江の島 – Enoshima Island

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Over my winter vacation, I had the chance to travel to Tokyo from Tokushima (which is about an 8 hour bus ride via the overnight Kaifu Kankou Bus) and visit the beautiful and historic Enoshima Island!  Enoshima is famous for its beaches, the Iwaya caves, observation tower, and its apparently abundant cats.  Unfortunately, I was only able to see one of them, but the area is famous for stray cats which are very friendly!  I got to Tokyo Station at around 6:00 am, so I decided to kill time by traveling all the way to Enoshima which was about an hour and a half away.  Traveling there required several transfers, but since it was early I was able to get there with relative ease.  The island was about a 20 minute walk from the train station, but it was pleasant all of the way through.  As I crossed the bridge and saw the beautiful waves and vibrant town, I was not disappointed!  Though it was winter, I saw a lot of fisherman and even surfers on the beach.  When I got to the city area, I made my way past the restaurants and street vendors to see the Enoshima Shrine.

After climbing several flights of stairs, I was able to make it to the Enoshima shrine and also get a great view of the island and Mt. Fuji in the distance.  From the observation tower, I got an even greater view of Japan!  What makes Enoshima a great tourist destination is that all of it can be covered by foot.  There is so much nature among a bright and happy atmosphere.  There were so many vendors selling fresh seafood, and the island even had its own anime mascot, Enoshima-chan!  Seeing the statues placed around the island was also very entertaining.  One looked like a giant bag of Rupees from The Legend of Zelda series.  As a gamer, I see references everywhere!

After hiking and seeing all of the most famous tourist spots, including the infamous Love Bell, I decided to enter the Iwaya caves.  I was given a brochure and candle so I could better see the dimly lit interior.  Going through them, I definitely felt like an explorer!  There are two main caves that contain various monuments, pictures, and history (some of it is even printed in English, too).  At the end of 2nd cave, there was a dragon statue with a drum you could pound and make a wish on.  The novelty of it was worth the 500 yen entrance fee and was something I’d recommend to tourists looking to get a genuine Enoshima experience.  The island is small, but very relaxing with a friendly vibe.  There is a lot to see and do and there are escalators available for people who have difficulty climbing stairs.   I definitely plan on vacationing here in the summer, and bringing my friends and some sake!

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