Depending on how you look at it, Enoshima (江ノ島）is either a very small island or a large rock outcrop, a few hundred metres away from the beachfront near Kamakura in Kanagawa prefecture, to the south west of Tokyo, connected to the mainland by a road causeway.
It’s a popular tourist spot, and quite iconic in the local area. Even though we’ve lived near it for a few years, it was only last month we decided to actually go and take a look around, all the way to the small tower on top, now known as the Sea Candle.
The east of the island is mainly marina, parking and walking areas, with the west being the rising rock, which forms the main climb and attraction of the island. The lower third is a tourist zone, which has some places to eat, and some ‘interesting’ tourist gift shops selling items like puffer fish lamps, flattened grilled octopus and such.
Climb up a bit further, and you can access the escalator which speeds you to the top, or you can walk the steps up. It’s not actually *that* far up, and the walk down is quite leisurely. The middle third is mainly temples, some gardens, ponds and increasingly beautiful view of the coast on one side, and the Pacific Ocean on the other.
The top is actually a lot flatter than I thought, with some beautiful Asian and European gardens, and some nicer (and more expensive) places to eat than you find at the base. We had a late lunch at the Lon Cafe, and I have to say, that was the best French toast I have ever had.
The Sea Candle is only a few floors high, but it still commands impressive views of the whole area, and you really get a sense of Sagami Bay’s size, just being that little bit further out into the ocean.
It can take a good part of the day to wander around and sit in the gardens, and have a look around the temple areas, and some of the thousands of notes and ema (絵馬), which are commonly found at temples around Japan. You can even stop for some tea, or take in one of the regular events.
After Enoshima, we decided to drive a kilometre down the coastal road to the Moana Makai restaurant for some Hawai’ian / Japanese curry and food. It’s very, very popular so expect a wait, even for parking as it’s rated as one of the best places to eat in Kamakura, and you get that great view over the ocean.