For a summer getaway from Tokyo, there's no better than Enoshima.
Ranked among the 100 Best Sceneries of Japan and with a landscape immortalized in the woodblock prints of Katsushika Hokusai (the artist behind the famous Great Wave painting), Enoshima has been doing the whole tourist attraction thing for centuries.
While fame comes with a price – you’ll be sharing the island with crowds year-round – Enoshima really does offer a little bit of everything to everyone.
From beaches to surfing, scuba diving to scooter-riding, you can also experience ancient spiritual sites, seafood restaurants, and colorful streets lined with souvenir shops for an altogether brilliant day out.
Enoden (Enoshima Electric Railway)
Turn left from Enoshima station and follow the picturesque path towards the seashore, lined with boutique cafes, shops and terrace restaurants. At the other end, before the bridge to the right, you’ll find an oceanside hub of restaurants and bars.
Walk across the bridge and spot beach bums busy catching rays, surfing and swimming. Below the bridge on the approach to the island, gangs of bronzed jet-skiers hang out revving their engines like a literal Tokyo Drift.
On Enoshima, fishermen patiently wait for the day’s catch for sale to local restaurants, and the island is brimming with the freshest “fruits of the sea” – famously, a small baby fish called shirasu that can be eaten either raw or cooked.
Putting a local spin on tempura, pizza, and even ice cream, those in the know first try the fish over rice in a Shonan signature dish called shirasu-don.
Non-beach-goers can head to Enoshima Shrine (established in 552 A.D.), dedicated to the sea deity Benzaiten – often thought of as the goddess of love. Three smaller shrines exist in and among the hilly pathways that wind through the grounds, where you’ll also stumble on some rather breathtaking lookout points, lawns for picnicking and crumbling clifftop restaurants with wooden terraces leaning out over the ocean.
A family-friendly attraction is Enoshima Aquarium, which has rotating educational exhibits featuring native fish caught from the Sagami Bay. Those ready to take a dip in hot water should venture to the day-spas – fully equipped with onsen baths. Some even have an ocean view with Mt. Fuji as your backdrop.
Other attractions include the Samuel Cocking Garden, a botanical garden founded by British merchant Samuel Cocking in 1880, the Enoshima Sea Candle, a lighthouse observation tower that is also Enoshima’s unofficial landmark, the Iwaya Caves, once a religious sanctuary for practicing monks, and Benzaiten-Nakamise Street – the best place to walk and sample the local snacks of Enoshima like tako senbei (octopus rice crackers) and Japanese sweets stuffed within clam-shaped wafers.