As of October 1, 2016, the city had an estimated population of 258,237 and a population density of 1,400 persons per km². Its total area is 191.23 km². The city is situated in the north-eastern part of Tokushima Prefecture at the mouth of the Yoshino River. In terms of layout and organization, Tokushima displays the typical characteristics of a Japanese castle town. Tokushima was developed under the Hachisuka clan. Its prosperity was built on a strong indigo dye industry.
The modern city of Tokushima was founded on October 1, 1889. At the time, it was the 10th largest city in Japan. The city is served by Tokushima Airport, in nearby Matsushige.
Tokushima was selected as a target by the United States' XXI Bomber Command during World War II because of the city's role as an agricultural center for the region. On July 3, 1945 at 5:45 PM (JST) 137 aircraft took off to bomb Tokushima. 1,050 tons of incendiary bombs were dropped on Tokushima, destroying 74% of the built up areas of the city.
Every August, during the Obon Festival, Tokushima holds a cultural dance festival, the Awa Odori. Awa Odori literally translates as "Awa Dance" (Awa being Tokushima Prefecture's ancient name). During the festival, residents ranging from young children to professional dance troupes perform a distinctive style of Japanese traditional dance in regional costumes, accompanied by strings, drums, and singing (usually by the dancers themselves).
Tokushima has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen climate classification Cfa) with hot summers and cool winters. Precipitation is high, but there is a pronounced difference between the wetter summers and drier winters.