Travelers' Experiences

Surreal Natural Phenomenon on Awaji Island: The Naruto Whirlpools

Earth throws up stunning natural wonders all around the world, and Japan is no exception. Breathtaking marvels of nature can be found throughout the country. Occurring in the strait between the city of Naruto in Tokushima Prefecture and Awaji Island in Hyogo Prefecture is one such wonder, the Naruto Whirlpools (Naruto no Uzushio), which are one of the main tourist attractions in Awaji Island. 

What are the Whirlpools?

The Naruto Whirlpools are large and powerful tidal whirlpools that are formed due to the gravitational pull of the moon and the ocean current. They occur when the tide moves large amounts of water in and out of the strait, and experts observe that the whirlpools can form up to 20 meters in diameter and rush at the speed of 15 km/hour.

As a person who loves to travel, I have visited many tourist spots and have always been intrigued by natural phenomena both in Japan and my home country. This is why I was very excited when I knew I’d have the chance to see another potentially outstanding natural phenomenon on Awaji Island.

From Where to See Naruto Whirlpools

Experience on a 40-minute Cruise

The whirlpools can be seen from the Uzushio Rest Area and from the Onaruto Bridge itself, as you drive across. However, if you wish to see the stunning view up close, then a cruise from Awaji Island might be the best option to admire the astonishing phenomenon. The 40-minute trip was very easy to take since no reservation is needed, and the price is very reasonable as well.

First of all, I was impressed by the boat—it was large and spacious, which allowed for a very relaxing trip. Due to its size, it could get very close to the whirlpools and pass above them, offering impressive views. As we approached the whirlpools, I was captivated by the dramatic scenes of the swirling vortexes appearing and disappearing at random times and in random spots. Some of the whirlpools are small, while others are much bigger. Riding the cruise and observing the different variations of the whirlpools up close in their full majesty was an experience that I will treasure. You can observe them from inside the cabin on the first floor, or from the deck outside.

An Interesting Fact

An interesting fact—since the Naruto Whirlpools are a natural phenomenon, their size may vary from day to day. Even depending on the particular time of the day, they may be more or less visible. Conveniently, it is possible to check the tide situation on the official website. I was fortunate enough to visit at just the right time to observe some impressively large whirlpools.  


It is always an incredible experience to be able to witness natural phenomena. Japan is known for its majestic natural wonders, from the beautiful beaches of Okinawa to the rare winter sights of Hokkaido. I did not expect to find such a hidden gem on Awaji Island—the island famed as the mythological origin of Japan. It seems like my journey on this island is going to be a long one, as its potential for discovery seems truly unlimited.

Sightseeing spot name: Naruto Whirlpools (Naruto no Uzushio)
Location: Naruto, Tokushima 772-0000