Written by Zoria April
Enoshima - Explore The Charms Of The Island On A Day Trip From Tokyo
Enoshima Island can be reached in about an hour from Tokyo. The sea, the amazing caves, the beautiful shrines around the island, the Sea Candle Lighthouse, as well as the tasty local dishes, make Enoshima the ideal destination for a day trip.
If you have ever felt overwhelmed by the things to do in Tokyo, how about taking a trip to the relaxing Enoshima Island?
Located on the outskirts of Japan's capital, Enoshima is a beautiful place. Part of what makes it so enjoyable is that you can actually walk from one side of the island to the other in no time. It is basically a pebble in the ocean. However, if you look closely you’ll see the pebble is a diamond!
1. How to Get to Enoshima?
If you’re like me, then you don’t want to set out in the break of dawn on what is supposed to be a trip for pleasure. In this case, you’ll be happy to know Enoshima is quite close to Tokyo. Depending on where you live in Tokyo you will be able to arrive in Enoshima in roughly 2 hours. It will cost you less than 2000 yen and it will still make you feel like you’ve escaped from the city.
The closest station to the island is Katase Enoshima Station. From Shinjuku, take the Odakyu Line to Fujisawa Station, then transfer to the Odakyu Enoshima Line. Get off at Katase-Enoshima Station (630 yen one-way). You can also get on the Odakyu line at a different station if it is more convenient.
When you get to Katase-Enoshima Station, you’ll see a long bridge connecting the island and the mainland. This is the main way to get to Enoshima.
Even though it's not a long walk, I recommend turning right to the little pier and get on a boat! The short boat ride adds to the feeling of a getaway. The boat ticket is 400 yen for adults, 200 for children.
While you’re there, don't forget to buy the combo ticket including the Iwaya Caves. This is where we’re headed next!
2. Hide in the Caves to Escape Summer Heat
The boat takes you to the cave side of the island if you have a ticket to the Iwaya Caves.
Make sure to check the time and the weather. The caves are nature’s way of air-conditioning. If you're visiting in the summer, I recommend going there during the hottest time around noon. Before or after entering the caves, you can enjoy a stroll around the coast as well.
The coast is rocky and beautiful, full of life. Kids catching little crabs in the naturally formed tidal pool, people fishing, other people sitting around and sketching - you'll love what you'll see around you. Enjoy the scenery and take a deep breath to breathe in the sea air.
The Iwaya Caves have a little pool inside. From there, the path splits in two and the cave ceiling gets lower and lower. You'll feel that you're in an adventure movie - a feeling that is only enhanced when the staff gives everybody a candle.
The candle lights up your way and you will be able to see the mossy Buddha statues in the narrow corridors. There’s also an impressive dragon statue! Remember to make a wish when you see it and get ready to meet more dragons while you’re on Enoshima because the island has a legendary connection to these fantastic creatures.
Opening Hours of the Iwaya Caves
- 9:00-16:00 (4:00 pm) in winter.
- 9:00-17:00 (5:00 pm) March to mid-October.
- 9:00-18:00 (6:00 pm) Weekends and holidays from April to September
*Open every day. Only closed when it's stormy.
3. Enjoy Lunch with a View
After the caves, it’s time to follow the winding path up to the peak of Enoshima. Even though it is a bit steep, it’s not a long walk.
You’ll start seeing cute little cafes soon. Perched on the rocks overlooking the sea they are full of light with a relaxed atmosphere. They are very old and totally different from the city. Most cafes have some TV programme mumbling in the background. You can sit near the window with a drink or some food.
Here you can feel in a perfect balance inside out. Almost all the cafes and restaurants on this island have a view and are very quaint. I suggest having coffee in one place and lunch in another place. Maybe you can even have ice cream at a third place. This way you can enjoy more locations.
The best cafes and restaurants are located along this path all the way up to the Sea Candle Lighthouse on the top.
4. The Highlight of the Island
After taking a rest, it’s time to follow the path to the peak of the island. It’s impossible to get lost, though you will probably advance very slowly. You will find yourself admiring every corner, every new view, every scenic cliff and every quaint souvenir shop.
The path ends in a wide plaza where you can see street performers. You can also visit the Samuel Cocking Gardens or go up to the top of the Sea Candle. Here you can look around the many shrines and temples as you go up the path, most of them part of the Enoshima Shrine complex. Many of the shrines are dedicated to dragons and believed to be lucky places for couples.
5. Watch the Sunset while Enjoying the Spa
After a whole day of walking and sightseeing, you will be walking downwards to be greeted by a big red torii gate*. This is where the lively Nakamise street begins. If you come to Enoshima by the pedestrian bridge, you would start with Nakamise street. After that, you would pass through a bronze torii gate and end at the red torii gate. But this time we introduced the road less traveled, accessing the island by boat and visiting the caves first.
At the end of the day, the shopping street grows less busy, so you can walk around and enjoy shopping.
Before you reach the bronze torii gate, turn left to find the Enoshima Island Spa. Soaking in the warm pools overlooking the sea and the mainland is the perfect way to end the day on this charming island.
You can watch the sunset and maybe even see Mount Fuji in the distance on sunny days.
Soon after, how about watching the night lights of the city starting to flicker in the horizon. You will still feel a million miles away from the city noise, perched right on the edge of the precious stone that is Enoshima island.
*Torii gate: a traditional Japanese gate most commonly found at the entrance of or within a Shinto shrine
Enjoy Your Day Trip to Enoshima
What do you think of this day trip itinerary to Enoshima? We hope we got you inspired to take the first opportunity to explore the charms of this island. Being so close to Tokyo, it's an ideal place to escape the bustle of the city and encounter a lesser known side of Japan, a side that is soothing and closer to nature.