For the first day of our JR pass we ventured outside of Tokyo to the nearby island of Enoshima.
The legend goes that Benten, a goddess is Japanese culture, created the island in order to calm a five headed dragon that had been causing some trouble. The story goes than Benten actually married the dragon to keep the surrounding area safe.
Hint #5 Sensible footwear is recommended as you will do a lot of walking around the island
When you first step foot on Enoshima island you be greeted by plethora of shops, if you are hungry, thirsty or in need to treasure this is the place to do it. Once further into the island you will be immersed in shrines, nature and spectacular views. Enoshima shrine is dotted around the island so you will be greeted by many shrines buildings and torii gates on your travels. These are dedicated to Benten, the goddess of Enoshima. Benten is not only known for her luck but also for helping with wealth. Beneath a giant dragon you can wash your money to make it multiply.
One interesting point about Enoshima are the two caves in the white cliffs on it’s southern coast. The first cave contains many Buddhist statues in nooks in the walls. The second cave is dedicated to the dragon, clap at the end of the tunnel to see the lightning the dragon would control!
On Enoshima there is also a love bell, there are popular across Japan for partner to visit and to make a wish for their relationship. The view from the love bell is just stunning (you may even find a few cats around too!).
After hours of exploring we left to head back towards Tokyo. Between Enoshima Island and Tokyo is Kamakura, an ancient area of Japan full of history. Many attractions in Japan close very early, so we only had time to visit the most famous icon of Kamakura, the Daibutsu – big Buddha! Cast in 1252 the Daibutsu is the second biggest Buddha statue in all of Japan. It has stood, exposed to the elements, since 1495. For an extra cost you can enter the back of Buddha to see the hollow within (it is very hot on a summer’s day!)
Access: Using the JR pass take the JR Tokaido Line from Tokyo Station to Fujisawa Station, which takes almost an hour. Then take the Odakyu Railway to Enoshima station. You can now either get a taxi or simply walk across the bridge onto the island (Once there a lot of the island is only accessible on foot or by paid escalators). To get to Kamakura take the Enoden train- for the Daibutsu get off at Hase Station.