Japan in my mind: Enoshima and Kamakura

  • Posted on: November 30, 2013
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The thing about my trip to Japan is that I wanted to go outside Tokyo without worrying about my schedule. I already went to Kyoto and Osaka, but thought going somewhere close and still do a bit of a sight-seeing would be really great. I have heard of the town of Enoshima from a show that my sister and I watched sometime last year and upon doing my research, thought that it would be a great place to visit on a Sunday. My friend’s hometown is near the area too, so with her suggestion we also decided to go to Kamakura.

My friend S and I had to do a bit of a research on what would be the best deal to get around and we found that the Enoshima-Kamakura FreePass is the best bang for the buck ($14.00 per person). From Tokyo we took the Odakyu line for an hour (one of the most peaceful train rides I had in my two-week stay there: the morning sunlight was refreshing and there were relatively less people around). We then arrived at Fujisawa Station and took the Enoden, which are old-looking trains (my friend said they are new but designed to “look old”) and first headed to Hachiman Shrine.

There are numerous Hachiman Shrines throughout the country, but the one that we went to was the Tsurugaoka Hachimangu in Kamakura. Like any other trips in Japan, there’s lots of walking involved. My friend S is knowledgeable about the place, so she was explaining while we were walking around the shrine.

These are barrels of alcohol offered to the god(s) enshrined. That’s a lot of booze!

I tried to counteract my first omikuji but to no avail. I still got a “relatively OK luck”.

We then decided to eat at a soba restaurant, Kamakura Yamaji Yukinoshita, that we saw prior to heading to Hachimangu. We had a very refreshing lunch and I thoroughly enjoyed the taste of freshly made soba noodles.

After that we headed to Kamakura to see the Daibutsu, the Amida Buddha in Kotoku-in. The act of arriving and turning from the corner entrance and slowly seeing the Great Buddha from the distance is an experience. More than excitement, it felt kind of spiritual, possibly because of the physical greatness that was in front of me.

The Enoden. I get the impression that riding these throughout the course of our trip is an experience in itself.

THE BEACH! I think this is the main highlight of this trip, and the driving force behind my decision to go to Enoshima. I have never smelled the salty air of the ocean for around five years now, and it made me so excited. My family used to live near a salt “plantation,” and both my parents’ family live near the ocean, so I am used to its smell. That Sunday was hot, and my shoes got wet, and it was a BIG mistake for me not to bring any flip flops. But it was all worth it.

Finally, Enoshima. The place was packed with mostly locals I think, a lot of them younger people. We paid a visit to the shrine of Benzaiten, which again, comprises a lot of walking. Despite that I think it was worth it because of the view from the top. There were lots of young people in the area too, majority of them drinking under the bridge and/or racing on the beach with their jet skis. I find it to be a bit too dangerous and pushing the YOLO concept too far (if it ever exists in that context).

I did draw another omikuji (my friend said, “Angela, third time’s a charm!”) but no. Still “relatively OK luck”. Well, rather than a kyo, I guess!

See the long reddish bridge? That’s how far we had to walk from Enoshima station. Cardio at its best!

We went back to Fujisawa to eat at Kakureya Curve (best dinner! Thank you S!) before finally catching our train back to Tokyo. Another peaceful train ride (albeit at night) and looking back, I was really tired but was glad that I get to have some quiet time on my way back.

Prayers for Benzaiten specifically made by couples (or singles who are looking for love).

I will definitely go back to Enoshima. But maybe next time, I’ll explore the upper area where I can visit the Botanical Garden, or maybe even explore the caves.

If you are going to Tokyo and would like to take a “break” from the busy life there, going to Kamakura-Enoshima area is a great way to do so! Still very rich in religious and cultural tradition, but will not break your budget or your travel schedule.