Translated by Briony Dunbar
How to Enjoy the “Enoshima ESCAR” in Kanagawa Prefecture
Written by Naoko Matsumoto
Enoshima is a small island in Fujisawa, Kanagawa Prefecture. We are going to tell how to efficiently do sightseeing by riding the famous “ESCAR".
Enoshima, a small island in Fujisawa, Kanagawa Prefecture, is a popular tourist spot full of historic shrines, restaurants, beautiful scenery and famous spots. We are going to teach you how to efficiently and cheaply do sightseeing and see the highlights of Enoshima while riding Enoshima’s famous “ESCAR".
Reference article: The Top 5 Sightseeing Spots in Enoshima, Kanagawa
What Is "Enoshima ESCAR”?
Built in 1961 “Enoshima ESCAR“ was the first outdoor paid escalator in Japan. You can ride it up to the very top of Enoshima.
Before the ESCAR was built, it took over 20 minutes to get to the top of Enoshima. You can get there in 5 minutes thanks to the ESCAR. The ESCAR is separated into three sections in total, with each leading to a sightseeing spot when going down. Of course, you can still walk up too.
The Enoshima 1 Day Passport and Lighthouse Observatory Ticket Set
It costs 360 yen to travel on all the sections of the ESCAR. If you want to fully enjoy the tourist spots of Enoshima, the ”Enoshima 1day Passport“ is recommended. You can buy this ticket for 1,000 yen, allowing you to ride the Enoshima ESCAR as well as enter Enoshima’s highlights as many times as you want in a day. Featured on this route are the Samuel Cocking Garden, the Sea Candle (lighthouse observatory) and the grotto caves. The total of buying tickets individually would cost you 1,360 yen, so you save 360 yen. In addition, there are benefits such as the 10% discounted admission fees at the nearby “Shin-Enoshima Aquarium” and “Enoshima Island Spa” as well as a discount entrance fee for the Enoshima Shrine Hōanden.
Photo provided by: The Fujisawa Tourism Association
In addition, there are set tickets such as the one for Enoshima ESCAR, Samuel Cocking Garden and Sea Candle called the “Lighthouse Observatory Set”. These value tickets can be bought at places such as the Enoshima Visitor Information Center and at the ESCAR entrance.
Meet a “Goddess” at ESCAR Section 1
Let's go up to the top via the ESCAR! First we will get our tickets at the Section 1 entrance.
When getting off the ESCAR you will first see Enoshima Shrine’s Hetsumiya (辺津宮). In addition to the shrine, there is the Zeniarai Hakuryūō (銭洗白龍王), which is said to bring wealth to the ones who wash their money here. In addition, there is also a Chi-no-wa (茅の輪, a ring made of grass) which is said to cleanse the impurities of the soul when you go through the hoop. It’s a very interesting area, which you can continue to explore after greeting the deity enshrined here.
Next to the Hetsumiya is the Hōanden (奉安殿) where you can see a Benzaiten (弁財天) statue. Benzaiten is the goddess of music, eloquence, wealth, knowledge and longevity, and is also known as Saraswati. Enshrined here are the Happi-Benzaiten (八臂弁財天), Hadaka-Benzaiten (裸弁財天) and Myōon-Benzaiten (妙音弁財天).
Photo provided by:The Fujisawa Tourism Association
The above photo is of the Hadaka-Benzaiten/Myōon-Benzaiten. The admission fee for the Hōanden is 150 yen for adults.
Ring the “Suikikutsu” in Section 2 of the ESCAR
Continue forward and head to the entrance of Section 2.
You’ll reach Enoshima Shrine’s Nakatsumiya (中津宮) when you get off Section 2 of the ESCAR.
Nakatsumiya is also a place where women who wish to become beautiful and be in a relationship visit. Nakatsumiya is the only place even in Enoshima Shrine where you can purchase votive pictures of Yokubari-bijin-mamori (よくばり美人守り, a charm to become a coveted beauty) and Bihada kigan (美肌祈願, prayers to have beautiful skin) and such.
There is another interesting place which you might miss if you don’t know about it, and that is Suikinkutsu (水琴窟). It is next to the shrine. You can hear a lovely sound similar to that of a koto (*1) when you pour water into the jar in the ground. Enjoy this sound which will heal your soul and make you feel purified.
*1 - Koto is a Japanese string instrument.
Another interesting thing in the Nakatsumiya area is the “camera stand”. The camera stand is placed in such a way that the shrine will be in the photo when you place your camera on top of it. It is also made to fit smartphones securely. There are such camera stands in nine of the islands photography spots. You might not need selfie sticks in Enoshima!
Viewing the Scenery at Section 3 of the ESCAR
Finally we’ve reached the last section of the ESCAR, Section 3.
We’ve reached the top of Enoshima, where you’ll see a panoramic view.
Photo provided by:The Fujisawa Tourism Association
You can enter the Samuel Cocking Garden and Enoshima’s symbol Sea Candle from the top of Enoshima.
Discover the townscape while walking down
Since there are no escalators to go down, you must walk down the stairs.
You can walk around while enjoying the sight of long-established shops and old houses. From here, there are even more tourist spots including the Enoshima Grotto and Chigogafuchi (稚児ヶ淵).
You can get to the top of Enoshima by walking, without using the ESCAR. However, if you are visiting Enoshima by train, you might want to consider using the ESCAR due to the distance from the station to Enoshima.
It takes about 15 to 20 minutes to get from Enoshima Station to Enoshima by walking. You’ll need a lot of stamina if you want to walk to the top of Enoshima by walking, go to the tourist spots then go back to the station. Think about using the “Enoshima ESCAR” on the hot summer days or when you want to enjoy Enoshima with a little bit less hassle.
Katase-Enoshima Visitor Information Center (片瀬江の島観光案内所)
Address: 2-20-13 Katase-Kaigan, Fujisawa, Kanagawa
Hours: 08:30 ~ 17:00
Credit cards: -
Menus available in: -
Station: Odakyū Line Katase-Enoshima Station (片瀬江ノ島駅)
Access: About a minute walk from Katase-Enoshima Station
Price range: -
Religious information: -
Phone number: +81-466-22-4141 (Fujisawa Tourism Center)
Official website (English): Fujisawa City Tourism Site