizome item under the guidance of the master artist. A very unique and local, yet modern and fashionable item for you to bring home as a souvenir. Guests are also welcome to bring their own objects -cup, t-shirts, shoes etc.- to receive an in-promptu aizome treatment!

Nature, onsen and traditions: Iya Valley in style

Visit Iya Valley, one of Japan’s great unexplored regions: a valley surrounded by steep mountains and untouched nature. The area is famous for its “vine bridges”: suspension bridges made of flexible vine wood (the largest is 45 meters in length and 2 meters wide), built in the past as the only way to move across the two banks of the steep gorges formed by the sparkling blue river at the bottom of the valley. It is still possible to cross Iya-no-kazura bridge, the most famous and most spectacular of the suspended vine bridges. Its swaying structure makes for a very thrilling walk! This area of Tokushima prefecture is famous not only for its beautiful gorges and pristine rivers but also for being blessed with natural onsen hot springs. This evening stay at a ryokan located just on the side of one of these natural gorges, granting you unparalleled views of the surrounding nature. Whether it is the intense green of early summer or the reddish foliage of Autumn, the view of the gorge is always spectacular. The ryokan also offers a unique cable car ride to the bottom of the gorge, where soothing onsen waters are famous for their benefits for relaxation and skin care. Don’t miss out on the local delicacies by attending dinner in your yukata wear: red potatoes, shiitake mushrooms, soba noodles, and Iya’s famous tofu are some of the highlights of the evening menu.

Family visit to an ancient Samurai residence

Visit an ancient samurai residence in Iya valley. The residence is built approximately 250 years ago. Your host greets you and serves traditional local dishes. The meal consists of wild plants tempura, homemade soba, onigiri rice balls, deer and wild boar tempura and dekomawashi, a unique dish of this area: cooked on a skewer and being slowly roasted on a hearth and seasoned with local miso sauce, this dish is simple yet healthy and tasty – the real soul food of Iya valley. During the meal, get to know your host, a local lady born and raised in Iya valley, who introduces you to the local stories and folklore tales. Buckwheat production in this region has always been a pillar of the local economy and there are many traditional songs sung by local women as they grind buckwheat for soba. Listen to one of these touching traditional songs performed by your host after lunch.

“Ningyo Joruri” puppet theatre: a unique cultural tradition performed privately

Witness “Ningyo Joruri”, a puppet performance with a history going back to the 16th century. Performers of this local art move beautifully made large puppets and are accompanied by shamisen music and joined by a high-ranking storyteller. As puppets can be very big, each one needs three puppeteers to be operated. They are designed with great skill and move not only their limbs but even their eyes, eyebrows, mouth, which makes them extremely expressive throughout the performance. This folk tradition is still active in these rural areas and outdoor stages where this art is performed can still be found. Today, witness a private special Ningyo Joruri performance and later take a visit to the stage itself and see how stage techniques have developed throughout time. You can also see the puppets and understand how they function by meeting the puppeteers. A guided tour of the local puppet museum is also offered for those who are interested in expanding their knowledge of this fascinating traditional art.

Why book with Bespoke japan travel?

Insider Knowledge

We provide access to places that cannot be accessed without special connections or insider knowledge.


We provide the utmost flexibility in a country is often considered to be inflexible.

Cross Cultural Understanding

We provide cultural understanding and discovery, offering enlightening perspectives on Japan and its cultural heritage.

Orchestrated Serendipity

We provide serendipitous moments, valuable encounters and enriching experiences throughout the trip.

Unparalleled Access to traditional japan

Discover Japan With a one of a kind trip created for the travel connoisseur

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