Going on a road trip is one of my favorites. You don’t have to get on a packed train, wait for anyone or anything – you just pack your stuff (and you can bring whatever and as much as you want) and you can make a stop wherever you want. Another thing I love is exploring the places I’ve never been to, and being in Japan there’s hell of a lot of places I’ve never even imagined going to.
Such is the Enoshima, a small island in Kanagawa, right next to Kamakura. I went to Kamakura last year with a friend, but we never actually considered stopping by at Enoshima, even though it has a marvelous beach and an aquarium right next to the sea.
The beach is just stunning. And there was a lot of people. As my danna says, the Enoshima high schoolers must be confessing their love all the time at this place, after having a kind of picnic or going for a walk. It just calls to mind the corny anime scenes where a really cool looking kid nonchalantly says to a equally cute girl that they should start dating. Brings tears to my eyes. I wonder actually if they have anime happening at Enoshima.
From the beach there’s a wide bridge reserved for pedestrians and from where you can get on a small boat and pass on the long walk to the island. There’s a lot of people going back and forth, so this might sound like a good idea if you can’t wait to get to the main point. When there’s no wind tho, the walk itself gives a great opportunity to see the shining lights of the town from afar.
Going up the hill you’ll see a bunch of stores that sell souvenirs, traditional Japanese pieces of clothing and accessories and what seems to be an Enoshima hit, shrimp rice cake, which is like 50cmx50cm in size. It seems to be the most covetable item on the island, with a huge line forming in front of the only two shops that sell them. One is just below the entrance to the temple complex, and the other one is on the inside. In my opinion the taste of the rice cake wasn’t as good as the dango, which I highly recommend. It was just pure happiness on a stick.
The images above show the atmosphere of the temple complex, which seemed a bit like a park but with an amazing view and a terrace somewhere in the middle, where you can rest and have your coffee or beer if you feel like alcohol suits the mountain air.
Provided that you’re not just in for the booze or just looking for a smoking zone for the half of your visit as I usually am, there are several small temples where you can pray and toss a couple of coins for good luck. It’s your regular Japanese sanctuary with regular look, though I felt that temples at Enoshima and the statues all around the complex might have been too colorful or fancy compared to the others I’ve seen so far. Danna says it reminds him of Chinese temples, but he’s no expert. The temples are scattered along the main path, so you can make stops as you make your way to the back end of the island.
When you pass the garden and the refreshments area, there’s a whole string of Enoshima specialties, izakayas that look out on the sea and stunning landscapes that just pop at every corner. The stairs are long and steep, but I’m pretty sure you’ll enjoy the sunset on the ridge behind all of the restaurants that lead to it. In order not to spoil the experience, I’m not going to attach a photo, you’ll just going to have to go see for yourself. 😀
In sum, it was an amazing experience and a lovely place to visit. I’d like it to rank higher on the list of “most popular places to visit in Japan”, since most of them are Kyoto or other historical places that are already crowded and might leave one feeling bitter for not being to enjoy the landscape stacked with tourists.
I had my picture taken in front of a store that sells Japanese yokan with nori-salt flavour. It tastes like nori-salt potato chips.
Till next time!