Great things come in small packages sometimes, and that includes the small island of Enoshima and the incredible activities it offers for tourists. Enoshima is an island in the city of Fujisawa in Kanagawa Prefecture that has become a must-see destination, leading to a lively atmosphere full of tourists on the weekends.
There are so many things to do in Enoshima that it’s worth venturing outside of Tokyo and other popular tourist destinations in Japan.
You can easily spend a day or two here, as the area offers opportunities for adventure and relaxation.
Enoshima Sea Candle
The Sea Candle is one of the major landmarks that bring people to Enoshima, as it offers incredible 360-degree views of the surrounding area.
From this vantage point, you’re even able to see views of Mount Fuji on a clear day.
This lighthouse was built in 2002 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Enoshima Electric Railway. The Sea Candle also lights up in various colors depending on the season.
Enoshima Island Spa
The views that you can enjoy when soaking in a natural hot spring bath look like something out of a dream.
There are baths located outside, right beside a gorgeous waterfall, where you can get the benefits of the hot spring water while looking out at the ocean.
There are separate areas for different genders so you can feel free to go in sans clothes, which is how onsen baths are meant to be enjoyed.
Enoshima Island Spas also offer a combination of indoor and outdoor pools, with the outdoor pools offering breathtaking views of the ocean and Mount Fuji on a clear day. The spa is located right on the shore of Enoshima island.
Lover’s Hill is a romantic spot, but you don’t have to go with a partner to enjoy this landmark. The story behind Lover’s Hill surrounds the goddess Benzaiten and Gozuryu, the five-headed dragon that was known to have been terrorizing Kamakura, where Enoshima island is located.
The dragon ended up falling in love with Benzaiten, which made it easier to convince the five-headed dragon to leave the area in peace.
If you do go to Lover’s Hill with a partner, be sure to ring the Dragon’s Bell twice in order to bless your relationship. Many visitors will also bring padlocks and write their names on them, and attach them to the fence.
Enoshima Shrine is in place to honor Benzaiten, who is known as the goddess of the ocean, as well as a vessel for blessing others, and she also oversees the performing arts.
There are three smaller shrines within this shrine known as Hetsumiya, Okutsumiya, and Nakatsumiya.
Hetsumiya also has a statue of the goddess Benzaiten, and each mini-shrine is a short walk from the other. There are also outdoor escalators that’ll take you from one shrine to the other if you’re not able to walk the terrain.
It’s believed that this goddess is responsible for creating this gorgeous island, while also helping protect the people of Enoshima from the five-headed dragon who was wreaking havoc in the area.
Enoshima Daishi is a relatively new Buddhist temple, with a stunning statue of Fudomyo. Fudomyo is a Buddhist god who helps protect the Buddhist faith.
This is significant, given that any of the temples that existed on Enoshima island were destroyed during the Meiji Period of Japan.
The Enoshima Aquarium is home to some lovely marine and aquatic life. There are a few different exhibits with themes that will teach you about the particular area, while also letting you see some of the fish and animals that live in the area.
For example, there’s the Sagami Bay Zone. Sagami Bay is important to Enoshima, as that’s where a lot of their seafood is sourced from.
You can also see shirasu, a local specialty that cannot be seen in an aquarium anywhere else in the world.
Some other creatures you can see at the aquarium include dolphins, penguins, jellyfish, and seals.
Enoshima Samuel Cocking Garden
This gorgeous botanical garden is home to a plethora of plants and flowers that bloom each season, creating a colorful spectacle.
The garden is named after Samuel Cocking, who actually helped to build the garden after buying a part of Enoshima. The Sea Candle is also located at this park, in the spot where Samuel Cocking used to live.
Iwaya Caves is a somewhat physical excursion offering a unique way to explore nature, as part of the path was created through water erosion throughout many years.
It’s a very fascinating experience walking through this cave, where it’s said that shogun and priests once followed the path as well.
Once you’ve made your way through the cave, which is illuminated by candlelight that you’ll be provided with, you’ll arrive at Chigogafuchi.
This rocky space is outside of the cave and leads to one of the best views you’ll stumble upon. From this point, you’ll be able to look out at Mount Fuji and the glistening ocean.
With Enoshima being close to the water, there are beaches here that are perfect for cooling off in sparkling blue, clean water.
The beaches can get busy sometimes, but they are well worth a visit if you’re on Enoshima island in the summer.
Dining In Enoshima
Enoshima offers some really fun foods for people to try. One of the best places to go when you can’t decide what you want to eat is Benten Nakamise Dori Street.
The street also has many shops sprinkled in with opportunities to eat some unique dishes that Enoshima is known for.
Tako senbei is one such popular dish that people will line up for, and it consists of a roasted octopus. Ikayaki is grilled squid, and shirasu croquettes are also popular.
Seafood is delicious in Enoshima as it’s so close to the water.
If you’re looking for a sweet treat to cool down, you want to try ice cream monaka. This treat contains ice cream and red bean paste within a crispy shell made of baked dough.
Festivals In Enoshima
On Katase Beach, there will be firework displays held on several days between the months of August and October.
If you’re in Enoshima in August, you’ll want to participate in the Tatsunokuchi Bamboo Lantern Festival held at the Ryukoji Temple.
This festival is often held towards the beginning of the month. Thousands of lamps made from bamboo are illuminated in this area, and it’s a marvelous sight to see.
An Enopass is a purchasable ticket that will help you access many of the landmarks and attractions within Enoshima for free or at discounted rates.
There are ticket booths at some of the attractions, as well as at the Enoshima ESCAR escalator area located at the Enoshima Shrine.
How To Get There
There are a few ways to get to Enoshima by train, with stops such as the Enoshima Station or Enoshima Electric Railway being quite close to Enoshima Island.
You can also take the Odakyu Line and get off at the Katase-Enoshima Station. This island is also accessible from mainland Japan, as it’s connected by a bridge.