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After seeing what it’s like to be a ninja in Tokyo, get up close and feel the passion of Odoriko dancers at Tokushima Prefecture’s Awaodori, one of Japan’s most famous festivals. During this trip, you will encounter experiences unlike anywhere else and form some of the best summer memories of your life.

Official Tokyo Travel Guide

Local government official website


  • Traveled : August 2016 Lacy Colley Yamaoka
    Freelance Travel Writer, Luxury Travel Influencer
    Reside in USA
  • Traveled : August 2016 JOHN DAUB
    Reside in Tokyo
    Home country: USA

Los Angeles International Airport

JAL061 Examine the directions from your country

  • Lacy Colley Yamaoka

    JAL Flight was ok, exit row in both, although would recommend Business/First class. 11 hours into the future on this babe of a 777 - tokyo bound, in style.       

Narita International Airport

Narita Express

Tokyo Metropolitan Area



Koishikawa Korakuen Gardensmore

Koishikawa Korakuen Gardens
Construction of these gardens was started during the early Edo Period in 1629 by Yorifusa, the founder of the Mito Tokugawa family, as the gardens for his secondary residence (which later became his main mansion in Edo). They were completed in the lifetime of Mitsukuni, the second Mito Tokugawa feudal lord. The gardens are composed of artificial hills and ponds circled by paths, built around a central pond. Mitsukuni referred to the opinions of Shu Shunsui, a surviving retainer of the Ming Dynasty when constructing the gardens, incorporating scenes from China, including a half-moon shaped bridge and a West Lake bank. The gardens themselves were also named by Shunsui, making them brim with the atmosphere of China.
  • Lacy Colley Yamaoka

    <Koishikawa Korakuen Gardens > One of the oldest Japanese gardens dates back to the 1600s in Tokyo and was every bit of what garden lovers crave - stones, bridges, breezes, flora, rolling hills and peace. This one especially unique with it's own rice field.

    <Lunch at Kagurazaka Oishimbo> Great hidden local spot - food, service and ambience was really nice.   

    <Walking in Kagurazaka: Hyogo Yokocho, Kakurenbo Yokocho> Fun walk and insight into a more local spot of Tokyo.


    <Koishikawa Korakuen Gardens > Loved this! The guide was very knowledgable and I enjoyed his enthusiasm and love for the park.

    <Lunch at Kagurazaka Oishimbo> This was a fantastic meal and interesting location, like going back in time! I like how they used fresh ingredients. Even after many years living in Japan, I discovered new tastes with the dishes here.

    <Walking in Kagurazaka: Hyogo Yokocho, Kakurenbo Yokocho> I liked this a lot. It gave us a chance to see many things and also talk with the other tourists. Our guide also explained the background of some of the traditional items in the stores like ceramics, cosmetics and dolls which also make fantastic souvenirs.

Toei Subway Oedo Line
Iidabashi Station → Ueno-okachimachi Station
Tokyo Metro Ginza Line
Ueno-okachimachi Station → Ueno-hirokoji Station
15 minutes

Asakusa Hanayashikimore


Asakusa Hanayashiki
Although it has a history of having been demolished once, it was reopened in 1947, making it Japan's oldest amusement park. Asakusa Hanayashiki has appeared in numerous movies, comic books and dramas, but it also continues to be popular as an amusement park, and as a tourist spot.

Today, the facility features 18 types of attractions, as well as a Street Stall Plaza. It is known as an Asakusa amusement park that is packed with restaurants.
  • Lacy Colley Yamaoka

    <Asakusa Hanayashiki: Ninja experience> "This program involves training in three kinds of basic skills, with instruction provided by Ninzo Hanayashiki, a Ninja Master who is proficient in the arts of the Hanayashiki school. Please come to attend and have food time with Ninja! " Interesting learning how to throw ninja stars and experience the steps ninjas take to sword fight.   

    <Walking in Asakusa: Asakusa Hanayashiki, Sensoji Temple, Nakamise street, Sumida park, TOKYO SKYTREE> Really great sights/temples, must see in Tokyo. Do not forget to try the food stands in the area. Tried an old-fashioned kinako shaved ice sure does quench a humid, August day in Tokyo. Fun fact, sugar was late to the game in Japan, so before then they used kinako to sweeten desserts and treats, which is this brown roasted soybean powder. It is a more delicious and healthy alternative to the preservative-laden syrups by far!


    <Asakusa Hanayashiki: Ninja experience> Anytime you can be a ninja and learn the ways of an ancient art, it's a good experience. I loved how friendly our ninja sensei was, teaching us to throw ninja stars, learn concealment and event some new Japanese words. It may seem like a touristy thing to do, but really, ninjas are just cool.

    <Walking in Asakusa: Asakusa Hanayashiki, Sensoji Temple, Nakamise street, Sumida park, SKY TREE> I enjoyed this the most. We got to not only experience an old temple but also a chance to shop and eat! It was a nice chance to relax and also try new things like senbei and gold leaf soft ice cream! Sensouji Temple is a place where I could feel the spirit of Japan.

Tokyo Metro Ginza Line
Asakusa Station → Kanda Station
JR Chuo Line
Kanda Station → Shinjuku Station
30 minutes


Shinjuku is the center of Tokyo culture, and it is continuously developing. One of the district’s landmarks is the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building, the center of Tokyo’s administration. With plenty of spots to see, the area is centered around JR Shinjuku Station, which serves 3.5 million passengers a day, the largest in Japan. The vicinity of the station’s East Exit is full of bustling streets such as Kabuki-cho and Golden-gai, and shopping areas such as department stores and large-scale stores. On the other hand, the business area of the West Exit is where the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building stands, along with an array of high-rise office buildings, hotels and public art installations. For those who are looking for a pleasant place to walk, the terraces among the buildings of the South Exit are perfect. Visitors can also come across more attractions around town including Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden, an oasis in the city.
  • Lacy Colley Yamaoka

    <Dinner at Rin> Favorite dinner, such a lovely spot, we experienced black throat fish and many other local delights.


    <Dinner at Rin> Excellent dinner! I love the “tako” octopus theme to all the dishes! Nothing it better than a cold beer at the end of a fun day!

10 minutes


  • Lacy Colley Yamaoka

    <Keio Plaza Hotel> Keio Plaza had really nice breakfast buffets and definitely opt for the authentic Japanese breakfast, with bento and tea.


    <Keio Plaza Hotel> The room was AWESOME!! The view was very -- Shinjuku. It felt like I was in a move to wake up and see the Tokyo Metropolian Building! The bed was perfect. Everything clean. Breakfast delicious! I left the hotel very happy and refreshed.




    <Limousine bus> It was very convenient to get picked up right from the hotel! We had to be careful not to go to the wrong airport because buses to Handa and Narita came at the same time. Thankfully staff from the hotel made sure we got on the right bus on time.

09:40 Haneda Airportmore

09:40 Haneda Airport
The airport serves as an air gateway for Tokyo. The passenger terminal is filled with various commercial facilities, and visitors can command a panoramic view of Tokyo Bay from the rooftop observation deck, so that every one, even those who are not flying, can enjoy the terminal.

JAL455 (Japan Explorer Pass) Show details

10:50 Tokushima Awaodori Airportmore

10:50 Tokushima Awaodori Airport
In addition to 10 return flights daily between Tokushima and Tokyo, the airport increased their one daily return flight to two return flights daily between Tokushima and Fukuoka from March 25, 2018.
With the opening of a new terminal on January 21, 2018, it also offers service to international routes.
  • Lacy Colley Yamaoka

    <Flight from Haneda to Tokushima> Smooth JAL flight.  Tokushima airport was very nice. In fact, there was an AWAODORI greeting by local people.   


    <Flight from Haneda to Tokushima> Excellent JAL flight! Great seats. On time. I was surprised that water bottles are okay to bring to the airport departure gate through security. Japan has a special machine to check the contents! We need those in the USA. Tokushima airport was great. Loads of signs welcoming us. In fact, there was an AWAODORI dance group to greet and welcome us at the exit! I could experience Awaodori within the first 5 minutes in Tokushima! Our guide also met us at the gate and we felt very comfortable right away.

Naruto Line of Tokushima Bus
Tokushima Airport → Naruto-koen
About 40 minutes

Naruto Uzushio Whirlpools (Uzu-no-Michi)more

Naruto Uzushio Whirlpools (Uzu-no-Michi)
“Uzu no Michi” is an enclosed walkway built within the bridge girder (below the roadway) of the Onaruto Bridge over the Naruto Strait.
At the end of the 450-meter-long walkway is the circuit-style observatory that makes use of the space of the girders of the Onaruto Bridge.
When you peer through the glass floor 45 meters above the waters, you can really sense the whirlpools and the roaring tidal currents.

  • Lacy Colley Yamaoka

    It was a whirlwind of a trip and was very cool to see the contrasting sides of the country in all their glory. cannot wait to revisit, and who knew the more rural parts of japan were this beautiful. we walked this bridge in shikoku (japan's smallest island) where you can view one of natures incredible whirlpool Phenomenon in Naruto - tidal currents meet twice a day on the surface of this straight. You hopefully will be able to spot the whirlpools from the viewing bridge above.

    <Lunch at Wakayama Shoten> Cute, cafeteria like spot near whirlpools.


    Very, very, very cool! We couldn't see super big whirlpools but I liked the bridge and the chance to walk over the waterway. We spent about 40 minutes here and had a lot of fun jumping on the glass windows where the sea is 45 meters below!

    <Lunch at Wakayama Shoten> Lunch was good. It's always nice to have a fully prepared meal waiting for you, and that was this boxed lunch! It was nice to sit down and relax. The restaurant was fairly clean. Perhaps next time, we can have a picnic by the sea since the weather was perfect!

Naruto Line of Tokushima Bus
Naruto-koen → Otsuka Kokusai Bijutsukanmae
About 10 minutes

Otsuka Museum of Artmore

Otsuka Museum of Art
The Otsuka Museum of Art is an art museum in Naruto City, Tokushima Prefecture with one of the largest permanent exhibition space in Japan.
It is the world's first ceramic board masterpiece art museum with 1,000 full-size reproductions of Western masterpieces held by more than 190 art museums in 25 countries around the world.
  • Lacy Colley Yamaoka

    <Otsuka Museum of Art> This was very interesting and informational, neat to see European collections of art and be able to touch them softly. Like the Mona Lisa! And it is an art museum founded in 1998 and is one of the largest exhibition spaces in Japan. English audio guide helpes to know about the masterpieces, it is a good way.


    <Otsuka Museum of Art> This was AMAZING!! After 18 years living in Japan, this was the first time I'd heard of Otsuka Museum. One of the coolest museums I have ever visited. I couldn't believe I could watch the Mona Lisa so Closely! I was really moved by the beauty of this place, the Sistine Chapel and the Van Gogh works all in the same building. I will definitely try to come back here again. The fact that you can watch the art so closely,take pictures makes it perfect for the family so I'll recommend it to my brother who will bring his children next summer.

Naruto Line of Tokushima Bus
Otsuka Kokusai Bijutsukanmae → Tokushima Station
About 70 minutes

Hotel Clement Tokushima

  • Lacy Colley Yamaoka

    <Hotel Clement Tokushima> Great central location of a hotel and getting around Tokushima.


    <Hotel Clement Tokushima> The hotel was in an excellent location, perfect to see the festival – come and go all day. The staff was very nice and I enjoyed my time here.


Hotel Clement Tokushima

Tokushima-shi Kawauchi Circular Bus
Tokushima Station → Jurobe Yashiki
About 20 to 30 minutes

Awa Jurobe Yashiki (Puppet Theater and Museum)more

Awa Jurobe Yashiki (Puppet Theater and Museum)
Awa Ningyo Joruri is a Tokushima-based traditional puppet show in which the puppets are manipulated by three people (per puppet).

At Awa Jurobe Yashiki, visitors can not only enjoy daily performances of Awa Ningyo Joruri, but also exhibits of puppets, costumes and other materials, as well as learn about how the puppets are manipulated, and the different roles of performers.
  • Lacy Colley Yamaoka

    <Awa Jurobe Yashiki> Was neat to see old style Japanese puppetry show, and see how passionate the Japanese are about story-telling. The puppets can close their eyes, move their eyebrows, and open their mouths. Each puppet needs 3 puppeteers to action. This performances of the Awa puppet theatre, at the former residence of Bando Jurobe who is said to be the leading character in the puppet play <Keisei Awa no Naruto>. After the performance, I could touch the dolls. It was a great experience.

    <Lunch at Men Oh> " Men Oh is based in Tokushima, on the island of Shikoku, and currently operates 12 locations all over Japan. In a famous Japanese Ramen magazine, Men Oh Tokushima Ramen was selected as #1 Tokushima Ramen restaurant among 200 Tokushima Ramen Restaurants in Japan" Very great authentic ramen spot.

    <Dinner at Saketomeshinohirai>  We had dinner buffet in Hotel Clement restaurant this night, it was good.


    <Awa Jurobe Yashiki> This place really surprised me. I didn't expect to like it, but I loved it! It's not very central so it is hard to get there, off the beaten path for tourists.But when we did arrive, I was charmed by the experience! ART! CULTURE! HISTORY! PUPPETS! It's certainly a must-see attraction because I really felt like I was in Japan, in another world here, watching an ancient art that is no longer mainstream. The performance was fantastic and getting a chance to touch and even play with the dolls was a great experience.

    <Lunch at Men Oh> Loved this ramen. Our guide showed us how to eat it with raw egg. RAW EGG RAMEN! Very unusual but also very good. It's best to get there early or there's a 15-20 minute wait – or more! I can understand why after eating it.

    <Tour in Tokushima> Tokushima's attractions are quite spread out which makes it hard to see in a day or two. Our guide pointed out places of interested while driving around. I wish we had a couple more days to see the top of Mt. Bizen or the castle ruins, but I actually enjoyed the driving to get to each location because I also got a chance to see the city in more detail. In Tokyo, it seems like I'm also underground in the subway so this experience in transport above ground was very nice.

    <Dinner at Saketomeshinohirai>  The chicken was excellent! I can understand why Tokushima's chicen is famous. Karaage!! It's definitely one of my favorite foods in Japan, perfect with a beer! The menu here was big and our guide ordered an very good assortment of food to try.

Tokushima-shi Kawauchi Circular Bus
Jurobe Yashiki → Tokushima Station
About 20 to 30 minutes

Awa Odori Dance Festivalmore


Awa Odori Dance Festival
Awa Odori is a representative dance of Japan with a 400-year history. Awa Odori is danced throughout Tokushima Prefecture in August, but it is danced most often over four days from August 12 to 15 during the Awa Odori Dance Festival in Tokushima City. Tourists are also free to take part in the dancing on these days.
  • Lacy Colley Yamaoka

    < Awa odori at Kotsu-Koen Park>  konnichiwa from the awa odori summer festival in tokushima - what a celebration tonight of beautiful traditional dancing and costumes, incredible energy. over a million travel to the smallest island in japan, shikoku, in the summertime to join this excitement of various groups or 'rens' that perform throughout the streets of tokushima.Highlight of visiting Tokushima, beautiful performance, great energy, highly recommend watching the show and celebrating in the streets afterward with all of the local rens or dance groups.


    < Awa odori at Kotsu-Koen Park> This was the main event! We were lucky to have such wonderful seats close to the action. Our guide explained the dresses and dance style to us and I was glad he was there to answer some of my questions. The special seats were nice but I preferred the end when the dancers were in the street and locals were dancing with them. The awaodori turned into Japan's biggest street party! I tried to join in when I could. It's nice when you can also be a part of the festival and share the experience.

Limousine Bus
Tokushima-ekimae → Tokushima Airport
About 30 minutes

Tokushima Awaodori Airport

JAL (Japan Explorer Pass) Show details


    <Flight from Tokushima to Haneda> Fantastic JAL flight home. I made it fast to the correct bus and back home again. I was amazed at how close Tokushima is by airplane. Like Washington DC to Boston!

Haneda Airport


I would highly recommend this tour and each activity/meal was thoughtfully planned. A nice insight of local culture, big city Tokyo, to more rural city of Tokushima.

Lacy Colley Yamaoka
Freelance Travel Writer, Luxury Travel Influencer
Reside in USA
  • Hobby

    Travelling, Cooking, Hiking

  • Number of visits to Japan

    First time


The tour was a lot of fun and was very well planned. In Tokyo, the parks, restaurants and city atmosphere were particularly impressive. I absolutely loved Koishikawa Korakuen Gardens, a green place of natural beauty in the very center of the city with a history older than my home country!

Reside in Tokyo
Home country: USA
  • Hobby

    Festivals, Sports, Traveling, Japanese history

  • Length of stay in Tokyo

    18 years

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