The world's largest Sihwa Tidal Power Plant (TPP), located on the west coast of Korea, was built in 2011 for the purpose of improving water quality and producing renewable energy. After several years of actual operation, most of the original purpose was achieved, but unexpected coastal environmental changes such as tidal flat damage and sediment accumulation also occurred. In this study, in order to understand the causes of these environmental changes, field observations were conducted near TPP, and spatial and temporal variability of flow structure and water exchange process were investigated. Three-dimensional velocity data were collected along the closed line surrounding the outside of the TPP for 11 h during spring tide and analyzed according to two discharge phases: power generation phase (PGP) and drainage phase (DP). The results show that the depth-averaged maximum current velocity was more than three times greater at DP than at PGP. Jet-like flow during DP caused very high horizontal shear, whereas vertical shear was relatively weak, indicating that the horizontal and vertical flow structures were very different. The most notable result is that the mass transport patterns between PGP and DP are significantly different, i.e., during PGP, mass transport is dominated on the left side of the TPP, whereas during DP, it occurs at the front of the TPP. This means that there is a strong spatiotemporal asymmetry between the inflow from the downstream (outside of the TPP) during PGP and the outflow from the upstream (inside of the TPP) during DP. These asymmetric processes can have a significant impact on the material exchange and sediment transport near the TPP. Since observational studies on TPP are extremely rare, this study is expected to contribute to future TPP related research, such as numerical modeling.