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.
The Great Buddha of Kamakura was built in 1253. It was once gilded in gold leaf, which is still visible behind the Buddha’s ears. The statue is 44 feet tall and weighs 267,000 pounds.
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.