Do you know about the manga and anime called “Naruto”? Well, I’m a huuuge fan of Naruto! Aaand do you know that the name Naruto is coming from a real town in Japan? Yes! There is a real town located in Tokushima prefecture called “Naruto”. This town is located by a strait between Shikoku Island and Awaji Island in Hyogo Prefecture with a huge whirpool happening twice a day in the strait. Whirpool in Japanese is called “Uzushiyo”, while a small whirpool that you can find while you emptying your bath tub is called “Uzumaki”. If you are a fan of Naruto like me, I think you can immediately relate Naruto’s ninja technique the Rasengan with the image of whirpool. That’s where Naruto got his name. “Naruto Uzumaki” Naruto coming from the name of Naruto town, Uzumaki from the small whirpool.
I happened to get the chance to visit the town last year during my study in Japan. To get to Naruto city, you can take a bus from Kansai International Airport. It will take around 3 hours and the bus ticket will cost 4800 yen round trip.
The main attraction of Naruto city is the big whirpool which happens twice a day. In the afternoon and in the evening. You can experience the whirpool from a boat crossing the strait or from a bridge build above the strait, called “The Great Naruto Bridge”/”Oh Naruto Bridge” or in Japanese “Oo Naruto Hashi” (which happened to be in the beginning of the series while Naruto and team 7 had a mission to the wave country. In the series, Naruto and team 7 helped the people of the village defeating a tyrant and building a bridge to connect the village and the outside world so the people can do trade to fulfill their everyday needs. In the end of the mission the people of the village name the bridge using Naruto’s name).
To ride a boat to cross the strait, you have to take another bus. Once the bus from Kansai airport drop you in Naruto city, you will find a map of the city. Walk a bit and you will find a tourist information center. You can purchase the bus ticket to the harbor from the information center. To ride the boat, it’s another 1800 yen. At that time, we chose to ride the boat. After crossing the boat, we went to the Naruto bridge by bus.
Beside the boat ride and the bridge, you had to try the fish dish in Naruto city. We found a restaurant and had our lunch there. We ordered a fish head soup set. The fishes caught in the strait is more delicious because there is a whirpool happens in the strait twice a day. That whirpool functions like a gym to the fishes and kelp. Funny eh? But it’s true, the fish and kelp we had, taste so good and fresh.
After finishing our lunch, we went to the city museum. There we learned more about the strait, the whirpool and the bridge. The construction of the bridge was finished and open for public in 1985. The museum was fun and packed with many interactive games and informations.
It was a fun experience to be able to visit Naruto city. If you happened to be in Japan at the moment, instead of the usual Tokyo or Kyoto, maybe you can try visiting this place. (npa)