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2 Days in Katsuura and Kamikatsu: Get Close to Rural Japan

2 Days in Katsuura and Kamikatsu: Get Close to Rural Japan


Home to Japan’s first zero-waste town, one of the top 100 terraced rice fields in the country and some of the nation’s oldest dinosaur fossils, the small towns of Katsuura and Kamikatsu are big in personality. With so many fascinating destinations, one day isn’t enough — here’s our guide on spending two days exploring this rural idyll.

Day 1: Enjoy a Slice of Local Life

Morning

Morning

Start the day with a visit to the Kashihara terraced rice fields, a group of hundreds of rice paddies scattered across Kamikatsu town’s mountainous terrain. Several of them still have water mills — built in the early 1800s — at the edge of the fields, adding to the bucolic charm of an already breathtaking scene. Beautiful in any season, the Kashihara fields are ranked one of Japan’s top 100 rice fields.


Where: Ikumi, Kamikatsu-cho, Katsuura-gun, Tokushima Prefecture
More info: https://www.east-tokushima.jp/spot/detail.php?id=18

Early Lunch

Early Lunch Rise & Win Brewing Co. BBQ & General Store
Rise & Win Brewing Co. BBQ & General Store

After all that fresh air, you’ll need a hearty lunch. Stop by Rise & Win Brewing Co. BBQ & General Store for barbeque, or head to Café Polestar for something a little lighter.


Rise & Win Brewing Co. BBQ & General Store
When: 11am-8pm, Wed-Fri; 10am-8pm, Sat-Sun; Closed Mon-Tue
Where: 237-2 Hirama, Masaki, Kamikatsu-cho, Katsuura-gun, Tokushima Prefecture
More info: https://www.kamikatz.jp/en/

Café Polestar
When: Mon-Wed 10am-3pm, Sat-Sun 10am-5pm; Closed Thu, Fri
Where: 32-1 Hirama, Fukuhara, Kamikatsu-cho, Katsuura-gun, Tokushima Prefecture
More info: http://cafepolestar.com/

Post-Lunch Coffee and Dessert

Post-Lunch Coffee and Dessert Kashi Koubo Maeno
Kashi Koubo Maeno
 Salotto
Salotto

Make your way down the mountain to the main town area and grab some delicious freshly made cakes or dessert breads at Kashi Koubo Maeno, a local bakery run by a charming couple who are always up for a chat. Walk over to Salotto, an Italian-style café and espresso bar run by a former Tokyoite. Salotto doesn’t offer many food options, so bringing your own treats to have with your coffee is a-okay.


Kashi Koubo Maeno
When: Mon-Sat 8am-7pm; Closed Sun
Where: 43-10 Kamikawahara, Katsuura-cho, Katsuura-gun, Tokushima Prefecture
More info:

Salotto
When: Mon-Thu 12pm-6pm ish; Irregularly open Fri-Sun please check the website
Where: 43-1 Kamikawahara, Katsuura-cho, Katsuura-gun, Tokushima Prefecture
More info: https://salotto.cafe/

Afternoon

Afternoon Kamikatsu Zero Waste Center
Kamikatsu Zero Waste Center

After an invigorating coffee, it’s time to climb the mountain again for a tour of Kamikatsu Zero Waste Center to learn how this tiny town has succeeded in recycling over 80% of its waste. The tour costs ¥500 and reservations are required. If you’re staying at Hotel Why, the tour is part of your overnight experience.


When: After 2:15pm Mon-Fri, after 3pm Sat-Sun
Where: 7-2, Aza Shimoniura, Oaza Fukuhara, Kamikatsu-cho, Katsuura-gun, Tokushima Prefecture
More info: https://why-kamikatsu.jp/en/

Dinner

Note that most places close early here, so if you haven’t booked accommodation with dinner included, you might want to buy something at Kashi Koubo Maeno, or make a reservation at Rise & Win Brewing Co. BBQ & General Store. (Dinner is reservation-only.) Ristorante Pertornare near Café Polestar serves delectable Italian dishes using local ingredients.


Ristorante Pertornare
More info: http://www.pertornare.com/menu/dinner.htm

Stay the Night

Stay the Night Hotel Why
Hotel Why
 Rise & Win Brewing Co. BBQ & General Store
Rise & Win Brewing Co. BBQ & General Store

There are several options for overnight stays.

Hotel Why: Kamikatsu Zero Waste Center’s recently opened hotel gives visitors a first-hand experience of what it’s like to live in a “zero waste” town.
Where: 7-2, Shimoniura, Fukuhara, Kamikatsu-cho, Katsuura-gun, Tokushima Prefecture
More info: https://why-kamikatsu.jp/en/index.html

Fureai-no-Sato Sakamoto: This elementary school-turned-community center and inn offers simple but reasonably priced overnight accommodation.
Where: 1-5 Miyahara, Sakamoto, Katsuura-gun, Tokushima
More info: https://www.east-tokushima.jp/en/explore/detail.php?id=67

Tsukigatani Onsen Tsuki no Yado: If you’re dying for a hot spring experience, this is the place to get it. The inn has both hotel-style rooms and private bungalows.
Where: 71-1 Hirama, Fukuhara, Kamikatsu-cho, Katsuura-gun, Tokushima Prefecture
More info: https://www.e-kamikatsu.jp/own/index.asp

Pangaea: A glamping and camping site that can arrange full BBQ sets using ingredients from nearby Ristorante Pertornare.
Where: 4 Kawakita, Fukuhara, Kamikatsu-cho, Katsuura-gun, Tokushima Prefecture
More info: http://www.k-pangaea.com/outdoordiv/

Rise & Win Brewing Co. BBQ & General Store: One (small) group per night can stay at the brewery’s on-site camper van. The outside bath overlooks the village at the bottom of the mountain — swimsuits are recommended as the villagers can look back.
Where: 237-2 Hirama, Masaki, Kamikatsu-cho, Katsuura-gun, Tokushima Prefecture
More info: https://www.kamikatz.jp/motel/

Day 2: Spiritual Spaces in Natural Places

Morning

Morning Hotoke Ishi
Hotoke Ishi

Spend the morning exploring the mystical Hotoke Ishi, and Shokoku Temple’s Fudo-no-Taki waterfall.


Hotoke Ishi
Where: Mitani, Katsuura-cho, Katsuura-gun, Tokushima 771-4307
More info: https://www.east-tokushima.jp/en/explore/detail.php?id=65

Fudo-no-Taki
Where: 126 Katsuura-cho, Katsuura-gun Tokushima 771-4304
More info: https://www.east-tokushima.jp/en/explore/detail.php?id=63

Lunch

Lunch JA East Tokushima Yotte-ne markets
JA East Tokushima Yotte-ne markets

Grab a bite to eat at one of the restaurants at Hinano-Sato Katsuura. One of Café Orange’s most popular dishes is a generous portion of curry ramen, while Miyako-ya specializes in udon, which is freshly made every morning.

Make the most of your break here by checking out the Hina-ichi and JA East Tokushima Yotte-ne markets, which sell everything from fresh local produce to snacks and rare regional specialties. This is the place to buy souvenirs and seasonal goodies before you head home.

When: 9am-6pm, daily
Where: 4-1 Tsukinose, Ikuna, Katsuura-cho, Katsuura-gun, Tokushima Prefecture
More info: https://hinanosato.com/

Afternoon

Afternoon Kakurinji
Kakurinji

One of Katsuura’s claims to fame is its dinosaur fossils, including a fossil tooth of a carnivorous dinosaur believed to be over 130 million years old. You can check out a small selection of excavated fossils on the second floor of Katsuura’s town hall, or head into the “dinosaur village” (complete with a dinosaur shrine called Tachikawa Kyoryu Daigongen). Here you’ll find manmade dinosaur statues lining the streets, as well as dinosaur-inspired sweets and cookies at Myrica Cake House.

Finish your journey through Katsuura at Kakurin-ji, the 20th temple on the 88 Shikoku pilgrimage trail.


Dinosaur Village
Where: Tanano, Katsuura-cho, Katsuura-gun, Tokushima Prefecture 771-4306
More info: https://www.east-tokushima.jp/feature/detail.php?id=23

Myrica Cake House
When: 10am-8pm, daily
Where: 72-1 Mitani, Katsuura-cho, Katsuura-gun, Tokushima Prefecture
More info: https://r.gnavi.co.jp/mpb8km7h0000/

Tachikawa Kyoryu Daigongen
Where: Tanano, Katsuura-cho, Katsuura-gun, Tokushima Prefecture 771-4306
More info: https://www.google.com/maps/place/%E7%AB%8B%E5%B7%9D%E6%81%90%E9%BE%8D%E5%A4%A7%E6%A8%A9%E7%8F%BE/@33.8930145,134.4597119,15z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0x2735c12095a18730!8m2!3d33.8930145!4d134.4597119?shorturl=1

Kakurinji
Where: Ikuna Washigao 14, Katsuura-cho, Katsuura-gun, Tokushima Prefecture
More info: https://www.east-tokushima.jp/en/explore/detail.php?id=68