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Naruto Whirlpool

See the world's greatest whirlpools!

One of the three greatest currents exist in the Naruto Strait under the Onaruto Bridge that connects Tokushima and Awaji Island.
There are whirlpools in the Naruto Strait that can reach up to 30m in diameter at the maximum.

How do whirlpools happen?

The current in the Naruto Strait

The Naruto Strait has a maximum depth of about 100 meters and has very few obstructions for its current. This current is called the main current. On the other hand, on both sides of the main current are shallower waters where the current flows much more slowly.
The whirlpools occur when this main current and the slower currents on the coasts intersect with one another.

The current in the Naruto Strait

Size of the whirlpool

Larger whirlpools can be up to 20 meters in diameter.
When whirlpools occur, they appear, stay from a few seconds to less than a minute, and then disappear. This process repeats numerous times.

Size of the whirlpool

One of the three greatest currents in the world!

The current in the Naruto Strait is the fastest in Japan. The fastest the current can achieve is 10 knots (approximately 20 km/h) or more during the spring tide.
This current is on the same level as the Strait of Messina of Italy and the Seymour Narrows of Canada.
The fast current of the Naruto Strait occurs due to the changing of the tides caused by the gravity of the sun and moon.
The high and low tides occur due to the gravitational pull of the sun and moon.

One of the three greatest currents in the world!

The current has a "northward current" and a "southward current!"

When the northern portion of the Naruto Strait is at high tide, the southern portion already has had its high tide for five hours, meaning it is now at low tide. This difference in water level causes the flow to go from a higher level to a lower one, meaning the current flows from north to south. This flow is called the "southward current."
Six hours later, the northern portion of the Naruto Strait will then be at low tide and the southern portion will be at high tide. This time, the current flows from south to north. This flow is called the "northward current."
This high and low tide difference occurs four times a day.

The current has a

What are the points to look for in whirlpools?

Do the whirlpools spin clockwise or counter-clockwise?

Southward current

When looking from the Pacific Ocean to the Onaruto Bridge

When looking from the Pacific Ocean to the Onaruto Bridge

Northward current

When looking from the Pacific Ocean to the Onaruto Bridge

When looking from the Pacific Ocean to the Onaruto Bridge

Whirlpools occur due to having a fast main current and slower currents on the sides.
It is theorized that the slower flow is pulled in by the faster one, causing the whirlpool to appear.
During the southward current, the Naruto side has more whirlpools while Awaji Island side has more whirlpools during the northward current. In other words, most whirlpools will spin clockwise, although there are rare cases with counter-clockwise whirlpools.

When is the best time to see whirlpools?

When is the best time to see whirlpools?

The best times to see the whirlpools are around one and a half hours before and after the current is fastest.
Days with spring tides are especially recommended.
You should check the best time slots on spring tide days and board the sightseeing boat then.
You will be able to see the grand sights and sounds of the whirlpools up close and be impressed at the awesome power of nature.

Check out the times with the whirlpools!