As the Shonan Coast is well-known for its sea sports such as surfing and yachting, people would tend to think of the sun, sand, sea and summer when this area is mentioned. What I would like to introduce here is a serene gem facing the Shonan Coast and located in the Sagami Bay that is easily accessible from Tokyo and neighbouring cities. What’s more, you’ll probably get to discover more about the island by visiting during the off-peak winter season of rather than summer when you’ll be literally rubbing shoulders with numerous tourists!
Enoshima is a small island about 4km in circumference and is managed administratively by the mainland city of Fujisawa. There are three railway stations nearby but you would still need to walk across the Enoshima Bridge to get to the island. Be warned that during the winter, the winds are rather strong and the waves crashing against the bridge with such great force may cause you to get drenched. However, the reward for the bitterly cold walk would be a great view of Mount Fuji on the right of the bridge if you happen to be there on a clear winter day.
Depending on where you travel from, it will determine which railway line to use and where to alight. If you are coming after a visit to Kamakura, I would suggest taking the Enoden Line where you get a scenic view of the Shonan Coast in the retro-style train carriage and alight at the Enoshima Station. If you are coming from Fujisawa, you might be better off taking the Odakyu Enoshima Line and alight at the Katase-Enoshima Station which has an unique facade that many people like to take pictures of.
After climbing up the slope where the shopping street is at, you will be greeted by the stairs leading up to the Enoshima Shrine. Instead of making the climb, I would suggest turning left to the Enoshima Escar (江ノ島エスカー) terminal where you can buy the 1-day Eno-pass at JPY 1,000 per adult where you can get access to the Escar that takes you up to the top of the hill and free entry to three attractions i.e. the Sea Candle observatory, the Samuel Cocking Garden and the Iwaya Caves. As the escalator only goes up, you’ll have to take the stairs downwards after touring the attractions on the top of the hill.
There are various attractions on Enoshima so I’ll just choose four spots which I found interesting and enjoyable to introduce here:
- “Washing” money to multiply your wealth– there is a White Dragon King’s pond at the exit of the first leg of the Escar ride where you see some straw trays lying on the rocks beside the mini waterfall. Just put your money into the tray and “wash” it in the water. Legend has it that by doing so, it will increase your wealth. Not sure if it does work but it’s worth trying it just for the experience.
- Seeing the sunset from the Sea Candle observatory – upon reaching the bottom of the Sea Candle observatory, you can take the lift up to the viewing deck where you can see the Sagami Bay at one side and the Shonan Coast on the other. After sunset, you can see the Sea Candle being lit up in special illumination lights tailored for the season.
- Taking in the beauty of the Shonan Coast from the outdoor viewing point – just before you are about to board the second leg of the Escar at the Midori Square, there is an outdoor viewing point where you can see the marina at Enoshima, people on their colourful yachts and the Shonan coastline. Surrounded by the natural greenery around you, it serves as a natural frame for the picture-perfect scenery as you see many tourists take selfies at this spot.
The “live” ise-ebi senbei from Asahi Honten in Enoshima Shopping Street
- The “live” seafood senbei at the shopping street – as you make your way down from the hill, stop by the shop on the left which sells the “live” seafood senbei made freshly on the spot. It’s hard to miss the snaking queue outside this shop so be prepared to wait for a while if you are getting the fresh senbei. Otherwise, you can buy the prepacked ones to bring home as souvenirs. The fresh seafood e.g. small lobster or octopus is placed onto the senbei-making machine and pressed into the steaming-hot senbei. Once it’s done, you will see the entire lobster or octopus in the middle of the senbei. Note that there is a sign outside the shop which reminds you to beware of the birds taking a bite off your senbei. There’s another risk I would like to highlight because the winter wind can be so strong that it can blow and break off a part of your senbei if you are not careful. That’s what happened to me when I lost a corner of my senbei to the wind.
Have a good time at Enoshima during the upcoming winter season!