From a quick tour of the Niigata Manga Museum, we reached Takasaki in the afternoon. After dropping off our luggage at the hotel, we hopped on a train to Enoshima. I had heard it’s a lovely place to enjoy the evening. On clear days one can even see Mt. Fuji from the nearby Shonan Beach.
Enoshima is a small island near Kamakura. Samuel Cocking, a British trader who arrived in Japan in 1860s, married a Japanese woman and bought most of Enoshima Island. He built a botanical garden and power plant on the island. The power plant was one of Japan’s first and grew to become the Yokohama Cooperative Electric Light Company, we know today.
Armed with our JR Rail passes we caught the Joetsu Shinkansen from Takasaki to Ofuna Station.
At Ofuna we hopped onto the Shonan-Monorail bound for Shonan-Enoshima Station. Shonan Monorail opened on March 7, 1970, the first monorail of its kind in Japan. The monorail goes up and down along the mountains and valleys in the region. It was a thrilling experience as we made our way along sharp curves and through a tunnel as if on a roller coaster ride.
The three-car monorail runs every 7 minutes except early mornings and late evenings. It conveniently connects Shonan area between Ofuna in Kamakura-shi and Enoshima in Fujisawa-shi. It took us about 14 minutes to reach the Shonan-Enoshima Station from Ofuna Station.
From the Shonan-Enoshima Station, a narrow stone-paved lane leads towards the beach. Many animated tourists, still in their beachwear were heading back. On both sides of the lane one can find various restaurants, souvenirs stalls and convenience stores like 7-Eleven and Family Mart.
The Enoshima island is connected to the mainland by bridge. It’s also known as a romantic island and said to be created by the love goddess Benzaiten. At the bridge, we turned right. It was late in the afternoon and we were not thinking of going to the island per se. We were here just to enjoy the lovely breeze on the Shonan Beach and if possible see Mt. Fuji in the distance.
The sun was about to set as we reached the beach. A narrow wooden pier snaked its way far into the sea. The pier offers a lovely view of the island and the Sagami bay. Further up along the pier, we took up seats on the some rocks facing the wide, long surfing beach.
The weather was quite foggy and it was futile attempting to make out Mt. Fuji. I was barely able to make out a silhouette of some mountains in the distance. Still we just sat there watching the sky slowly turn red and purple.
The Shonan beach was still full of surfers having fun in the warm waters. Although not one of my favorites, Enoshima beaches are the closest to Tokyo. But if you want to play in the waves, get some sun, play beach volleyball, or just chill outside, this is where you want to be. ere’s a wide, long surfing beach on both sides of the bridge to Enoshima known as Shonan. On the other side Enoshima was just getting dressed up for the evening.
The day grew dark and gradually the small restaurants and shops on Enoshima Island lit up. From the pier on the beach the island looked like a mystical land in the middle of the sea. We went up to the end of the pier till the we were at the end.
There is an interesting story behind the Enoshima island. There are three different shrines on Enoshima that are collectively known as Enoshima Shrine. They are all dedicated to the goddess Benzaiten. According to Japanese mythology, Benzaiten created Enoshima Island as part of her battle with a troublesome sea dragon. In some variations of the myth, she agrees to marry the dragon if he will tame his troubled ways. In the popular imagination she is the goddess of love. Enoshima Shrine offers pink ema with hearts on them that are popular amongst couples.
Enoshima Sea Candle
The lovely breeze across the bay drew us into a long discussion of the lovely beaches we had been to in Japan. As the night grew, the lighthouse on the island was glowing in Azure light. What I thought was a lighthouse is actually a mobile phone tower.
We stayed around till 7 pm and then head back to the monorail. Most places in Japan become deserted by 6 pm. It was surprising to see heavy crowds still lingering along the beach at this time.
It was night by the time we reached Takasaki Station. The Toyoko Inn is just a 5 minute walk from the station and we were back in the comfort of our room in no time.
Enoshima is a lovely place to spend a day for travelers who are looking for a day trip near Tokyo.
Thanks for reading. Please leave me a comment if you liked the post or follow my story as I visit the amazing Togyoku dolls of Iwatsuki.