Naruto Whirlpools

Trip Start Apr 02, 2006
Trip End May 17, 2008

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Flag of Japan  , Shikoku,
Thursday, July 5, 2012

Before I came back to Australia, I took a detour and visited Naruto. It is needless to say that I wanted to see whirlpools in the Naruto Strait. I took an overnight bus arriving at Tokukshima at six and then took a train and bus to Naruto Park, where you can see whirlpools. It was raining in the morning. I arrived at the park at half past eight and it was too early to see whirlpools, so I walked to the Tea Garden Observatory and then to the Otsuka Museum of Art. The museum was a unique museum which houses over 1,000 reproduced paintings in actual size on porcelain panels. Considering the fact that famous paintings dot around the world, it is convenient that you can enjoy them all in one museum. I heard that the museum were allowed to reproduce famous paintings with the original size, because they did on porcelain panels. It is conveniently located in Naruto Park and if you want to kill some time in order to see whirlpools, it is an idea to visit the museum. In fact, the museum is huge and you can easily kill three or four hours. Incidentally, an adult ticket costs JPY3,000, or USD38. I reached the museum at 9:10, or 20 minutes before its opening hour and I killed time there until 12:50.

The museum was a five-storey building and visitors gent down to the third basement level first and then went up to the upper levels. The first painting I saw was a reproduction of the ceiling and wall paintings of Vatican Sistine Chapel. The original was painted by Michelangelo and very famous, but I didn't know what was painted there. I was just sitting and viewing the paintings from below. The someone talked to me. He was a guide of the museum and he invited me to his guided tour. Because I don't know much about art, I was happy to join him. The tour lasted for two hours, covering the the third and second basement floors. It was really worth taking. If I had explored in the museum on my own, I would have been bored. Thanks to him, I had a great time in the first two hours in the museum. I still had some time left, but it seemed impossible to see all the rest of the artworks. So I chose to see paintings only in the first basement. At 12:45, although I was not unsatisfied, I had to leave the museum to take a whirlpool observation boat. 

I was scheduled to see whirlpools around 12:50, the time of low tide of the day. So I rushed to a boat pier. Actually, there were a few different boats available, but I just believed the smallest one was the most exciting and took it. The small boat was a bit pricey, but there were only three passengers. Whirlpools were seen near the Great Naruto Bridge. I thought it was dangerous to get out of the cabin, but the other passengers didn't hesitate to get out. Actually, it was not dangerous at all and I was able to take a lot of pictures on the deck. The boat ride lasted only for 20 minutes, but I was satisfied with it. 

The next thing on my travel list was a whirlpool observation from the Great Naruto Bridge. That is, I wanted to see whirlpools from a different viewpoint. I got lost a bit on my way, so it took long time to get to the entrance of the observation passage. As soon as I arrived, I quickly bought a ticket and hurried to the point just over whirlpools. There was passages only with fences, but because it was rainy on the day, the passages were all closed. I couldn't help but enjoy views of whirlpools through windows. It was just OK and not worth paying JPY500. 

Anyway, I had no time to linger around Naruto, because I had to get on a flight at Osaka. I took a bus at 2:37 to get on a flight at 8:25. It seemed that I had plenty of time, but on my way to the airport, I got on a wrong train at Kobe and the airport was farther from Osaka Station than I had expected. (It took one hour and ten minutes to go from the train tation to Kansai International Airport!) As a result, I arrived at the check-in counter at 7:23, two minutes before the check-in counter was closed. It was a close call and I learned that I should be very careful of time when I travel in the areas which I am not familiar with even in Japan. (Come to think of it, I did a similar thing in Hong Kong as well....)
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