Get up-close with nature in Tokushima

by kinako on 17 March 2017

If you and your family are nature lovers, there’s no better place to visit than Tokushima. Here are some attractions to name a few!

1. Caretta Sea Turtle Museum

Have you seen loggerhead turtles crawling up the beach and laying eggs? You just might at the Caretta Sea Turtle Museum, which is right in front of Ohama Coast, Minami-Cho, Amagun. It’s a breeding ground for turtles!

If you and your family are arriving out of breeding season, it is still interesting to enter the museum (admission fee is about 600 yen for adults). In the aquarium, you will be able to see newborn baby turtles and adult turtles, including elderly ones called Hamataro, gliding gracefully through the water. I felt like I was in the ocean.

There is also an outdoor breeding pool, where your children will be thrilled to watch the turtles being fed.

I’m full of awe when I see these large seat turtles swimming so freely.

How do you know if an egg will hatch into a female or male turtle? It depends on the temperature of the sand where the eggs were laid. If it’s less than 28°C, it will be male. If it is over 30°C, it will be female.

At Caretta Sea Turtle museum, you can take a turtle quiz and receive a certificate if you pass. Get your family to take up this fun challenge together!

Besides turtles, the museum offers beautiful views of the Ohama Coast on the second floor. On a sunny day, it is especially gorgeous.

Since you are visiting the museum, I recommend you pop next door to Umigame-Soh for a delicious lunch. During lunch on Saturdays and Sundays, there is a sashimi buffet for about 1,500 yen.

Caretta Sea Turtle Museum
370-4, Hiwasaura, Minami-cho, Kaifu-gun, Tokushima

2. Mount Benten-yama

I’ve got another quiz question for you. I’m sure you know Mount Fuji is the highest mountain in Japan, but do you know what the lowest one is? It’s Mount Benten-yama in Tokushima, with an altitude of just 6.1 meters!

From a distance, it looks like it is covered by dense foliage. However, as you come closer, you will realize they are big rocks.

This is a really family-friendly mountain to climb as it takes less than a minute to reach the foot of the mountain – through a Torii (Shinto shrine gate). You can finish the climb really quickly with no special equipment needed. You can even wear sandals!

Telling your friends that you climbed the lowest mountain in Japan could be a great conversation starter!

It’s also worth visiting the mountain as Benten Market, which is located at the foot of the mountain, sells local agricultural products and other unique items on Saturdays and Sundays.

Want to make your climb even more memorable? Just pay 10 yen for a climbing certificate!

Mount Benten-yama
8 Benzaiten, Katanokamicho, Tokushima

3. Koshin Maru

If you are heading towards Anan from Tokushima City on the No.55 National Highway, do stop by Koshin Maru. It’s a restaurant that’s well loved by locals who work nearby.

I recommend trying the dish with local fish and shellfish. It’s really delicious and the price is reasonable. If you look at the menu, you will also notice many set meals and donburi.

Without a doubt, you should order the sashimi set meal. It comes with a miso soup with the fresh aroma of Yuzu and, of course, fresh fish that is chewy and meaty. I thoroughly enjoyed the taste of the sea.

Seasonal fishes are used so the ingredients are always different. When I visited in February (winter), I was served Japanese amberjack, flounder, parrotfish and squid. For 800 yen, this set meal has a really big portion! I’m sure you’ll find it value-for-money.

Do note that the restaurant is usually closed from the end of June to the end of October as it is fishing season. I would advise you to call the restaurant before you make a trip down.

Koshin Maru
40-1, Minyo, Nakagawacho Irogashima, Anan-shi, Tokushima

4. Hyotanjima Tour Boat

Hyotanjima Tour Boat is a leisurely activity that is perfect for families. The sightseeing boat sails from Mizugiwa Park along Shimachi River – you can get to the departure point from JR Tokushima station. It’s just a 10-minute walk.

Although the cruise is free, you will need to pay for insurance for your own safety. It costs 200 yen per adult.

The cruise makes a scenic lap around Hyotan Island, which is surrounded by Shinmachi River and Suketo River.

Along the way, the boat cruises beneath 22 bridges. During high tide, it’s quite thrilling to duck your head as the bridge approaches. Everyone went, “Wow! Whaaa!” I’m sure your kids will enjoy this experience.

As you continue your journey, you will notice lots of greenery and parks around the river. This 30-minute cruise will give you the chance to appreciate various views of Tokushima city. I really liked it when we passed by the yacht harbor and saw Mount Bizan in front.

If you see seagulls chasing after the ship, that’s because the captain likes to feed them. Want to watch them more closely? Sit at the back!

Hyotanjima Tour Boat
1-17 Higashi, Terashima Honmachi, Tokushima

5. Tairyuji Ropeway

Finally, I recommend taking your family on a ride on the longest large-scale ropeway in Japan. Tairyu-ji Ropeway is 2,775 meters long and crosses over mountains and rivers in western Japan. Departing at Washi-no-sato in Naka-cho, it connects to Naka-gun and Tairyu-ji Temple.

Before you take the ropeway, you can even grab a meal, shop for some souvenirs or take a dip in a hot spring at Washi-no-sato.

There’s also a pond with many carps. Feel free to buy food to feed them. Watching the carps in a feeding frenzy is quite a sight!

Although the round trip fare for the ropeway is a little pricey for adults (about 2,470 yen), this 10-minute trip is well worth the price. As you pass over the blue Nakagawa River and lush mountains, the view is absolutely amazing. You have to see it for yourself!

Also, see if your family can spot the bronze statue of a Japanese wolf peeking out from the mountains!

Tairyuji Ropeway
76 Aza Tano, Wajikigo, Naka-cho, Naka-gun,Tokushima

The southern part of Tokushima prefecture is especially scenic with plenty of nature. Together with the yummy seafood and great entertainment, Tokushima is a charming place you’d love to visit again and again.