Naruto Whirlpool – Visiting at the wrong timing

Found at the Naruto straits between the Shikoku main island and the Awaji island, is a natural occurring tidal whirlpool known as the Naruto Whirlpool (鳴門の渦潮). The whirlpools are formed when water from different sea and the Pacific Ocean meets at this location. The unique underwater seabed causes the different water to create a spinning whirlpool that seems to suck everything into it.

We had known about this spectacular Naruto Whirlpool for a long time. During our Shikoku trip, we stopped by and checked it out. But our schedule were tight and could only spend a couple of hours there, thus missing out on the best timing to see the whirlpools. It was made worse as it started raining heavily with very strong winds blowing from the Pacific Ocean.

The best views to observe the Naruto Whirlpools is by taking sightseeing cruise that gets close to the whirlpools, safely. We couldn’t afford the time and had to choose the alternative, that is from the Uzu no Michi, an enclosed walkway built underneath the Onaruto Bridge (above).

A small entrance fee is required to access the walkway and there were quite a number of visitors on this rainy day. The Uzu no Michi is a few hundred metres long and bring us to the center of the bridge, right above where the whirlpools will be.

The winds were really strong and rain pouring into the walkway made us regret not bringing our jackets. Umbrellas were pretty much useless here.

And here is the observation area where visitors can view the whirlpools through glass windows set in the floor. From here, it is about 50 metres from the sea below. The windows were wet and covered with droplets, with low visibility.

And there’s the Naruto Whirlpool! Can you see it? No? Well, neither can us. All we saw was the overlapping of different waters. That is quite clear, water from the left are from Seto Island Sea, and water from the right came from the Pacific Ocean. But no whirlpool. It was late afternoon and we had missed the best timing, which is supposed to be from 11am to 1pm. The Naruto whirlpools can be as big as 20 metres in diameter so they must be spectacular even from this distance.

Oh! There is one! A small whirlpool! Look at the where the arrow is pointing. This little one is the best whirlpool that we saw on that day. Well, bad luck.

The views from the walkway were pretty scenic. On a sunny clear day, visitors could see nearby islands along the channel and far into the pacific ocean.

There are also some other attractions around the area including a bridge museum and arts museum. As with most places of interest in Japan, there are also many souvenir shops restaurants for visitors to spend their money on.

If you are visiting the Naruto Whirlpools and hope to catch the magnificent view, do remember to check out the best timing at this site


R, the other half of JRVacation, is addicted to playing Pachinko in Japan and loves Japanese food, especially the fast food joints Sukiya and Matsuya. Dreams of visiting all 47 prefectures in Japan and is currently planning for the next trip to the land of the rising sun.

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