Enoshima, Kanagawa, lies at the mouth of the Katase River near Sagami Bay. It’s a small offshore island, only about 4 km in circumference. Connected to Fujisawa by bridge, Enoshima is a popular vacation spot and has many sites of interest to tourists and locals alike. Enoshima is also home to some fantastic sandy beaches, some of the closest to Tokyo and Yokohama.
The entire island is dedicated to the goddess of music and entertainment, Benzaiten, who is said to have risen it from the sea in the sixth century. After the Meiji government formed in 1880, much of the land was put up for sale and subsequently bought by a British merchant, Samuel Cocking, in his wife’s name. The Samuel Cocking Garden is still a popular destination on the island. Enoshima was also the Olympic harbor in the 1964 Summer Olympics and will be the sailing venue in the 2020 Summer Olympics.
Some other famous sightseeing spots on the island include the Enoshima Shrine, a Shinto shrine dedicated to Benzaiten; the Iwaya Caves, formed by erosion in ancient times it was also a place for Buddhist monks to train; the aforementioned Samuel Cocking Garden is a large botanical paradise at the island’s summit; and the Enoshima Sea Candle, an observation tower located within the Samuel Cocking Garden. However, the bulk of Enoshima is not handicap-friendly with the exception of the bridge and main town area.