'Southern paradise Tokushima' is what Tokushima locals call their homeland. However, to get to this southern paradise is rather inconvenient if you'd like to visit from Kansai. Before the Great Akashi Strait Bridge was constructed, there used to be various routes you could take by ship or speed boat, and there were even flights from both Itami and Kansai International Airports to Tokushima Airport (currently called, Awaodori Airport). But the Great Akashi Strait Bridge changed everything. Although it became rather convenient for car drivers, to those who don't want to drive, the options they can choose from have decreased; the ships and speed boats have disappeared, together with the flights from Kansai. In this article, I am going to explain how to get to the southern paradise Tokushima from Kansai.
Option 1: Cross the Great Akashi Strait Bridge by highway bus There are mainly three areas in Kansai from where the highway buses depart, Osaka, Kobe and Kyoto. Tickets can be reserved and bought online here, but unfortunately only Japanese is available on the website, so in case you don't read/speak Japanese I'd recommend making a reservation by visiting any bus terminal/travel agency directly and buying your tickets using your formidable international body language.
From Osaka (approx. 3.5 hours) In Osaka, there are four bus terminals, 1. Universal Studio Japan 2. Namba Highway Bus Terminal 3. Osaka Umeda Hankyu Bus Terminal 4. Osaka Station (HERBIS Osaka Bus Terminal) You can choose the most convenient bus terminal to take a bus to Tokushima. The one-way ticket to Tokushima Station is 3,700 yen, the round-trip ticket is 6,700 yen for adults.
From Kobe (approx. 2 hours) There are four bus terminals in the Kobe area. The fee varies depending on which bus terminal you choose (see numbers shown in parentheses). 1. JR Sannomiya Station Bus Terminal (3,300 yen/one way, 5,940 yen/round trip) 2. Highway Maiko Bus Terminal (3,000 yen/one way, 5,400 yen/round trip) 3. Shin-Kobe Station Bus Terminal (3,300 yen/one way, 5,940 yen/round trip) 4. Kobe Airport Bus Terminal (3,500 yen/one way, 6,300 yen/round trip)
From Kyoto (approx. 3 hours) There are three bus terminals in the Kyoto area. The fee varies depending on which bus terminal you choose (see numbers shown in parentheses). 1. JR Kyoto Station Bus Terminal (4,200 yen/one way, 7,600 yen/round trip) 2. Meishin Oyamazaki Bus Terminal (3,900 yen/one way, 7,100 yen/round trip) 3. Meishin Takatsuki Bus Terminal (3,700 yen/one way, 6,700 yen/round trip)
Option 2: Cross the Great Seto Bridge by train (approx. 3 hours, 9,650 yen one way) As this is quite a detour and rather expensive, I wouldn't recommend this route. But just in case you have a car-phobia and don't want to ride in a car this could be an option. Besides, you can cross the Great Seto Bridge this way! First, you would have to get as far as Okayama by probably Shinkansen (bullet train) from some location in Kansai. Supposing you'd take it from Shin-Osaka Station, it would take about 45 min., 5,500 yen one way. Then you'd take a JR Express Marine Liner at JR Okayama Station bound for Takamatsu, which would take approx. an hour, 1,510 yen one way. Lastly, you'd change trains at Takamatsu, and then take a JR Express Whirlpool bound for Tokushima, which would take about 1 hour, 2,640 yen one way.
Option 3: Cross by ferry boat from Wakayama (approx. 3 hours, 3,000 yen one way) First, you have to get to Wakayama Port by train. Fortunately, there's a direct train available from Nankai Namba Station. Take a Nankai Express Southern train bound for Wakayama Port, which would stop at Kansai International Airport. It takes about an hour, 920 yen one way. Then take a Nankai Ferry Boat bound for Tokushima Port, which takes about 2 hours, 2,000 yen one way. In case you take the ferry boat along with your car, the fee for the car would be 5,800 yen ( if vehicle length is shorter than 3 meter ), 7,600 yen (if longer than 3, shorter than 4 meter), etc. For further information please refer to the Website of Nankai Ferry (only in Japanese).
Option 4: By car If you care for driving, of course you can drive to Tokushima! It will take about 3 to 4 hours depending on how fast you drive or how heavy the traffic is. Good luck!
Lastly, there is lots to see in Tokushima, the southern paradise. For instance, first comes the famous Awa-Odori (Awa Dance) in summer, of course, then the great Naruto Whirlpools, the majestic Otsuka Museum of Art, some of the 88 temples of Shikoku Pilgrimage, etc., etc. I wrote a series of articles about my trip to Tokushima during the Golden Week Holidays, so if you are interested, please read the following articles and learn about this fascinating southern island!
Trip to Tokushima Series 01: Seaside Hotel Maiko Villa Kobe 02: Hotel Maiko Villa Kobe (photos) 03: Maiko Park Kobe (photos) 04: How to get to Tokushima from Kansai 05: Century Plaza Hotel Tokushima Suite (photos) 06: Tokushima Castle and Hachisuka Clan 07: Tokushima Castle Ruins (photos) 08: Tokushima Central Park 09: Seafood 'Uo-Roman', Tokushima (photos) 10: Bando POW Camp Site, Tokushima 11: Garden of Bart, Naruto, Tokushima (photos) 12: The Naruto German House, Tokushima (photos) 13. Udon Shop 'Wataru', Tokushima (photos) 14: Otsuka Museum of Art, Tokushima 15: Replicas in Otsuka Museum of Art (photos) 16: Naruto Park, Tokushima (photos) 17: Tokushima Robata Dining Take-no Mai (photos)