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Bordered by Exciting Whirlpools; Enjoy Both the Seto Inland Sea and the Pacific Ocean.
Tokushima Prefecture has two coastlines, one along the quiet Seto Inland Sea and one along the Pacific Ocean, brought in by the Japan Current. The route around Shikoku which follows the coastline allows you to experience the changing expressions of nature en-route. This route includes a scenic point from which you can see the Naruto Strait at the point where two landscapes collide and observe the Naruto whirlpools, which have been called the largest in the world. Besides this, the real pleasure of traveling by bike is eating and comparing the different kinds of gourmet Tokushima ramen. Enjoy the towns of Tokushima when they’re caught up in the Awa Dance Festival during the Obon season.
The Naruto Skyline has seven bridges along the whole route. Experience a sense of refreshment, as though walking in the sky as the name suggests, when riding the bridges that connect the summits. The ride abounds in changes such as with the ups and downs of hills and allows you to enjoy the scenery of both the mountains and the sea; a great way to enjoy the area by bike. There is a steep slope on the Yomomi Bridge after the overlook and one gets the feeling of being on a rollercoaster. From the overlook you can see the calm Uchino Sea close by and the Naruto Strait with its whirlpools in the distance. We recommend stopping by the unique Otsuka Museum of Art where all the display pieces are replicas or “Whirlpool Road” where you can stretch your legs a little and see the Naruto whirlpools from right overhead.
Tokushima’s Awaodori dance begins with the famous phrase, ‘you’re a fool if you dance and a fool if you just watch.’ It has a history of over 400 years. The Awaodori Kaikan has shops with Tokushima specialties and a museum as well as Awaodori performances all year round so visitors to Tokushima can experience the real thing whatever time of the year the visit Tokushima. The performance also gives instructions for dancing so that audience can join in.
Bizan is a 290m-high mountain and no matter what angle you look at it from, it looks like a smooth eyebrow, which is where it gets its name from in Japanese.
A cable car is operated from the Awaodori Kaikan and visitors can get to the summit in six minutes. A panoramic view can be seen from the observation point and when it is light, you can see the horizon in the distance. We recommend this view at night when the lights of the town are beautiful.
Ohama Kaigan, which is located in Minami-cho, is famous as place where sea turtles lay their eggs. It is around 500m long. From mid-May to mid-August each year, loggerhead turtles come onto land to lay their eggs. It is a beautiful, calm beach selected as one of the top 100 beaches in Japan.
The Mt. Iouzan Muryojuin Yakuoji Temple is visited by many worshippers as a temple that wards off misfortune and is the 23rd of the 88 sacred sites on the Shikoku pilgrimage trail. The first steps towards the main temple are called “misfortune steps” with 33 steps on the stairs for women, 42 steps on the stairs for men, and 61 steps on the stairs for men and women. It is said that when the temple was destroyed by fire in 1188 (year 4 of Bunji) the idol of the temple for warding off misfortune emitted light, fled away, and avoided the disaster. The Yugi Pagoda is well known as a symbol of the temple and is a multi-story building 29 meters in height. Looking around, one is overwhelmed by the impressiveness of the pagoda. There are a number of things to see, such as the Zuigu Bell where you can ward off misfortune by striking it once for each year of your age and the millstone where you can receive an extended, healthy life. Worshippers come in all seasons to see this temple.
Hiwasa Roadside Station
The Hiwasa roadside station is along National Route 55 and is part of the railway station. The station includes the farm-fresh building where local fresh vegetables and fish are sold and the products museum where you can find information and products, but our recommendation is the free foot bath building. The foot baths use local hot springs water. The foot baths are also supposed to help with blood circulation in the part of the body that is submerged and with relieving fatigue so they’re great for resting your weary feet.
Minami Awa Sun Line
Minami Awa Sun Line runs along the coast connecting Minami-cho and Mugi-cho. It is a cycling route that affords you a view of the vast sea. It is a winding road with both ups and downs that runs along the ria shoreline. There are four observations points along the road and the scenery from this high elevation is magnificent. You will also be able to see beautiful coves such as Tonomui no Hama.
An 87 m long concrete tunnel built in the Taisho period. It is the oldest tunnel in Japan to use the method of filling in concrete on site. It is located where one entered the former National Route 55 from the Uchizuma Beach Resort.
Shishikui Surfing Spots
The coast along National Route 55 is a great place to surf and can be enjoyed throughout the year. There are also many people who come to enjoy themselves on day trips from the Kansai area. Nukumi, Shishikui, Kaifu, Ozaki, and Uchizuma are among the foremost surfing locations in Shikoku, where everyone from beginners to experts can enjoy themselves. Surfing contests are also held here.