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Spectacular whirlpools in western Japan go unseen as state of emergency continues

Large whirlpools are seen in the Naruto Strait from a Mainichi Shimbun helicopter over the city of Naruto, Tokushima Prefecture, on May 4, 2020. (Mainichi/Naohiro Yamada)

TOKUSHIMA -- The popular "Naruto whirlpools" that swirl in the Naruto Strait between the Tokushima Prefecture city of Naruto and Awaji Island in Hyogo Prefecture in western Japan are reaching their peak season -- with hardly anyone around to see them.

Sightseeing boats have suspended their operations and the Uzu no Michi observation deck, where visitors can see the natural phenomenon through see-through panels on the floor of the Onaruto Bridge, is temporarily closed due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

People have been requested to refrain from traveling across prefectural borders and the popular sightseeing spot is deserted as few cars are using the bridge.

During the ongoing Golden Week holiday period, the difference in tide levels in the area peaks, and the diameter of the whirlpools reaches about 20 meters.

(Japanese original by Ayane Matsuyama, Tokushima Bureau)

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