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Enoshima and Kamakura; an easy side trip from Tokyo

Exploring enchanting Enoshima and Kamakura in a convenient side trip from the capital

Nestled in Kanagawa Prefecture's Sagami Bay is the enchanting island of Enoshima. This islet, which is just a short train ride away from the atmospheric town of Kamakura, has a lot to offer tourists including a large tower from where stunning views can be had of the island and the surrounding area, a revered shrine and snaking streets that boast a traditional atmosphere. What's more, the region that incorporates Enoshima and neighboring Kamakura is well-connected by the Odakyu train network, making it a convenient side trip from Tokyo I was eager to try for myself.

To get to Enoshima from Shinjuku the most convenient route is via the Odakyu Enoshima line to Katase-Enoshima Station. Before boarding one of the stylish Romance Cars that traverse the line I purchased an Odakyu Enoshima-Kamakura Freepass, which for a reasonable price grants a round trip between Tokyo and the Enoshima area, and unlimited travel between Enoshima and Kamakura on the Enoden trains for an entire day.

With my pass purchased I boarded the Odakyu Romance Car and thus began the comfortable journey down to Enoshima. Upon arriving at Katase-Enoshima Station, I made the short walk to the long bridge which I then crossed to arrive on the island.

Once on the island I made my way up a traditional shopping street towards Enoshima Shrine. On my way I enjoyed the sights, sounds and smells of the shopping street, the latter of which consisted of wafts of food and deserts such as manju, a traditional hot bun with a sweet filling.

I arrived at Enoshima Shrine and explored some of its precincts, taking in its main hall and other beautiful buildings. The shrine is synonymous with Benten, the patron goddess of Enoshima, and is home to one of Japan's three most venerated statues of this deity. As Benten is the goddess of wealth, some visitors wash their money at the shrine's pond. After washing some of my own money, I headed further into the island towards Samuel Cocking Garden and the iconic Enoshima Sea Candle.

Upon entering Samuel Cocking Garden and perusing some of its pretty grounds, I sauntered over to the entrance of the Enoshima Sea Candle. From here, I took an elevator to the observation deck at the top of the tower and was afforded spectacular views of Enoshima and the Kanagawa Coast. I definitely recommend this experience for visitors to this beautiful island.

Back down on ground level, I took a stroll through the island's charming backstreets, passing various eateries and souvenir shops. I was headed to the far west of the island to take in views of the Chigogafuchi coast.

Following a fun-filled morning it was time to leave Enoshima. I crossed the bridge back to the mainland and, with food on the brain, ducked into a nearby restaurant. The area's specialty is shirasudon; a delicious dish consisting of rice topped with an abundance of tiny fish. I ordered a shirasudon set for lunch and devoured it before setting off towards Enoshima Station; where I'd board the Enoden train to Kamakura.

The Enoden train reaches Kamakura in around 25 minutes from Enoshima with departures around every 15 minutes. Along the route the Enoden traverses a section of coast, providing passengers with great views of the ocean. I stopped at one of the coastal stations to take in more of the views before completing the final leg of my journey to arrive at Hase Station a short walk away from Kamakura's revered Great Buddha statue.

The Great Buddha of Kamakura is one of the three most celebrated bronze Buddha Statues in Japan along with the ones at Todaiji Temple in Nara and in Takaoka, Toyama Prefecture. The Kamakura Great Buddha statue stands at an impressive 11.4 meters and attracts droves of visitors eager to experience its majesty. Upon arrival at the Great Buddha, I strolled around and took some photos to round off an enjoyable day of exploration in this unique area of Japan.