Fujisawa and Enoshima: an island escape just off of Tokyo

If you’re looking to take a day and enjoy a beautiful ocean view, then Enoshima is the place to go. Just about an hour away from Tokyo, you will be able to see beautiful sceneries, enjoy shopping and get to know a bit more about the history and culture of the area.

Departure

Leaving Tokyo Station ( about 1h by JR Ueno Tokyo line) or Shinjuku station (about 50 minutes by JR Shonan-Shinjuku Line), head to Ofuna. Once arrived, change to a local line—the Shonan Monorail—and head to the Shonan Enoshima station. The monorail will take you through some lovely scenery, and the ride lasts about 15 minutes.

If you prefer to ensure a seat during your trip and don’t mind missing Ofuna and the monorail ride, then you can hop on the Odakyu Line’s Romance Car from Shinjuku Station to Fujisawa (1h15mins) and then change to the local Enoden Line until Enoshima Station.

Enoshima

Once you arrive at either of the stations, you’ll be able to walk through the straight street leading to Enoshima. You can stop by a few cafes and shops nearby if you feel like it, or save it for when you reach the island, as it will only take about 15 minutes.

After crossing the highway through the small tunnel, you’ll start walking on the bridge connecting the island and the mainland and, if you’re lucky enough, will already be able to see Mount Fuji. And if you like what you see, just wait until you get on top of the island!

Once you have reached the island, you will start to notice a few little shops and restaurants around the main street. If you’re looking to buy a souvenir of your trip, this will be the perfect chance to do so.
Enoshima is home to the homonymous Shrine that you will be able to reach by climbing up several series of steps - for anyone having issues with the stairs, escalators are conveniently located to access the shrines too.

The Enoshima Shrine, or Hetsunomiya in Japanese, consists of three shrines: Hetsumiya, Nakatsumiya and Okutsumiya. Its entrance is indicated at the bottom of the island with a unique bronze Torii gate, a designated cultural property of Fujisawa City. Once you cross it, you will see many more traditional shops and restaurants lined up in the street until you reach a vermillion coloured gate, Zuishinmon. This street is called Benzaiten Nakamise Street and the whole area is known as Monzen Machi: the Temple Town.

From there, you’ll start your ascension to the top of the island. Every shrine will be attended by several priests welcoming visitors and tourists alike, and if not too crowded they will gladly tell you more about the shrines themselves. All around these areas, trees and plants will seem to be cutting the shrines from the outside world, which you will be able to notice as soon as you get in and out of the shrine grounds.
Once you reach the top of Enoshima, you’ll have the opportunity to enjoy the view and take a break at the small cafes and restaurant there while enjoying the view. If you want, for an additional fee you will be able to visit “Samuel Cocking Garden” and climb on top of the “Sea Candle”.

Sea Candle + Samuel Cocking garden

  • Price: ¥700 for adults or ¥350 for kids
    Only the Samuel Cocking Garden: ¥200 or ¥100 for kids
  • Address: 2 Chome-3-28 Enoshima, Fujisawa, Kanagawa 251-0036
  • Hours: Every day from 9am to 6pm
  • Additional information: If visiting in winter, the Sea Candle illuminations are a must-see

Once ready, you can start descending the island towards the beach on the other side. This time, the stairs are a bit more steep and narrow, so be careful on your way! You’ll be seeing a few more cafes and small houses on the way, but make sure to enjoy the natural environment that surrounds them, from deep foliage on the island to deep ravines going down to the sea.

You’ll then reach the Chigogafuchi coast and will be facing the ocean. There, a path will lead you to the Iwaya Caves. They were naturally carved by the sea and formed a path below the Island itself, leading to small shrines at their end. The caves have been “refurbished” and are holding a small exhibition showing the fauna and flora of the area.

While walking in there, make sure to mind your head as some areas are lower than 1.50 meters and you might hit your head if not careful!

Iwaya caves

  • Price: ¥500
  • Address: 2 Chome-5 Enoshima, Fujisawa, Kanagawa 251-0036

Getting out of the caves, you may see people fishing and strolling around the coast. If you go down and circle around the side of the island, you will have the opportunity to hop on a boat that will bring you back to the bridge at the entrance of the island. Not only is it a faster way to get back if you don’t feel like walking longer, but it will also let you have a nice view of Enoshima from a different perspective.

Bentenmaru (べんてん丸) boat back to the bridge

  • Price: ¥400
  • Additional information: the boat does round trips approximately every 10 minutes - depending on the weather conditions

Leaving the island, you would then have the choice to stroll around the beach and the coat, or even head to the famous Enoshima Aquarium, before getting back on the train.

Enoshima Aquarium

  • Address: 2 Chome-19-1 Katasekaigan, Fujisawa, Kanagawa 251-0035
  • Price: Adult: ¥2,500, students ¥1,200 - ¥1,700 
    Group discounts for 20+ people
  • Hours: 10am - 5pm weekdays, 10am -6pm Weekends

Fujisawa - Tsujido

When you’re ready, head back to Enoshima Station. The next stop is just a few stations away by a local line, very liked by local and tourists alike and that became famous thanks to a certain manga: The Enoden Line. With its easily recognizable carriages—thanks to their green and yellow color—this line operates between Fujisawa Station and Kamakura.

Photo: Peter Sidell / Japan Travel
Photo: Peter Sidell / Japan Travel

Hop on the train to Fujisawa, just about 10 minutes away, and enjoy the ride. It’s the last stop, so you will not risk missing it – you can kick back and relax a bit!
Once you reach Fujisawa station, you will need to change train line and take the JR Tokaido for one stop until Tsujido Station. To do so, you’ll need to exit the Enoden line and -once exiting the gate - walk one minute to reach the JR Station.

Once you arrive at Tsujido Station, take the north exit and you’ll be right next to “Terrace Mall”.

From there, walk a few minutes and right after the mall ground you will reach a small green area, “Kandai Park”. Cross the street in front of it and, at the 7th floor of the building, is your last stop.

This time, we are looking into some traditional Japanese culture by visiting the Ukiyo-e museum.

Here, you will be able to learn more about the history of not only Fujisawa and the surrounding area, but also all the 53 stations and stops of the Tokaido route. Presenting several pieces dating back to the Edo period (1615 – 1868) during which the ukiyo-e art gained popularity, the museum also hosts special exhibitions that show 50-60 pieces of the extensive 1,500+ collection at a time.

Ukiyo-e museum

  • Price: Free admission
  • Address: 〒251-0041 Kanagawa, Fujisawa, Tsujidokandai, 2 Chome−2−2 ココテラス湘南 (Cocco Terrace Shonan) 7th floor 
  • Additional Information: English brochures and explanations available

Once you are done with this cultural escapade, you can head back to the mall and enjoy some shopping or one of the numerous cafes and restaurants there. Your time in Fujisawa is reaching its end, and from there you could jump on the train that will take you directly to Tokyo or if you wish to discover more of Kanagawa, why not take the same line but the other way and head to Odawara?

Not all the lines are JR and some will not be covered by the JR Pass, make sure to bring some cash to either acquire an IC Card such as Pasmo or Suica and top it up or to buy a ticket every time you use one of those lines.

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