Isfahan may be half the world but the Pacific Ocean is surely the other half, and at Naruto its gargantuan mass squeezes through a gap barely a kilometer wide. My walk across Shikoku over, I sailed into this Japanese Charybdis on a small boat, the dark water a protean horror show. The ocean rose out of itself in patches the size of tennis courts, smooth as a high-end ice cube, the edges churning into the depths. Across the strait, the fields of Awaji smelled of sun and sweet onions.
This was the third of seven days when I didn’t walk every step of the way. The only way to avoid taking a vehicle here would have been to take an entirely different route across Western Japan. It was only when I arrived in Tokushima that I found out that there is no ferry service across the Naruto Strait and also that pedestrian traffic is not allowed on the Great Naruto Bridge. I did the closest thing I could: I took a sightseeing boat halfway across the strait, into the whirlpools, then I was driven across the bridge by my friend Yoshihara Hitoshi.↩︎