Enoshima Island—more than just fun in the sun
Enoshima Island is not just a typical beach destination—it is a place steeped in history, culture, and natural beauty. Located to the west of Kamakura in Kanagawa Prefecture, Enoshima Island is a small island connected to the mainland by a 400-meter bridge. With its stunning views, vibrant entertainment scene, and unique attractions, Enoshima Island has become a popular destination for both locals and tourists alike.
One of the main attractions of Enoshima Island is the Enoshima Shrine, which enshrines the Naked Goddess, the deity of entertainment and good match making. The shrine was originally built to worship the prosaic deities of fishing and sea transport, but over time, it became synonymous with the gods of music, money, and good fortune. The most famous deity at the shrine is Benzaiten, who is depicted in two forms: Happi-Benzaiten, the goddess of good fortune, and Myoon-Benzaiten, also known as Hadaka (Naked) Benzaiten, the patron of arts and music. Throughout the Edo period, the Naked Goddess was worshipped by entertainers, and her popularity continues to this day.
Enoshima Shrine is not just one shrine, but a collection of three shrines scattered across the island. The first shrine, Hetsumiya, was originally built in 1206 and enshrines Myoon-Benzaiten. Nakatsumiya, founded in 853, is the second shrine on the trail, and Okutsumiya, dating back to 1841, is the third shrine. Each shrine has its own unique history and significance, and visitors can explore them as they make their way around the island.
Another must-visit attraction on Enoshima Island is the Enoshima Sea Candle, a lighthouse observation tower that offers a breathtaking panoramic view of the island and its surroundings. Rising from the center of the island, the Sea Candle is a popular spot for tourists and locals alike. From the observation deck, which is located 100 meters above ground level, visitors can enjoy stunning views of the ocean, Mt. Fuji, and the surrounding landscape. The view is especially captivating at night when the lighthouse is illuminated, creating a magical atmosphere.
For nature lovers, Enoshima Island offers a variety of natural attractions. One of the highlights is the Enoshima Iwaya Caves, two caves created by natural erosion. These caves were a favorite spot of Minamoto no Yoritomo, the shogun who erected the famous Tsurugaoka Hachimangu in Kamakura. Legend has it that a dragon once haunted this area, and the second cave is dedicated to this myth. Exploring the caves is a unique experience that allows visitors to get a glimpse into the island’s geological history.
Enoshima Island is not just a place for sightseeing—it also offers a range of activities for visitors to enjoy. The mainland has developed to cater to tourists, with an aquarium, shops, and restaurants. The island itself is known for its beaches, where visitors can swim and relax. However, swimming off the island of Enoshima is prohibited, so visitors can enjoy the nearby beaches instead. The area is also popular with fishermen and windsurfers, who can take advantage of the favorable conditions.
To make the most of your visit to Enoshima Island, consider purchasing a set ticket for the Enoshima Escar and Enoshima Sea Candle. This ticket allows you to easily explore the island and enjoy its attractions without any hassle. The Enoshima Escar is a scenic escalator that takes you from the bottom of the island to the top, saving you time and energy. The Sea Candle ticket gives you access to the lighthouse observation tower, where you can enjoy the stunning views.
Aside from its attractions, Enoshima Island also offers a range of dining options, from traditional Japanese cuisine to international dishes. The island is known for its seafood, so be sure to try some of the local specialties, such as fresh sushi and grilled fish. There are also many cafes and restaurants where you can relax and enjoy a meal while taking in the beautiful surroundings.
If you’re looking for a place to relax and unwind, Enoshima Island Spa is the perfect destination. This spa offers restorative hot spring baths, where you can soak in the healing waters and rejuvenate your body and mind. Some of the baths are mixed, so swimwear is required. After a relaxing soak, you can also visit the Love Bell, a popular spot for couples. Ring the bell together and leave your names on a lock attached to the fence to ensure a love everlasting.
Enoshima Island is a place that offers something for everyone. Whether you’re interested in history and culture, outdoor activities, or simply relaxing by the beach, this island has it all. Plan a day trip or even stay overnight to fully explore and enjoy all that Enoshima Island has to offer. With its stunning views, unique attractions, and vibrant atmosphere, it’s no wonder that Enoshima Island has become a favorite destination for both locals and tourists alike. So, next time you’re in the Tokyo or Yokohama area, don’t miss the opportunity to visit Enoshima Island and experience its charm for yourself.
Address And Maps Location: