Home Culture Japan Corner JAPAN CORNER::::Naruto Whirlpools, Revisited

JAPAN CORNER::::Naruto Whirlpools, Revisited

By David Yamaguchi The North American Post

Last issue, I described how great whirlpools form at Naruto, at the east entrance to Japan’s Inland Sea, in response to tidal changes through a narrow strait. The photo reveals this phenomenon today, with something new. In the background is the Onaruto Bridge (Great Naruto Bridge) spanning Naruto Strait. It was the first of three great bridge projects that today link the Japanese mainland with the formerly remote island of Shikoku which forms the Inland Sea. The complete, two-span route from Akashi, near Osaka, to Naruto took from 1970 to 1998 to build. The accompanying span, the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge, is the longest suspension bridge in the world (3,911 meters or 12,831 ft).

But if a government builds a major bridge route as a make-work project to spur a doldrum economy, will it pay for itself through tolls? Or is it a proverbial “bridge to nowhere?”

A Naruto whirlpool. The phenomenon has been a tourist attraction since at least 1855. Photo: Munvar Miya Shaik, CC BY 3.0, commons.wikimedia.org
Naruto (marker) at one of two straits separating the east end of the Japan Inland Sea from the Pacific Ocean. Long, slender Awaji Island separates the straits. Image: Google Maps
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David Yamaguchi is a third-generation Japanese American [Sansei]. He has written for the Post since 2006, at first as a volunteer, later as a paid freelancer. He joined the paper's staff in May 2020, when he began learning how articles flow from Word files through layout to social media.