The Naruto whirlpools are a natural phenomenon that can be observed along the Shikoku coast of the Naruto Strait. These whirlpools are formed due to the movement of large volumes of water between the Seto Inland Sea and the Pacific Ocean, influenced by the tides and the unique underwater geography of the narrow strait.
The occurrence of the whirlpools is closely tied to the change of tides, happening approximately every six hours. Typically, they can be seen once in the morning and once in the afternoon, lasting for about an hour or two. The size of the whirlpools varies depending on the intensity of the tides, with larger whirlpools occurring in summer and during spring tides, which happen every two weeks when the sun, earth, and moon are aligned.
Under ideal conditions, one can observe whirlpools with diameters of up to 20 meters. However, on calm days or outside of the peak times, there may not be much to see. Therefore, it is crucial for prospective visitors to check the whirlpool schedules when planning a trip to Naruto.
Fortunately, the whirlpools pose no danger to boats, allowing visitors to witness them up close. The best way to experience the whirlpools is through sightseeing cruises, which offer tours that bring you right next to these natural wonders. There are two companies that operate tours from nearby piers on Shikoku, and one company that runs tours 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 farther away, you’ll find 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) tours to the whirlpools.
For the best views, it is recommended to take the “Wonder Naruto” boat tour, as it offers an upper first-class deck at an additional charge. From this higher vantage point, you can witness the whirlpools in all their glory. The boat tours usually last between 20 and 30 minutes and depart approximately twice per hour.
If you prefer a different perspective, you can visit Uzu no Michi, an enclosed walkway that extends beneath the Onaruto Bridge, providing a breathtaking view of the whirlpools. The observation room on the walkway sits 45 meters above the swirling waters, and through glass windows set in the floor, you can marvel at the mesmerizing whirlpools below.
the Naruto whirlpools are a fascinating natural spectacle that shouldn’t be missed. Whether you choose to embark on a sightseeing cruise or visit the observation room at Uzu no Michi, you are guaranteed to be captivated by the beauty and power of these swirling masses of water. Plan your visit accordingly, and prepare to be amazed by the impressive Naruto whirlpools.