Enoshima is a small island about eighty kilometers south of Tokyo, off the shore of Kanagawa Prefecture, and is home to some of the closest beaches to Tokyo. Enoshima has been the featured as the dreamy summer locale of a wide range of Japanese fiction, mostly notably that of Yukio Mishima, Yasunari Kawabata, and Shintaro Ishihara. Perhaps it is Enoshima’s distance from the mainland that gives the island its literary atmosphere: that of an ethereal, floating paradise set apart from the exhausting tumult and economic anxiety of Tokyo. It is a place that feels far beyond the reach of history’s violent homogenizing element. In other words, Enoshima is an ideal spot for a vacation or weekend getaway.
The beach we visited was spotless and barricaded on the far end by craggy cliffs where the seagulls landed and hopped from rock to rock. Children were playing happily with their mothers in the sand. Waves brushed and caressed the shore. In the distance, you could see sailboats gliding across the water. The sea’s surface reflected the sun’s light in a soft, tapering streak from the horizon to the shore’s edge. The clouds stretched thin as they dragged lazily across the sky.
We walked across Bentanbashi Bridge, which links Kitase Town in Fujisawa City to Enoshima Island. The bridge is a scenic vantage point where you can gain a panoramic view of the sea and Enoshima Island. On a clear day, it is possible to see Mount Fuji as well. This is a picture of the sunset as seen from the bridge:
This is a view of Enoshima Island at night, coming from the bridge:
While visiting Enoshima Island, we went to the Samuel Cocking Garden. Samuel Cocking was a British businessman who purchased this tract of land in 1880. The garden itself is famous for the Enoshima Sea Candle, a 59.8-meter tall lighthouse. Scaling the tower affords a full view of the island landscape and the sea. During the holiday seasons both the garden and tower are fully illuminated with white and violet lights.
The island was outfitted with many different stairs, as well as pay-to-use escalators for the less able-bodied. It was a long climb of more than eight flights of stairs, and there were many temples, bathrooms, and vending machines along the way. We climbed to the top of the island inside the Samuel Cocking Garden. There were various species of flowers and trees, but camellia trees were the most plentiful. There were also cafés and a variety of other forms of amusement for families and tourists. We found a wooden vantage point above one of the cafés. There were binoculars that cost one hundred yen per use. Here is a picture of one of the views from this point:
For me, Enoshima was one of the more interesting areas in Japan that I’ve visited thus far. I enjoyed the island’s beautiful landscape and dreamy atmosphere. I would like to visit it again when I have more time and the weather proves fairer.