Finding Beauty with Imperfection

Category: Enoshima Island

Local Tourists

No alarms were set in the Dwyer house Sunday morning. We all agreed that waking up at 2:30am on Saturday morning earned us late sleepers! We eventually made it out of the house mid morning and worked our way to Enoshima Island. To mix it up a little bit, we took the Shonan Monorail train to get to Enoshima. Here was our route from Zushi.

Before tackling the stairs on the island, we stopped for lunch. We were glad to have extra energy. Enoshima Island has a lot of stairs!

Check out the view as we climbed.

Cindy was able to add another stamp to her temple book. While we waited, we had ume blossoms and the fountain to enjoy.

We continued our way to the top of the island. We enjoyed all the selfie spots on the island.

The clouds prevented us from viewing Mt. Fuji. You know what they say… on a clear day…

This might be my favorite picture of the day. Those smiles!

We worked our way down the island and caught the Enoshima Electric train back to Kamakura.

On the way home, I needed to take Cindy to Hachimangū Shrine in Kamakura. This shrine is mandatory on every Julia tour. We skipped it Friday when we were in Kamakura and opted for seeing Sakura. Having a flexible schedule today, we were able to squeeze in a quick visit.

I’ll be honest. My favorite part of the Shrine are the sake barrels.

We were there towards the end of the day. The Shrine wasn’t very crowded, but the light was getting challenging with iPhone.

A few last pictures. The bridge is blocked off because it is only for the Gods to cross. The lighting wasn’t the best, but I love these shots.

As I think about our day, I can’t help but laugh at our reality. We live so incredibly close to so many really cool, beautiful, and iconic parts of Japan. We are very fortunate to have the opportunity to live here. It’s so special to be able to share our experiences and neighborhood with Cindy. Tomorrow we have traveling plans on the Shinkansen! Kyoto or bust!

Pacific Drive-In

Katie and I decided to enjoy the beautiful and windy day exploring a couple spots we pass when we take the train to Enoshima Island. We decided to stop for lunch at the Pacific Drive-In restaurant.

It is literally right on the edge of Inamuragasaki Beach. Check out the waves today! It was so windy!! Enoshima Island is on the left and Mt. Fuji is on the right.

The view from our table inside was lovely.

We both ordered the ahi tuna poke bowl. It was ok. I was a little surprised it didn’t have more poke flavor. We both ended up adding a little soy sauce and that seemed to help. The ginger ale I ordered was fantastic! We decided next time to order the shrimp plate.

After lunch, we walked above Inamuragasaki Beach so I could show Katie the cute park near by. Check out the daffodils already blooming! You can still see Mt. Fuji even with the cloud halo.

The next spot we wanted to explore was the Ryuguchi Temple. From the Enoshima train line, we can see a pagoda and we’ve always been curious. Today, we had time to explore. We took a wrong turn and found this temple with a very cool tunnel.

Fortunately, Google Maps got us back on track. Literally. We were walking down the street where the Enoshima train runs down the street! I felt like a local when I I snapped pictures of the cute Enoshima electric train line.

A few minutes later, we found the Ryuguchi Temple.

We walked around and up and down. Along the way we passed a Torii. One of my favorite things about Temples and Shrines is the acceptance of both religions (Buddhism and Shinto) at a single location. If only all the other religions in the world could be more accepting and tolerable, we would be a lot closer to peace on Earth.

At the top of the stairs we came to a beautiful Temple with a gold Buddha.

We walked around to the back and we caught a great view of Mt. Fuji and Enoshima Beach.

Finally, we came down to the five-story wood pagoda. It was nestled in the trees creating a serene environment.

Despite the chilly temperatures and wind, it was a beautiful day. We had fun lunching, exploring and shopping. We might both actually be finished Christmas shopping!

Sea Candle Illumination

Holiday illuminations are shining brightly all around Japan. One spot I missed last year was the Enoshima Sea Candle. I decided to add it to calendar earlier and during a week day. Katie and her daughter, Virginia, met me in Zushi so we could ride the train together the rest of the way to Enoshima. We were hoping for a clear night. We wanted to see Mt. Fuji, sunset, and the super moon. Unfortunately, clouds rolled in during the early afternoon.

We took our time climbing up to the top and soaked in the view as we went.

I also had the chance to use my Apple Watch to take a picture of the three of us. It’s a great feature and made even easier because in various places around Japan we have seen little smart phone stands. Brilliant!

At 17:00 the lights were illuminated. They made an announcement about five minutes prior and people started rushing into the garden. Right before 17:00 there was a 10- second count down and then the lights were turned on. Everyone cheered. It was really cute. The gardens of the Sea Candle were so beautiful. It was fun to walk through and absorb the serenity of the garden. Plus, there was music playing to help set the holiday spirit.

The highlight was the long light tunnel. It was so beautiful. There were large chandeliers hanging from the ceiling and crystals hanging from the sides.

It was cool to see the Sea Candle through the tunnel.

We walked through the tunnel a couple times. It was just so beautiful with all the lights.

The Sea Candle was also illuminated.

The view from the top of the Sea Candle was a delight as well.

Our evening out was just the break I needed. I spent most of the day working on rerouting our Christmas holiday plans. We were planning a trip to Bali. Unfortunately, the ash cloud from Mt. Agung continues to threaten flights. We decided to play it on the safe side and reroute our trip to Phuket. It was a bit of a hassle to change, but worth it in the end for piece of mind. I did a little more research and found a different part for us to visit this year and enjoy a relaxing holiday together. We can save Bali for next year.

Enoshima Sea Candles

Last week, I went out to Enoshima Island and during my visit, I saw an advertisement for a candle illumination display. Wednesday evening was the perfect opportunity for me to revisit the Enoshima Garden, Sea Candle, and candle illumination. I arrived a little before sunset and was very happy I did! I was able to capture a few pictures of the sunset and Mt. Fuji. 

I purchased my ticket and quickly went up into the Sea Candle before the sunset was complete. I wanted a few more pictures! 

I returned to ground level and I tilted my phone to capture Mt. Fuji and the Sea Candle. A very gorgeous evening! 

After watching sunset, I returned to the candle illumination. The path leading to the Sea Candle was illuminated with white votives. 

The candles were placed with great care throughout the garden. 

The Shrine seemed majestic with the red votives lining the path. 

The candles were beautiful and it was so quiet. It wasn’t very crowded, but still a good number of people snapping pictures from every angle. As couples spoke, they whispered. The silence truly set a peaceful tone for the evening. 

This is my fourth visit to Enoshima Island. It is moving up on my list of favorite places near where we live. Even though it takes a little while to get there, the train ride is nice along the coast. Also, there are a lot of shops leading up to the Shrine that can be fun to explore. The Shrine is beautiful and there are a lot of stairs! On a clear day, the island provides a fantastic view of Mt. Fuji. It is worth a visit during cool (remember- lots of stairs!) and clear weather.  One last picture of Mt. Fuji as I walked back to the train station. 

One more funny story about the Enoshima Sea Candle. In America, we would refer to this structure as a lighthouse. I call it the  Enoshima Sea Candle because those are the English words written on the signs on the island. Even Google Maps refers to it as the Enoshima Sea Candle. 

The funny thing is, I have told both of my English classes about my visits to Enoshima Island and the Enoshima Sea Candle and they respond with confusion. They will say to me, “you call it Sea Candle?” Clearly, confused by the silly American who isn’t familiar with lighthouses. I try to explain I call it that because that’s what the sign says- in English. Normally, I would call it a lighthouse. “Oh, yes, lighthouse. Yes, very beautiful.” Yes, very beautiful. For now on, I will always giggle when I see a lighthouse aka Sea Candle. 

Beautiful Day

Today was beautiful. It warranted a get out and go attitude. I decided to venture over to Enoshima Island. I’ve been a couple times, both with Dave and Dina. It provides a spectacular vantage point for viewing Mt. Fuji (on a clear day). I knew today would be a great day for a trip to Enoshima because I snapped this picture earlier in the morning from Zushi Beach while enjoying a U.S. phone conversation with my girl, Jules. Enoshima Island is the island slightly off center and in front of Mt. Fuji. 

One part of the island I haven’t had the opportunity to explore are the rocks and sea cave. It is some what of a trek out to the island. It requires three trains and a good bit of walking. Here was my route. 

As I walked across the bridge to the island, I was giddy seeing Mt. Fuji with a snow cap. Signs of cooler weather! 

I decided to walk the stairs on the island vice taking the pay escalators. I figured the steps would do my rainy day lazy legs a favor! I was huffing and puffing by the time I reached the top. But, that view! 

Before descending down the other side to the sea cave, I decided to stop for a quick visit at the Sea Candle. I love the gardens and the Sea Candle and I knew the view would be amazing. I purchased my ¥500 ticket from the machine like a boss and entered the garden. I was greeted by thousands of unlit luminaries. 

I saw the flier with relevant information and have already made plans to return next week in the evening to see them illuminated! I think it will be so enchanting. 

As I approached the Sea Candle entrance, an advertisement for the caves caught my attention. I looked it over and then proceeded to the ticket taker at the entrance. He nicely informed me the sea caves were closed. Oh? Hai! Because typhoon caused damage. Oh! Arigatōgozaimas! I was so thankful he told me before I walked down the other side of the mountain! He also told me he wasn’t sure when it would reopen. 

The views of Mt. Fuji from the Sea Candle were as beautiful as I hoped! 

I walked around and enjoyed the 360 degree view of Shonan Beach. The bridge pictured is the one I walked over to access the island. 

As I was returning to the elevator to go back down, I observed a man taking the stairs. I decided to follow and ignore the sign written in Japanese. Again with the great views! 

The spiral staircase took me down to the Terrace level. As I came to the end of the staircase, I realized my error. Don’t tell anyone, but I don’t think I was supposed to use the stairs. 

Oops – a – daisy! Let’s just keep this between us, shall we? But, just so we are clear, I paid for an entry ticket to the garden and Sea Candle! 

One last view from the Terrace. 

And from the bridge as I walked back to the train station. 

On my way back home, I stopped and did a little shopping. Both in the Shonan Beach area and then in Kamakura. It was just such a beautiful day! 

Shonan Beach 

Sunday was an absolutely beautiful day. Dave and I decided to walk around Shonan Beach and Enoshima Island. When Dave and I went in January, we had amazing views of Mt. Fuji. Today we had a hazy view of Mt. Fuji and a view of a bunch of surfers!

We stopped for a burger at J.S. Cafe. I had an avocado cheeseburger. Dave opted for the sunny-side up egg and bacon burger.

I love the advice on the burger wrapper / holder.

We walked along the beach after lunch. It was fun to be back in a beach scene. One thing that remains the same about a beach town – bikes! So many bikes!

This picture reminded me of our friend, Mark, in Virginia Beach. As a surfer, he transits to and from the beach on his bike with his surfboard. I looked for him in the water today.

Saturday started Golden Week. A little research helped me better understand the holiday period. The four holidays between the week of April 29 through May 5 were established in 1948. The way the calendar falls in 2017, Golden Week is about 9 days. Many businesses give employees time off making it a great time to vacation.

April 29th was Showa Day. Showa Day  commemorates the birthday of the deceased Showa Emperor Hirohito, who reigned for 62 years.

May 3rd is Constitution Memorial Day. It celebrates the Japanese constitution that came into effect on May 3, 1947.

May 4th is Greenery Day. It is a time for the Japanese honor nature. Also, it a time to reflect on the link between humanity and the environment and appreciate nature’s abundant gifts.

May 5th is Children’s Day. The day celebrates the health and happiness of children. It was formally known as boy’s day. On this day carp streamers are flown. Carp are a symbol of stamina and strength.

We have been warned to be prepared for crowds everywhere. Walking around Shonan Beach and Enoshima, we moved with the masses.

My favorite picture was of this surfer finding his own spot to take a nap. Forget the crowds or surf. It’s time to nap!

Inamuragasaki Beach

A friend told me about Inamuragasaki Beach. She described it as a beautiful black sand beach with an amazing view of Mt. Fuji (on a clear day). Inamuragasaki Beach is located in Kamakura and accessible by the Enoshima electric train line. Here was my route today. It took about 10 minutes longer to get there than it did to come home. It’s all about train timing!

After I arrived in Inamuragasaki, it was a quick walk to the beach to see this view! Enoshima Island is the foreground of the picture.

A small video to help you enjoy the beach!

Despite the chilly sea breeze, I enjoyed my walk along the beach. Nothing brings me more peace than walking along a beach listening to waves crash. There were a couple bridges to cover where streams connected with Sagami Bay. Another reason to love Japan. They build bridges at the beach where drainage may cause your feet to get wet! Inamuragasaki Park is in the distance.

As I continued my walk along the beach to Inamuragasaki Park, I couldn’t resist turning around and snapping another picture of Mt. Fuji. It was such a beautiful day. Simultaneously, as I walked the black sand was strangely beautiful and mesmerizing with the crashing waves.

Even on a winter day, the park was lovely.  Besides the views, there was a small daffodil garden.

The park had multiple levels. Each connected with stairs, of course!

With each level, the view became even more magnificent! The first picture I am standing in front of the statue. The caption wasn’t in English so, I am not sure of the meaning.

Interesting statue on the lowest level of the park.

The view from above the daffodil garden…

I took this picture from the middle level. The trees framed Mt. Fuji nicely.

Finally, the view from the top!

We can definitely stop to walk the beach and through the park when you visit. There are a couple restaurants I’m interested in visiting as well!

Fish Heads

I went out for a little bit of urban exploring today. Dave and I have been running the same route for our long runs for a while now. To add miles, we will add an extra loop here or there. There is one area where the road goes through a tunnel and is closed to pedestrians. At this location, we simply turn around. We have wondered where the side trail might lead. I decided to take the train into Zushi and then walk over to the area to investigate.

First I made a stop at Zushi Beach. It was a beautiful day.

The first path I checked out led me to a beautiful area. Surfers and paddle boarders use this passage as an access to the area around the point of Zushi Beach.

As always, stairs!

The other path led me to the fancy neighborhood near Ōsaki Park. It was a steep uphill climb. There were a few special treats at the top. The first, Mt. Fuji.

The second, blooming shamrocks.

The third, cherry blossoms starting to bloom!

There were only a few trees in this grove. None the less, I felt the first signs of spring fever! Honestly, this has been a delightful winter. Mostly sunny skies and very mild temperatures. However, I’m very excited to experience the beauty of the spring blooms. I had to make myself stop taking pictures of the blossoms. They were so beautiful and the light was perfect.

One last picture of Mt. Fuji before I tell you about the fish heads.

So, fish heads. After my urban hike, I was ready for a snack. I needed to head to main base via the train to pick up the car after having the oil changed. I stopped at Family Mart. Family Mart is my favorite convenient store chain here in Japan. I grabbed a bottle of water, an onigiri and a bag of Japanese crackers. While walking from the train station to the service station on base, I was snacking on crackers.

Well, I thought they were all crackers. Turns out, they included dried fish.

After I pulled it out of the bag, I had an instant “WTF” moment. Then I remembered, I’m in Japan. They eat fish in everything. Even crackers.

I saved the rest to eat until I got home and could dump out the bag. As you can see, the fish were advertised. I guess I should look closer next time I try a new Japanese snack. In the small dish are all the fish and fish heads included in my snack!

I did try one. They weren’t too bad. They were very crunchy with a salty, sweet fishy taste. The aftertaste kept me from eating another!

A Clear Winter Day

Dave and I ventured out to Enoshima Island today for two reasons.

1. Luke’s Lobster Roll.

2. Clear winter skies are the best to see Mt. Fuji.

Yes, that’s right. A Maine lobster roll in Japan. It took us 54 minutes and 3 trains. Have no doubt, it was worth it.

I’m extra glad we went when we did. According to the sign out front, they are closing Luke’s on January 31st. So, sad. I see at least one more lobster roll in my future.

After lunch, we walked over to Enoshima Island to check out Mt. Fuji. And the view was amazing. We have never been able to see the whole mountain, let alone the mountains in the foreground.  It was spectacular.

Our goal was to see Mt. Fuji from the Sea Candle. The Sea Candle is the top point in the picture below. If you remember, Dina and I went to Enoshima Island when it wasn’t clear. Winter in this part of Japan means lots of sunshine, low humidity and clear skies. It might be the best winter I’ve ever experienced.

To gain access to the Sea Candle, requires purchasing a ¥500 ticket. The ticket gives you access to the gardens and Sea Candle. The gardens were a surprise! They were full of tulips!

Our trip to the Sea Candle was pretty amazing. This is the clearest we have ever seen Mt. Fuji.

I obviously had to take serval pictures. It was just too beautiful.

When you visit, we will definitely go to Enoshima Island. We will take the monorail to get there.  Here is a quick video from the front of the train. It was like riding the “Big Bad Wolf” at Busch Gardens without the roller coaster effect!

Simultaneously, I must help you set expectations. Prepare for clouds. Hope for clear skies. Regardless, it is such a fun area, you won’t be disappointed on our trip!

Enoshima Island

Thinking of something to do on a crisp winter mostly sunny day, Dina suggested we go to Enoshima Island. It is a small island just off the coast. We took 3 trains to get to the island. It took a little over an hour. Here was our route.

One of the trains is the Enoshima Electric train. The train actually hangs from the tracks. The train was very smooth and quiet. It was a little weird to see other trains hanging from the tracks!

Train Station

Train coming in opposite direction

Once we arrived in Shonan, we had a short walk through the town and across a small bridge that connects the island to the mainland.

On the island, there are several shrines, a temple, an observation tower (lighthouse / sea candle), lots of cafes, a garden and sea caves. Once you are on the island your mode of transportation are your feet! Keep in mind there are a lot of stairs!  Oh, and on a clear day, you can see Mt. Fuji.

A Torii gate greets you once you are over the bridge and you begin climbing to the top of the island.

Our first stop was at the Enoshima Shrine. The Enoshima Shrine is a Shinto Shrine dedicated to the worship of the Goddess Benten. Benten is one of the Seven Lucky Gods. Within the Shrine are three shrines: Hatsuno-miya, Nakatsuno-miya, Okutsuno-miya.

But first, we must climb stairs.

The lanterns are part of the illuminations. I was excited to see the illuminations will last until 2/19/17. There will be plenty of time for Dave and I to return to see the lights.

Three pictures that scream “Japan.” A shrine, a fortune wall and a red bridge (over a road – yes, with cars).

Up we continue to the Shrine.

The man in the center is throwing money on to the alter and making his wish to the Gods

We had our temple books stamped and continued up the island and up more stairs!

We enjoyed a nice view along the way!

And another Shrine.

Our next point of interest was the Sea Candle. I didn’t make Dina go up into the Candle today because it was cloudy around Mt. Fuji. Another reason to return.

Our next point of interest was the Enoshima-Daishi Temple.

Temple Roof

Temple Altar

Stained Glass Window

Here, Dina returned a fortune she collected earlier this year. Fortunes must be returned to the Temple where they are collected before the end of the year. Another reason Dina suggested Enoshima for our adventure today!

Within the temple gardens were two statues of Goma, the God of Fire.

We had our temple books stamped and continued on our way. Past another shrine with a built in selfie spot. Too bad I don’t have an Apple Watch to click my picture!

On we went. This time down the stairs. It was while we were descending, Dina mentioned we had to walk back up all these stairs!! Wait, what!?!

Fortunately, there was a nice view even without Mt. Fuji.

We could have continued walking along the cliffs and down to the sea caves and tidal pools. We didn’t have enough time today for too much exploring. Another reason for Dave and I to return.

We began climbing back up!

Finally, at the top we stopped for a snack. “Octopus Cracker” You will have to eat one when you visit. It’s a cracker made out of Octopus. Seriously.

Can you see the eyes and tentacles?

We continued our walk back to the train station. We stopped for one more snack. I picked ice cream with donuts. Yummmm! Much better than the octopus cracker…

A very fun and chilly day exploring another beautiful area of Japan. I am excited to go back and see the areas we didn’t have time for and the illuminations!!

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