Enoshima Station is a railway station located in southern Fujisawa in Kanagawa Prefecture in the south of Tokyo. It is served by the Enoshima Electric Railway Line, which runs between this station and Koshogoe Station. Enoshima Station is the closest station to Enoshima.
Enoshima is an island and township located at the mouth of Katase-gawa River in Sagami Bay. This small 4 kilometers long island is connected to the mainland by a causeway. Enoshima is a hilly area with high slopes, and stairs to go up and down these slopes. Surrounding it are high sea cliffs, rocks, and tidal waves.
The island of Enoshima is said to have been raised from the bottom of the sea in the 6th century by the goddess of music and entertainment, Benzaiten. Enoshima is, therefore, dedicated to the goddess who is also said to be enshrined here.
Although Enoshima is small, it has several places of interest, making it a popular tourist spot. Among the most popular spots are:
Enoshima Iwaya Caves
These are two caves formed by erosion through tidal waves. Located on the back side of the island, the Iwaya Caves can be reached by descending a flight of 220 steps. Their beauty is truly amazing. One of the caves, the one located on the western side, is divided into two parts – the Kongo (the diamond), which contains statues of the three island goddesses; and the Taizo, which contains a statue of Amaterasu. At the fork of the two divisions, stands the statue of priest Kukai. The other cave, on the eastern side, is dedicated to the guardian deity of the fishermen, the dragon, whose statue stands in the center of the cave. The two caves are connected by a pathway, where people usually take walks and enjoy the beautiful scenes of the ocean.
The Iwaya Caves are open to the public from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and entrance fee is 500 yen. The fee includes candle lanterns which are taken inside to view the darker parts of the caves.
Enoshima Shrine was originally a tutelary of the three deity goddesses of Enoshima – goddesses of land, sea, and fisheries – who were enshrined here in the year 552. It was in 1206 that it was turned and founded into a shrine by the 3rd shogun of Kamakura Bakufu. The buildings of the shrine were later rebuilt in 1657 and these same buildings are what we see today.
The street that leads to Enoshima Shrine is lined on both sides by souvenir shops and eateries. The entrance to the shrine grounds is through a gateway, the Bronze Torii, built in 1657, and later rebuilt in 1821. Within the complex are three shrines – Hetsuno-miya, Nakatsuno-miya, and Okutsuno-miya (collectively called Enoshima Shrine) dedicated to the three goddesses of Enoshima. Okutsuno-miya is especially famous for the image of Happo Nirame-no Kame, a turtle looking in eight directions, on the ceiling of the Worshippers’ Hall. What is unique about this is that the eyes of the turtle seem to follow you wherever you move to. The original painting, painted by Hoitsu Sakai, is stored in the treasure-house of the Shrine. The present painting is a copy painted by Kayo Kataoka.
Samuel Cocking Garden
Samuel Cocking Garden is a small botanical garden located in Enoshima. Founded by Samuel Cocking (1842-1914) in 1880 as Enoshima Botanical Garden, its main feature is a greenhouse of tropical plants.
Another landmark of Enoshima, the Enoshima Observation Tower, is also located in Samuel Cocking Garden. This is a 59.8 meter high silvery tower with an observation deck on the top. Visitors can get a beautiful 360 degree panoramic view of the surrounding area from the deck.
Enoshima Daishi Temple
The Enoshima Daishi Temple is located a short distance from Samuel Cocking Garden. It is the first Buddhist temple to be constructed on the island after the Meiji Restoration in 1868. The Temple, which belongs to the Shingon sect of Buddhism, was completed and opened in 1993. The building is a beautiful circular structure with a 6 meter tall statue of Fudo (the Buddhist deity that fights evil) in the main hall.
Chigogafuchi is another popular spot of Enoshima. This is an ablation plateau about 50 meters wide. The view from the plateau is beautiful, especially of Mt. Fuji in the evenings. In fact the place is so beautiful that it has been designated as one of the 50 most beautiful spots of Kanagawa.