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Naruto Strait Whirlpools

HOME > Japan’s Local Treasures > Naruto Strait Whirlpools


Observe some of the biggest and fastest whirlpools in the world

Awaji-island Tourist Association



Naruto Strait’s giant whirlpools are among the most dramatic natural phenomena of Japan. During spring, they can stretch to 30 meters in diameter with speeds of up to 20 kilometers per hour, making them some of the largest and fastest whirlpools in the world.


Located between Awaji Island in Hyogo Prefecture and Naruto in Tokushima Prefecture, the Naruto Strait connects the Pacific Ocean and the Seto Island Sea. During the rise and fall of tides, a 1.5-meter difference in water level occurs, causing a central current to flow through the narrow channel at incredible speeds. The combination of the swift current colliding with other gentler ones creates the strait’s famed whirlpools, which appear directly under the Onaruto Bridge.


To see the whirlpools up-close, take the Kanrinmaru, a sightseeing boat modeled and named after the first Japanese ship to cross the Pacific Ocean. Departing from Awaji, the boat’s one-hour cruise takes visitors right to the edge of the phenomena. During the journey, passengers can also enjoy the boat’s onboard mini museum dedicated to Katsu Kaishu, the captain of the original Kanrinmaru.


How to get there


About 30 minutes by car from Tokushima Awaodori Airport or about 90 minutes by express bus from Sannomiya express bus terminal to Fukura port, the location the sightseeing boats depart from.



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