About an hour south-west of Tokyo on the coast in Kanagawa Prefecture, the Shonan area has plenty to see and do, either as a day trip, or a stay of one or two nights. There are a number of train lines connecting its various sights, and this guide will show you how to best use them to explore the area.
The train lines
There are two Japan Rail (JR) lines in the area. The JR Tokaido Line is a major commuter line into Tokyo; the stations you'll use here are Ofuna, Fujisawa and Tsujido. At Ofuna you can transfer to the JR Yokosuka Line, which will take you to Kamakura.
The Enoshima Dentetsu Line (more commonly known as the Enoden Line) is a quaint, century-old operation. Its vintage-styled trains connect Fujisawa, Enoshima and Kamakura in a scenic coastal route, and a noriorikun day pass allows unlimited rides for only ¥650.
There are two other lines you might use. The Odakyu Enoshima Line connects Fujisawa to Enoshima; it's slightly faster and cheaper than the Enoden Line, and its terminal at Katase-Enoshima Station is the closest to the island. The Shonan Monorail is a fun way to zoom directly between Ofuna and Enoshima, though there's no sightseeing along the way.
On all these lines, trains are frequent and fares are low. The most expensive journey would be the full-length monorail for ¥320.
There are three main places at which you'll be getting off the train. To see the majestic Daibutsu (Great Buddha) and stately Hase-dera Temple, go to Hase Station (pronounced HA-seh) on the Enoden Line. For the grand shrine of Tsurugaoka Hachimangu and the traditional old shops on Komachi-dori shopping street, use the main Kamakura Station, on the Enoden and JR Yokosuka lines. There's a cluster of impressive temples around Kita-Kamakura Station (also on the JR Yokosuka Line), where you can also start on the Daibutsu Hiking Trail.
The town and island are served by three stations, of which Katase-Enoshima (Odakyu Line) is most convenient. It's also reasonably walkable from Enoshima Station (Enoden Line) and Shonan-Enoshima Station (Shonan Monorail), though you might then want to sit down for a rest once you've crossed the bridge.
Close to Ofuna Station (JR Tokaido Line, JR Yokosuka Line and Shonan Monorail) is the Ofuna Kannon, a striking statue of the serene Buddhist Goddess of Mercy; further away, maybe a 30-minute walk or quick taxi ride, are the fascinating Taya Caves. And at Tsujido Station (JR Tokaido Line) there's an interesting free art space and museum of traditional wood-block prints, or you can take a break from sightseeing and indulge in some retail therapy at four-floor shopping emporium Terrace Mall.
JR Tokaido Line
- Fujisawa to Tsujido - 4 minutes
- Fujisawa to Ofuna - 4 minutes
JR Yokosuka Line
- Ofuna to Kita-Kamakura - 3 minutes
- Kita-Kamakura to Kamakura - 3 minutes
- Kamakura to Hase - 4 minutes
- Hase to Enoshima - 17 minutes
- Fujisawa to Enoshima - 9 minutes
- Fujisawa to Katase-Enoshima - 7 minutes
- Ofuna to Shonan-Enoshima - 15 minutes