Located at the northeastern tip of Tokushima, Naruto is a lively city overlooking a strait famed for its swirling whirlpools. It’s home to a fascinating art museum and a former German POW camp, as well as the first temple along the famous Shikoku Pilgrimage route.
Things to do
Connecting the Pacific Ocean and the Inland Sea, the Naruto Strait between Naruto and Awaji Island is renowned for its rapid currents and whirlpools up to 20 metres in diameter. This natural phenomenon can be viewed from sightseeing boats or atop the Naruto Bridge, which spans the strait, as well as from Awaji Island.
Art enthusiasts should visit the Ōtsuka Museum of Art, which is home to more than 1,000 ceramic reproductions of famous masterpieces. Join one of the robot-led gallery tours by “Mr Art” to get up close to the recreated Sistine Chapel and Scrovegni Chapel, as well as Picasso’s “Guernica”.
Pay your respects at Ryozen-ji, the first of 88 temples along the Shikoku Pilgrimage route. Soak up the atmosphere as pilgrims dressed in white visit its Shingon-style pagoda while learning about the famous saint-monk Kobo Daishi who founded Shingon Buddhism.
Discover the experiences of German prisoners in Japan during World War II at the Naruto German House, which was built on the site of a former POW camp. From brewing their own beer to making sausages and forming an orchestra, the museum explores how their days were spent through artefacts and old photographs.
Naruto is around 15 minutes’ drive from Tokushima Awaodori Airport or four hours by train from Osaka International Airport. Buses travel throughout Naruto and connect most of its sights and it’s an easy city to explore by bicycle.
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