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Enoshima Electric Railway, Enoden

One of the most used and beloved railway lines in Japan

The Enoshima Electric Railway, known as Enoden in Japanese, is one of the best known railways in Japan. It winds its way from Fujisawa City to Kamakura City. Some of the cars still have wooden seats and floors. I rode it on my first visit to Japan in 1991, and again last week.

The train is still as charming as it was then. It stops at all the major attractions of Kamakura — the great Buddha at Hase Station, the beautiful beaches and Eno Island (Enoshima in Japanese) at Enoshima Station. The last stop is Kamakura, where you can walk the streets of Komachi, giving you an idea of what Japan looked like hundreds of years ago.

About the rail line itself, for most of the way it has only one track with a few places for trains in the opposite direction to pass. Often the train has to stop to let an oncoming train pass — in some parts, it's literally a few centimeters away from houses and businesses. Just before Enoshima, it runs right in the middle of the street, giving the impression of being in a tram. Cars have to stop to let it pass through. At Hase station, we get off the platform and walk right over the tracks, giving it a lot more charm.

It's one of the greatest train rides in Japan, I think.

Getting there

You can access the Fujisawa Station via the Oadakyu line or you can take the JR Tokaido line from Tokyo, at the Ofuna Station in Yokohama, take the Yokosuka line to Kamakura or stay on the main line to go to Fujisawa and get on the Enoshima line to ride the full length of the line.

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