If you’re staying in Tokyo or visiting Kamakura, Enoshima, the small island situated off the Shonan coast of Japan’s Kanagawa Prefecture is definitely worth a visit. Though it’s only four kilometers in circumference, the island pack a lot into one area. Given its location close to the major metropolitan hubs of Tokyo and Yokohama, summertime sees flocks of Tokyo and Yokohama locals swarm to the island on the weekends to escape the sweltering summer heat. A lot quieter and more relaxed during the weekdays, Enoshima is also home to a collection of traditional style stores and restaurants that are dotted across the island’s peaks.
Beyond the beach there’s a lot to see and do in this coastal town. The island itself is home to the Sea Candle, a popular observation tower that offers impressive vantage point for checking out the towering Mt Fuji and an incredible panoramic view of Tokyo, Yokohama and smaller neighboring cities like Hiratsuka. For those looking to gain more insight into the local wildlife there’s also a cute aquarium that will provide an afternoon of exploration and fun.
The most iconic landmark on Enoshima island is however the Enoshima Shrine. Actually consisting of three separate shrines that are positioned in three different locations around the island, the shrine holds an undeniable presence over the island and the town below. The main complex of the shrine is an octagonal building that’s home to one Japan's only three most venerated statues of Benten, who is the patron goddess of Enoshima. Given that Benten is also the goddess of wealth, some visitors make the journey the island just to wash their money at the shrine's pond.
If you’re thinking about spending some time on the island it may be worth considering investing in an Enopass. This combination ticket that includes admission to all the island's main attractions such as the historic Samuel Cocking Garden, the aforementioned Sea Candle and access to the island’s network of the escalators that crawl through the mountain. The price of an Enopass is 1000 yen, so if you want to really explore the area it’ll save you a few hundred yen. Beyond the main sights it also offer a pretty friendly discount for admission to the Benten Statue, the Enoshima Spa and the aquarium. You can buy an Enopass from the tourist information desks and the escalator ticket office.
Getting to and around Enoshima is pretty easy as it’s served by three train and monorail lines. Each line has its own separate station preventing too much confusion for passing tourists. There’s the Enoden (Enoshima Station), Odakyu Railway (Katase Enoshima Station positioned near the aquarium) and the Shonan Monorail (Shonan Enoshima Station which is close to Ryukoji Temple). If you do get off at the wrong station don’t fret, as they’re all close by so making your journey by foot isn’t too difficult. To get to Enoshima from Tokyo just take an express or rapid express train from Shinjuku bound for Fujisawa Station and make the switch to a local train to Katase Enoshima Station. All up the trip takes about 65-75 minutes and costs 630 yen each way.