Enoshima Shrine is a complex formed by 3 separate shrines located in different areas of the island. The shrine is dedicated to Benzaiten, the Shinto and Buddhist goddess of entertainment, water and music and the patron of the island. According to traditional folklore, it was Benzaiten who caused Enoshima to rise from the waters in the 6th century.
Enoshima Shrine is famous for housing an uncommon statue of Benzaiten known as the Hadaka-Benten, or naked Benten. The statue is kept in an octogonal hall at the main shrine, straight down the entrance, and can be visited by paying a fee of 150 Yen.
In 1868 the Meiji government ordered the separation of Buddhism and Shinto, which caused an anti-Buddhist movement and thousands of Temples to close. As a result, Enoshima Island became available and much of the highlands were purchased by a British merchant named Samuel Cocking in 1880. Cocking used the lands to develop a power plant, a botanical gardens and a large greenhouse.
The Samuel Cocking Garden is what remains of Cocking's botanical garden, which was reconstructed in 2004. The garden features a wide variety of species and a large observation tower of about 60 meter tall known as Enoshima Sea Candle. Access to the observatory is possible by paying an additional fee of 500 Yen.
The walking pathways that cross Enoshima end at the island's southern coast, known as the "back of the island" for being in the opposite side of the entrance. Along the cliffs of this coast there are a series of natural caves named Enoshima Iwaya, which were created by approximately 6000 years of sea erosion and have been visited and venerated since ancient times.
The caves can be visited by paying a fee of 500 Yen and contain several decorations related to local folklore., such as buddhist figures, pictures and a fancy mechanical dragon which, according to a legend, used to terrorize the area. The entrance fee includes a candle lantern to help navigate the dark grottos.
JR Tokyo Station
45 min. 970¥
10 min. 220¥
Enoshima's access bridge is located within a short walk from Enoshima station.The island is small and can be entirely explored on foot, but visitors should be aware that most of the paths involve steep stairways. Automatic escalators are available to reach the island's highest point for a fee of 700 Yen.