This past week, I had the immense pleasure of spending some time exploring Fujisawa, a city just an hour by train south of Tokyo. Located on Japan’s Pacific coast, this city was once voted the most comfortable to live in in all of Japan. With miles of beautiful beach, decent waves, a famous aquarium, surf shops and numerous restaurants and cafes, this city is the closest thing to Honolulu or the California coast on Honshu. From many places within the city’s downtown area as well as the beach, breath-taking Mount Fuji is visible. It was haunting to be able to see it still covered in snow as I surfed the head-high waves this first week of May. The beach towns of Shonan, Shichirigahama, and Tsujido are all known for their steady, surfable waves, and draw surfers, windsurfers, kiteboarders, stand-up paddlers, and kayakers from all over Japan.
The city is known to be bike-friendly, and you’ll find just as many people commuting by bike (some with surfboards or beach chairs rigged up to them) as by car. Bikes are available throughout the city for rental as well. A beautiful boardwalk spans the entire stretch of beach and makes for a scenic ride, with many food shacks, shops and cafes along the way. You’ll notice fleets of falcons with brown and white plumage soaring on the sea breeze above, occasionally diving down to steal a piece of meat off of a barbecue grill.
Within a short train ride away lie some of Japan’s oldest and most beautiful temples, with one train, in particular, the Eno-Den, riding tracks along the beach out to the island of Enoshima. The town of Kamakura draws Japanese and foreign tourists alike, many of whom come to view the Kamakura Buddha, one of the largest statues of Buddha in Japan. There are numerous other temples in this town as well, all boasting beautiful gardens and a peaceful atmosphere among buildings hundreds of years old.