Naruto 鳴門, Tokushima Prefecture 徳島県
When people mentioned about Naruto, people usually related it to the Japanese manga series, the guy with the yellow hair and a bandana on the head. The Naruto that I like to talk about is a coastal city on Shikoku Island in Tokushima Prefecture Japan. Just to give you an idea of the Naruto location, it is 1 hour and 20 mis from Kobe and 2 hours from Osaka.
Naruto is a tiny town but get it popularity from a special phenomenon – The Naruto Whirlpool. We were heading to Osaka from Takamastu, Shikoku.
Below are signboard also available in English, showing the way to board on the Whirlpool sightseeing boat.
Two Different Cruise Ship – Wonder Naruto or Aqua Eddy
There are two different cruise, the Wonder Naruto and Aqua Eddy, the difference is Aqua Eddy has an underwater observatory room. We choose the Wonder Naruto which you can only view from the top.
Choose the best time to visit
Every season has different timing and if you choose the right time, you are able to see the bigger whirlpools. Click here to check the best time. Anyway, the prime viewing season for the Naruto Whirlpools would be during spring and autumn.
I didn’t choose the best time to visit due to timing issue. I gotten my ticket and boarded the big cruise immediately as I have other places to go to. The Wonder Naruto was not crowded at all, probably because it is not the best timing to catch the whirlpools.
The cruise move away from the land and moving towards the Seto Inland Sea.
The indoor seats are colorful and pretty. Most passengers would rather be outside and this make a nice spot for me to shoot a picture with these colorful chairs.
Try to Spot Little Wind Farm
After 10 mins in the cruise ride, the staff who work in the cruise will called all passengers out to see the whirlpools.
The tidal current of the Naruto Strait is fast, ranked one of the 3 biggest tidal currents in the world, and the flow of this current into the narrow strait between the Pacific Ocean and the Inland Sea of Japan is the main cause of the whirlpools.
Below picture were several tiny whirlpools because I did not come at the best timing. I came here at the end of October and based on the schedule on that day, the best time to watch the bigger and more intense whirlpools is the earliest boat at around 9 am.
There are more whirlpools when the cruise sail near or under Onaruto Bridge.
Seto Inland Sea
Onaruto Bridge 大鳴門橋
When the cruise move to the Inland Seto Sea, you can see whole Onaruto Bridge from the water. Onaruto Bridge also known as Great Naruto Bridge can be seen beautifully connecting Awaji Island with Naruto, Tokushima on Oge Island.
The whole duration only took us less than an hour.
Check out the short video clip how Naruto Whirlpools look like.
Wonder Naruto Cruise Review
The cruise (below picture) that I boarded on was called “Wonder” Naruto Cruise and it did not has a underwater observatory room. It still works perfect for me as I prefer to watch it from the top and have closer touch with mother nature, the air, wind, sun, splashing of water from the Naruto whirlpools waves.
- Wonder Naruto
Fare : Adult 1,800 yen /USD 15.90 Child (Elemetary School) 900 yen/USD 7.90
- Aqua Eddy
Fare : Adult 2,400 yen/USD21.10 Child (Elementary School) 1,200 yen/USD 10.60
- Plenty of free parking space outside the terminal.
Souvenirs Stop near ticketing area
Nearby Attraction – Otsuka Museum of Art/大塚国際美術館
Other nearby site is the Otsuka Museum of Art/大塚国際美術館. The art museum is very large and look super grand even from the outside. it is said one of the largest exhibition spaces in Japan and houses over a thousand full-size ceramic reproductions of major works of arts, including the Sistine Chapel.
Final thoughts :
If you happen to be in Shikoku Island or near Kansai area, Naruto is highly recommended. Go board on the Wonder Naruto Cruise ship and enjoy the sunshine and the unusual phenomenon.
The tide formation are really fascinating to see, the swirls and ripples can be quite hypnotic too. Besides that, you also get to enjoy the beautiful view of Seto Inland Sea and magnificent Onaruto Bridge.