Enoshima (江の島) is a little island in the Kanagawa Prefecture (神奈川県), 40 minutes by train from Tokyo, and just 24 minutes away from Kamakura. You will see that there are dragon statues on the island because legend has it that Kamakura was once tormented by a 5-headed dragon.
The island of Enoshima rose from the sea as welcoming steps for Goddess Benten as she descends from the sky to stop the wrong doings of the dragon. The dragon fell in love with the Goddess, realized his faults and eventually turned into a mountain.
The island is connected to Fujisawa via a causeway.
Before we even started touring the island, we were distracted by the enticing seafood that’s just before the entrance into the old street of Enoshima.
Gigantic shells, big, fat squids,
and we just couldn’t resist the smell of grilling clams and had to stop for a bite, not that we were hungry!
The clams were almost as big as my face!
Now that we were stuffed with extra breakfast, we had more energy to venture into the uphill old street of Enoshima.
It is fairly easy to wander around the island. The island basically has one road that will take you around the island, taking you to the peak of the island, then coming back down again. A lot of walking on slopes and steps so if you don’t like all that, you can purchase a Enopass which covers main attractions, and access to escalators to save you from the climb.
When you see the red torii gate, you have arrived at the Enoshina Shrine (Enoshima Jinja), which consists of three individual shrines，housing three different goddess of the sea.
The “Hetsu-No-Miya” means the shrine at the edge. Passing the grass hoop (behind us) allows you to be “cleansed” from impurities before entering the shrine.
The “Nakatsu No Miya”, meaning shrine in the middle, is in striking red.
The “Nakatsu No Miya”, meaning the inner most shrine;is a little more modest compared to the other ones.
Posing with the fierce dragon. ROOOOAAARR!!
Behind us is the light house observation tower where you can get panoramic views of the island. You might be able to catch some awesome street performances around the area too.
As you make your way down, there’s a pleasant walk along the rocky shoreline. The Iwaya caves are around this area, but oops we missed the caves.
While you have plenty to see on the island, there is also plenty of food to savor on Enoshima! Besides the freshest grilled seafood, one of the unmissable street snacks is the paper-thin octopus cracker. If you see people lining up in front of a small store, yes, that is most probably what they are lining up for, and go join them because it’s worth the wait! The wait is pretty interesting too because you get to see how they make the octopus snack. Octopus tentacles are tossed in flour, thrown into a machine at 180 degrees for flattening, and out comes this delicate thin piece of snack, intertwined with reddish-brown swirls. Check out their official website here http://www.murasaki-imo.com/.
Another must-try on Enoshima is the “shirasu-don”, which is little whitebait on rice, where you can choose it to be cooked or raw. Being a lover of sashimi of course raw was the best for me. The little transparent whitebait bursts into an unforgettable decadent sweetness, accompanied by shirasu vinegar, a lightly sourish and tangy vinegar, specially dedicated to be used with shirasu only. If you have opted for cooked shirasu, I would say it’s actually not too special as it is similar to ikan bilis.
Enjoy More Photos of Enoshima below 🙂