- 5 min read

Enoshima Island and Beach

Staying cool at Kanagawa’s best worst kept secret

At last, summertime is here, bringing with it several weeks of glorious sunshine. On the other hand, this also means several weeks of constant sweating, making the steaming concrete jungle the last place that anyone in their right mind would want to hang around in.

It’s time to leave those uninspiring air-conditioned offices and head for the beach!

Located less than 50 minutes away from Yokohama, Enoshima is Kanagawa’s number one resort location for the endless hoards of city dwellers attempting to stay cool and look cool.

If you’re looking for somewhere quiet, peaceful and sophisticated then this is probably not that place however; the summertime vibe here is great with an abundance of interesting attractions including the best sandy beaches this side of Tokyo and if you’re lucky, excellent views of Mount Fuji.

Served by three different stations located a short walk away from each other, Enoshima has to be one of the easiest places on earth to access.

From Katase-Enoshima Station on the Odakyu Line, a pleasant ten minute walk will take you to the main attractions, providing a nice scenic approach to the island via a 600 meter long bridge which connects it to the mainland.

Surrounding this bridge is the famous Kugenuma Beach, packed with numerous bronze colored beach dwellers along with lots of surfers and water skiers. During the summertime, there are numerous food stands and tents situated along this stretch of the beach making it a great place to chill out and attempt to look cool.

As you start your approach along this bridge you will notice some colorful flowerbeds along with two large dragon sculptures that appear to be guarding the entrance to the island.

Despite the fact that Enoshima is famous for being a major resort location, the island is also important historically.

This can be illustrated by the fact that Buddhism and later Shintoism were established here in around the 6th century. Significantly, Benzaiton or Benton; the Goddess of Fortune is enshrined here where a rather peculiar statue depicting her nakedly can be found in ‘Ho-an-den’ (奉安殿), an octagonal shaped building located at the top of the island. Since this is probably one of the only places in Japan to host a naked depiction of a female goddess, many visitors come to this island for the sole purpose of seeing this.

When reaching the main entrance to the island, you will immediately notice a large 'torii' (gate), in front of you with a small narrow street behind containing of many tourist shops, restaurants and rather unfortunately, swarming crowds.

After fighting your way through the endless hoards of people along this narrow street you will soon come to a large bright red gate and several flights of stairs marking the entrance to the main shrine.

Consisting of three actual separate shrines scattered across the island, the first main structure you will see is Hestu-no-miya Shrine (辺津宮), built in around the 13th century during the Kamakura period.

More interestingly, you will notice an endless line of people waiting to enter a round gate in the foreground known as “chi-no-wa”. Traditionally it is believed that in order to enter these grounds you must first be purified spiritually which can only be achieved by entering this gate three times.

Despite the crowds, you cannot help but be impressed by the many beautifully decorated buildings and sculptures around this complex.

Located close by is the Samuel Cocking Garden containing a variety of species of plants and flowers along with a 60 meter high observation tower, allowing you to experience some fine views of the beach. Entrance to the garden and tower is 500 Yen.

A close walk from here is the relatively new ‘Love Bell Hill’, as found in numerous other places where couples can write their name on a padlock and attach it to a wall whilst ringing the bell together. This is said to bring good luck to anyone’s relationship. Good luck with that!

The last and probably best attraction, can be found towards the ‘back’ of the island. Here you will find a rocky beach with several jagged cliffs, including the famous Iwaya Cave. Although there are no sandy beaches here, this makes a great place to have lunch where you can enjoy the fine ocean views and watch the waves crashing against the jagged coastline.

One word of caution however; there are hawks which are known to make diving grabs at people’s food!

Assuming you have the time, a great way to end the day would be to walk along the nearby beach of Kugenuma and wait for sunset. Although it is not always possible to see Mount Fuji, the sunset is always a good experience. This is something that at least, should recharge your batteries before heading back to the concrete jungle

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Steve Morton Author 9 years ago
Hello Yui thank you for comment., I entered the water for a few minutes but actually prefer to swim in swimming pools than the sea. But it is a great beach to look at
Anonymous 9 years ago
Great Photos Steve and so many, it really makes it easy to a feel for the place, thanks. Maybe I should go to Enoshima Island.
Yui Yamaguchi 9 years ago
Your article photos tell me the place very well. Enoshima is often used in Southern All Stars' song, so I always wanted to see what the place is like! Did you swim there?

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