Travel Japan: Naruto Whirlpools!
While Crossing to Shikoku
If you ever decide to spend more time in Japan than just the usual Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, I'd always recommend visiting the southern island of Shikoku. Filled with nature and fresh produce, Shikoku offers plenty of fun sights to see. One of my favorite things about visiting Shikoku is the view you get from crossing the Great Seto Bridge, including the Naruto Whirlpools.
While crossing the bridge into Shikoku, we made a pit stop to check out the Naruto Whirlpools, a natural occuring tidal whirlpools. The spinning waters was a nice way to start off the trip, and end it when crossing the bridge again back to Osaka.
What are the Whirlpools?
Taken from our page about the Naruto Whirlpools, here's a bit more information on this natural occurring phenomena:
The Naruto whirlpools occur on the Shikoku side of the Naruto Straight, 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 straight. 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. If all factors play together favorably, 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 before making a visit to Naruto.
On the way home
Being completely honest, we weren't that lucky the first time when we stopped to see the whirlpools. As it says in the section above, the time of day plays a huge roll and we just weren't that fortunate. However, on the return to Kansai, we were able to see some of the whirlpools from the bridge while riding the train. It was mesmerizing to see the swirling waters from above, some forming large pools while others are brief and small. If you're there at the right time, hopefully you too can see the Naruto Whirlpools on a Southern Japan tour!
The bridge and whirlpools make for an excellent photo by the way, so be sure to bring a camera if you get on a boat!