Tokushima prefecture is a welcoming destination for the vibrant culture of Shikoku. Onaruto Bridge, one of the world’s longest suspension bridges, is popular with visitors who marvel at the swirling whirlpools in the waters below. Nearby is another building marvel, the Otsuka Museum of Art, occupying almost seven soccer fields with impressive reproductions of artists including Monet, Picasso and Van Gogh. And the city of Naruto also marks the start of the famous Shikoku pilgrimage to 88 Buddhist temples around the island.
For more than 800 years, “aizome” or the indigo dyeing of fabrics, has been an integral part of life around Tokushima. The deep blue hue, selected for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics logo, is achieved by fermenting leaves from indigo plants that flourish along the Yoshino River. Otani ware is another important handicraft known for its rustic red finish of iron-rich clay. Although this material is used for Otani tableware today, it has been ideal for large pots, with an unusual method requiring an assistant to turn the pottery wheel while lying sideways on the ground.