Bizan: Tokushima’s Charming ‘Eyebrow Mountain’


2018.02.16

NAVITIME TRAVEL EDITOR

Mountains are of great significance in Japanese culture, with many towns and cities bordered by peaks which their inhabitants have long worshipped and ascribed mystical powers to. Tokushima Prefecture, though, is almost unique in that its most revered mountain, Mt. Bizan, is located right in the heart of the city. At 290m above sea level Bizan is of modest height, but it possesses a charm that has seen it loom large in Japanese culture since ancient times (Bizan features in the oldest extant anthology of Japanese poetry, the Man’yoshu).

  • Bizan, which begins just a ten-minute stroll from Tokushima train station, possesses a silhouette that for locals is as iconic as that of Fuji-san itself. Viewed from all directions, Bizan has long been said to resemble a giant eyebrow, and many centuries ago was given its name which contains a Japanese character meaning ‘eyebrow’.

    From its peak the mountain gives a spectacular, almost 360-degree view that includes the Seto Inland Sea and, to the northeast, the Great Naruto Bridge that connects Naruto in northern Tokushima to Awaji Island. On clearer days Awaji Island itself can be seen, and beyond that the Kii mountain range of Wakayama Prefecture on Japan’s main island Honshu. To the northwest is the mighty Yoshino River, considered one of three great rivers.

    Bizan: Tokushima’s Charming ‘Eyebrow Mountain’

    Bizan: Tokushima’s Charming ‘Eyebrow Mountain’

    Bizan’s summit is accessible either on foot or via ropeway. A hiking trail up begins at a small shrine next to the Awa Odori Kaikan, and also nearby is Zuiganji Temple which dates back to 1614 and boasts a serene Momoyama-style garden (admission to the temple and its garden costs 300 yen).

    Bizan: Tokushima’s Charming ‘Eyebrow Mountain’

    Bizan: Tokushima’s Charming ‘Eyebrow Mountain’

    The ropeway, meanwhile, departs from the fifth floor of the Awa Odori Kaikan, and consists of two pod-like gondolier cars that give the slow-paced ride to the top (taking arounds six minutes, and costing 610 yen one-way, or 1.020 yen for a return ticket) a tinge of retro-style romance. Love in fact is very much in the air at Bizan. Over the years the fence in a certain spot (these days made of steel and entirely modern) has become a popular place for lovers to attach padlocks, often inscribed with the couple’s heartfelt wishes, in the hope of securing a long-lasting relationship.

    Bizan: Tokushima’s Charming ‘Eyebrow Mountain’

    Bizan: Tokushima’s Charming ‘Eyebrow Mountain’

    Bizan is a hugely popular dating spot thanks to its enchanting night view, which is considered not only Shikoku’s greatest but also among Japan’s 100 best after-dark sights. In the daytime, meanwhile, spring and fall see crowds ascend the mountain to take in beautiful cherry blossom and momiji (autumn leaves) respectively.

    Several slightly more unusual mountain-top attractions also await visitors who manage to turn their gaze away from the vista that unfolds below. The Mayugekyo (‘eyebrow kaleidoscope’) is a six-meter-high outdoor kaleidoscope, one of Japan’s largest, that contains over 4,000 LED lights. Stand directly under the Mayugekyo and peer through an opening in its underside, at night for the most spectacular effect.

    Bizan: Tokushima’s Charming ‘Eyebrow Mountain’

    Bizan: Tokushima’s Charming ‘Eyebrow Mountain’

    Also nearby are a Burmese-style peace pagoda dedicated to veterans killed in Burma during World War II, which architecturally somewhat echoes Gaudi’s dreamlike Park Guell far away in Barcelona, and the Moraes Hall which contains exhibits relating to Portuguese writer and adventurer Wenceslau de Moraes, who spent his final years (and died) in Tokushima.

    Bizan: Tokushima’s Charming ‘Eyebrow Mountain’

    Bizan: Tokushima’s Charming ‘Eyebrow Mountain’

    To access Mt. Bizan from Tokushima Station simply walk along the Sanuki Highway in a southwesterly direction for 750m; a little after the bridge across the Okinosu River is the Awa Odori Kaikan with its ropeway to Bizan’s peak. If ascending on foot, set off from Tenjin Shrine adjacent to the Kaikan.

    Mt. Bizan
    place
    Tokushima-shi, Tokushima-ken
    Tokushima
    place
    Tokushima Pref
    Onaruto Bridge
    place
    From Hyogo ken Minami-Awaji-shi to Tokushima ken Naruto city
    phone
    0886872166
    opening-hour
    Open 24 hours
    Awaodorikaikan
    rating

    4.0

    399 Reviews
    place
    Tokushima ken Tokushima-shi Shimomachi Bridge2-20
    phone
    0886111611
    opening-hour
    9:00-21:00
  • Zuiganji
    place
    Tokushima Pref. Tokushimashi Higashiyamatechou
    phone
    0886525968
    Pagoda Heiwakinento
    rating

    3.5

    21 Reviews
    place
    Tokushima Pref. Tokushimashi Bizanchou Mosuke~keHara
    phone
    0886533375

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