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The Enoden: A “Picture Postcard” Railway

If you travel by the Enoshima Electric Railway, which runs along the coastline of Sagami Bay, Kanagawa Prefecture, you will thoroughly enjoy the journey, with the opportunity to enjoy marine sports in the beautiful scenery and visit locations depicted in movies and cartoons, as well as temples that are more than 800 years old.

The Enoshima Electric Railway, which is known colloquially as the Enoden, links fifteen stations between Fujisawa Station in Fujisawa City, Kanagawa Prefecture, and Kamakura Station in Kamakura City, covering a distance of 10.0 kilometers in about 34 minutes. The railway has been used by local people and tourists alike since the entire line opened in 1910.

The Enoden, which comprises two to four cars, travels slowly at an average speed of 22 kilometers per hour. Toshiyuki Nakazawa, general manager of the Tourism Promotion Department, says, “The Enoden travels through many locations, including along the coastline as well as through mountains and residential districts. The allure of the railway is that it exists as part of people’s lives and nature in these locations.”

During the section between Enoshima Station, which is about ten minutes from Fujisawa Station, and Koshigoe Station, you can feel how closely the Enoden and people’s lives are entwined with each other. In this section, the train travels along the streets like a streetcar, with cars and pedestrians moving alongside it. The streets are so narrow that the train gets quite close to the cars and pedestrians, but always travels along a safe distance away. It makes you feel somewhat nostalgic to see the train travel slowly through the shopping streets lined with small fish shops, restaurants and liquor shops on both sides.

After the train travels past Koshigoe Station, Shichirigahama beach comes into view. You can enjoy the most beautiful landscape from the windows on the Enoden in the section along Shichirigahama. If you get off at the platform at Kamakurakokomae Station just in front of Shichirigahama and observe Sagami Bay, which stretches to the Pacific, and Enoshima, which is covered in trees, in a relaxed mood, you will hear the voices of people enjoying surfing as well as the sea breeze.

There are many tourist spots where it is possible to thoroughly enjoy nature and culture in the area along the Enoden. A very popular tourist spot is Enoshima, about 15 minutes’ walk from Enoshima Station. There is a bridge just under 400 meters long over the island, and you can cross it on foot or by car. There are many things to see on the island, including the Enoshima Shrine, which is said to date back to the sixth century, and an observatory lighthouse from which you can enjoy a panoramic view of Sagami Bay and Mt. Fuji from a height of about 100 meters above sea level. There is also the Enoshima Yacht Harbor, which was used for sailing when the Tokyo Olympic Games were held in 1964. It will be used again in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Around Hase Station in Kamakura City, there are shrines and a temple that is more than 800 years old. In particular, Kotoku-in, which is famous for the Kamakura Daibutsu (Giant Buddha), attracts many tourists from both within Japan and overseas. Kamakura Daibutsu, which is about 11 meters tall, is said to have been built in the thirteenth century. The statue was originally housed inside a temple building. However, because the building was repeatedly destroyed by earthquakes, tsunamis and rainstorms, the statue is said to have been left exposed since the fifteenth century.

Kamakura Station, the terminal station, is close to Tsurugaoka Hachimangu, the symbol of Kamakura as an ancient capital. Tsurugaoka Hachimangu is known as a shrine that commemorates Minamoto-no Yoritomo (1147–1199), the lord who established the government in Kamakura. It sits in the center of Kamakura, which is surrounded by mountains on three sides.

Nakazawa says, “Because the Enoden creates beautiful scenes like those on picture postcards with the traveling train and the scenery around it, it has been used for the settings of numerous movies, dramas, cartoons and animations. This has become known overseas as well, and people from a large number of countries have recently come to enjoy the train.”

The train arrives at the terminal after just 34 minutes. You can thoroughly enjoy the nature of Sagami Bay and the tradition of Kamakura by traveling on the Enoden.