Enoshima (江ノ島) is both a small island and a small seaside town next to the island in Kanagawa prefecture Fujisawa city, to the south of Tokyo. It's a popular beach destination and, on a nice summer day, has a bit of a laid-back California surfer vibe.
From Narita Airport, Enoshima is reachable in as little as 2 hours if you're lucky to catch a Narita Express limited express train that travels to Ofuna station. If your Narita Express train terminates at Yokohama, get off one stop earlier at Musashi-Kosugi for a convenient same-platform transfer to another local train to Ofuna. From Ofuna, Enoshima is 15 minutes away on the Shonan Monorail (¥300).
The ride on the Narita Express to Ofuna costs ¥4500. The N'EX TOKYO Round Trip Ticket (¥4000) is a discount round-trip ticket available for the foreigners (the one-way version has been discontinued since Mars 2015); this same fare applies if you change trains as described above.
From Haneda Airport, airport limousine buses depart every 30-60 minutes for Ofuna and Fujisawa train stations (60-90 minutes, ¥1220 and ¥1330 respectively). From Ofuna you can go to Enoshima in 15 minutes on the Shonan Monorail (¥310). Connections from Fujisawa to Enoshima are available on the Odakyu railway (7 minutes to Katase-Enoshima, ¥160) or the Enoden tramway (11 minutes, ¥220).
Alternatively you can go to Enoshima using three trains: the Keikyu Line to Yokohama (via Kamata), the JR Tokaido Line to Ofuna, and the Shonan Monorail to Enoshima - with good connections the trip takes about an hour at a cost of ¥1060. For access closer to the island, take the Tokaido Line one more stop to Fujisawa station and change to the Odakyu railway - this takes about the same amount of time at a cost of ¥1020.
You can take the private Odakyu line from Shinjuku to Fujisawa (54 minutes via kaisoku-kyūkō (快速急行) or 66 minutes via kyūkō (急行)), then change onto the rattling old Enoden (江ノ電) half-train/half-streetcar line to Enoshima. The Enoshima-Kamakura Free Pass (¥1,470) will get you a roundtrip from Shinjuku and unlimited use of the Enoden line for one day.
If you don't want to experience the vintage Enoden, you also have the option of taking the Odakyu all the way to Katase-Enoshima (片瀬江ノ島) station, which is the closest location to the main beaches and the island of Enoshima (70 minutes). There are not too many direct trains from Shinjuku; however, a connection at Sagami-Ono or Fujisawa is easy and convenient (you walk about 10m to the other side of the platform).
For a small extra charge you can take the all-reserved limited express "Romance Car" train direct from Shinjuku to Katase-Enoshima. The service to Enoshima is called, appropriately, Enoshima (えのしま), with some weekday services from Shinjuku also known as Home Way (ホームウェイ). Be warned that many of these trains are coupled to services bound for Hakone, which split at Sagami-Ono. There are more Romance Car trains to and from Enoshima on weekends and holidays than there are on weekdays.
The one-way fare from Shinjuku to Katase-Enoshima on the Odakyu Line is ¥1250 for the Romance Car, and ¥630 for regular services. Users of the above-mentioned free pass can upgrade to the Romance Car for ¥620 each way.
If you have a Japan Rail Pass, you can reach Fujisawa by taking a Tokaido Line from Tokyo (about 50 minutes) or a Shonan-Shinjuku line train from Shinjuku (about 50 minutes) at no charge, then pay the fee for the Enoden. A better, faster and more exciting way is to take the Tokaido or Shonan Shinjuku Line and change in Ofuna (大船) to the Shonan Monorail (湘南モノレール), one of the few hanging monorails, that will take you directly to Enoshima (湘南江ノ島) in about 20 min. As of July 2019, the monorail now accepts Suica/Pasmo/IC cards, ¥350 each way.
JR East offers the Enoshima-Kamakura Excursion Ticket[dead link], which allows unlimited rides in the Kamakura/Enoshima area on JR, Enoshima Electric Railway and the Shonan Monorail. The pass lasts for one day and costs ¥700.
Passengers coming from the south can take the Yokosuka JR line to Kamakura then change to the Enoden (江ノ電) half-train/half-streetcar line that goes to Enoshima or continue 2 stops past Kamakura, changing at Ofuna to the hanging monorail noted above.
Both train stations and hanging monorail station are within 1-3 The Enoden station and hanging monorail station are 1/2 block from each other and 3 blocks of the beach and causeway leading to the island Enoshima (exit left from both stations). The Katase-Enoshima station is only one block from beach and causeway; exit right.
Buses and taxis cross the causeway to the base of the island, but often are delayed in heavy summer or weekend traffic. It's easier just to walk from the station.
There is often a small, walk-on ferry that runs back and forth between the causeway and the back of the island (near the caves). It takes 5 minutes, costs about ¥ 400 and will save approximately 45 minutes walking time making it possible to see all the sights the island has to offer in one day.
Most pathways in Enoshima the island only allow foot traffic but are easily reached on foot. There are many stairs, high slopes and hills in Enoshima but it is possible to take an escalator called Enoshima Escar just to the left of the first, red torii gate. It costs ¥ 300 to go up (but you'll need to walk downstairs to go back down), open 9:00~17:00.
Only the town and main street are wheelchair accessible, everything from the entrance to Enoshima Shrine requires walking.
Enoshima is blessed with the abundant beauty of nature and sea. Many of Enoshima's sights are concentrated on the island itself, in front of the beach and the modern town.
On the island
- 1 Enoshima Shrine (江島神社 Enoshima-jinja), 2-3-8 Enoshima. Best known for its rather unusual naked statue of Benzaiten (裸弁財天 hadaka Benzaiten), a Shinto deity rarely found in such a state. The shrines at the top of Enoshima 2 chome have an all seeing turtle painted on the ceiling.
- 2 Backside of Enoshima. The points located on the backside of Enoshima near the cave are a sight worth seeing. Tidal pools brim with crabs and trapped fish. The backside of Enoshima is the local fishing secret.
- 3 Lovers Bell (龍恋の鐘) (at the park in 2 chome.).
On the continent
For things to see off the island, there are fireworks in summer at the beach. Every year, about 5,000 fireworks are displayed in late July or in early August. A local radio station announcer will be hosting the display. On that day many food and drink stalls are lined up on the streets.
- 4 New Enoshima Aquarium (新江ノ島水族館 shin-enoshima-suizokukan) (along the beach). The aquarium has a decent collection of marine life, and a dolphin show. However, you can expect the aquarium to be very crowded on hot summer days!
The small island of Enoshima is attached to the mainland by a causeway and is the main tourist attraction. Two bridges - one for cars, the other for foot and bicycle traffic - provide the main access.
Tourists come to this island to walk the pathways that lead to several ancient temples, botanical garden, museums, parks, scenic overlooks, and a modern lighthouse at the top of the island. If you are not in great shape for the stairs and hills, escalators are available for a fee (and a 700 yen ticket includes fee for lighthouse elevator).
The classic view of Mt. Fuji as depicted in Japanese art can be seen from Enoshima on clear days (best season for viewing is winter). Black kites (hawks called tobi or tombi) fill the skies, squawking and diving. Nature is abundant on the island.
The island is surrounded by high sea cliffs, rocks and tidal pools. The pounding surf and rocks make swimming at the island rather suicidal but many people walk across the exposed rocks, exploring the tidal pools and crab pots. At the end of the pathways at the 'back of the island' are ancient caves to explore. One cave network contains religious object, historical photographs and an automated fire-breathing dragon. The token entrance fee includes quaint, candle lanterns carried to light up darker portions of the cave.
The main pathways lead to all the places of interest and go over the top of the island to the backside. Be warned that it can be a steep hard walk (especially in summer heat) for some and (apart from the boat service) the only way is by foot. The boat service leaves from the back of the island (near the caves and rock pools). The boat is manned by an old fishermen who manually operates the rudder. This quirky boat service operates at various times, with regular pick up services during the busy summer months (every 15 minutes) to no service or a completely unreliable service during low season or inclement weather.
There are plentiful services (cafes, restrooms, vending machines, etc.) throughout the island.
During summer the mainland and beach areas of Enoshima city is all about sea sports; particularly surfing, sailing and jet boating. The surf here isn't great by most standards, but during Summer it is the place to be seen for the trendy younger crowd as it is conveniently close to Tokyo, providing an excuse for tens of thousands of funky Japanese to strut around with bleached hair and chocolate-bronze skin.
Summer starts 1 July and finishes end of August at area beaches. During this season there are dozens of beach huts serving a range of average food at average prices. However, they make a great escape from the heat and a good places to appreciate the view. They also offer showers, locker and beach equipment rentals.
During summer the sand can get very dirty with 'gomi' (garbage) littering the beach.
During other months, the Enoshima beaches become much quieter, cleaner and peaceful.
Enoshima has a big yacht harbor. Many cruisers are docked there and many university clubs have their boats moored at this spot. However, there are no boat rentals from this location although jet ski rentals are possible with the Japanese recreation craft license.
The street that leads from the Enoden and Monorail Station (just take a left as you walk out of the Enoden station) to the beach has souvenir shops and surfer accessories shops. In the same street you will find a Natural Lawson convenience store.
The street on the island that leads up to the shrine has also the typical souvenir shops including a post office and ice cream shops, but the real specialities can be found right when you leave the bridge: grilled and fresh seafood in every variation is sold there. It's a bit like the Tokyo fishmarket in small if you look at all those creatures that can apparently be eaten.
Many visitors come to Enoshima to eat seafood. One of the famous dishes is called shirasu-don(small raw fish on a bowl of rice). The turban shell, or sazae, is also popular. Reasonably priced (by Japan/Tokyo/beachfront standards) meals are readily available at the many beach houses in the summer, but these places are disassembled promptly at the beginning of September.
The area also has purple soft-serve ice cream (often sweet potato or sakura-flavored), and there are dozens of different soft-serve flavors you'll never see in the United States among the many different shops on the island.
On the island itself there are several restaurants with breathtaking views.
- Cafe Benten, ☏ +81 466-28-7579. Near the third shrine on the island (address is 2-chome street). Serves American-style pizza, cooked to order. Very friendly atmosphere, good service, and an irritating habit of spamming Wikivoyage.
- Lon Cafe is a quaint, modern cafe located at the top of the island inside the tower's park. They serve delicious, melt in your mouth French toast. The patio gets a nice breeze off the water and both it and the floor-to-ceiling windows have good views. Tel: 0466-28-3636
- Tobiccho (とびっちょ), ☏ +81 466-23-0041. The main (本店 honten) of the 3 Tobiccho shopts, and one of the most popular seafood restaurants in the island. The meals are all fresh and good. It has a pretty view of the harbor.
- Mos Cafe (near the aquarium).
- In the aquarium:
- Ocean cafe Enoshima.
- Shōnan Cafe (湘南カフェ). Has good food. You can eat a bowl of rice with avocado salad, fresh juice, Loko Moko, hot dog and so on. 'Enoshima Loko Moko' is a recommended dish of avocado, chicken & rice.
- Ōgiya (扇屋), ☏ +81 466-22-3430. It is a Japanese style confectionery. This store is well-known for its confections made in the shape of the famous Enoden train in the area. Recommended are ohagi and monaka. Ohagi is a cake made of rice flour with lots of taste. Other items are made from soy bean flour, sweet bean paste, sesame etc. Monaka is a wafer cake filled with red or white bean jam that costs about 100 yen.
- Uou-shōten (魚宇商店), ☏ +81 467-32-4215. A fresh fish market. They sell fish, octopus, cuttle fish, shellfish, wakame (soft seaweed) among other things. The fishdealer can make excellent recommendations on what to buy. This store is often featured on local television and Japanese TV personalities can sometimes be seen here.
Enjoy a "cold one" during the summer months of July and August at one of the many beach houses that pop-up on the area beaches. During heat of the day you can quench your thirst with a very good and cool drink from these beach houses which are plentiful. You can also bring drinks to the beach from one of several convenience stores (known as Konbinis) nearby. In this area, many of the beach houses close at sunset, but you can still enjoy Enoshima by walking along the beach or going to one of the many good bars and restaurants across from the beach, too.
Enoshima is an easy day trip from the Tokyo/Yokohama area, but an assortment of hotels are available in the beach area.
- Ebisuya Ryokan  at the foot of Enoshima Island. Parking included. 10-minute walk to Katase-Enoshima train station.
- Enoshima Hotel Praza Rooms are small but it's cheap and so near the beach. Rooms have a nice view of the beach and all of Enoshima which is lit up at night. One room per person ¥6,500. Rest for 3 hours one room (any people) ¥5,000. 1-minute walk to Katase-Enoshima train station; Tel 0466-55-3913.
- Kinokuniya Ryokan, ☏ +81 466-22-4247. Features relaxing stone bath. 3-minute walk to Katase-Enoshima train station; ¥8,500-11,500;.
- Kishu Railway Katase Enoshima Hotel, ☏ +81 466-22-8481. 1-minute walk to Katase-Enoshima train station; about ¥9,000 for 1-2 people;
- KKR Enoshima New Koyo, ☏ +81 466-23-7710. Parking available. 10-minute walk to Katase-Enoshima train station;.
- Niraku-so, ☏ +81 466-22-8651. At the entrance of causeway to Enoshima Island, 3-minute walk to Katase-Enoshima train station; ¥5,250;
In Japan there are hotels for couples, called "Love Hotels", so you need some courage to get in there by yourself. There are many of these in the area:
- Hotel Chapel Christmas 3-24-6 Katasekaigan, Fujisawa City.(5 minutes walk from Katase Enoshima station) It's really cheap and there's a cute statue of Santa Claus so it is easy to find. One room Stay with 2 people ¥8,000 on weekday, ¥13,000 on Weekends. Tel: 0466-26-5902.
- Kamakura, at the other end of the Enoden line, is a popular temple town and easily visited on the same day trip.
|Routes through Enoshima|
|Fujisawa ←||W E||→ Kamakura|
|Shinjuku ← into ← Sagami Ōno ← Fujisawa ←||N S||→ END|
|Ōfuna ←||W E||→ END|
|Chigasaki ← Fujisawa ←||W E||→ Kamakura → Zushi → Miura|