Enoshima is a charming island located in the south of Kanagawa Prefecture, just next to the city of Kamakura. Enoshima is actually connected to the main island (Honshu) with a bridge so it’s pretty easy to get there from Tokyo by train.
If you are looking for a great getaway destination, far from the hecticness of Tokyo, Enoshima is the answer! There are actually lots of things to do on the island so we would recommend spending at least half a day there.
Let’s go through 10 of the best things to do in Enoshima. Explanations as to how to get to the island and which accommodation we recommend, if you want to stay overnight, will be provided right after that.
The 10 Best Things To Do In Enoshima
Here’s our selection of the 10 best things to do in Enoshima. You can actually follow the order of this list to build your itinerary.
- Benten Nakamise Dori Street
- Enoshima Shrine
- Samuel Cooking Garden and the Sea Candle
- Love Bell
- Iwaya Caves
- Boat Trip from Bentenmaru
- Enoshima Island Spa
- Katase Enoshima Beach
- Try Shirasu-don
- Enoshima Aquarium
In order to help you plan your trip, here’s also a map with all our favorite sightseeing spots:
1. Benten Nakamise Dori Street
You can’t miss Benten Nakamise Dori Street because it’s the first street you will come across as soon as you arrive at Enoshima. Make sure you check out the spectacular torii made of bronze just at the entrance of the street.
Benten Nakamise Dori is probably the most popular shopping street in Enoshima and you can buy souvenirs but also delicious local food (including Shirasu-don, mentioned later on). It’s the perfect place to start your trip!
At the end of the street, you will slowly start to see the gorgeous Enoshima shrine which is one of the main sightseeing spots on the island.
2. Enoshima Shrine
Again, you can’t really miss the lovely Enoshima shrine, down Benten Nakamise Dori Shopping Street. There’s a beautiful red torii at the entrance and the higher you go, the better the view!
You should be able to see the sea and the bridge that links Enoshima to the main island. The stairs may look difficult to climb but it’s actually not that hard. So don’t be lazy and hurry to the top! 🙂
A few more steps and you will finally be able to visit the main shrine buildings.
3. Samuel Cooking Garden and the Sea Candle
- Opening time: 9 am to 8 pm
- Entrance fees: 200 yen for the garden only and 500 yen for the garden and the Sea Candle
Are we going to cook in this garden? Nope! 😀 The name actually comes from the British trader Samuel Cooking who established this botanical garden during the Meiji period.
One of the most popular features of this garden is its beautiful Sea Candle which is actually a 60-meter high lighthouse. Can you imagine the panoramic view from up there?
While it’s fun to explore the garden during the day, the best time to visit it is probably by night with all the winter illuminations. Here’s why:
The winter illuminations at Samuel Cooking Garden are usually displayed from late November to the end of February.
If you like winter illuminations, feel free to check out this post: Best Winter Illuminations in Tokyo.
4. Love Bell
Let’s keep on discovering Enoshima and visit this romantic spot. This Love Bell is also called Bell of Ryuren (literally the bell of the dragon’s love). The story goes that a five-headed dragon fell in love with a mermaid in a bay located nearby.
Since then, the hill above the bay became a popular place for couples to visit. It is believed that if a couple rings the bell together, they will love each other forever.
5. Iwaya Caves
- Opening time: from 9 am to 4 pm in winter, at 5 pm the rest of the time
- Entrance fee: 500 yen
The Iwaya caves were carved by the erosion of the sea. Several earthquakes later, the caves got up above sea level and became accessible. The Iwaya caves are, in a sense, the spiritual heart of Enoshima. Many popular people visited the caves in the past, including Kobo-Daishi (a buddhist monk, founder of Shingon Buddhism) and Minamoto no Yoritomo (the first shogun of the Kamakura era) to name only a few.
Once you’re there, the staff will hand you a candle and you will be able to explore the caves in a very mystic atmosphere. An amazing experience, to say the least!
6. Boat Trip From Bentenmaru
Once you’re at the southwest coast of Enoshima to visit the Iwaya caves, I highly recommend you take a boat back to the main island. The trip costs only 400 yen (one way) and the boat trip is around 5 minutes long. Enjoy the sea breeze and if you are lucky, you will be able to see Mount Fuji on your left.
7. Enoshima Island Spa
- Opening time: from 10 am to 10 pm between March and November / from 11 am to 9 pm between December and February
- Entrance fee: 2750 yen for a full day access
Also called Eno Spa, Enoshima Island Spa is actually one of the main reasons people visit this island. I mean, not many natural hot springs (onsen) offer amazing ocean views AND a Mount Fuji view (in clear weather)! The entrance fee is also affordable so it sounds like a pretty good idea, right?
We recommend visiting all the places we mentioned above and then go to the spa center to relax and get a well-deserved rest.
If you are looking for other spots in Japan where you can enjoy a view of Mount Fuji, check out these 10 Mount Fuji Viewpoints.
8. Enoshima Katase Beach
There’s actually no sand beach on Enoshima so when we refer to Enoshima Katase Beach, it’s actually the beach just in front of Enoshima, on the main island. This beach is pretty popular among surfers but you can also just sit on the sand and enjoy the sea view. It’s also a perfect sunset spot as you can see above!
9. Try Shirasu-don (Enoshima Local Food)
On the island of Enoshima, the main culinary specialties are seafood-based. And the most popular local food is without a doubt Shirasu-don. Shirasu is actually baby sardines eaten boiled or raw with a bit of soy sauce. Shirasu-don is basically a bowl of rice with Shirasu on it.
Obviously, this dish may seem a bit weird but it’s actually pretty tasty! You can find Shirasu everywhere on Enoshima, including at food stalls along Benten Nakamise Dori Street.
10. Enoshima Aquarium
Enoshima Aquarium is actually one of the most popular attractions in this area. But we left it at the end for a reason. At Sugoii Japan, we strive to be a responsible media so we decided that we will not recommend attractions that use animals for financial benefits.
We believe wild animals should live in their natural habitat and we shouldn’t take advantage of them in businesses like zoos or aquariums. You can read about the Enoshima Aquarium issues that were flagged by the Animal Rights Center here.
How To Get To Enoshima?
As we said earlier, getting to Enoshima is pretty easy. From Tokyo, we recommend to take the Odakyu Odawara line from Shinjuku and stop at Fujisawa, then take the Enoshima Electric Railway to Enoshima Station. The trip takes around an hour and a half and costs 820 yen.
If you are going to Enoshima from Kamakura, you just have to take the Electric Railway and you will get to your destination in 23 minutes. The cost of this trip is 260 yen.
From Enoshima Station, you can just walk to the island via the 400-meter long Benten bridge.
Where To Stay In Enoshima?
If you want to spend a night in Enoshima, we recommend you stay at Iwamotoro ryokan which is located on the island. It has amazing hot spring (onsen) options and provides everything you need to enjoy a traditional Japanese stay.
If you are looking for a cheaper option, we recommend you book at the charming IZA Guest House and Bar.
You now have all the info you need to make the best of your Enoshima trip! Enjoy it and we’ll see you soon for more tips about traveling in Japan.