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Summer time Sightseeing From Yokohama to Enoshima

Article written by Cherise Fong


Because the summer time warmth rises in Tokyo, generally it’s straightforward to neglect how rather more there may be to discover down south by the bays, only a stone’s throw away (or 30 minutes by prepare) from the metropolis.

As Japan’s second-largest metropolis, Yokohama is greatest recognized for bridging previous, current and future with its commemorative gardens and forward-looking harborfront, open to the world since 1859. So one morning, I took a prepare from Shinjuku that whisked me off to Yokohama’s playful, multicultural waterfront space of Minato Mirai.

From Sakuragi-cho station, I stepped into the brand-new YOKOHAMA AIR CABIN, an city ropeway that connects the station with Unga Park throughout the canal. Like silent bubbles stretched throughout the water, every clear, naturally air-conditioned cabin presents you a pleasant overview of the promenade and loads of recent ocean air. The tantalizing trip lasts about 10 minutes and is the proper introduction to Yokohama’s scenic harborfront.

Not too distant, I caught a glimpse of YOKOHAMA STADIUM, which is world-famous for internet hosting worldwide baseball and softball competitions. Whereas I couldn’t watch a reside sport, I used to be excited to see the flags of this yr’s competing nations flying above the stands.

Yokohama Stadium
Yokohama Stadium (photograph by Toshiko Sakurai)

As an alternative, I ducked out of the recent solar and into Craft Beer Eating &9 (pronounced yakyu, like baseball in Japanese) for taco rice and a cool ale brew. Observe to yakyu followers: the beer faucets are topped with classic baseballs and damaged bats utilized by the native Yokohama DeNA Bay Stars group.

Craft Beer in Yokohama
Craft Beer in Yokohama (photograph by Toshiko Sakurai)

After crossing via Yamashita Park, I spied an enormous colourful contraption on Yamashita pier. It was a life-sized “Shifting Gundam”, the large robotic of anime fame standing 18 meters tall! There was additionally the “ACADEMY” the place you possibly can take pleasure in and study in regards to the shifting mechanism of the “Shifting Gundam” and the “Pilot view expertise” the place you possibly can expertise driving within the cockpit. Along with entertaining Gundam followers, GUNDAM FACTORY YOKOHAMA presents desires by increasing analysis and expertise that makes the world of fantasy a actuality.

Though I’m not precisely a geek, I used to be fascinated by the eight-minute spectacle of Gundam popping out of its dock and taking a step ahead to kneel, earlier than pointing upward within the remaining taking pictures pose. GUNDAM FACTORY YOKOHAMA is a limited-time facility till March 31, 2022.

Gundam Factory Yokohama
Gundam Manufacturing facility Yokohama (photograph by Toshiko Sakurai)

After witnessing that inspiring experiment of larger-than-life retro-futuristic leisure, I made a decision to spend the remainder of my afternoon at Sankeien, a historic backyard nestled away in a extra residential neighborhood by Negishi Bay.

Sankeien is called after its creator, curator and protector, Hara Sankei, a philanthropic entrepreneur and tea ceremony lover who was born in 1868, the yr of the Meiji Restoration, and who died simply earlier than the Second World Battle. Over the past 30 years of his life, Sankei remodeled a sprawling piece of land into a non-public assortment of restored historic buildings (Internal Backyard) and a phenomenal Outer Backyard that has been open to the general public since 1906.

Sankeien Garden in Yokohama
Sankeien Backyard in Yokohama (photograph by Toshiko Sakurai)

Among the many relocated architectural buildings, the Yanohara Household Residence is very intriguing with its smoking irori (sunken fireplace) and gassho-style thatched roof typical of the Shirakawa-go village in Hida (a UNESCO World Heritage web site), the place it was initially positioned. Earlier than leaving, I climbed as much as Sankeien’s iconic Three-Story Pagoda, inbuilt Kyoto prefecture in 1457, to replicate on the wealthy historical past of this lovingly maintained cultural web site.

Again in Minato Mirai, I checked in at THE KAHALA HOTEL & RESORT YOKOHAMA for a contact of Hawaii in Japan. My night started with a connoisseur Japanese dinner accompanied by three totally different types of fantastic inexperienced tea at Hama restaurant and ended with an extended soak within the effervescent jacuzzi on the out of doors roof deck with a view of the celebrities.

The Kahala Hotel & Resort Yokohama
The Kahala Resort & Resort Yokohama (photograph by Toshiko Sakurai)

The legendary island of Enoshima is greatest recognized for the religious pilgrimage alongside its towering cliffs, all the way in which all the way down to the Iwaya caves the place its unique shrines have been inbuilt 552.

Fujisawa is the gateway to this mystical island, and never coincidentally the sixth station on the traditional Tokaido pilgrimage route from Edo to Kyoto. So I used to be delighted to prelude my seaside journey with a go to to the Fujisawa Ukiyo-e Museum, which displays many woodcut prints by famend woodblock artist Hiroshige and others depicting the area through the flourishing late Edo interval. Prints vary from dramatic ensemble views of Enoshima life with Mt. Fuji on the horizon to parodic portrayals of mermaid-like feminine abalone divers.

Ukiyoe Museum
Ukiyoe Museum (photograph by Toshiko Sakurai)

Arriving on the Odakyu railway line, my first pleasure was alighting on the colorfully adorned Katase-Enoshima station, modeled after the undersea Dragon Palace of Japanese folklore. From there, my pilgrimage started with a stroll down Subana-dori, a avenue lined with Hawaii-themed cafés, snacks, souvenirs and sports activities retailers.

Earlier than crossing Bentenbashi bridge, I paused on the dock for Bentenmaru, a sightseeing boat that provides a scenic six-minute trip on to Chigogafuchi on the far facet of the island. It wasn’t operating that day, as departure occasions are irregular and depending on the season and climate situations.

However I used to be fairly comfortable to reach at Enoshima via the “entrance door” by strolling throughout the footbridge, which felt like strolling proper right into a modern-day ukiyo-e with the Sea Candle lighthouse rising above the bushes. I handed below the island’s historic bronze torii, then up Benzaiten Nakamise avenue towards the religious middle of the island, Enoshima Shrine.

On my method up via Monzenmachi (temple city), I noticed the pink octopus of Asahi Honten on the left. This flagship store is legendary for its takoyaki senbei, massive flat rice crackers that embrace at the very least one complete octopus, if not shrimp or native shirasu whitebait, freshly pressed on the spot. Irresistibly drawn to the attention sweet, I bit into the store’s personal novelty blue senbei accentuated with multicolor-dyed shirasu for a crispy deal with.

Hetsumiya Shrine
Hetsumiya Shrine (photograph by Toshiko Sakurai)

After passing via the stately white Zuishinmon gatehouse on the prime of the road, the primary and largest of the three foremost shrines I encountered was Hetsumiya, devoted to the goddess Tagitsuhime. On the roof and the lanterns of the primary constructing, I noticed the Enoshima Shrine crest depicting three triangular scales surrounded by oncoming waves.

Strolling up the steps resulting in the following temple, I used to be rewarded with a transparent view of Enoshima’s landmark Yacht Harbor. It was constructed particularly to host worldwide crusing competitions in 1964, as it’s internet hosting them once more in 2021. On some weekends, native yacht races are held right here too.

Enoshima Yacht Harbour
Enoshima Yacht Harbour (photograph by Toshiko Sakurai)

I continued on to the vermilion-colored Nakatsumiya, which enshrines the goddess Ichikishimahime. Initially inbuilt 853, this extra flashy shrine was transformed and repainted brilliant pink in 1996. The stone lanterns have been donated by kabuki actor guilds, as artistically inclined Enoshima was as soon as a well-liked pilgrimage web site for kabuki performers.

On the opposite facet of the island, I approached Okutsumiya, the cliffside shrine devoted to Takirihime, who watches over a peaceable sea in an space that’s susceptible to typhoons. I used to be significantly drawn to the lair-like Wadatsuminomiya, which enshrines the Dragon God with its actually over-the-top stone dragon determine sprawled above the doorway.

By then it was excessive time for lunch, so I sought out Uomitei, one in all a number of cliffside eating places going through west with a view of Mt. Fuji. Serving hungry vacationers for some 140 years, they provide each the native specialty of shirasu-don and their very own basic Enoshima don (turban shell blended with egg) rice bowls. I selected to savor their exquisitely ready sashimi (uncooked fish), recent from Sagami Bay.

Stairs led immediately from the eating places all the way down to Chigogafuchi, a rocky shoreline named after a younger Buddhist web page who as soon as dove to his demise within the “abyss” of the deep waters. Nonetheless, I discovered this sea-eroded plateau effervescent with marine life to be probably the most naturally photogenic location on the island—and a perfect spot to observe the sundown over Mt. Fuji at sea stage.

I adopted the cemented walkway into the caves that shelter the religious origin of Enoshima: Iwaya. Inside, the cavernous tunnels have been easily paved and dimly lit, lined with informative panels about Enoshima’s historical past and tradition. These finally gave solution to partitions of donated statues, as the trail continued previous dripping stalactites towards the deep sacred web site.

Again on the mainland close to the highest of Subana-dori, I paid a go to to Ryuko-ji, a quieter temple that provides a spacious sanctuary away from the world’s foremost points of interest. The grounds embrace shaded steps and secluded footpaths round a shrouded zelkova-wood five-story pagoda, which emerges on the prime of the hill. There, I lastly sat all the way down to relaxation in entrance of the temple’s peaceable white stupa.

To study extra about these locations, please go to Kanagawa Prefectural Authorities at https://journey.pref.kanagawa.jp and Yokohama Conference & Guests Bureau at https://www.yokohamajapan.com.

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