A day trip to Enoshima and Kamakura is a must when visiting Tokyo, Japan. The amazingly efficient rail system of Japan makes this an easy one too. In this post, I share some of the highlights and must-sees in these two beautiful towns south-west of Tokyo.
Read Part 1 on how to get to Enoshima and Kamakura from Tokyo.
Enoshima (江ノ島) is a seaside town and island in the Kanagawa prefecture of Japan. Blue skies, (very strong) sea breeze and lots of local tourists makes it a popular visitor destination even in the winter season.
The Katase-Enoshima train station itself was beautiful and impressive with its red Japanese style architecture.
I love Japan’s approach to tourism! It is really obvious that a lot of effort was put into considering the needs of foreign visitors with bi-lingual signs and romanisation of Japanese words (known as rōmaji).
As you make your way to Enoshima Island, I encourage you to stop by the information centre. Here you can pick up a map of the island as well as a voucher to access free wi-fi if you are not on an international roaming plan.
The bridge that links the island to the mainland takes about 10 minutes and on a clear, sunny day rewards you with a stunning view of Mount Fuji. Apparently winter in January is the best season to view Mount Fuji from Enoshima – lucky me!
This is also where Enoshima beach and according to some Japanese friends, is a popular spot to spend hot summer days.
The island while small is packed with so much to see and do. So much that in hindsight, I spent a little too long lingering and wandering around leaving less time to see Kamakura (more on that later). This is something to keep in mind during your visit as your day trip pass is only valid for a calendar day (not 24 hours).
Even in winter, Enoshima island is packed with travellers or tourists from all over. The walk through the island is by way of the main pathway. Shops after shops sell seafood, trinkets, and local delicacies. For Hello Kitty lovers, there is a Hello Kitty tea house that also sells Hello Kitty merchandise.
Though many of the merchandise here may be slightly overpriced, I discovered that many of their items were rather unique. I say this only after visiting Sanrio World in Ginza, which had a rather limited range.
It takes approximately 3 hours for a round trip of the island. It is a steep and mildly difficult walk, even for myself so the duration of the round trip may vary for others. For an extra 300JPY though, you can opt to take a series of escalators called the Enoshima Escar. This is especially handy if you have trouble climbing stairs. If you have the Enoshima/ Kamakura day pass, you are able to enjoy a discount to the Enoshima Escar.
Highlights of Enoshima Island
Enoshima Island is home to one of the Three Great Shrines of Benzaiten; the Japanese Buddhist Goddess who is also known as Hindu Goddess Saraswati. The Enoshima Jinja is the reason why many local Japanese come to visit. They pay their respects to the Goddess and ask for blessings, while also enjoying a lovely view!
Manish at Experience Tokyo has a lovely post on the legend behind the dragon and Benzaiten, be sure to read it!
I didn’t take any photos of the shrines as I felt uncomfortable doing so here. I also read somewhere that it was disrespectful (makes complete sense). This is however, just my personal take and as always, no judgment on anyone else’s photos.
Don’t forget to look back as you make your way through the island. You’ll be rewarded with stunning views like this one:
I didn’t manage to see everything including the Sea Candle (the island’s lighthouse) but I did have a memorable time particularly at the south-western part of the island. The walk to get to this point is along steep walkways with many stairs to descend but definitely worth it.
The township on Enoshima Island is filled with little restaurants and souvenir shops. Most eateries serve grilled seafood, clams being the popular ingredient at most places.
Be sure to also look for Fujisan along the way. On a clear cloudless day, you’ll definitely get a view of this magnificent beauty!
My next post will be on Kamakura so look out for Part 3 of one of Tokyo’s popular day trip!