The enchanting island of Enoshima is a hidden gem nestled along the picturesque south coast of Japan. Prepare to embark on a day-trip adventure that will transport you to a world of captivating nature and rich cultural heritage. As you step foot onto this mystical island, you’ll find yourself captivated by its stunning landscapes, ancient shrines, and vibrant atmosphere. Hence, whether you’re a nature lover seeking tranquility or a history enthusiast in search of hidden tales, Enoshima has something extraordinary to offer every visitor.

As beautiful as it is, one day is truly enough for Enoshima Island. Hence, we have designed the ultimate day-trip guide for you to maximise your time here.

Enoshima Benten-bashi, a 5-minute walk from the mainland to the island

How to get there

Train from Tokyo

Assuming you’re beginning your journey from Tokyo, you can simply take the Odakyu Romance Car, which is a limited express train to popular tourist towns such as Hakone, Kamakura, and of course, Enoshima. From Tokyo, the train departs at Shinjuku and heads towards Katase-Enoshima within an hour for only ¥700, which is almost the same price as taking the regular trains.

Train from Yokohama

While that is the most direct and cost-efficient method of traveling to Enoshima, we recommend stopping by Yokohama for a day. Yokohama is famous for its vibrant atmosphere and cosmopolitan flair, with impressive architecture marvels, picturesque spots, and amazing food. More information can be found in our upcoming guides, but the popular destinations are Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse, Cup Noodles Museum, and Chinatown. Stay a night in Yokohama, or leave at night to catch the train to Enoshima. From Yokohama, take the Ueno Tokyo line to Ofuna station. From Ofuna station, change to the Monorail and commute to Shonan Enoshima station for ¥320. A short ten minutes walk later, you’ll find yourself at the entrance of Enoshima Island.

By car

Those who are driving can simply park at the entrance of Enoshima Island, from ¥400, with a cap of ¥2,000 per day.

Recommending time of visiting

Most of the shops in Enoshima Island open after 11am, but we recommend visiting at 2pm, such that you’ll catch the sunset at the farther end of the island without any waiting time in between. If you do take our recommendation, but you happen to arrive early, don’t worry as there are plenty of things to do outside the island.

In fact, we actually recommend getting lunch in the mainland. For one of the best pancakes and Hawaiian food, we recommend Aloha Table Shonan. For the most tender steak, head down to Kalae-Ribs Kitchen.

Steak Curry Rice at Kalae-Ribs Kitchen

If you are looking for activities to do in the morning, you can visit Enoshima Aquarium, chill at a local roastery (we recommend GP Coffee), or sign up for a beginners surfing class with Share Surf. Enoshima beach is known as a popular spot for beginner surfers for its relatively mellow and straight waves.

If you are not planning to stay on the island, you can simply drop off your bags in a coin locker at the entrance of the island, which starts from ¥400 a day.

Attractions at Enoshima Island

After crossing the bridge to Enoshima Island, you’ll find yourself at the start of Benzaiten Nakamise Street — a stretch of souvenir shops and local brands. Popular dishes to try at Enoshima includes shirasu (white bait), and otome manju, translating to female husband bun. At the end of the street, you’ll find a red torii gate, and that’s where the attraction hopping truly begins.

Get an all-day Enoshima pass for ¥1,100, which includes the escalators and entrance tickets to all three paid attractions — Sky Candle, Cocking Garden and Iwaya Caves — which cost ¥500 each. Meanwhile, Individual escalator fees starts from ¥100 each, with three flights. Hence, for the most cost-efficient way to explore the island, the All-Day Pass is a must. From there, you’ll walk past a few shrines before reaching Cocking Garden, the first major attraction on the island.

1. Cocking Garden

Cocking Garden at night. Photo: Discover Fujisawa

Named after Samuel Cocking, British merchant in the 19th century, Cocking Garden contains a variety of flowers and tropical trees. Various events are held throughout the year to feature seasonal flowers, such as winter tulips, one of their most gorgeous showcase. You can also admire a plethora of succulents and terrariums in their indoor garden.

This exhibition is covered by the Enoshima pass. Otherwise, entry fee costs ¥500. During lull seasons when there are no special exhibitions, entry to the garden is free.

Opening hours: 9am-8pm

2. Enoshima Sea Candle

The view from Enoshima Sea Candle on a cloudy day. If the weather permits, you can catch Mt. Fuji on the other side

An observatory tower might seem like a basic attraction for some. However, if you can only choose one attraction to visit on the island, it has to be Enoshima Sea Candle. This lighthouse observation tower, located beside Cocking Garden, provides a panoramic view of everything around it: Mt. Fuji to the west, Miura peninsula to the east, and Oshima Island to the south. While it may only be 120 meters above sea level, the view here has to be one of the most gorgeous I have seen out of all the observation tower I have been to.

You will start off by taking an elevator to the indoor observation room. For a clearer view, unobstructed by the window, you can simply walk up the stairs to the roof top. Wooden seats are built into the centre of the tower for you to admire the view comfortably. To go down, you can either take the elevator, or walk down the spiral staircase to enjoy the view from different levels.

Opening hours: 9am-8pm

3. Lon Cafe

Truffle White Sauce, paired with truffle cream, truffle sauce, pumpkin seeds, shaved almonds, and peaches

Also located beside Cocking Garden, Lon Cafe is a French toast speciality cafe that serves one of the best French toasts you will ever have.

French toasts start from ¥1,250, with ten varieties to choose from. Crowd favourites include the Two Types Berry (¥1,350) and Creme Brûlée (¥1,480), but I chose their seasonal special — Truffle White Sauce (¥1,670). The truffle sauce and cream were concocted beautifully. It was a shame that the distinct aroma of truffle is masked by the other ingredients, but its savoury and earthy notes balanced the sweetness of the cream, creating a different flavour profile instead.

Do note that these are the prices for one piece of French toast, which is relatively expensive. However, factoring in the sea view, its location as a popular tourist spot, and the fact that it was actually a perfectly-cooked French toast, I would regard it as worth-it. You can also add additional pieces of French toast for ¥350 each.

Opening hours:
Mon-Fri: 11am-8pm
Sat-Sun: 10am-8pm

4. Iwaya Cave

Remember to take a candle at the halfway point in the first cave!

Enoshima Iwaya Caves are located at the far end of the island. You will walk past a few other attractions, and past Oiwaya Street, which is packed with eateries, but skip those; you’ll come back to those attractions on your return route.

The Iwaya Caves, shaped by centuries of tidal erosion, are a fascinating natural wonder comprising two caverns. As you venture into the first cave, an exhilarating sense of exploration engulfs you, reminiscent of intrepid adventurers. You will be armed with a candle, provided to visitors at the midway point, allowing you to immerse yourself in the mysterious atmosphere. However, please note that during crowded times, the provision of candles might be limited. Meanwhile, the second cave offers an enlightening experience, delving into the religious beliefs and captivating folklores from the Edo period. Prepare to be captivated as you uncover the rich tapestry of history and culture hidden within its depths.

This exhibition is covered by the Enoshima pass. Otherwise, entry fee costs ¥500.

Opening hours: 9am-6pm 

5. Dinner at the Enoshima Uomi-tei

Perfectly-grilled clams with a dash of soy sauce for the extra umami

I’m pretty sure there is an unspoken rule of eating seafood when you are on an island. If that’s true, we recommend Enoshima Uomi-tei for its grilled seafood. Just like many restaurants on the island, Enoshima Uomi-tei closes at 6pm. Hence, while you will be walking back and forth, we recommend walking back to Oiwaya Street, where the restaurant is located. 

The restaurant serves a variety of grilled and fresh seafood, such as the Yaki Hamaguri (¥1,300), Ika no Maruyaki (¥1,200), and Ebi no Shioyaki (¥1,100), which are grilled clams in soy sauce, grilled squid with ginger and soy sauce, and grilled prawns with salt respectively. For a more filling meal, set meals and a la carte rice bowls are also on the menu.

Amazing food aside, you get to dine with an unobstructed view of the ocean.

Opening hours: 10am-6pm

6. Watch the sunset

Photo: iStock/Ghing

When you’re at Iwaya Caves, take note of the sunset timing of the day, which is written on a whiteboard on a wall. From Enoshima Uomi-tei, or any of the restaurants along Oiwaya Street, walk back to the caves. You should be able to see a sunset viewing spot on the bridge, which is supposedly the best spot on the island to view sunsets. In April and September, if you’re lucky, you might also get to see the “Diamond Fuji”, which occurs when the sun sets behind the mountain, creating a diamond-like radiance.

7. Dragon’s Love Bell

This will be the final cultural attraction before heading back to the mainland. Dragon’s Love Bell is a symbol of the love story between the Five-headed Dragon and the Benzaiten, which I will leave you to learn more about when you visit the island. It is a popular spots for couples to ring the bell to profess their love for each other. Some would even bring their own locks and chain it to the gate.

Please note that the bell has recently fallen off in late June 2023, and may or may not have been fixed during your visit.

8. Enoshima Island Spa 

Amazing view of the sunset from Enoshima Island Spa. Photo: klook

After a rewarding day of exploring every corner of Enoshima Island, treat yourself to a rejuvenating experience at Enoshima Island Spa, conveniently situated at the island’s entrance. This exceptional facility offers an array of amenities designed to cater to your relaxation needs, including natural hot springs, invigorating heated pools, serene relaxation areas, and soothing saunas. As the sun sets, their night spa awaits, starting from just ¥1,650 per person from 6pm onwards. Alternatively, for a more comprehensive indulgence, return on another day and luxuriate in the spa’s offerings all day long, priced at ¥2,750.

If you’ve been observant during your exploration of the island’s attractions, you’ll notice the spa’s thoughtful homage to Enoshima’s rich history. From the dragon-shaped streetlights that illuminate the surroundings to the Beng Teng Spa, named after the revered Benzaiten goddess, each element pays tribute to the island’s captivating past. Moreover, the cave pool draws inspiration from the mystique of the Iwaya Caves, further enhancing the enchanting ambiance of this exceptional spa.

Opening hours:
Mar-Nov: 10am-10pm
Dec-Feb: 11am-9pm

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