Still on April 19th, I moved on from Hase-dera and made my way to Enoshima. Enoshima is a tiny island which is only about 4km in circumference, and it’s not far away from Kamakura. In order to get to Enoshima, I had to take the Enoden train from Hase Station (right near Hase-dera) in Kamakura to Enoshima Station. It was a lovely journey on a rickety train, right along the coast.
By the time I arrived at Enoshima Station it was getting very blowy and a little overcast, and I have to admit I was wondering if it was such a great decision to go there. It was getting quite late in the day, and I wondered how much I would be able to actually see. But the heavy feeling of my upcoming flight back to the UK was weighing on me, and I decided to try to squeeze as much fun out of the day as I possibly could. I’m so glad I made that effort now – it was really worth it! 😀
Before I actually made my way onto Enoshima itself, I took a slight unplanned detour… From a distance I saw the roof of this building and headed towards it:
I figured it was a shrine or temple, but actually it turned out to be the Odakyu Line Station! What a cool station! I was slightly annoyed though, realising that I wasted my time walking in the wrong direction. So, I quickly got out my map and headed over to Enoshima, which is connected to the mainland by a long bridge called Enoshima Benten Bashi.
The walk along the bridge was impressive. The sun was peeping out from behind fluffy white clouds and making the sky look really beautiful:
It was really windy as I crossed the bridge, and the sea was getting quite choppy.
As I watched the waves splashing up against the wall I couldn’t help feeling a little nervous, and thinking about the tsunami in March. I knew I wasn’t in any real danger by being there, but then you never know what’s going to happen, and that tsunami came faster and stronger than anyone could have imagined. Watching the strength of the sea was quite humbling. I realised how helpless I would be if anything happened.
Anyway, I approached the island, intending to head up and see if the shrine was still open.
Just as there had been at Hase-dera, there were kites flying everywhere:
The approach to the shrine was typical, lined with small shops selling souvenirs. Unfortunately the shops were deserted and I got the feeling that the shopkeepers wanted to pack up. I didn’t hold out much hope for my sightseeing plans.
I quickly reached the entrance to Enoshima Shrine:
Actually, Enoshima Shrine is made up of three shrines: Hetsunomiya, Nakatsunomiya and Okutsunomiya. It wasn’t possible for me to see everything because of the lack of time, but I was really lucky and managed to see quite a lot.
As I entered the shrine grounds I was surprised to see a sign for an escalator:
For once, I hadn’t researched my destination at all and couldn’t think why there would be an escalator at a shrine! It turned out you could buy a ticket to use the escalators which take you up to the highest part of the island! There are three escalators, and on the way up you can get off and see the shrines and other attractions. Well, I think these escalators were my life-savers! Without them I never would have made it up to the top of the Observation Lighthouse before it closed. (I should note that the escalators only go up, not back down…)
The whole place was so quiet that I found the escalators kind of creepy. I had no idea where I was going really! But, actually, it was lovely to have the whole place to myself.
At the top of the first escalator I stopped and visited Hetsunomiya, which is the main shrine at Enoshima Shrine.
I thought those ema were really pretty. I’ve never seen ones like that before.
Near Hetsunomiya you can also find Hoanden, which is an octagonal hall for statues.
Inside this hall there is a statue of “Hadaka Benzaiten” (naked Benzaiten). Apparently this is one of the three major Benzaiten statues in Japan. Photos weren’t allowed inside the hall, of course, but I did find a photo of her on this website.
I continued up the next escalator, this one lined with Coca Cola adverts:
…and at the top of the escalator I found Nakasunomiya Shrine, which is really colourful.
At this shrine, I found this curious plaque:
I’ve heard that many of the stone lanterns at the shrine were donated by kabuki actors, so I wondered if these handprints were those of the actors?! If anyone can read the kanji and let me know in the comments below, I’d be grateful!
The higher I got on the island, the better the view was looking…
I reached the top of the third escalator and found Samuel Cocking Garden. It was getting really windy and cold by this point, and I knew everything would be closing soon, so I didn’t spend too long looking around.
I made my way straight to the Observation Lighthouse:
This part of Enoshima was also more or less deserted. I was a little worried they were going to forget about me, close the place up and leave me stranded on the island! But actually, having the place to myself was wonderful. I went right up to the top observation deck which is open-air, and I felt like I was on top of the world…
It was incredibly windy up there, so much so that I was kind of scared but invigorated at the same time. I made a quick video of the view, but sorry about the wind sounds!
I felt like I was so incredibly lucky with my timing on this day. It wasn’t the best planned day I’ve ever had, but everything worked out so well and I saw so many more things than I thought I would. As I walked back along the bridge to the mainland, I felt the strength of the wind pushing against me with such force, and I felt so alive. It was wonderful.
If you’ve been following my Tokyo-area adventures, you’ll be glad to know I haven’t finished yet! This post concludes April 19th, but I still had two more days left in Japan. So stay tuned for more adventures coming up soon!
This post is an entry for this week’s Show Me Japan. Don’t forget to check out all the other entries! 🙂