Enoshima and Kamakura are two amazing places which both deserve to be visited during your first visit to Japan. Because most travelers find time to be limited when visiting Japan, because there is so much to see, Kamakura and Enoshima are often combined during a day trip. This, in my opinion is a great option when you visit Japan for the first time. When you will visit Japan a second time around you might want to spend a little more time in one of both cities to see it thoroughly...
In this article I will tell you the exact trip I made the first time I travelled to Japan and visited both cities on a lovely sunny day. Feel free to copy the itinerary, because in my opinion it was a great day and I have already made plans to do this trip again the exact same way next autumn when I will show someone else the best of Japan during her first trip to Japan...
So, without further ado, let me present you the first part of the day trip...
The Enoshima itinerary:
Start your day by taking the Odakyu line from JR Shunjuku station to Fujisawa station. You can buy the Enoshima Kamakura Free Pass at Shinjuku station, which costs 1470 yen and allows you to do this entire trip by train without having to pay extra.
At Fujisawa station you will find big sign which will guide you to Enoshima Island. It takes about 15 minutes on foot to get there. If you get lost (which is very difficult with the big signs at the station, just follow the mass which will guide you to the island). At Enoshima you will probably need around 3-4 hours max, so it is a great way to start of your day.
At Enoshima Island you can buy the Enopass for 1000yen, which gives you admission to the Island's main attractions (The garden, observation tower, the caves) and you get to make use of the escalator to the top of the island. You will also get a discount at the Benten Statue and the Aquarium located near the Fujisawa station.
The legend of Enoshima
Legend has it, back in the old days people of Enoshima were plagued by a 5-headed dragon and caused crops and fishing to fail. The dragon caused an earthquake which created the island, but also the goddess Benzaiten was born. The dragon fell in love and wanted her for himself. She refused saying she couldn't love anything this evil and only if he would live by the teaching of buddha she'd might love him. The dragon reformed and stole her heart. Content, he curled up on her island and formed the large hill on the island.
When visiting Enoshima, look out for references of the dragon and the Benzaiten goddess.
Enoshima island is a very relaxing island to visit and you can visit everything on foot. Strolling around will enable you to visit most sights.
Before entering this torii look out for an ice cream seller, which sells unique Enoshima ice cream flavors. Try one of those before continuing (or buy one on your return).
Afterwards, visit the many souvenirs stores while making your way towards the Enoshima shrine.
Enoshima shrine consists of 3 separate shrines spread around the island. The main shrine hold thes statue of Benten. You pay a 150 yen fee to see the statue, but the other parts of the shrine are completely free.
Walk the stairs to visit the shrine from the inside and climb your way to the top or take a turn to the left and take the elevators up the hill if you do not feel like walking. (fee applies).
When at the top, you will find the Samuel Cocking Garden with the observation tower inside where you will find nice flowers. The garden+observation deck fee costs 500 yen and is worth it if you want to climb the tower ad enjoy the views. Otherwise I'd skip the garden personally.
When heading towards the garden you will find a small building with a long queue of people wiating. Stand in line and try the local delicacy Tako Senbei (octopus cracker). An octopus is squished in a hot press in hot batter and you will get a cracker with the outlines of the octopus still visible. It may sound a little weird, but trust me! It is delicious!
From there, make your way towards the end of the trail and visit the Love Bell. This bell stands on top of the Enoshima trail and provides a lovely view over the ocean. Legend has it, that if couples sing the bell together and write their names on locks attacked to the fence you will stay together forever.
Travelling solo? No worries, if you ring it by yourself you will ask for your significant other to show up... Win win if you ask me!
Lastly, visit the Iwaya caves of Enoshima by again following the signs on the island. These caves are located on the souther coast and you get a nice view of the cliffs and the ocean. Inside the caves you will find a statue of the legendary Dragon and beside the dragon is a drum. Again, legend has it, if you bang the drum 2 times and the eyes of the dragon statue will light up, you wish will come true. (Admission 500 yen).
Even if you do not want to spend 500 yen visiting the caves and the dragon statue. I recommend you to at least walk to the entrance of the caves, because the path towards the caves gives you a stunning view of the ocean side.
From here, you will have completed the journey of Enoshima and you can decide to explore more on the island or take the Enoden Train towards Kamakura. (I would definitely recommend the latter).
Follow the signs back to the station (perfectly directed by the English signs on the Island) or on weekends and holidays only, take the Bentenmaru boats from the south end of the island towards the mainland (400 yen, 10 minutes)...
To continue the itinerary go here and find the Kamakura 1/2 day trip guide on this page: