Tokushima is home to one of nature’s most captivating phenomena – whirlpools. Swirling in the Naruto Strait, these vortexes have gained incredible popularity for their beauty and cultural influence. There are several ways to see them in person, including sightseeing cruises and boats.

What are the Naruto Whirlpools?

Naruto Whirlpools are caused by strong tidal currents rushing through the narrow passage connecting the Seto Island Sea with the Pacific Ocean. Smaller water currents encounter the main current creating the iconic “swirl” that surfaces in sizes of up to 20 meters in diameter.

The best seasons to visit are summer and autumn when the currents are the most intense. However, since nature is as unpredictable as it is mesmerizing, it’s recommended to check whirlpool schedules ahead of time to ensure you’ll catch them when they’re very active.

If you’re wondering if they’re related to the anime “Naruto,” the Japanese word “naruto” means whirlpool. It was an inspiration for the character Naruto Uzumaki.

Popular Services and Spots

Uzushio offers regular services to visit this natural spectacle on “Wonder Naruto,” the large sightseeing boat, and “Aqua Eddy” of smaller capacity. The former includes a first-class cabin and multiple floors. “Wonder Naruto” can get close to whirlpools and offers a range of stunning views. On the other hand, “Aqua Eddy” has a submerged observatory room that is one-meter beneath the surface, as well as a regular observation.

If sightseeing cruises don’t pique your fancy, “Uzu-no-Michi Walkway” is an equally amazing option. Hovering above the sea from the Naruto Bridge is the observatory deck, allowing for overhead views of the Naruto whirlpools.

Other notable spots are “Naruto Park” and “Eska Hill.” Composed of picturesque gardens and walking paths, “Naruto Park” is a popular vantage point surrounded by nature, whereas “Eska Hill” takes a modern approach with a 68-meter escalator offering a panoramic view of the aforementioned park, the whirlpools and Onaruto Bridge, as well as a glimpse of the famous Awaji Island in the distance.


History and Science

For those interested in the history and science behind Tokushima’s treasure, “Onaruto Bridge Memorial Hall” is home to an interactive museum that uses 360° theater and art projection techniques to demonstrate the structure of whirlpools and the engineering of Onaruto Bridge.

Japan has embraced the Naruto whirlpools as part of Japanese culture and has since been a muse for art and folklore. In mythology, they are interpreted as water spirits or deities hailing mystical power and inspired numerous works of art in the form of ukiyo-e woodblock prints and contemporary paintings.

(Credit: Utagawa Hiroshige, Awa Province: Naruto Whirlpools (1856))

How to Get There

Plane, train and car are suitable methods of transport to Naruto from Tokyo but require considerate planning. From Tokyo to Tokushima, it takes around three hours from Haneda airport. Train averages five hours of travel time whereas driving would take around seven. A bus is also available with 11 hours of travel time. Previous visitors recommend plane or train for a balance of comfortable travel time and price. If you’d like to explore Naruto Park, it is accessible by bus every hour from the city’s center from Naruto Station.

Sightseeing Boat Details


Wonder Naruto

  • 9 am – 4:20 pm

  • Adult: ¥1,800

  • Child: ¥900

  • *first-class upgrades are available

Aqua Eddy

  • 9:15 am – 4:15 pm

  • Adult: ¥2,400

  • Child: ¥1,200

Other Details


  • Adult: ¥1,600

  • Child (elementary): ¥800

  • Child (preschool): Free

  • *combination tickets available

Eddy Onaruto Bridge Crossing Memorial Hall

  • 9 am – 6 pm

  • Adult: ¥510

  • Student (junior/high school): ¥410

  • Student (elementary): ¥260

  • *group and combination tickets available


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