Whirlpools

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The Naruto whirlpools occur along the Shikoku coast of the Naruto Strait, and are created by the large volumes of water moving between the Seto Inland Sea and the Pacific Ocean between high and low tide, combined with the unique underwater geography of the narrow strait.

According to the change of tides, the whirlpools occur roughly every six hours and can typically be seen once in the morning and once in the afternoon for an hour or two. The whirlpools vary in size, depending on the intensity of the tides. They tend to be larger in summer than in winter, and are largest during spring tides, which occur every two weeks.

Under ideal conditions, whirlpools of up to 20 meters in diameters can be observed. On the other hand, there is not much to see on calm days or outside of the peak times. Therefore, it is of great importance to check the whirlpool schedules (see links below) before making a visit to Naruto.

The Wonder Naruto tour boat
Onaruto Bridge

The whirlpools are not dangerous to boats and are best viewed from sightseeing cruises which get right up next to and among the whirlpools. There are two companies that run tours from nearby piers on Shikoku and one that operates from Awaji Island on the opposite side of the strait.

On the Shikoku side, Uzushio Kisen operates small boats with water level decks from a pier just outside Naruto Park. A little bit further away lies the pier of Uzushio Kankosen, which operates the "Aqua Eddy" (medium sized boats with two decks and underwater windows) and "Wonder Naruto" (large sized boats with two decks) to the whirlpools.

As the whirlpools are best viewed from a higher vantage point, it is recommended to take a "Wonder Naruto" boat tour which offers the best views from its upper first-class deck at an additional charge. Boat tours by both companies last 20 to 30 minutes with two departures per hour.

Uzu no Michi

The next best views are from Uzu no Michi, an enclosed walkway that extends under the Onaruto Bridge and overlooks the whirlpools. The walkway's observation room sits 45 meters above the whirlpools below which can be seen through glass windows set in the floor.

Naruto Park (Naruto Koen), the park encompassing the attractions around the whirlpools, also has a number of walking trails and viewpoints found around it with views of the whirlpools and Onaruto Bridge. The best views of the swirling water are from the Senjojiki Observatory. Another viewpoint, Eska Hill, is accessible via a 68 meter long, paid escalator, but its restaurants and shops appear rather run down.

Also found in the park is the Onaruto Bridge Museum Eddy, which is devoted to the construction of the Onaruto Bridge, the strait and its whirlpools. Last but not least, the Otsuka Museum of Art, Japan's largest museum, stands out toward the park's southern edge and displays nothing but reproductions of Western Art.

Naruto Park with Eska Hill as seen from the Onaruto Bridge Museum

Get There and Around

Naruto Park is located about seven kilometers north of central Naruto City.

One or two buses per hour run between Naruto Station and Naruto Park. The one way ride takes 25 minutes and costs 310 yen. Buses stop near the "Naruto Kosoku" bus stop along the way, where it is possible to transfer to highway buses. Highway buses traveling in the direction of Tokushima (but not in the opposite direction) also stop at "Naruto Koen-guchi" bus stop in Naruto Park along the expressway.

Most attractions in Naruto Park are within walking distance of each other. Only the Uzushio Kakosen sightseeing boat pier is not centrally located, and lies two kilometers away. However, most buses between Naruto Station and Naruto Park stop at the sightseeing boat pier along the way.

How to get to and around Naruto

Hours and Fees

Uzushio Kankosen Boat Tours

Hours

9:00 to 16:20 (boat tours leave every 30 to 40 minutes)

Closed

No closing dates

Fees

Aqua Eddy: 2260 yen
Wonder Naruto: 1580 yen (2580 yen for the upper deck)
Various discounted combination tickets are available

Uzushio Kisen Boat Tours

Hours

8:00 to 16:30 (boat tours leave every 30 minutes)

Closed

No closing days

Fees

1550 yen, various discounted combination tickets are available

Uzu no Michi - Bridge Observation Deck

Hours

9:00 to 17:00 (entry until 16:30)
Longer hours during Golden Week and the summer holidays

Closed

The 2nd Monday of March, June, September and December

Fees

510 yen, various discounted combination tickets are available

Onaruto Bridge Museum Eddy

Hours

9:00 to 17:00 (entry until 16:30)
Longer hours during Golden Week and the summer holidays.

Closed

No closing days

Fees

610 yen, various discounted combination tickets are available

Eska Hill

Hours

8:30 to 17:00

Closed

No closing days

Fees

400 yen, various discounted combination tickets are available
Last updated: June 7, 2013
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