I went on my first Kurushima Straight (来島海峡) boat tour this summer!
My parents and my sister drove out to Oshima Island (大島), which is the first exit off Shimanami Kaido (しまなみ海道) from Imabari (今治), to take a boat tour of the Kurushima Straight tidal currents. Kurushima Straight is said to have one of the three most rapid currents in Japan, along with Kanmon Straight (関門海峡) and Naruto Straight (鳴門海峡). I've never been to either of them so I couldn't really compare...but the boat ride was fun!
As Kurushima Straight is located in the middle of Seto Inland Sea (瀬戸内海) and leads to both Kyushu and Kansai areas, it is considered an important international route for many ships and vessels. But in the olden days, it was also considered a very difficult place to navigate, due to the narrow routes and the unpredictable rapid currents. The tour guide mentioned that the speed of the current whirlpools at times exceeded 10 knots (not that I know what that means...I'm guessing very fast).
The boat tour took us under Kurushima Kaikyo Bridge (来島海峡大橋), which is part of Shimanami Kaido, and towards the Kurushima Straight tidal currents. We also navigated around islands such as Kojima (小島) and Kurushima (来島), before going by Hashihama Port (波止浜港) to see various ships that are docked there.
I had a great time on the tour, especially with the wind blowing in my hair. It felt great and the waves and tidal currents made for a thrilling boat ride. If you're ever in the area, I would definitely recommend this 40 minute boat tour to learn about the history and experience the tidal currents!
While we were on Oshima, we also stopped by the Imabari City Murakami Suigun Museum, which is all about the pirates that roamed and guarded the Seto Inland Sea. We also stopped by a roadside station to try the local soft serve and mikan juice. So so good!
Who knew Oshima could be so much fun?
Here are some photos:
Our tickets for the Kurushima Straight tidal current boat tour.
Big smiles all around...even though we had to wear orange life jackets!
Some parts of the straight are so calm you'd never know...
The anchorage (left photo) is a 150,000m³ block of concrete that secures the bridge cables.
Kurushima Kaikyo Bridge is the first bridge consisting of three successive suspension bridges in the world.
Everyone's eyes were glued to the large current whirlpools.
Not only did we see the whirlpool but we felt the pull on the boat as well.
My first time seeing the bridge from underneath!
Many of the smaller islands still have a small community of people living there.
Hashihama Port is home to Imabari Shipbuilding, Japan's largest ship building company.
The water looks so peaceful from here.
There were many smaller boats out and about as well.
We had a great time on the boat tour!
This was the boat that took us around the Kurushima Straight.
Mikan and lemon soft serve and ponkan juice! Yum!
My ticket to Imabari City Murakamisuigun Museum
Ships with the "上" flag were able to pass through the straight safely back in the day.
I've discovered that Imabari may be a small city but it is rich with history.
Bari-san and his lady dressed up to promote Imabari!