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Spring sightseeing season spins in at Naruto whirlpools

A sightseeing boat is seen near a Naruto whirlpool from a Mainichi Shimbun helicopter on March 2, 2019. (Mainichi/Yohei Koide)

NARUTO, Tokushima -- The spring sightseeing season for the Naruto whirlpools in the straight between this city and Awaji Island in Hyogo Prefecture in western Japan, started on March 2.

    On that day, the whirlpools displayed a wonderful contrast between the blue sea and white churning water under Onaruto Bridge across the strait.

    The whirlpools reach up to 20 meters in diameter and peak in size during the spring tides, according to the local tourist association.

    A ceremony was held on March 2 to launch the sightseeing season. Tourism representatives threw a 1.7-meter "golden key" into the sea at the site from a boat to "open the door of the whirlpool" as cruise operators prayed for safety and many visitors.

    (Japanese original by Kazuya Osaka, Tokushima Bureau)

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