A little piece of paradise on earth, that is what is waiting for you on Enoshima island! I think the western side of Enoshima is the nicest: it is more secluded and more tranquil than the east which has a more touristic feeling too it. In contrast, the west side gave me the feeling that time had slowed down. I was also struck by the beauty of Enoshima’s nature. After a long day under the sun, we decided to have a rest in a restaurant along the main street. We ate some Asari (Japanese seashell), probably taken in the local waters. While Ayako had Umeshu (Japanese plum wine) I tried for the first time a delicious Enoshima beer! And did I mention that the terrace offers a view of mount Fuji? It does!
Is it your wish to escape the scorching summer heat of Tokyo? Or simply evade the frenetic lifestyle of Japan’s metropolis? Let me tell you a secret: this place is located only about 2 hours from Tokyo, on Enoshima Island! Shhhh, keep it as a secret between you and me but this site also offers a fantastic view on Mount Fuji! Don’t be afraid, get close to the water, in case of trouble, lifeguards are on duty!
The Okutsunomiya shrine is the furthest of the three shrines on Enoshima island (the other two are Nakatsunomiya and Hetsunomiya) and is easily identified by the large turtle painting on the ceiling of the shrine and its mean-looking dragon protecting a small altar curved in the rock. The Okutsunomiya shrine is in a more secluded part of the island in comparison to the two others and this way, offers a more “zen” setting.
The Nakatsunomiya shrine is located several minutes passed the Hetsunomiya shrine along the main touristic road of Enoshima island. Visitors can either climb the numerous stairs along the way or use the modern network of underground escalators (for a fee). The Nakatsunomiya shrine is unmistakable for its vivid red color. Although the shrine is built atop the island, it doesn’t offer much of a view. Interestingly, a selfie station is available along the path leading to the shrine, where one can safely place a camera on timer to take a photo of oneself (can you see it in my photo?). If you have more time, I also recommend the Okutsunomiya shrine.
The Enoshima Shrine consists of three shrines located across Enoshima island. The Hetsunomiya shrine is the one closest to the footbridge by which one can access Enoshima island. The shrine is located several stairways above the main street. After climbing the many stairs, visitors arrive to the blessing circle. By walking through the circle three times, the pilgrim will be blessed with good health. Also, a small pond is located on-site where coins may be washed before attempting to throw them into an offering box; a nice way to rid yourself of your impurities and test your luck! The other two shrines are Nakatsunomiya and Okutsunomiya.
The island of Enoshima makes a perfect day-trip from Tokyo and will give you a glimpse of the Japanese beach culture. From the Enoshima train station, a short walk leads to the pedestrian bridge which most visitors cross to visit the island. The bridge is an excellent location from which to take photos of the island. It is also a good occasion to study the current Japanese beach fashion of the moment. From the bridge, you can see some of the major attractions of the island including the Enoshima tower, the Enoshima island spa and some buildings part of the Enoshima shrine, partly hiding under the dense vegetation.
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Hase-dera is in my opinion one of the best attraction of Kamakura. Not only the temple itself is gorgeous, its gardens are splendid as well. The temple is located at higher altitude than Kamakura itself. Viewpoints from the temple therefore offer an impressive overlooking view on Kamakura and its beach. The temple also hosts the Benten-Kutsu Cave which contains hundreds of small devotional statues in its long and narrow corridors.
Hokoku-ji temple, also sometimes called Take-dera (Take = bamboo in Japanese) is famous for its beautiful bamboo grove. About two thousand bamboo trees grow on the premise of the temple. The strength of Hokoku-ji temple is undoubtedly its forest and gardens which inspire total peace of mind. An open-air Japanese tea-house is located in annex to the temple. Traditional Japanese Matcha tea can be enjoyed while peacefully looking at the forest.