The Naruto Whirlpools are a unique natural wonder in Japan. They are formed from a combination of the tides and the straight's formation. As the water travels through whirlpools form just below the Onaruto Bridge. Because the tides can affect the size of the whirlpools, you can research the best times to visit on the day of your trip to Naruto so that you have the best chance of seeing large whirlpools. Spring is the best season to visit and winter is the worst. I visited in late October, so it wasn't the best time of year, but I was still able to see some whirlpools although it was difficult to get pictures, because you have to find them and snap the photo as they whirl by and disappear!
The boats travel around and through the whirlpool area, so at times it can be frustrating when you see a whirlpool that is broken by a boat traveling directly through it.
It is a gamble even at the best times of day as to whether you will get to see some good whirlpools or not but it's a lot of fun, too! I think it's especially good for people who are looking to experience something different from the usual sites to add diversity to a trip! It's also great for kids, because they can try to spot the whirlpools or just enjoy the boat ride (if you choose to experience the whirlpools by boat. See my Transportation tips to learn about all the ways to experience the whirlpools).
The biggest attraction in Naruto is the whirlpools in the Naruto Strait. The biggest attraction in Naruto is the whirlpools in the Naruto Strait. The phenomenon occurs when opposing currents from the Seto Inland Sea and the Kii Channel meet in the Naruto Strait with a water level difference of as much as 1.5 meters, which is made by the ebb and flow of the tide.
The place where you can look down at the dynamic swirls from right above is the Tokushima Prefectural Uzu-no-michi (Path of the Whirlpool) Promenade.
Admission fee is 600 yen.
Built by the Otsuka Pharmaceutical Company, this museum has over a thousand of the greatest Western art pieces from antiquity to modern times accurately reproduced on ceramic boards. Sounds rubbish, but it was actually pretty amazing. If there is a piece you want to see but will never get the chance you can see 'it' here.
I was that enthralled I spent the best part of a day here and still didn't see everything I wanted. Give yourself a full day if you want to see it all.
186-16 Takasago Tosadomariura Narutocho, Naruto, Tokushima Prefecture, 772-0053, Japan
Good for: Solo
5-5 Otsutsumi Saita Muyacho, Naruto, Tokushima Prefecture, 772-0002, Japan
Good for: Business
82-88 Aza Oge, Naruto-cho Tosadomariura, Naruto, Tokushima Prefecture, 772-0053, Japan
Good for: Couples
228 Saitaoozutsumi Muyacho, Naruto, Tokushima Prefecture, 772-0002, Japan
Good for: Couples
1-1 Setocho Oshimada Nakayama, Naruto, Tokushima Prefecture, 771-0367, Japan
Good for: Couples
168-1 Muyachokokuwajima Azamaehama, Naruto, Tokushima Prefecture, 772-0012, Japan
Good for: Families
Room was large and attractive. As usual for a ryokan the staff were more than helpful, despite the...more
234-16 Oge Tosadomariura Narutocho, Naruto, Tokushima Prefecture, 772-0053, Japan
Good for: Families
55 Saitaazaoozutsumi Muyacho, Naruto, Tokushima Prefecture, 772-0002, Japan
To get to Naruto by train you must travel from within Shikoku, because there are no trains connecting Tokushima Prefecture to the mainland, so if you are in Honshu, you can take a train from Okayama to Shikoku. Naruto is accessed from the Naruto Line, so from Takamatsu or Kochi you can take a train to Ikenotani Station and transfer to the Naruto Line from there.
From Naruto Station, go to Naruto Kosoku Bus Stop and take a bus to Naruto Koen-Guchi which is in Naruto Park.
By car, the Takamatsu Expressway goes through Naruto, so you can drive from Takamatsu or Kobe on the mainland via Awaji Island.
There are a few ways to see the whirlpools. The first way is by boat. It costs 1530 yen for the bottom level and 2530 yen for the top level on the Wonder Naruto boats. If you really want to see the whirlpools, it is best to pay the extra fee to go to the top level, because the further above them you can get, the more clearly you'll be able to see them. You'll also be able to see whirlpools that are a bit further away from the top deck.
Another option is the walkway on the bridge. It will take you above the whirlpools and you can look down from special viewing areas to see them. You can access it from Naruto Park. It costs 500 yen.
A third option is the escalator on Eska Hill, which takes you far above the whirlpools but it is also a bit far away. It costs 300 yen to go up the escalator.
There are a few other lookout points away from Naruto Park, as well, and those are free but not very accessible on foot.
If you want to see them from more than one place, there are combination tickets that can save you money. For example, if you want to take the boat AND view them from the bridge walkway, get a combination ticket for 1800 yen. That will save you 230 yen.
First I went from Kyoto to Kobe Maiko train station by train (Kansai Area Pass).
Close to there is a bridge - which you can visit.
There is a stair case going up to the bridge.
There you should find a small bus stop, where the buses go straight to Naruto National Park.
The bus goes about every two hours.
A promenade underneath the Naruto Bridge. Visitors can witness at close hand the Naruto Strait Whirlpools.
Fun Alternatives: I thought it was pretty expensive, and thought the boat ride to see the whirlpools was much better.