Enoshima Island is home of the Naked Goddess, the deity of entertainment. This may be one reason why it is considered home to a fun-loving beach community and the sightseeing couples that visit especially in the summertime.
Get close to Enoshima by train from the Tokyo and Yokohama area, or from nearby Kamakura, and walk onto the island.
Enoshima is connected to the mainland by a bridge near which two train lines and a monorail run.
Enoshima Station on the Enoden Line, Katase Enoshima Station on the Odakyu Line, and Shonan Enoshima Station on the Shonan Monorail Line are all a short walk from the island. The Enoden Line is the most convenient if traveling from Kamakura.
Enoshima Island is a small island to the west of Kamakura, connected to the mainland by a 600-meter bridge.
It has long been a popular destination for day-tripping Tokyoites and was particularly popular during the Edo Period (1603-1867), especially among people who worked in the entertainment industry such as kabuki actors. Today it is a bustling island mixing traditional and modern, packed with shops, inns, restaurants, and sightseeing spots.
The mainland has developed to cater for visitors, boasting an aquarium and many shops and restaurants, as well as beaches where you can swim – swimming off the island of Enoshima itself is prohibited.
The area is popular with fishermen and windsurfers. On a clear day, Mount Fuji is visible to the northwest, perched on the horizon.
The Enopass ticket costs 1000 yen and gives access to the cave, lighthouse, and garden, and it gives the bearer access to the escalators that criss-cross the forested hill that accounts for the majority of the island. It entitles you to discounts at various attractions and businesses on the mainland.
Enoshima-jinja Shrine was built to worship the prosaic deities of fishing and sea transport. But soon, the shrine became synonymous with the gods of music, money, and good fortune. And, fittingly, it is Hadaka-Benten, the Naked Goddess, that is by far the most famous of Enoshima's gods.
Worshipped by entertainers throughout the Edo Period (1603-1867), even today celebrities in need of a little divine inspiration periodically pray here to the Naked Goddess.
Enoshima-jinja is actually a collection of three shrines scattered across the island. Hetsunomiya shrine is the first on the trail, originally built in 1206, and it is here that Hadaka Benten is enshrined. A little further on is Nakatsunomiya, founded in 853. Beyond that sits Okutsunomiya. This shrine dates from 1841 after the original was destroyed in a storm.
Rising from the center of the island is Enoshima Candle, a lighthouse observation tower from which you can enjoy a gorgeous panoramic view. 120 meters up, the view at any time is amazing, but at night it is particularly stunning.
On the ocean side of the island is Enoshima Iwaya, two caves created by natural erosion and a favorite spot of Minamoto no Yoritomo (1147-1199), the shogun who erected the famous Tsurugaoka Hachimangu in its current location in Kamakura. A dragon was believed to haunt this area and the second cave is dedicated to the myth.
If all the climbing has tired you out, Enoshima Island Spa offers restorative hot spring baths (some are mixed, so swimwear is required). For couples, the Love Bell is a must. Together, ring the bell and leave your names on a lock attached to the fence to ensure a love everlasting.
Set aside a minimum of a few hours to view Enoshima Island at leisure. But if you fancy an ocean swim, a beachside cafe, or a relaxing soak in the onsen, then plan for a whole day or even overnight to fully enjoy the island.