Updated: Nov 21, 2019
Nope. We're not talking about Naruto the Anime, though I did come across this poster.
We wanna see the sea instead!
Oge Island of Naruto
Parking lot: Narutodai 2 Parking Lot (Parking fee ¥500) [Google maps link]
Arrived at 11:30am - Depart at 1pm
This corner of Naruto 鳴門, at the northern coast of Oge Island 大毛島, is known for whirlpool viewing. This natural oceanic phenomenon is apparent at certain times of the day. One can find out the best viewing times, which is illustrated on a schedule on the websites of viewing boat companies
eg Uzushio Kanchosen https://www.uzusio.com/ and Uzushio Kisen https://www.uzushio-kisen.com/. Each company has a different fleet of boats, which can ride up next to the whirlpool for a close-up view.
Uzushio Kanchosen has two boats: the larger and spacious Wonder Naruto, and smaller and nifty Aqua Eddy (which has an underwater viewing gallery). Uzushio Kisen has one boat, the Uzushio Line. Amongst all the boats, only the Aqua Eddy requires a prior reservation.
Unfortunately, the whirlpools were not active when we got there. (We knew about that before arriving). So we didn’t choose to take a boat ride out. Furthermore, my travel buddy gets seasick, so we stuck to land.
What we did instead:
Next to our carpark was a flight of stairs which took us up to the Ochaen Observatory お茶園展望台 [Google map link].
From this viewing point, we got an amazing sight of the sea, Awaji Island, and the handsome Onaruto Bridge 大鳴門橋.
We followed the Onaruto bridge, and walked northwards to the Senjyoujiki Observatory 千畳敷展望台. In this gif, that huge majestic white suspension bridge is Onaruto bridge. From the south side of the bridge, one can enter the Uzunomichi Walkway which is an enclosed walkway, from which visitors can appreciate the swirly patterns of the whirlpools. Those who wanna know more, can check out their website http://www.uzunomichi.jp/english/
There is a collection of shops near the 千畳敷展望台 Senjyoujiki Observatory but there is one I wanted to visit. At Uzunoya うづ乃家, the left corner-most shop, I wanted to try their Chikuwa ちくわ. But this is no regular stuff.
Watching the Take-Chikuwa got us hungry!
This is a regional variation of Chikuwa from Komatsushima, Tokushima Prefecture. They call it Take Chikuwa 竹ちくわ (literally bamboo chikuwa). The fish-paste is molded around a bamboo stick, and slowly broiled like a rotisserie. It was exciting to watch its preparation. That got me pretty psyched up, since Chikuwa often means pre-packed pre-grilled hollow fish cake to us.
Naruto is famous for their sweet potato, known as Naruto Kintoki 鳴門金時. Best steamed, with a slab of butter on top. They’re so good, and special, that I bought a 1kg bag of them for ¥500 to take home. Regular Japanese sweet potatoes were retailing for S$10 for 3 good sized pieces, probably around 200g.