Culture of Tokushima

Blessed with an abundance of nature and a warm climate, diverse cultures have flourished in Tokushima Prefecture.
Besides enriching our lives, culture connects people and plays a role in bringing out the vitality of the region.
The prefecture is a pioneer in Japan in its efforts to promote culture as an effective means to build up a unique and attractive region.

Awa Dance (Awa Odori)

The Awa Dance (Awa Odori) has a history of more than 400 years and is the biggest event in Tokushima. This passionate dance is famous worldwide and it ranks alongside the Rio Carnival. Of the many summer festivals held throughout Tokushima, the Awa Dance is the biggest and is known as the main event of the summer and the entire prefecture becomes enlivened with the excitement of the dance.

First Ever Performance of the "Ninth Symphony" in Asia

Choir performance of Beethoven's "Symphony No. 9 Composition 125 in D minor" with both solo vocals and chorus in splendid harmony is a highly popular event at the end of the year in Japan.

On June 1, 1918, during World War I, the German soldiers from the Bando prisoner-of-war camp, which was located in present day Naruto City, formed an orchestra together and performed Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony in its entirety. This is said to have been the first full performance of the Ninth Symphony in Asia.

Indigo Dye

The deep vivid blue color of the indigo dye is known around the world as “JAPAN BLUE” and is a color that represents Japan. Tokushima is the home of sukumo production (dye made of fermented indigo leaves), which forms the basis of this indigo dye. This tradition continues to be passed down through generations to this very day. The indigo dye is admired for the variety of beautiful hues that it can produce.

Awa Ningyo Joruri Puppet Theater

Ningyo Joruri is a form of traditional Japanese puppet theater that combines puppet theater with joruri (narration) and shamisen. The performance is characterized by big, flashy movements and loud recitations, and the dolls used are large wooden figures which are distinctive to Tokushima. You can watch the performances in the Awa Jurobei Yashiki Puppet Theater and Museum.