Enoshima, a small land-tied island in Fujisawa, Kanagawa Prefecture, is a major tourist destination that welcomes 7 million visitors a year.
Boasting numerous attractions, including a Shinto shrine, a lighthouse, a cave and a rocky beach, the island fell under a renewed spotlight in May for its connection to the man who is set to marry Princess Mako.
Kei Komuro, the fiance-to-be, once served as Enoshima’s tourism ambassador, and photos of him at that time were splashed all over the media when news of the planned engagement first broke.
A 389-meter-long bridge connects Enoshima to Katase Beach, which is popular with swimmers and sunbathers. As you pass through the shrine gate, you are greeted by souvenir shops on both sides of the main street, then by restaurants serving bowls of shirasu (fresh baby sardines) and several inns, two of which have histories of more than 350 years.
After you pass the red gate of Enoshima Shrine, a 330-step stone staircase awaits, which leads to Enoshima Sea Candle, a lighthouse, at the top of the island. From there, you can experience magnificent views of Sagami Bay, Mount Fuji and even the Izu Peninsula.
Enoshima’s history dates back to the 12th century, when Kamakura Shogunate founder Minamoto no Yoritomo (1147-99) set up a shrine in 1182 to pray for his victory in battles. During the Edo Period (1603-1868), the island was crowded with people making pilgrimages to the shrine. The area’s popularity has been captured in the ukiyo-e illustrations of Utagawa Hiroshige and Katsushika Hokusai.
In recent years, the area has flourished as a popular destination for ocean sports, including surfing and diving. In the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, the island is set to host sailing competitions.
This occasional series explores neighborhoods of interest in photographs.