It’s been a HOT week in the Kantō region with most cities registering the year’s highest temperatures. University classes are done for awhile, so we attempted to escape the heat with a midweek excursion to the Pacific Ocean. The nearest beach town is Enoshima, so we caught an early train from Kawagoe and set out for the two-hour train ride east.
Enoshima is a small island that is technically part of Fujisawa city and the center of the Shōnan coastal region. The island is a living shrine to Benzaiten, the Buddhist goddess of music and entertainment. We explored the island for a few hours before heading further east to Kamakura.
Standing in the shadow of The Great Buddha of Kamakura – actually, the shadows are from the trees, but still…
Kamakura is a small city that was considered the capitol of Japan during the reign of the Kamakura shogunate (1185–1333 AD). The highlight of a trip to Kamakura is the Great Buddha at Kōtoku-in.
The day’s story is better told in pictures, so enjoy!
A view of Enoshima Island from the bridge between the island and the area near Katase-Enoshima Station
The shopping street on Enoshima Island is framed by a bronze torii that has been oxidized over the years
As native species, owl and fish imagery are prevalent on the island. One shop also customized the traditional maneki-neko (beckoning cat).
The torii to Enoshima Shrine… and the first of many, MANY stairs we’d encounter on the island
Statues leading to Hetsu-no-miya Jinja (Shrine at the Edge), the first of the smaller shrines making up Enoshima Shrine
Hetsu-no-miya Shrine. The large ring is made from bundled grass. Tradition suggests walking through the ring in a figure-eight (infinity – ∞) prior to prayer .
View of the Enoshima beaches near Hetsu-no-miya Shrine
Wadatsunomiya Shrine houses the dragon that once terrorized the island. His story is included throughout the island.
“Love locks” are attached to the fence around Koibito-no-oka. Legend says if a couple ties a lock and rings the bell, they will never be separated.
A sign at the entrance to the island warns “Beware of Hawks.” While we were resting near the water, a hawk swooped down and took a bite of someone’s onigiri. Beware of hawks for reals!
The Iwaya Caves are lined with Buddhist statues and symbolism. Candles are distributed as you enter to light the way (lower-right).
It’s all uphill from the Iwaya Caves back to the Hetsu-no-miya Shrine. So. Many. Stairs.
Back on the shopping street, a shop offered the Dr. Fish service. For 500 yen, you put your feet in a small pool and little fish eat the crud off of your feet. The fish are visible in the background.
Outside the gate of Enoshima Station, these steel-sculpted birds sat perched on a rail. Someone knitted little hats and shawls for them.
Fish-shaped flip flops for sale at a shop in Kamakura
Yuigahama Beach near Kamakura. The ocean was warm and mostly calm, perfect for a refreshing dip after a humid day.
I always wanted to travel, but never took the first step until I met my awesome travel buddy and wife. Together, we've been to more than 20 countries on five continents and don't plan on stopping anytime soon!
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